@DW Just to be clear, i am not trying to make an etymologically based argument, fallacious or otherwise. My point is that when the word homophobia is used I think it generally (but not always) conveys the idea that the bigotry towards gay people is in some way motivated by fear. And i think that the phobia root plays a role in this if not in a linear and simplistic cause-and-effect manner of the type espoused by Conservapedia and the AP. I certainly don’t think one can pronounce that any neologism fashioned out of existing roots can only properly be used to mean EXACTLY what a hyper-literal interpretation of each root would seem to suggest the thing as a whole means, but I think neologisms fashioned out of such roots often mean more or less what one might expect them to mean based on their components. But, of course, even that is not always true, and I am not making a prescriptivist argument that it is “wrong” to use a word to mean something slightly or even dramatically different than what the roots of a word would seem to suggest. In this particular case, though, I think homophobia does connote the idea that one has a bias towards gay people that is irrational and fear driven, but it is almost never used to convey that one has a diagnosable mental condition (even though the coiner of the term wanted it to be used that way, that aspect of what he wanted to do didn’t really pan out). But this is based on my perception of how i think the word is actually used by most people, which may be off base.
@OPT: As far as “aversion” goes, in the context of a “phobia”, (both in general and in the word “homophobia") my sense is that aversion actually does have a meaning closely related to fear. It is not “aversion” in the sense of “I’m not a huge fan of this and prefer to spend my time dealing with different things” it is an aversion in the sense of “uggh, that gives me the willies”. So it is a fear driven response of sorts, even if it isn’t fear in the sense of being terrified for one’s life or well-being.
And, similarly, I think phobia in general and homophobia in particular are rarely used to mean “I dislike X” unless the reason I dislike x is that it in some way bothers me on a visceral level that is in some way a fear-based response.
And i certainly agree that it is hardly the worst injustice imaginable for people who are actually bigoted towards gay people to have their bigotry implicitly ascribed to something that is not the actual cause of their bigotry.
@donkeyhotay: yes, I think what you just described is homophobia, if a relatively mild one in the grand scheme of things. And i think that for at least some people the “eww, two men kissing” reaction morphs into a conviction that homosexualtiy is sinful or unnatural, which in turn becomes a justification for a raft of injustices. In any event, comparing seeing two men kiss to seeing a man eat his own boogers is unlikely to convince anybody that your perspective on gay people is wholly rational. And what LH and DW said.