Don't call me homophobic - You don'even know me

Firstly, let me settle an issue about me when it comes to the topic of homosexuality – I do not support same-sex relationships.

Now, some of people will say that (1) I’m homophobic, (2) a bigot, (3) irrational because of my beliefs, (4) intolerant or (5) all of the above.

This is where the problem arises: One will be tempted to label me as a person who hates others because of their choices – but the unfortunate bit is that most people won’t even take the time to hear me out before they pronounce judgement. So to describe me as irrational or dismiss this article even before reading the whole of it should tell you that you are the irrational one.

Also, this article is not about my actual opinions on same-sex relationships – it revolves around the reaction that you, dear reader, had to the first line of this piece. Let me explain:

For as long as I can remember the word ‘homophobic” has been used as a description of people who hate those who are in same-sex relationships. And for a long time I have tried to grapple with this idea especially because others have found themselves retracting statements, apologising and even showing a sense of shame in a bid to be accepted– the latest sensational example being Jonah Hill.

The problem I have is that the words “homophobic” and “bigot” are used liberally to describe anyone who expresses an opinion disagreeing with same-sex relationships. We hear it practically every day – radio personalities are the worst culprits.

Instead of facilitating an environment of discussion around the issue, fostering an open dialogue that encourages talking instead of violence, they use their platforms to bash people who disagree with the popular viewpoints. Those with differing opinions are dismissed very quickly because they are being “homophobic”.

But don’t we all have the right to disagree?

As a rationally thinking individual, it boggles my mind that when I express my disagreement, people are keen to jump up and defend people’s right to choose their lifestyles, followed of course by the name calling and attempts at shaming.

But resorting to calling people homophobic before one hears what someone has to say makes for an irrational person. Like a school bully, one takes advantage of spectating crowds and tries to force people to do their bidding, in full view of passive bystanders who laugh along because they don’t want to be victimised.

The moment a person denies me the right to state my opinion, that person automatically becomes a bigoted, intolerant and judgemental person. Their statements against me are based on passing judgement on my character, of which they know nothing about.

Saying that someone is homophobic while engaging in a debate automatically skews the conversation and sets it on the wrong footing – we can be passionate about our beliefs, but we need to listen to each other more.