The Riddle Tolerance Scale
- Repulsion: Homosexuality is seen as a crime against nature.
Gays/lesbians are considered sick, crazy, immoral, sinful, wicked, etc. Anything
is justified to change them: incarceration, hospitalization, behavior therapy, electroshock
- Pity: Represents heterosexual chauvinism. Heterosexuality is considered more
mature and certainly to be preferred. It is believed that any possibility of
becoming straight should be reinforced, and those who seem to be born that way
should be pitied as less fortunate ("the poor dears").
- Tolerance: Homosexuality is viewed as a phase of adolescent
development that many people go through and most people grow out of. Thus,
lesbians/gays are less mature than straights and should be treated with the
protectiveness and indulgence one uses with children who are still maturing. It
is believed that lesbians/gays should not be given positions of authority
because they are still working through their adolescent behavior.
- Acceptance: Still implies that there is something to accept; the
existing climate of discrimination is ignored. Characterized by such statements
as "You're not lesbian to me, you're a person!" or "What you do in bed is your
own business." or "That's fine with me as long as you don't flaunt
- Support: People at this level may be uncomfortable themselves, but
they are aware of the homophobic climate and the irrational unfairness, and work
to safeguard the rights of lesbians and gays.
- Admiration: It is acknowledged that being lesbian/gay in our society
takes strength. People at this level are willing to truly examine their
homophobic attitudes, values, and behaviors.
- Appreciation: The diversity of people is considered valuable and
lesbians/gays are seen as a valid part of that diversity. People on this level
are willing to combat homophobia in themselves and others.
- Nurturance: Assumes that gay/lesbian people are indispensable in our
society. People on this level view lesbians/gays with genuine affection and
delight, and are willing to be their allies and advocates.