Monday, April 09, 2012

Study: Homophobia caused by repressed homosexuality, redux

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Penis party tray
Yeah … I got nothin’.

It’s becoming clear that those who make it their life’s work to rail against homosexuality are usually self-repressed closet cases whose visceral, almost obsessive revulsion stems from their own internal struggle with their latent same-sex attraction. I blogged about a study that found as much last year, and now, a new study corroborates these findings and digs deeper into the effect of growing up in less tolerant households:

Homophobia is more pronounced in individuals with an unacknowledged attraction to the same sex and who grew up with authoritarian parents who forbade such desires, a series of psychology studies demonstrates.

The study is the first to document the role that both parenting and sexual orientation play in the formation of intense and visceral fear of homosexuals, including self-reported homophobic attitudes, discriminatory bias, implicit hostility towards gays, and endorsement of anti-gay policies. Conducted by a team from the University of Rochester, the University of Essex, England, and the University of California in Santa Barbara, the research will be published the April issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

"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," explains Netta Weinstein, a lecturer at the University of Essex and the study's lead author.

"In many cases these are people who are at war with themselves and they are turning this internal conflict outward," adds co-author Richard Ryan, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester who helped direct the research.


"In a predominately heterosexual society, 'know thyself' can be a challenge for many gay individuals. But in controlling and homophobic homes, embracing a minority sexual orientation can be terrifying," explains Weinstein. These individuals risk losing the love and approval of their parents if they admit to same sex attractions, so many people deny or repress that part of themselves, she said.

Be sure to read the full article for more details on the methodology and findings of the experiments. All in all, none of this is new to anyone who’s been keeping up with such research over the years, but it’s always nice to stay updated with new data, especially when it further solidifies the schadenfreudelicious fact that bigoted asshats who spend more time and energy talking about gay sex than actual gays do usually have more in common with those same-sex sinners than they’d like to admit, even to themselves.

Honestly, I’d normally feel naught but pity and compassion towards people who suffer from such self-damaging internal struggles. But frankly, when someone spends their time making the world a worse place to be for other people, be it by throwing around Bible verses or cramming through anti-gay legislation, regardless of their motivation for doing so, I’m afraid my sympathy simply dries up.

(via Joe. My. God.)