Homophobes may harbor same-sex attractions, researchers claim
Homophobia may be the result of suppressed same-sex attractions, a recent study suggests.
Authored by researchers from the University of Rochester, the University of Essex (England) and the University of California, the study reveals that individuals identifying as straight but displaying hostility toward gays may be likely to have suppressed same-sex urges.
"In many cases these are people who are at war with themselves and they are turning this internal conflict outward," study co-author Richard Ryan, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, said in an official statement.
About 160 college students in America and Belgium participated in the study, which revealed that anger and uneasiest toward LGBT people may be a defense mechanism employed by individuals repressing their own sexual orientation.
"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," Ryan said.
Researchers also investigated the reasons why such in-denial study participants remain closeted. According to the research abstract, parents could be part of the problem:
"Given the stigmatization of homosexuality, individuals perceiving low autonomy support from parents may be especially motivated to conceal same-sex sexual attraction, leading to defensive processes such as reaction formation."