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Study: Homophobes May Be Hidden Homosexuals

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Homophobes should consider a little self-reflection, suggests a new study finding those individuals who are most hostile toward gays and hold strong anti-gay views may themselves have same-sex desires, albeit undercover ones.

The prejudice of homophobia may also stem from authoritarian parents, particularly those with homophobic views as well, the researchers added.

"This study shows that if you are feeling that kind of visceral reaction to an out-group, ask yourself, 'Why?'" co-author Richard Ryan, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, said in a statement. "Those intense emotions should serve as a call to self-reflection."

The research, published in the April 2012 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, reveals the nuances of prejudices like homophobia, which can ultimately have dire consequences. [The 10 Most Destructive Human Behaviors]

"Sometimes people are threatened by gays and lesbians because they are fearing their own impulses, in a sense they 'doth protest too much,'" Ryan told LiveScience. "In addition, it appears that sometimes those who would oppress others have been oppressed themselves, and we can have some compassion for them too, they may be unaccepting of others because they cannot be accepting of themselves."

Ryan cautioned, however, that this link is only one source of anti-gay sentiments.

Hidden homosexuality

In four studies, the researchers looked at the discrepancies between what people say about their sexual orientation and their implicit sexual orientation based on a reaction-time test. The studies involved college students from Germany and the United States.

For the implicit measure, students had to categorize words and pictures flashed onto a computer screen into "gay" or "straight" groups. Words included "gay," "straight," "homosexual" and "heterosexual," while the pictures showed straight and gay couples. Before each trial, participants were primed with the word "me" or "others" flashed momentarily onto a computer screen. The researchers said quicker reaction time for "me" and "gay," and a slower association of "me" with "straight" would indicate said an implicit gay orientation. [Why Gay Parents May Be the Best Parents]

In another experiment, the researchers measured implicit sexual orientation by having participants choose to browse same-sex or opposite-sex photos on a computer screen.

Questionnaires also teased out the parenting style the participants were exposed to, with students asked how much they agreed or disagreed with statements such as: "I felt controlled and pressured in certain ways;" and "I felt free to be who I am." To gauge homophobia in a household, students responded to items such as, "It would be upsetting for my mom to find out she was alone with a lesbian" or "My dad avoids gay men whenever possible."

Participants indicated their own level of homophobia, both overt and implicit; in word-completion tasks, students wrote down the first three words that came to mind when prompted with some of the words' letters. Students were primed at some point with the word "gay" to see how that impacted the amount of aggressive words used.

Controlling parents

In all of the studies, participants who reported supportive and accepting parents were more in touch with their implicit sexual orientation, meaning it tended to jibe with their outward sexual orientation. Students who indicated they came from authoritarian homes showed the biggest discrepancy between the two measures of sexual orientation.

"In a predominately heterosexual society, 'know thyself' can be a challenge for many gay individuals," lead author Netta Weinstein, a lecturer at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom,said in a statement. "But in controlling and homophobic homes, embracing a minority sexual orientation can be terrifying." [5 Ways to Foster Self-Compassion in Your Child]

Those participants who reported their heterosexuality despite having hidden same-sex desires were also the most likely to show hostility toward gay individuals, including self-reported anti-gay attitudes, endorsement of anti-gay policies and discrimination such as supporting harsher punishments for homosexuals.

The research may help to explain the underpinnings of anti-gay bullying and hate crimes, the researchers note. People in denial about their own sexual orientation, perhaps a denial fostered by authoritarian and homophobic parents, may feel a threat from other gay and lesbian individuals. Lashing out may ultimately be an indicator of the person's own internal conflict with sexual orientation.

This inner conflict can be seen in some high-profile cases in which anti-gay public figures are caught engaging in same-sex acts, the researchers say. For instance, evangelical preacher and anti-gay-marriage advocate Ted Haggard was caught in a gay sex scandal in 2006. And in 2010, prominent anti-gay activist and co-founder of conservative Family Research Council George Rekers was reportedly spotted in 2010 with a male escort rented from According to news reports, the escort confirmed Rekers is gay.

"We laugh at or make fun of such blatant hypocrisy, but in a real way, these people may often themselves be victims of repression and experience exaggerated feelings of threat," Ryan said. "Homophobia is not a laughing matter. It can sometimes have tragic consequences," as was the case in the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay man.

by on Apr. 10, 2012 at 12:32 AM
Replies (171-171):
by Ruby Member on Apr. 12, 2012 at 7:21 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting jcribb16:

Great post, Blonde.  :)

You too  hugs

Quoting blondekosmic15:


Quoting jcribb16:

I don't seek them out - it's not my business to do so.  If they ask me how I feel, I'll be honest and kind in how I don't agree and what God's Word says about it, but that I still love them, other than that, I treat them as anyone else I know. 

I had renters who were gay - just as sweet and nice as could be.  They were friends/co-workers with my daughter.  She let me know they were gay ahead.  Even though the house is now sold, we are all still close friends today.  They both attend church as well and have ask questions in regards to their relationship.  One is struggling with conviction - that is in his own heart and not any one of us scolding him and brow-beating.  He will come to terms, in his time, with what he will decide about this.  We are there for him, as friends, while praying for him, and continuing on as friends.

I realize there are people out there who really are mean and go way overboard with dislike - it concerns me when I see them treated this way and/or not liked just because they are doing something different.  Jesus tells us to love all mankind for themselves, not for the differences and/or sin. 

The main point of everything and everyone, is that we are all sinners and we are all accountable for what we do in our lives, and other than people judged by the judges and juries for breaking laws and hurting/killing others, we all will ultimately be judged by God, Himself.

Thank you for your kind and thoughtful response, Jcribb. The key is we don't seek gays out to condemn them nor criticize their personal lifestyle. I realize some resort to this behavior but I have never witnessed any on this forum nor the other groups I am a member of. This is a public debate forum and when this topic arises we have the right to voice our concerns { not condemnations } and the reasons we disagree. Unfortunately, some consider our opinions and beliefs to be judgmental and intolerant. To the contrary they criticize, even call us derogatory names for defending what we believe the Sacred Scriptures teach OR because we personally deem homosexuality is wrong. I have used the example of adultery to express my point many times. I do not approve of adultery but I certainly do not hate those who engage in this sexual behavior. I believe homosexuality is wrong but I do not hate anyone who is gay. I have taught both of my sons promiscuity is wrong but I realize many teenagers and young adults do engage in sexual activity absent of marriage. I do not resent nor condemn them. We are all sinners. I pray for many ppl. and I hope others pray for me. I will never condemn anyone. God is our final judge. My son works with a few gay men. I am kind and respectful to them as I am with everyone. I have met his co-workers, we have shared many conversations and some drinks when they are off work.

Tolerance is not an invite to accept a particular way of life. True love of thy neighbor recognizes the difference and offers love & compassion to those we may not agree with~



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