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Monday, April 9, 2012

Homophobia Is Probably Caused by Suppressed Homosexuality, Study Says

Posted By on Mon, Apr 9, 2012 at 1:51 PM

click to enlarge Exhibit A
  • Exhibit A

"You know how I know you're gay?"

"How? How do you know I'm gay?"

"You're a raging homophobe."

At least that's what a new study by researchers at the University of Rochester, the University of Essex, England, and UC Santa Barbara suggests.

Their paper, titled "Parental autonomy support and discrepancies between implicit and explicit sexual identities: Dynamics of self-acceptance and defense," found that people who are attracted to the same sex but had parents who outlawed such desires are more likely to be virulent homophobes.

We've already seen plenty of recent anecdotal evidence to support this, of course. To name just a few: In 2006 Ted Haggard, the pastor who once said "we don't have to debate about what we should think about homosexual activity. It's written in the Bible," admitted to a three-year affair with a male masseuse.

In 2007, "straight" family values advocate and Young Republicans Chairman Glenn Murphy Jr. was jailed for sexually assaulting a sleeping man. Then in 2010 Eddie Long, the megachurch pastor who promoted "homosexual cures" counseling, was sued by three men who claimed that Long used his authority to coerce them into sexual acts.

And now we have scientific evidence to explain all these inconsistencies.

The researchers conducted four experiments -- things like word association tests, questionnaires, and browsing photos of men and women -- on 160 college students in the U.S. and Germany to measure the level of anti-gay sentiment that existed in the student's childhood household, the level of homophobia that the student currently exhibits, and whether the student might possess an unacknowledged attraction to people of the same sex.

Researchers concluded that homophobic behavior is sometimes a byproduct of suppressed homosexuality because "when individuals grow up with autonomy-thwarting parents, they may be prevented from exploring internally endorsed values and identities, and, as a result, shut out aspects of the self perceived to be unacceptable."

"Individuals who identify as straight, but in psychological tests show a strong attraction to the same sex may be threatened by gays and lesbians because homosexuals remind them of similar tendencies within themselves," the study's lead author Netta Weinstein told ScienceDaily.

This will likely throw many genuinely straight homophobes into a state of disarray -- how now to convey that unique cocktail of unadulterated machismo and moral purity?

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Albert Samaha


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