New York Times reports:
George Weinberg, a psychotherapist who, in the mid-1960s, observed the discomfort that some of his colleagues exhibited around gay men and women and invented a word to describe it — homophobia — died on Monday in Manhattan. He was 86.
His wife, Dianne Rowe, said the cause was cancer.
Dr. Weinberg was preparing to speak before the East Coast Homophile Organization in 1965 when he began thinking about a recent incident. A group of colleagues, learning that a friend he was bringing to a party was a lesbian, asked that he disinvite her. He sensed not just dislike, he said, but also fear — a fear so extreme that it suggested some of the characteristics of a phobia.
“I coined the word homophobia to mean it was a phobia about homosexuals,” Dr. Weinberg told Gregory M. Herek, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, in 1998. “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. It was a religious fear, and it had led to great brutality, as fear always does.”