The oxford dictionary defines homophobia as the ‘dislike of or prejudice against homosexual people’.
However, homophobia also encompasses a range of negative attitudes and feelings toward homosexuality or people who are identified or perceived as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).
For the first time in modern history, homophobia is being frowned upon and therefore support for the LGBT community is increasing day by day as is support for equality in general.
Can people who have a homophobic mindset change their mind?
The answer is overwhelmingly YES! In 2001, only 30% of people said they knew someone who’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender. Since 1 in 10 people are gay, they likely had more gay friends, but the individuals continued to keep their sexuality a secret, hiding who they were as a result of intense hatred that people expressed during that time. Today, in 2016, over 70% of individuals say they now support equal rights for gay people and have an acquaintance, close family member or friend who’s gay. There is now a lot more openly gay people compared to 2001, for gay people feel more at ease and relaxed enough to be who they are due to the boost in acceptance and support.
So individuals who did not know anyone who was LGBT were often homophobic but once they personally knew someone in the gay community their attitudes tended to change. Once society finally releases love is love, equality no longer seem like an ideal but become a reality.