Homophobic is not an offensive word

Today I am going to write about a subject that is very close to my heart, homophobia. It may seem a rather strange subject to write about but it has been in the news quite a bit here in Ireland and I have had a lot of time to think about it . Just to be clear, I am not going to talk about gay rights but rather about the word itself and why it can be used to denounce people that are against equality for LGBT people. I would also like to apologise if I offend anyone, these are my opinions and I am not the most politically correct of people. I would encourage you to post your own views, opinions and feedback in the comments below.

To give a little bit of background as to why I am going on this rant, recently on Irish television there has been a lot of talk about whether it is appropriate to refer to people that are against marriage equality as homophobic.  According to the conservative line of thought, homophobic is an offensive term as it implies that people that are against marriage equality hate or are afraid of gay people. They insist that they are perfectly fine with gay people, they just don’t want them to be able to marry. At the base of this argument is the root of the word –phobia which means “fear of”. There is an attempt to distinguish between “true homophobia” which is classified as any “serious” act that discriminates against the LGBT community and “having traditional values” which is the exclusion of LGBT couples from marriage.

Let me begin by drawing a comparison to another word, xenophobia. As you all probably know, xenophobia is the fear of what is different, also known as racism. It contains the dreaded suffix -phobia as well but nobody disputes that precluding black people from marriage is xenophobic. Nobody would dare come up nowadays and say that black people should not get married to white people and that is “just their opinion”. If anybody tried to justify that they were not xenophobic because they were perfectly ok with “the blacks”, they would be rightly thrown off the stage and might even end up being prosecuted.

If we go back 70 years the opposite would have been true. Hiding behind the original Greek meaning of the suffix -phobia is a weak argument. It is similar to me arguing I am not white because my skin is technically pink, or saying that you are not having breakfast (comes from breaking-fast) because you had a coffee beforehand. It is grasping at straws and does not stand. To get a glimpse of how pervasive and subtle homophobia is in modern society I highly recommend watching this incredible speech by Panti, a well-known Irish gay rights activist.

Putting all that aside, I do believe that the argument against marriage equality does come from a position of fear. Fear bred from ignorance and the refusal to empathise with your fellow human beings. It stems from the realisation that your cosy little world is no longer as small as you want it to be and that perhaps you will lose the moral high ground that you desperately require. Realising that the way you have though all your life is wrong is not an easy step to take and many people are not able to take it. They are also afraid to admit this and are therefore very offended when anybody points a finger at them and says “you are part of the past”. By eliminating the word homophobic from the discourse, they intend to maintain the upper ground and not be called out for the small-minded bigots they really are.

I strongly believe that denying LGBT couple the right to marry is homophobic. It is a clear form of discrimination and should be called as such. Being a homophobe does not mean you will run down the street if you see a gay person, it means you are afraid to let them share your rights, it means that you still consider some territories out of bounds for “the gays”.

I would propose one rule of thumb: for any given sentence about gay people, substitute the word “gay” for “black”. If it makes you cringe, then the original sentence was homophobic. For example:

  • It’s my opinion that gay people should not have the right to marry turns into It’s my opinion that black people should not have the right to marry: homophobic.
  • It’s my opinion that gay people are fun to be around turns into It’s my opinion that black people are fun to be around: not homophobic, just your opinion.

What to do now I’m grown up

Lately I have been spending a lot more time with people that are a lot younger than I am. I love spending time with them and they have made me rethink a lot of things about my life. I have come to the realisation that I enjoy spending time with them more than I enjoy spending time with people my age. Don’t get me wrong, I have great friends that are my age but none of them act like they are in their mid 30’s. I have come to the realisation that I don’t feel “grown-up” and, the truth is, I don’t want to be.

I want to do more of this!
I want to do more of this!

Maybe I should define what I mean by acting my age. I am currently 35. Whenever I hear that number in my head a whole bunch of responsibilities come to mind. I was 3 years old when my dad was this age, I see friends of mine buying houses, getting married, settling down, saving money and talking about growing up and being serious. I have at one point or another also had these thoughts but they never stick.

Instead of thinking of settling down, I dream of picking up and moving on. Instead of saving money to buy a house, I want to save money to travel the world. I want to change career instead of progressing in mine, I want to dabble in many fields instead of becoming a specialist in one. Most of all I feel like I have no idea of what I want and need to try a lot more things before I decide!

I want to see more places like these!
I want to see more places like these!

So, I guess the big question is: what I am I doing to get to where I want to go?I guess it’s kind of hard to decide when I have very little idea of where I want to go. For now I’m happy to finish my acting course and seeing where I am at summer. Hopefully interesting things are coming down the line, stay tuned to see what happens!

Looking back and planning ahead

When I started this blog back in September last year, I had planned to keep it updated quite regularly. As we know, I have not been very successful. Though I have posted quite a bit initially, I have struggled to find inspiration on topics and keep engaged.

Last week I stumbled upon the Zero to Hero series of blog posts. They propose a series of 30 steps to take over 30 days to refresh your blog. The step for the first day is to write a new introduction post so  here I go.

I am a 35 year old Spanish expat that emigrated to Ireland at the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008. I have worked as a freelance translator and interpreter, as a translator and then community manager in a videogame company and I now work as a Product Manager in an online company. As you may have guessed I love photography and travelling and would someday love to make a living out of those hobbies. I am also studying acting and will hopefully be taking part in a few plays in the coming years.

The reason I started this blog was to share my work as an amateur photographer and to document my trips. I had also intended to post the occasional random post on subjects that matter to me. Over the last 6 months I have had moderate success in blogging my travels in Nepal but have really not posted much on the other subjects. I intend to ramp up my posts and will probably be splitting up the blog into different sections as I feel it will help me categorise what I write and not feel I am going off topic.

Another goal with the blog was to connect with fellow travel bloggers and photographers. I have read many blogs in my life but never really considered the social aspect of this. Whenever I heard of the blogosphere I considered it similar to a collection of individual contributors, I never stopped to consider the amount of interaction that happens between the different authors. Hopefully by focusing on this effort during 2014 I will build up a solid groups of followers and friends that I can share my work with.

I also love to interact with my readers and provide the content you would be interested in reading so if you have any ideas, please let me know what you want to read about!

Why I have a second camera

I am they very proud owner of an X-Pro1 camera. I bought this camera last year and I am extremely happy with it. While it is a lot smaller than my previous camera and allows me take it a lot more places, it still isn’t a truly pocketable camera. I was looking for a camera that I could take everywhere but as usual I needed it to meet some pretty stringent requirements.

Play the game!
Play the game!

I needed a camera that I could use in low light, gave excellent image quality and I could slip into my jacket pocket. I looked at many cameras on the market and ended up having my eye on the excellent Fuji X100s. The only limitation of this camera was its fixed focal length of 23mm (35mm equivalent in Full Frame) but I see this as almost an advantage. It forces me to think more about my photos and get closer to get a good picture. I will post about this camera a lot more in the coming weeks. 🙂

This is the kind of picture I'd be missing!
This is the kind of picture I’d be missing!

If I hadn’t bought this camera, there are a lot of photos I would not have taken over the last month. I find it incredible to think that I can pull it out and take amazing pictures whenever I see something that catches my eye. It also makes it so much more fun to walk anywhere as I can always keep my eye open for photo opportunities.

Biking at night
Biking at night

It also allows me to take pictures of my friends and nights out. It is also so small and silent that I get as many pictures as I need. I am loving it and my friends are loving it as well.

Party!
Party!

I would highly recommend getting pocket camera if you find you’re not taking as many pictures as you want. It really has changed my outlook on photography and allowed me to get a lot of images I would have missed otherwise.