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Byrne Fone: Homophobia: A History

Byrne Fone: Homophobia: A History

USA 2001, 480 pp., brochure, € 34.95
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Antipathy, condemnation, loathing, fear and proscription of homosexual behavior have taken many forms over the centuries. In this lucid history, Fone charts the ways in which homophobia has induced legal, medical, social and ecclesiastical authorities to punish – and kill – gay men. Drawing upon accepted classics of gay studies (like Boswell and Greenberg) as well as other books and articles – Fone’s compendium of social intolerance argues that, despite social progress, hating homosexuals is »the last acceptable prejudice«. The litany of horrors – biblical condemnation, slander, whipping, imprisonment, drowning, garroting, and castration – is chilling, yet even more disturbing is the author’s contention that violence against homosexuals has been central to Western culture. Problematic is the book’s failure to address the violence perpetuated against lesbians. Still, at a time when the word »homophobia« is dismissed by many as politically correct rhetoric, Fone’s work remains a powerful introduction to the undeniable historical impact of the attitudes it describes.
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