Use of homophobe

David Cruz dcruz at
Sat May 9 22:21:58 PDT 2009

With sincere respect, I submit that whether use of the term ³homophobe² (or
cognates such as ³homophobic²) is helpful depends on the particular
conversation at issue.   If one is trying to understand hate crimes, which
could be useful in assessing the constitutionality of various laws that
might be proposed to restrict such crimes (a topic of obvious relevance to
this listserv), the term could well be useful.

So I am unwilling to accede to Richard Dougherty¹s request to exile that
word from this listserv.   I will use ³homophobe² when I think it, as
distinguished from ³heterosexist,² is proper.   But whether or not anyone
has used it properly and usefully in this thread (much of which I have
spared myself and to which I will try to avoid further contributions), it
has relatively neutral, descriptive, clinical-psychological uses that I
respectfully refuse to eschew.

David B. Cruz
Professor of Law
University of Southern California Gould School of Law
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0071

On 5/9/09 8:47 PM, "Richard Dougherty" <doughr at> wrote:

> That's almost clever, but there's no need to take the bait.  When did you stop
> beating your wife, he asked.
> There are some people who oppose Christians for religious reasons and there
> are some who hate them just because they simply hate or fear believers.  Such
> people are Christophobes.  They attack Christians, sometimes murdering them
> (by the tens of thousands).  If you want to lump them in with people who have
> religious reasons for hating Christians, feel free to do so, but I'm not
> prepared to call them all Christophobes.  See how generous we can be?
> The original comment had to do with the photographer, as that was the example
> Mark Scarberry referred to.  The use of the term "homophobe" is not helpful to
> conversation.
> Richard Dougherty
> -----Original Message-----
> From: "Paul Finkelman" <paul.finkelman at>
> Sent 5/9/2009 6:47:27 PM
> To: "mairi morrison" <morrismai at>, "mark scarberry"
> <mark.scarberry at>, "Richard Dougherty" <doughr at>
> Cc: "CONLAWPROFS professors" <conlawprof at>
> Subject: Use of homophobe
>   Richard: 
>  Are you suggesting that there are not people out there who are homophobes?
>  You will note that my post made a distinction between those who oppose same
> sex marriage for religious reasons and those who simply hate or fear people
> with a different sexual orientation.  Such people are homophobes.  They attack
> gays and lesbians, sometimes murdering them.  Now, if you want to argue that
> such people should be lumped in with those who have a religious objection to
> same-sex marriage, then feel free to do so.  I am not ready to do that.
>  Paul
>  ----
>  Paul Finkelman
>  President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law
>  Albany Law School
>  80 New Scotland Avenue
>  Albany, NY 12208
>  518-445-3386 (p)
>  518-445-3363 (f)
>  pfink at
>  --- On Sat, 5/9/09, Richard Dougherty <doughr at> wrote:
>> From: Richard Dougherty <doughr at>
>>  Subject: Re: yes, thank you howard for the very rich and detailed satirical
>> here
>>  To: "mairi morrison" <morrismai at>, "mark scarberry"
>> <mark.scarberry at>, paul.finkelman at
>>  Cc: "CONLAWPROFS professors" <conlawprof at>
>>  Date: Saturday, May 9, 2009, 3:51 PM
>>  As long as we are on the topic of bigotry, could we respectfully abandon the
>> use of the word "homphobe" on the list?
>>  Richard Dougherty

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