Dr. George Weinberg, a psychotherapist who studied society’s view of gay people died on Monday at the age of 87. He is credited with being the first to use the phrase “homophobia”.
In the 1960’s Weinberg observed a discomfort among his colleagues when they spent time in the presence of homosexuals.
He stated: I coined the word homophobia to mean it was a phobia about homosexuals. Weinberg added: “It was a fear of homosexuals which seemed to be associated with a fear of contagion, a fear of reducing the things one fought for — home and family.”
Weinberg’s colleagues at one point even asked him to uninvite a lesbian friend to a dinner party, because they felt so uncomfortable around her.
In 1969, Weinberg spoke about the word with members of the gay community who then went on to write an article for Screw magazine that included the term.
George once reflected on the word and its meaning by saying “It was a religious fear, and it had led to great brutality, as fear always does.”
Today, this word is quite possibly the most pivotal and important term in LGBT culture.