Does Homophobia equal a prison sentence?

Does Homophobia equal a prison sentence and should it really be called a hate crime?

A prison sentence is a period of time where someone has been convicted of a crime and who must not live his or her normal life for a period of time. If a gay man or woman is unable to live their life as an openly gay person, how different is that to a prison sentence? Other than the fact that the gay person has not committed a crime.

As much as most of us try to be politically correct and to be unoffensive to everyone, we have all made slip ups, used a derogotory remark, even if not meant in an offensive way. Older generations may still use terms and phrases that would be classified as racist or homophobic today that were common place a generation ago.

The word Gay doesn’t just mean homosexual. The Gay Divorcee, made in 1934, was about a happy single man. I am pretty certain that The Gay Cavalier romantic plot features a happy man and a woman. It is only in the last couple of decades that the word Gay has become synonymous with homosexual, before that it just meant happy. So, and follow my twisted logic here, doesn’t that mean that if you ever used the word gay as a slur or insult, you were simply calling the person happy?

Just because someone has a differnet orientation or colour of skin doesn’t make them different underneath the skin. If you are offended by this, you should probably dislike people who are different to you in other ways. Different nationality, accent, taste in music?

What about hate crimes? If you beat up someone and the reason behind the attack is either race or sexual orientation, you will be charged as committing a hate crime. How is that any different from a rioter from attacking a policeman? The policeman is being attacked because he or she is, quite simply, a person of law. Therefore, it should be classed a hate crime. Or should we stop using the phrase for crimes that perhaps are not so debatable?

If a man or woman decide to kill their spouse, they plan everything out and then actually kill them, first degree murder, isn’t that a hate crime? If they hadn’t hated their spouse, they probably wouldn’t have killed them. What about attempted suicide? If you didn’t hate yourself at the very moment you attempt to kill yourself, you may not have attempted it.

Hate is a very strong word to banter around so lightly. We all say that we hate this or that, be it cabbage, a NHL team or even the weather. Does you really hate cabbage or is it that you were forced to eat it as a child and now cannot stand the smell of it? As much as you may love the Leafs, you probably don’t actually hate the Bruins, especially if they had to win to ensure the leafs made the playoffs.

Not to sound like an old hippy but perhaps it is time to use words in the correct context. If you are happy you are gay and if you hate something, make sure you truly do before you proclaim it to the world.

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