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Homophobic people are more likely to be gay, according to science

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A recently resurfaced study, published in the 2012 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, found there are higher levels of homophobia in ‘closeted gays’.

 

 


The study involved measuring the differences between explicit and implicit sexual attractions by examining how people self-identified their sexual orientation and how they reacted during quick timed psychological tests.

Explicit attractions are ones we are consciously aware of and these can be easily identified in a questionnaire, whereas implicit attractions are those which are not easily detected in a questionnaire because they're more subconscious. 

In this study implicit attractions were measured with psychological tests. The study’s overall results showed that participants who self identified as being heterosexual but displayed reactions concurrent with homosexuality in the psychological tests had a higher rate of having homophobic behaviours and attitudes, such as hostility towards gay people.

Netta Weinstein, the author of the study, noted:

“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.”

People who grew up with parents who were homophobic or presented negative views about same sex relationships are more likely to be homophobic themselves. The study found that this also included people who were deemed to be 'implicitly homosexual'. 

Co-author of the study Richard Ryan said:

"Those people who have such discrepancies, who have really a split between their unconscious attraction and what they consciously say about themselves, are more likely to come from authoritarian homes.

"If you are a parent who really believes your child should be straight, and when you use whatever means you can to convince them them that they're only good and worthy if they are, that would be very controlling and it creates a lot of conflict in the child."

Several high profile homophobic public figures have been caught up in gay sex-scandals, including Christian pastor Ted Haggard, who preached against gay marriage while allegedly having sex with a male prostitute in secret.

The findings of this study go some way in explaining why some openly homophobic people, like Haggard, are more likely to be homosexual than people who actually display no anti-gay attitudes or behaviours.

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