Martie, I think you’re spot-on about fear. Many homophobes and transphobes clearly fear their own attractions and inner feelings.
Research shows a strong positive correlation between homophobia and same-sex attraction.
But it’s probably not true that all people who are homophobic are same-sex attracted. Other researchers have found that the human “disgust response” is involved.
Just as sexual attraction seems to be an innate biological condition, so does sexual repulsion. People at the far ends of both sides of the Kinsey spectrum seem to be wired for repulsion. In other words, some gay men (like me) find women to be complete turn offs. Some totally straight people feel the same way. A significant proportion of straight man especially feel genuine disgust at the idea of sex with another man.
Researchers have documented this disgust response leading to homophobic anger.
I think that can bleed over into transphobia sometimes too.
So, it seems we have a situation where different factors lead to the stigmatization and vilification of gender and sexual minorities.
In both kinds of cases, love and friendship seem to be the answer. As you’ve learned so well with your child.
You and Kira and Louise and all the people like you are the ones winning this battle for love. Because you’re putting a human face on the issue.