We’ve seen it dozens of times: the politician or preacher who is the most vocal about his objection to what they call the homosexual lifestyle is caught in a compromising position with another man. A new study shows that perhaps these occurrences aren’t just hypocritical, homophobia itself is more often than not a defense mechanism against self-hatred. From USA Today:

The new study uses “modern methods that allow us to more reliably peer into these less explicitly available parts of peoples’ psyches and see what’s arising…”

Among those methods: studies that measure discrepancies between what people say about their sexual orientation and how they react during split-second timed tasks. Study subjects — four groups of about 160 college students each, in the USA and Germany — also rated the attractiveness of people in same-sex or opposite-sex photos and answered questions about the type of parenting they experienced growing up, from authoritarian to democratic, as well as homophobia at home.

Researchers also measured homophobia — both overt, as expressed in questionnaires on social policy and beliefs, and unconscious, as revealed in word-completion tasks.

The findings suggest participants with accepting parents were more in touch with their innate sexual orientation. But, Ryan says, “if you come from a controlling home where your parents do have negative attitudes toward gays and lesbians, you’re even more likely to suppress same-sex attraction and more likely to have this discrepancy that leads to having homophobia and feeling threatened.”

Makes a little bit too much sense, doesn’t it? Yet if homophobia comes from self-hatred, what can we do about it as a society? Simply turning to those who express anti-gay sentiments and accusing them of being gay themselves doesn’t sound like the best solution, and attempts to intervene on parenting techniques ultimately draw accusations of “thought policing.” So in light of these findings, what is the best way to fight homophobia?

What do you think? Speak on it!

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  • Ms. Information

    I think in some cases it is self-phobia, but in most cases it’s just pure, unadulterated taught hate. Even if your religious beliefs are against homosexuality, most religions teach to love people beyond what they do or don’t do.

  • Reason

    Oh God, I am SO sick of the LBGT community bringing that charge toward people! I know homophobes can be some of the most base, ignorant and even violent people you meet, but they are not all (or even close to all) closet homosexuals. Actually, in my experience, homosexuals (at least male ones) are always trying to convert people. I swear, some days I think gay males think that if another male is NOT acting like a homophobic dOOsh (forgive the spelling), they think he’s gay. But if he IS a homophobe, he’s SECRETLY gay. Maybe gay people are guilty of what so many non-gays are guilty of, which is assuming everyone is like them and can’t understand the damn differences!

  • Socially Maladjusted

    At the risk of attracting gay aspersions to myself – this sounds like a right load of old bollocks to me.

    People dont really need anybody’s help to feel revulsion about homosexuality. I first discovered that there were such people as homosexuals when the older kids on my street explained the effeminate behaviour of two of our male neighbours who lived together. Up until then I thought they just acted a lil girly. Always wondered why my parents started whispering and laughing between themselves after every interaction with the gayboys though. Now I knew.

    :-)

    But i can’t lie – I couldn’t help but feel a lil revulsion when the I learned what homosexuality was, and its full implications.

    I mean shit, I even I felt the same way when I learned what heterosexual sex really involved. I out grew that feeling on hetero sex but not on gay sex I’m afraid.

    I guess it’s absence of the beauty of male/female connection that makes it something that just seems unsavoury – on a number of levels.

    :-)

    Well I guess it’s live and let live on the batti bwoy ting.

    damn – I got through that without a single –

    laughing my arse off!

    ha ha ha ha . . . .

  • Val

    There’s a difference between homophobia and bigotry. Unfortunately many people use the word homophobia when they really should be using the word bigotry.

    Bigots just hate, period. Whereas homophobes usually have other issues going on.