ONTD Political

Homophobes Likely To Be Closet Gays, Study Finds

10:10 am - 04/09/2012
Negative attitude towards homosexuality is likely to be more pronounced among individuals who harbor unacknowledged attraction towards the same sex, and who grew up in conservative authoritarian households which forbade such desires, a series of psychology studies have found.

The study, which analyzed four separate experiments conducted in the US and Germany, provides empirical evidence to suggest that in some individuals homophobia is the external manifestation of repressed sexual desires they feel towards their own gender.

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

"In many cases these are people who are at war with themselves and they are turning this internal conflict outward," added co-author Richard Ryan, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester who was involved in the study, in which about 650 college students participated.

The researchers said it may not be just a coincidence that several vehemently homophobic public figures are often caught engaging in homosexual acts. They cited examples of Ted Haggard, the evangelical preacher who opposed gay marriage but was exposed in a gay sex scandal in 2006 and Glenn Murphy, Jr., the former chairman of the Young Republican National Federation and vocal opponent of gay marriage, who was accused of sexually assaulting a 22-year-old man in 2007.

"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," he said, pointing to cases such as the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard or the 2011 shooting of Larry King.

The implicit and explicit sexual orientations of participants were measured by how they reacted to words, and images with sexual associations, during a split-second timed task.

Students were shown connotative words, and pictures of straight and gay couples, while the computer tracked precisely the time they took to respond. They were also asked to agree or disagree on statements like, "I felt controlled and pressured in certain ways," and "I felt free to be who I am," to measure how democratic or authoritarian their parents were. For studying the level of homophobia in a household, participants responded statements like, "It would be upsetting for my mom to find out she was alone with a lesbian" or "My dad avoids gay men whenever possible."

Subjects, who said they were heterosexual, but reported homosexual tendencies during tasks, were more likely to be hostile to gays, the study found.

In an earlier study, conducted by the Department of Psychology, University of Georgia in 1996, it was found that homophobia is associated with homosexual arousal that the homophobic individual is either unaware of or denies.

The findings of the study conducted by a team from the University of Rochester, the University of Essex, England, and the University of California in Santa Barbara, will be published in the April issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.


This question is always a shit-show on ONTD_P, and quite honestly, I didn't know what to make of this article. Thoughts?
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chaya 9th-Apr-2012 04:14 pm (UTC)

Are the 'psychological tests' they're using still those physical arousal tests? Didn't they already show that that method is iffy at best?

edit: Alright, they're not. But I'm still confused as to why the entire focus is on the repressed ones. Could we also expect that anyone in an oppressive household like this would turn out to be hateful?

Edited at 2012-04-09 04:17 pm (UTC)
kaowolfie 10th-Apr-2012 01:11 am (UTC)
apis_cerana 9th-Apr-2012 04:16 pm (UTC)
The issue is if people use this to blame individual gay people instead of society, which is heteronormative at best and homophobic at worst.
maladaptive 9th-Apr-2012 05:00 pm (UTC)
This. When a homophobe starts talking people joke about how they're closeted. Really? My state passed a constitutional amendment saying gays can't marry. Is 50+% of Florida closeted?
mellawe 9th-Apr-2012 04:16 pm (UTC)
We need a study for that ?
wingstar102 9th-Apr-2012 05:50 pm (UTC)
rylee900 9th-Apr-2012 04:17 pm (UTC)

How could you even calculate that?

browneyedguuurl 9th-Apr-2012 05:14 pm (UTC)
I was coming in here just to see if this was posted. Lol!
popehippo 9th-Apr-2012 04:22 pm (UTC)
Yes, it happens.

No, it isn't the default.
apis_cerana 9th-Apr-2012 04:37 pm (UTC)
redstar826 9th-Apr-2012 04:25 pm (UTC)
in before straight people showing their asses.

there must be a hell of a lot of same-sex attracted people then because there sure are a lot of homophobes out there.
sparkindarkness 9th-Apr-2012 05:05 pm (UTC)
I know, I mean I thought that even the most egenraous studies of our numbers guestimated maybe 15%, but actually, GBLT people must make up a good, what 70-80% of the population of the whole planet?! WHO KNEW!?
the_glow_worm 9th-Apr-2012 04:27 pm (UTC)
That headline is backwards. The study found that closeted gay men and women were more likely to be homophobes, not the other way around.
fragbert 9th-Apr-2012 04:34 pm (UTC)
This makes more sense.
doverz 9th-Apr-2012 04:30 pm (UTC)
"Glenn Murphy, Jr., the former chairman of the Young Republican National Federation and vocal opponent of gay marriage, who was accused of sexually assaulting a 22-year-old man in 2007."

Don't know if this is the best example to use.
popehippo 9th-Apr-2012 04:32 pm (UTC)
THIS. Please do not compare fearful closeted queer folks to rapists. :|
ladypolitik 9th-Apr-2012 04:42 pm (UTC)
archanglrobriel 9th-Apr-2012 04:46 pm (UTC)
I think I may love this gif as a response the very, very best. ;)
jettakd 9th-Apr-2012 04:45 pm (UTC)
"Glenn Murphy, Jr., the former chairman of the Young Republican National Federation and vocal opponent of gay marriage, who was accused of sexually assaulting a 22-year-old man in 2007."

Y'all really wanna make this comparison?

Edited at 2012-04-09 04:46 pm (UTC)
doverz 9th-Apr-2012 04:51 pm (UTC)
Word. There are a lot of examples where people who are homophobic/anti-gay have been caught in gay scandals that don't have to do with sexual assault.
sparkindarkness 9th-Apr-2012 05:03 pm (UTC)
in "some" individuals. add in of course that these studies are flawed in that they have a limited cross section of who they can actually study (each study studied 160 students. That's it?)

And never mind that these ultra-sensitive arousal tests are extremely flawed and often pick up and excess emotion (like hate, anger and disgust). And if they're not using them then what are their tests for "homosexual tendencies" (oh and don't you love the wording of that one)

And even then the fault for homophobia in even those individuals who are internalised, self-hating, so far in the clsoet they're getting it on with Tumnus the Faun haters are STILL a product of straight society and the bigotry within it

But no, it's much more fun to take it all and blame gay people for homophobia.
chaya 9th-Apr-2012 05:34 pm (UTC)
mirhanda 9th-Apr-2012 05:46 pm (UTC)
I think that idea gains a foothold when there are news stories of anti-gay legislators and/or preachers who get caught in scandels. People hear them and say "a-ha! I knew it!" And of course those news stories get a lot of airplay. You don't really hear about the anti-gay bigot who doesn't cheat on his wife with anyone.
crossfire 9th-Apr-2012 05:41 pm (UTC)
This question is always a shit-show on ONTD_P, and quite honestly, I didn't know what to make of this article. Thoughts?

I don't have a problem with the idea that some homophobes are closet gays, I have a problem with the assertion that ALL OF THEM ARE, and I have a problem with the attitude that a person's sexuality is all we need to discuss when we're talking about their homophobia, and I have a problem with the heteronormativity of the whole framework.

If we want to have a scientific discussion about the idea that some homophobes are closet gays, I'm down with that. But if the first thing out of a bunch of straight peoples' mouths in an article about a homophobe is "lol he's gay", I'm going to raise a "shit-show," as you put it, OP.

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