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I have chosen to do my ethnography project on the phenomenon of homophobia, including its cultural impact, manifestations, and possible causes and origins. My focus will be primarily on homophobia within the United States, but prevailing American constructions of homosexuality, masculinity, and morality will also be contextualized from a global viewpoint. Homophobia can be expressed as a preference, an imperative, or as a violent action. I will attempt to explore the spectrum of homophobic thoughts and actions.

Based on an overview of the research I have done so far on the topic, homophobia in the West tends to follow a predictable pattern. Religion, morality, and idealized gender roles are often cited as justification of anti-homosexual acts or sentiments. Heterosexual males are more likely to hold anti-homosexual viewpoints than other groups (Swank et al. 259). People living in rural areas are less likely to see homosexuality as a “legitimate lifestyle” than people who live in large cities (Swank et al. 259). Homophobia is often connected with an individual's views of, and relationship with masculinity (van der Meer 158).

The available research tends to agree on a fundamental idea that underlies people's views and actions concerning sex: human sexuality is a “primary mechanism through which inequality is organized,” and also a “quintessentially public” matter (Connell et al. 84). This assertion serves to explain why one person may be concerned with another person's sexuality at all. Individuals and cultures often choose sexual preference as one way to define a person instead of allowing it to simply be a private matter, which inevitably leads to judgement and oftentimes corrective or punitive action against the ...

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...owsett, Gary G. “HIV/AIDS and Homophobia: Subtle Hatreds, Severe Consequences and the Question of Origins.” Culture, Health & Sexuality 5.2 (2003): 121-136. Web. 1 Feb 2012.

3.) Hardin, Marie, et al. “'Have You Got Game?' Hegemonic Masculinity and Neo-homophobia in U.S. Newspaper Sports Columns.” Communication, Culture & Critique 2.2 (2009): 182-200. Web. 31 Jan 2012.

4.) Sterk, Claire E. “Tricking and Tripping: Fieldwork on Prostitution in the Era of AIDS.” Annual Editions: Anthropology 06/07. Ed. Elvio Angeloni. Guilford, CT: McGraw-Hill (2005). Web. 1 Feb. 2012.

5.) Swank, Eric, et al. “Comfort with Gays and Lesbians after a Class Discussion on Homophobia.” American Journal of Sexuality Education 3.3 (2008): 255-276. Web. 31 Jan 2012.

6.) Van der Meer, Theo. “Gay Bashing: A Right of Passage?.” Culture, Health & Sexuality 5.2 (2003): 153-165. Web. 2 Feb. 2012.
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