Homophobia has been around forever and it doesn’t look like it’s going to go away anytime soon, especially as Trump and Pence are the epitome of hatred, but we have a duty to ourselves and our fellow LGBTQ community to do something about it.
We obviously can’t put ourselves in danger at any time and if you are a bit feisty it can be hard not to challenge any homophobe head on, but there are safer and better ways of dealing with it. For example, if you are in a bar or a club and you experience homophobia simply walk away and report it. Demand that the management deal with it. Tell them that you are feeling uncomfortable and have been verbally abused by one of their patrons.
If they seem reluctant to do anything about it, then say you are quite happy to contact the police. Most establishments don’t want that kind of reputation and you will probably find that they will deal with the situation.
So what if you overhear someone else suffering homophobic abuse? Firstly, if it’s safe to do so, walk up to the person and tell them to come with you and remove them from the situation. That has to be the first priority, lead them away from danger. Then take them to the management and complain as suggested above. As hard as it is and as tempting as it is don’t retaliate with the homophobe as this could lead to violence and escalate the problem.
And if you witness a violent homophobic attack? You must phone the police. Immediately. If there are people around you could try to find help and support, but if not, stay back and don’t put yourself in the firing line as well.
This won’t help anybody and the police are quite quick at responding to emergency calls. Give as many details to the police as possible and wait in the side-lines for them to arrive. If the attackers flee then go to help the victim. Even a few words of comfort will help.
To do nothing is wrong, even though speaking out and getting help can be scary. If it was you getting the abuse, you would want someone to help you. Remember, silence is violence, so look out for each other and make sure homophobes learn they can’t get away with this behaviour, no matter what they think.