‘Home’ and ‘homophobia’

Subtitled Familial Homophobia and Its Consequences, Sarah Schulman’s latest book offers an explanation for why people like Frank Schubert (director of the media campaign for Proposition 8) feel free to stir up fear and hatred of gay people when he has a lesbian sister he claims to love. It’s called “familial homophobia,” and groundbreaking isn’t an adequate word to describe the work that Schulman does in this book. From the way that gays and lesbians participate in their own oppression by not calling out our family members on their homophobia to the way that our mistreatment by family members is ignored or glossed over by the larger culture, Schulman covers plenty of ground. This is a crucial, brilliant book, not to mention painful; as Schulman describes her own familial homophobia, I remembered that I didn’t feel I could take my wife’s hand at my father’s funeral, for fear it would upset the rest of my family.