Homophobia is often considered an acceptable prejudice. Kids (and a lot of grown-ups) still use "fag" and "homo" to put down people they dislike or consider odd or effeminate. Winking jokes about being gay are still regular elements of mainstream television and movies. Homophobia is a "family values" prejudice.
In an era when no thinking person would consider making a racial slur and ethnic bigotry is all but banished from the media, why are anti-gay comments and stereotypes still thriving?
The American Psychoanalytic Association presented a public forum to explore the sources and reasons for this "permissible" prejudice. The panelists delve into the psychic and social bases of homophobia.
Dr Leon Hoffman, Chair of the Committee on Public Information of the American Psychoanalytic Association, introduces the panel. Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi, whose office has taken a lead role in gay and lesbian rights, gives opening remarks. The four panelists bring unique insights to the forum: Dr Paul Lynch, Harvard Medical School, the Forum Moderator, followed by the Reverend Peter Gomes, Harvard University; Dr. Nancy Chodorow, University of California at Berkeley; and Dr. Ralph Roughton, Atlanta. Rep. Barney Frank (D. Massachusetts) was unable to attend because of the impeachment hearings, but his remarks are read in his absence.
The forum examines with psychoanalytic tools, the roots of homophobia in the human mind and the reason for homophobia's seeming normalcy. Psychoanalysis examines what a person was taught by parents, friends and community, and the way each person absorbs and uses those lessons.
The forum was co-sponsored by the American Psychoanalytic Foundation and by three committees of the American Psychoanalytic Association (the Committee on Issues of Homosexuality, the Committee on Social Issues, and the Committee on Public Information).

The Public Forum was held Friday, December 18th, 1998, during the fall meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association

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