What is misia? And why don’t I use phobia?
You may have noticed that I use misia (e.g. “homomisia” and “transmisia”) instead of phobia (e.g. “homophobia” or “transphobia”). Why is this?
A phobia is a real mental illness – intense, uncontrollable fear of something specific – that some folks live and struggle with.
I think that language matters, and equating bigotry and discrimination of people with mental illness can unintentionally minimize bigotry and simultaneously increase stigma toward mental illness.
So what does misia mean?
Misia means hate.
It’s a much more accurate description of what it means to be bigoted toward LGBTQ2SIA+ people, trans people, Muslim people, Jewish people, and so on.
Using the term misia (e.g. transmisia, Judeomisia, Islamomisia) reminds us that we are all accountable for our mindsets and behaviours.
While it’s possible that many people who have grown up indoctrinated with bigotry against say, LGBTQ2SIA+ communities, may feel real fear toward these communities, these individuals are in fact in control of and accountable for their mindsets, how informed they become, their behaviour toward these communities.
Simmons University has excellent resources on the topic of anti-oppression, including a full writeup on misia and phobia. I encourage you to check it out.
You can learn more about being an anti-oppressive leader here.