The 45 Biggest Homophobes of Our 45 Years

The LGBT rights movement has had its share of villains. These are some of the worst.

BY Lucas Grindley

August 21 2012 5:00 AM ET



Above from left: James Dobson, Mel Gibson, Pope Benedict XVI

James Dobson
He’s like an antigay media mogul. The pastor founded Focus on the Family in 1977 and then, in 1998, Love Won Out, a group that claims it can “cure” homosexuality. He’s written books, he runs a newsletter, and his radio show airs on thousands of stations. He’s @DoctorDobson on Twitter — if you’d like to send him a message.

Mel Gibson
When the actor was caught in an anti-Semitic meltdown and arrested in a 2006 DUI or embarrassed in 2010 by tape recordings of a violent, racist rant against his ex-girlfriend, gay media were quick to point out neither was his first offense. Gibson was named 1992’s Sissy of the Year for pointing to his backside during an interview and declaring, “This is only for taking a shit.” That Gibson felt a need to clarify should have been the world’s first hint that something is a little off with this guy. And the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has taken him to task more than once for what it said were homophobic portrayals in his movies. Defending Gibson even now are his loyal friend Jodie Foster (a 1992 Sissy winner for long staying closeted) and his gay brother. But that original interview reads like a Hollywood script’s foreshadowing of scenes to come: “I don’t lend myself to that type of confusion,” he said. “Do I look like a homosexual? Do I talk like them? Do I move like them?”

Pope Benedict XVI
When Pope John Paul II made his highly publicized visit to the United States in 1987, gay rights activists protested because of what had become known as the “Rat Letter” — an unprecedented damning of homosexuality as “intrinsically evil.” It was written by one of his cardinals. That cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger, went on to become pope.

Bryan Fischer
The American Family Association was founded by Donald Wildmon (no minor homophobe in his own right) and is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “hate group”; Fischer is its official mouthpiece. He sure has a lot to say, including that homosexuality should be criminalized, that gays will attack you like Nazis, that Rep. Barney Frank is to blame for AIDS deaths. AFA isn't screaming from the sidelines of American politics. It was Texas governor Rick Perry’s partner in a massive prayer rally held in a Houston football stadium days before announcing his presidential bid.

Tony Perkins
The president of the Family Research Council might still be able to get on cable TV, pretending to represent the Christian viewpoint, but there’s a growing movement to expose his antigay views as extreme. This year alone, Perkins said kids are made gay because of immoral parents, that the Secret Service prostitution scandal was a result of the adminstration's repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," and that JCPenney should have been boycotted because it chose a lesbian spokeswoman in Ellen DeGeneres.

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