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New Study finds those who are homophobic maybe suppressing homosexual tendencies

New Study finds those who are homophobic maybe suppressing homosexual tendencies

According to recent studies, conducted by a team from the University of Rochester, the University of Essex, England, and the University of California in Santa Barbara found that homophobia could be a form of self-hatred and individuals who discriminate against homosexuals, could be gay themselves.

Richard Ryan, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, says homophobic people may have a discrepancy between what they are consciously aware of and their unconscious attraction to same sex partners.  These people are more likely to come from authoritarian homes.  If a parent insists their child is heterosexual when they are not and tell them they are only good if they are heterosexual, the child may grow up to hate what they are and show it by discrimination and hatred towards gays and lesbians.

To get at various individuals' unconscious sexual attraction, psychologists use a different kind of task by flashing words that are either homosexual or heterosexually oriented, adding words like “me” or “other”.  If they are unconsciously more homosexually oriented, they will have a quicker reaction time when the words “me” and homosexual come together.

Another way of getting at unconscious attitudes towards sexual orientation is to use a task where people look at pictures and see if they gravitate towards same sex pictures or other sex people.

According to Ryan, many anti-gay public figures generally are fighting a part of themselves, yet they are caught in a homosexual relationship.  Netta Weinstein, the study’s lead author says those who identify as straight, but in psychological tests show a strong tendency towards homosexuality, maybe threatened by homosexuals.

"In many cases these are people who are at war with themselves and they are turning this internal conflict outward," adds co-author Richard Ryan, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester who helped direct the research.

“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,” the study’s lead author, Netta Weinstein, explained.

Ryan says when we have strong feelings of hatred and discrimination towards other groups, we should wonder why.

The paper includes four separate studies, involving 160 students in each study, done in the United States and Germany.

The findings provide new empirical evidence to support the psychoanalytic theory that the fear, anxiety, and aversion that some seemingly heterosexual people hold toward gays and lesbians can grow out of their own repressed same-sex desires, Ryan says. The results also support the more modern self-determination theory, developed by Ryan and Edward Deci at the University of Rochester, which links controlling parenting to poorer self-acceptance and difficulty valuing oneself unconditionally.

The findings may help to explain the personal dynamics behind some bullying and hate crimes directed at gays and lesbians, the authors argue. Media coverage of gay-related hate crimes suggests that attackers often perceive some level of threat from homosexuals. People in denial about their sexual orientation may lash out because gay targets threaten and bring this internal conflict to the forefront, the authors write.

Details of the studies will appear in the April issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

About Mriana

Mriana is a humanist and the author of "A Source of Misery", who grew up in the Church of God, Anderson Indiana. After she became an adult, she joined the Episcopal Church, but later left the Church and became a humanist. She has two grown sons and raises cats. Mriana raised her sons in the Episcopal Church, but in their teen years, they left the Church and she soon followed. One of her sons became a "Tao Buddhist" and the other a None, creating his own world view. She enjoys writing, reading, science, philosophy, psychology, and other subjects. Mriana is also an animal lover, who cares for their welfare as living beings, who are part of the earth. She is a huge Star Trek fan in a little body.
  • Sheldon

    Since this study was of college students, I hope the authors eventually take it further. For instance, I am curious to see any findings on the role religious indoctrination plays in all of this. Specifically, the teaching by bigots with children as their target audience.

    One thing I find interesting here is the idea of homophobia being a result of self-loathing. For me, that brings into question the psychology of biblical persons, particularly Paul, who was clear in his condemnation of homosexuality.

    • I do too, because it left me with a lot of questions, because I think it is very natural for us to look at the same sex and admire them for their looks, but it doesn't necessarily mean we are homosexual.  I've always admired beautiful women, for various reasons- ie long slender legs or arms, lovely hair, etc  When I was a teen I wondered about myself and asked my mother, who is an Evangelical Fundamentalist, and said actually said something that made sense.  She said it is normal for us to look at others and admire something about them, including their beauty.  I have found this to be quite true and other women are always asking each other how they look in certain clothes or a wig, but they aren't gay or even bisexual, although psychological studies say we are all born bi-sexual.

      This leads me to wonder, IF this study has any ounce of truth to it, if we are all bi-sexual even into adulthood.  Men, whether they admit it or not are talking about wanting to bulk up like a certain other man.  So I know they do the same thing, but not all of them are gay.  It seems to me, there are some problems with this study, but I do agree there is probably some truth concerning those who are anti-gay/homophobic.  They probably are fighting some inner tendencies towards homosexuality OR they think it is macho to deny finding other men attractive or that they admire another man's strength/muscles, even though they aren't gay.  I can see a straight man, and have seen at least one straight man, who is overweight, looking at a nicely built man, wishing he looked like him instead of being overweight.  This does not mean he has homosexual leanings, but it does mean he is at least self-conscious about his weight.  Many a woman has wished she were as thin as said famous woman, but they weren't gay.

      So I see some problems with this study, as well as the tests used to detect gayness.  The picture test would probably deem every single woman on the planet as gay or bisexual, because they would all pause and really exam at least one picture of a woman and awe over her looks.  I cannot imagine one single woman on the face of this planet not stopping on at least one picture of a woman they find attractive for whatever reason.  I have not met a women who did find something attractive about at least one famous woman or model, even if it is the airbrushed abs.  The thing is, I don't think that means every woman on the face of the planet is gay or bisexual.  All it means is that it's normal for people to admire others.Now Bishop Spong seems to believe and has even said that he believes Paul was gay.

    • PeaJay

      Is he really that clear ? Or could his words been misunderstood. I urge you to search a guy called Michael Wood  Cryptographer- very interesting stuff as the Bible was based on many Greek writings but were all the words translated right ? nope…have a bit more of a dig about and you will find some interesting info Romans 1:18-3:20….

  • Robert

    No surprise there. Remember George Rekers?

  • Pingback: The Black Community, Religion, President Obama, and Same Sex Marriage | God Discussion()

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