With more people unafraid of coming out of the closet, homophobia has risen proportionally as well. But does homophobia have anything to do with homosexual tendencies?
No, I’m not making vague statements. A study has found that people who display homophobic tendencies are more likely to be homosexual themselves.
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Researchers at the University of Rochester in New York, the University of California, and the University of Essex found that people identified themselves as straight, often displayed a strong attraction the same sex in psychological tests. Analyzing data from four different studies done about homophobia in the US and Germany, the researchers said that homophobia is in fact an ‘external manifestation of repressed sexual desires.’
Lecturer at the University of Essex and the lead author of the study, Netta Weinstein, said that individuals who display homophobia “may be threatened by gays and lesbians because homosexuals remind them of similar tendencies within themselves.”
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Another researcher, Richard Ryan, who is a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester in New York said,
“In many cases, these are people who are at war with themselves and they are turning this internal conflict outward. People who have homophobic attitudes, who are more prejudiced or discriminatory against gay people, are themselves more likely to have a discrepancy between their unconscious attractions to same-sex partners than what they are aware of.
“Those people who have such discrepancies, who have really a split between their unconscious attraction and what they consciously say about themselves, are more likely to come from authoritarian homes.
“If you are a parent who really believes your child should be straight, and when you use whatever means you can to convince them that they’re only good and worthy if they are, that would be very controlling and it creates a lot of conflict in the child.”
In conclusion, professor Ryan said that the way children process and resolve this information given to them is by acting out in a discriminatory or hateful way towards gay and lesbian people.
We just hope that these findings help explain why bullying and hate crimes happen at all. Although this study might not help explain the massacre wreaked by the shooter in the Orlando nightclub, it’s a reminder that homophobia is very much alive and kicking, and it’s time we did something more concrete about it.
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