April 10, 2012

Academic Study Reveals The Truth About Anti-Gay Activists: Closet Cases

University Researchers Confirm What LGBT Community Has Long Known

When you’re a 10 year old boy, and the school bullies are taunting, teasing, and threatening your safety every day, the primary theme of the bullying campaign generally revolves around you being called gay, or a faggot, because those words hurt - even when you don’t know what the words mean.

I don’t really know where I got the strength, or how I endured much of it, but I never let the bitches see me sweat, run, or cry. Something within me said to smile, be nice, and act like you don’t hear or see these horrible people - so that’s exactly what I did - and that infuriated the bullies even more.

I can still hear some of the words that were used, and still see the ugliness that lived on some of the faces of my classmates. What I find most striking in my memories, is the forceful nature of the constant physical and verbal assaults and threats. Surprisingly, my misery was orchestrated by just a couple of other boys, who were obsessed and threatened by my being alive. The rest of the crowd followed the few, which I couldn’t understand when I was 10.

I have to qualify that when I share these memories with you, that I’m not looking for sympathy. I’ve expended so much time and money on psychotherapy over the years, and I came to terms with this a long time ago. Sure there are scars, and bullying is just one of the many events in my life that has shaped who I am. I can freely acknowledge the past, while maintaining my general optimism, and I’ve learned how to turn negatives like being bullied - into a positive - by talking about it publicly, and working to eradicate the problem for kids today.

What triggered these strong memories from the past, was an article I read today, at futurity.com. If you’re not familiar with futurity.com, it’s another site I check out from time to time. It’s devoted to publishing news articles about academic research projects that are being undertaken at the top research universities in the english speaking world (US, UK, NZ, Canada, Australia).

The study that piqued my interest is about anti-gay bias, and the researchers have found that anti-gay bias is often self-directed. You might think what does that mean? To put it as simply as possible, the visceral hatred or bias that many people have for LGBT people, is often triggered by feelings that the hater harbors, and hides within themselves..

After reading a summary of the study, and learning what researchers found, I thought they’d confirmed what most of us within the LGBT community have known for years. What we’ve known is that the people who use gay slurs, and are virulently anti-gay, are the people who are most threatened by our presence, because of the lavender lining that’s buried in their hearts.

Susan Hagen, of the University of Rochester, writes:

Homophobia is more pronounced in people with unacknowledged attraction to the same sex, according to a new study.

In addition, the series of psychology studies demonstrates that people who grew up with authoritarian parents who forbade such desires may be more prone to 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 self-reported homophobic attitudes, discriminatory bias, implicit hostility towards gays, and endorsement of anti-gay policies.

Conducted by a team from the University of Rochester, the University of Essex, England, and the University of California, Santa Barbara, the research will be published the April issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

“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,” explains Netta Weinstein, a lecturer at the University of Essex and the study’s lead author.

“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.

The reason why I was thinking about the 5th grade bullies I encountered, was because I was trying to imagine them, as members of our LGBT tribe, and I just don’t see it.

One of the more interesting facets of the study, was their examination of Republican right-wing extremist types, and their proclivity for being embroiled in gay sex scandals.

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 self-reported homophobic attitudes, discriminatory bias, implicit hostility towards gays, and endorsement of anti-gay policies.

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.

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, who was accused of sexually assaulting a 22-year-old man in 2007, as potentially reflecting this dynamic.

“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,” says Ryan. “Homophobia is not a laughing matter. It can sometimes have tragic consequences,” Ryan says, pointing to cases such as the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard or the 2011 shooting of Larry King.

Homophobia is not a laughing matter, and I don’t laugh at the Ted Haggard scandal anymore. I feel sorry for his long suffering wife, and have pity for him.

I’m glad that this study confirms what we’ve long thought about James Dobson, Tony Perkins, and Rick ‘Sicko’ Santorum.

And if anyone spies Michele ‘Bozo’ Bachmann at a Harley dealership anytime soon, remember that you read it here first!  

straight talk in a queer world.



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