Calum McSwiggan

Hug a Homophobe

In Gay on May 2, 2012 at 4:42 pm

‘Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?’

Ernest Gaines

Recent research has delivered results that suggest a surprisingly high number of males with homophobic beliefs are likely to have gay tendencies themselves. I’m not entirely convinced by the methods in these tests but they do make an interesting point.

I don’t think many people would be at all surprised if this hypothesis came to be true, people who grow up in highly repressed backgrounds are bound to follow their parents and peers in their homophobic crusade, and what better a way to convince people that you’re straight than openly stating your hatred for gay people?

I think the majority of us are probably guilty of this to some degree, before I came out of the closet I made gay jokes and accused some of my friends of being gay, it helped keep those accusations off of me.

The New York Times suggests that we should take a compassionate approach to homophobia because ‘the costs are great not only for the targets of anti-gay efforts but also often for the perpetrators.’

I’m in two minds about this, I whole-heartedly agree that some homophobes may be suffering themselves and acting out aggressively as an attempt to compensate. Another study showed that homophobic men were aroused more by gay porn than they were straight porn, for these people to witness most of the western world flaunting their sexuality, but being trapped in a world where they aren’t able to open up themselves, must be unbelievable frustrating- I can understand why they would campaign so fervently against us.

However, despite this I believe that homophobia is still an unforgivable offence due to the damaging impact it can have on people’s lives. Just four days ago another teenage boy, seventeen year old Jack Reese, took his life as a result of homophobic bullying. It’s extremely easy to forget the pain that can be caused by this abuse and I think it’s important to remind ourselves of this. When I was in school the one person who was brave enough to be open about his sexuality was savagely beaten-up on a daily basis and I know that this will continue to happen until homophobia comes to a stop.

There’s no way to know whether a homophobe is over-compensating for their own homosexuality, or whether they just have deeply bigoted beliefs, whilst there is no excuse for behaving in a life-destroying manner, we should take caution before damning these individuals as heartless and petty creatures- they have their own demons and may be suffering far more than we know.

  1. The methodology in most of those studies is pretty good. First there’s a questionnaire on how the individual would react if in the presence of a gay man, if a gay man made an advance etc…
    Then comes the interesting part which is they hook him up to a machine that measures penile blood flow and show them various pictures including gay erotic images. If you want more details here’s a link to one of the studies:

    • Wow, this is great. Thanks for the imput, I think it’s a really interesting topic, and it makes me think about the times I’ve denounced homophobes as being evil and heartless, when maybe they’re just hurting.

      Cal. x

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