Homophobia, a term often used to describe hostile reactions to lesbians and gay men, implies a unidimensional construct of attitudes as expressions of irrational fears. This paper argues that a more complex view is needed of the psychology of positive and negative attitudes toward homosexual persons. Based upon a review of previous empirical research, a model is proposed that distinguishes three types of attitudes according to the social psychological function they serve: (1) experiential, categorizing social reality by one's past interactions with homosexual persons; (2) defensive, coping with one's inner conflicts or anxieties by projecting them onto homosexual persons; and (3) symbolic, expressing abstract ideological concepts that are closely linked to one's notion of self and to one's social network and reference groups. Strategies are proposed for changing attitudes serving each of the functions. The importance of distinguishing attitudes toward lesbians from those focused on gay men is also discussed.