A new study published in ScienceDaily adds empirical scientific evidence to the long-held belief that homophobia is more pronounced in individuals with an unacknowledged attraction to the same sex. It also offers evidence that those who grew up with authoritarian parents who forbade such desires tend to also exhibit homophobia.
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 discriminatory bias, implicit hostility towards gays and endorsement of anti-gay policies—providing evidence to support the theory that the fear, anxiety and aversion some seemingly heterosexual people hold toward gays and lesbians grows out of their own repressed same-sex desires.
Conducted by a team from the U of Rochester, U of Essex, England and UC Santa Barbara, the research states: "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," according to lead author Netta Weinstein.
In addition, "In many cases these are people who are at war with themselves and they are turning this internal conflict outward," says author Richard Ryan.
The research also sheds light on high-profile cases in which anti-gay public figures are caught engaging in same-sex sexual acts. The authors cite such examples as Ted Haggard, the evangelical preacher who opposed gay marriage but was exposed in a gay sex scandal in 2006, and Glenn Murphy, Jr., former chairman of the Young Republican National Federation and vocal opponent of gay marriage, accused of sexually assaulting a 22-year-old man in 2007.
That incongruence between implicit and explicit measures of sexual orientation predicted a variety of homophobic behaviors, including self-reported anti-gay attitudes, implicit hostility towards gays, endorsement of anti-gay policies, and discriminatory bias such as the assignment of harsher punishments for homosexuals, the authors conclude.
Boy, I guess that means there are a lot of Republican closeted gays, huh? See more about the study here. And thanks to The Randy Report for the tip. *