Edited By Elizabeth J. Meyer and Dennis Carlson
4. Taking Homophobia’s Measure
Taking Homophobia’s Measure
Mary Lou Rasmussen
To make the claim that there is not a universalized form of homophobia might strike some as strange. In fact, it might strike others as even stranger that what constitutes homophobia in one geopolitical space does not translate seamlessly to another geopolitical space. And if homophobia is in question, the what and the how of the idea of homosexuality are also in question. (Walcott, 2010, p. 315)
My focus in this chapter is on the topic of homophobia and its place in the sexuality education classroom in Australia and the US. In sexuality education, homophobia is construed as problematic because of the negative consequences it can have for all members of the school community, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. As a consequence, strategies have been devised and implemented to help students and teachers become less homophobic. Teachers and students who refuse this help may be seen as ineffective or a ‘problem’ in the battle against homophobia. Those who stand up and confront homophobia are routinely lauded. However, if what we understand to be homophobia is in question, as Walcott (2010) suggested, what does this mean for some of the tools used in anti-homophobia education? In this chapter, I aim to consider how scales that measure homophobia (a common tool deployed in anti-homophobia education in Australia and the US) might be read against the proposition that what we understand homophobia to be...