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The lady doth protest too much, methinks
April 28, 2012 5:05 AM   Subscribe

Is Some Homophobia Self-Phobia? Many have suspected but now the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology has published empirical research on the subject. In the study, 20% of self-identified "highly-straight" participants demonstrated some level of same-sex attraction in reaction time tests. These individuals were significantly more likely than any other group of participants to favor anti-gay policies. Also in NYTimes.
posted by dave99 (100 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Disgust and attraction are interrelated, says George Bataille.
posted by costanza at 5:17 AM on April 28, 2012 [13 favorites]


gasp
posted by DU at 5:21 AM on April 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


"The lady Freud doth protest too much, methinks." –
posted by Fizz at 5:22 AM on April 28, 2012


While I agree with what they are proposing, having it filtered by a ScienceDaily and the NYT doesn't leave much to be discussed.

Psycnet Paywall link to abstract.
posted by lampshade at 5:24 AM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is Some Homophobia Self-Phobia?

Yes, and the sky is blue and water is wet. Next up, are hot peppers hot?
posted by Old'n'Busted at 5:30 AM on April 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Haven't Republican politicians and preachers been proving this theory for years?
posted by zzazazz at 5:30 AM on April 28, 2012 [20 favorites]


I don't care how high the WDF* of this paper might be, it's just nice to have some research as support when discussing with homophobes.


* well, duh factor
posted by Foci for Analysis at 5:32 AM on April 28, 2012 [23 favorites]


Yes, some probably is, but not all. It's also not always a 'phobia'.
That won't stop us from having our fun speculating on other peoples sexuality, however.
posted by rocket88 at 5:34 AM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Personally I'm getting tired of the "they're probably secretly gay" narrative. It casts the problem of violence against queer people as an internal problem and shifts the focus away from all the actually, totally, and honestly straight people who actually, totally, and honestly hate us.
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 5:48 AM on April 28, 2012 [41 favorites]


I don't care how high the WDF* of this paper might be, it's just nice to have some research as support when discussing with homophobes.

I like your use of the word "discussing" - - well played!
posted by fairmettle at 6:02 AM on April 28, 2012


But some secretly gay people have been socialized to revile themselves so thoroughly that they seem to have a special brand of rabid hatred.

That doesn't mean that gay bashing is OK, regardless of whether the basher is gay or straight.
posted by double block and bleed at 6:09 AM on April 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


You know, you never hear rumors that anti gay women are secretly lesbians.
posted by The Whelk at 6:09 AM on April 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


You know, you never hear rumors that anti gay women are secretly lesbians.

In the unlikely event that you ever meet or even hear of a man who is anti-lesbian, a promise you that he has a secret cache of so much lesbian porn you cannot believe it. Make of that what you will.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:17 AM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I promise, too. It is too early in the morning.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:18 AM on April 28, 2012


One of the study's authors (Richard Ryan) speaks on the study. (2:56)
The lead author DeHaan has a handout related to this, and this blog entry.
posted by cashman at 6:19 AM on April 28, 2012


Are we still talking about Orson Scott Card?
posted by mediated self at 6:35 AM on April 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Check it.
posted by cashman at 6:37 AM on April 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Intuitively, I believe the conclusion to be true, but I think the method of measuring "implicit homosexuality" is prettty questionable. They flash the word, "me" on the screen for a second before showing a picture of gay people holding hands? Who the hell knows what someone's reaction to that means? If anyone here knows something about this tool I'd be very curious to hear more.

It's not clear whether "implicit homosexuality" even exists - what does it mean to be gay if you don't know you are and never act on it? I submit that in that situation, you are actually not gay, since gay (like straight) is such a complicated combination of culture, emotion, habit, biology, and who-knows what else.
posted by latkes at 6:39 AM on April 28, 2012 [12 favorites]


you never hear rumors that anti gay women are secretly lesbians.

You know, this is true, at least in my experience. To the extent that I've ever given it any thought at all, the likes of Phyllis Schlafly, Maggie Gallagher, and Kathryn Jean Lopez have never struck me as outrageously closeted the way a lot of outspokenly anti-gay men do. Maybe they are, but that vibe just doesn't seem to be there. "Sex is yucky, gay sex is even yuckier" is the vibe I get from these anti-gay women, not the "sweet, sweet, forbidden love" that so many anti-gay men give off.

I wonder if this is coincidence, or just my own perception, or a result of the way women (and conservative women, in particular, in this case) are socialized to approach sex.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:05 AM on April 28, 2012 [11 favorites]


Intuitively, I believe the conclusion to be true, but I think the method of measuring "implicit homosexuality" is pretty questionable.

I had the same reaction. I wouldn't be even remotely surprised if it turned out lots of homophobes are, in some sense, closeted homosexuals, but I am skeptical about these studies. The best spin I can put on them is that they drew some likely -- or probably -- conclusions from some interesting findings. But "likely" and "probable" isn't Science, and likely/probable can dance pretty close to confirmation bias.

I really want to hear more about the "me" test and why researchers think it's a solid indicator of homosexuality. If it is, they've invented an accurate gaydar.

Also, in the Science article, there's a lot of speculation. Again, it's reasonable speculation, and if I had to place a bet, I'd bet it's correct speculation, but it's not Science, and it should be separated from the findings and clearly labeled as speculation.

Assuming the "me" test works, what this study has found is that some repressed homosexuals (or people with repressed homosexual urges) are homophobic. What it HASN'T found are the reasons WHY they're homophobic. The study HASN'T proven this: "these are people who are at war with themselves and they are turning this internal conflict outward"

I'm torn, because I have a big "Come ON!" reaction, similar to the many "Duh!" and "Tell me something I don't know" reactions in this thread. I'm just pointing out that speculation based on conclusions isn't Science, no matter how common-sense that speculation may be.
posted by grumblebee at 7:07 AM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


i think that it also still rewards a kind of monosexuality, and often under plays or refuses as legitimate the wide spectrum of human sexuality. Like you can only be straight or gay, and you are often hiding yr one true experience.
posted by PinkMoose at 7:09 AM on April 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


An you know stuff like this doesn't help: Dr. Paul Cameron, founder of the Family Research Institute and ISIS, the institute for the Scientific Investigation of Sexuality has said

“If you isolate sexuality as something solely for one’s own personal amusement, and all you want is the most satisfying orgasm you can get- and that is what homosexuality seems to be-then homosexuality seems too powerful to resist. The evidence is that men do a better job on men and women on women, if all you are looking for is orgasm.” So powerful is the allure of gays, Cameron believes, that if society approves that gay people, more and more heterosexuals will be inexorably drawn into homosexuality. “I’m convinced that lesbians are particularly good seducers,” says Cameron. “People in homosexuality are incredibly evangelical,” he adds, sounding evangelical himself. “It’s pure sexuality. It’s almost like pure heroin. It’s such a rush. They are committed in almost a religious way. And they’ll take enormous risks, do anything.” He says that for married men and women, gay sex would be irresistible. “Martial sex tends toward the boring end,” he points out. “Generally, it doesn’t deliver the kind of sheer sexual pleasure that homosexual sex does” So, Cameron believes, within a few generations homosexuality would be come the dominant form of sexual behavior.

Straight men don't think like that Paul.
posted by The Whelk at 7:13 AM on April 28, 2012 [121 favorites]


monosexuality

I prefer stereo. Maybe even Surround.
posted by jonmc at 7:17 AM on April 28, 2012 [13 favorites]


It looks like the core of the study is a version of the Implicit Association Test, which is not without its controversy.
posted by parudox at 7:26 AM on April 28, 2012


"Generally, it doesn’t deliver the kind of sheer sexual pleasure that homosexual sex does"

When I was younger it was very naughty to do the Gay things. Whew, man, did that make it really really fun. Once I was no longer around people who thought The Gayness was naughty, it got more boring. Sort of like that boring martial sex, I gather.

If they were to make marriage sex against the rules I think it might become hot again. No! Don't touch your wife's breasts! Oh... you.. hey! You are so naughty, dude. I can't believe you did that. Don't do it again.
posted by xarnop at 7:27 AM on April 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


all you want is the most satisfying orgasm you can get- and that is what homosexuality seems to be

Hell of an advertisement there; The Gay Agenda needs to hire this man, stat.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:28 AM on April 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


You know, you never hear rumors that anti gay women are secretly lesbians.
posted by The Whelk at 9:09 AM on April 28 [+] [!]


No, you do. Michele Bachmann. She ran out of a bathroom screaming that lesbians tried to kidnap her and filed a police report saying 'i was never more terrorized in my life and i didn't know what they were going to do to me' like she's living in a lesbian prison movie on lifetime of her own making. She hid in the bushes at a gay protest. She was born again at 16. She's married to an ex-gay therapist. A lot of people take these things to mean that she's deeply and painfully closested.
posted by stavrogin at 7:33 AM on April 28, 2012 [18 favorites]




She hid in the bushes at a gay protest.

Oh man you could write a B- college paper on that sentence alone.
posted by The Whelk at 7:37 AM on April 28, 2012 [25 favorites]


Dr. Paul Cameron, founder of the Family Research Institute and ISIS

I'll bet when he and his friends went out to play after watching the "Shazam/Secrets of Isis Hour" on Saturday morning, they wondered why it was always his turn to be Isis.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:38 AM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Other researches have actually hooked equipment up to people's genitals to directly measure their sexual arousal when viewing straight and gay porn and found similar results to this study."

That does seem like a better test, but it's worth noting that it was done with a small number of men. "Participants consisted of a group of homophobic men (n = 35) and a group of nonhomophobic men (n = 29);"

Do you know if the study has been repeated with larger numbers?
posted by grumblebee at 7:40 AM on April 28, 2012


She hid in the bushes at a gay protest.

Well, she couldn't hide in the carpet.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:41 AM on April 28, 2012 [11 favorites]


Having been one of the voices of skepticism in this thread, I'll say that statements like this stun me:

"He says that for married men and women, gay sex would be irresistible."

I have been married for 16 years and have never had even a passing interest in gay sex, even though my best friend (who I lived with for five years before I got married) is gay. In order to resist an urge, you have to have that urge in the first place.
posted by grumblebee at 7:50 AM on April 28, 2012 [18 favorites]


It's not clear whether "implicit homosexuality" even exists - what does it mean to be gay if you don't know you are and never act on it? I submit that in that situation, you are actually not gay, since gay (like straight) is such a complicated combination of culture, emotion, habit, biology, and who-knows what else.

Maybe this is why many anti-gay folks are so insistent that Homosexuality Is A Choice --- a bad, bad, bad, bad choice, like leaving your dirty laundry on the floor. A choice that you make every day. Because they are making choices daily and they fear that if they ever stopped picking up their laundry and let themselves go, there would be dirty socks ALL OVER THE PLACE.
posted by selfmedicating at 7:51 AM on April 28, 2012 [29 favorites]


"Generally, it doesn’t deliver the kind of sheer sexual pleasure that homosexual sex does"

It seems like every time I read one of these rabidly anti-gay guys talking about the evilness of gay sex, they are using this kind of incredibly eroticized language. They'd never say "Frank and Steve hugged and I felt disgusted." It would have to be, "Frank slowly ran his hands down Steve's rippling six pack..." and then at the end of the purple prose, "oh, but I was totally disgusted, of course." No homo, bro.
posted by Forktine at 7:52 AM on April 28, 2012 [22 favorites]


I'm gay and I leave my dirty socks on the floor. So in conclusion, selfmedicating for the win.
posted by tivalasvegas at 7:53 AM on April 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


In the unlikely event that you ever meet or even hear of a man who is anti-lesbian

So true. When I look back on my education and career, the one fact that jumps out at me is that it's unheard of for men have a problem with lesbians.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 7:58 AM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


"oh, but I was totally disgusted, of course."

DEAR READER I CANNOT POSSIBLY TELL YOU OF THE SICK PERVERSIONS I WITNESSED (5 pages of breathless, clammy description)
posted by The Whelk at 8:00 AM on April 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


The conclusion is consistent with common-sense, but I'll wait for the meta-studies.

How things will ultimately turn out: some really anti-homosexual folks will turn out to be closeted. Some will turn out not to be. Not everything people are averse to is something they're attracted to. Islamo"phobes" aren't secretly attracted to Islam.

Some degree of aversion to homosexual acts is common even in those who aren't at all opposed to homosexuality--and the aversion is (often) genuine, it's not suppressed desire. No doubt homosexuals sometimes feel aversion to the thought of hetero sex--again, not necessarily a sign of repressed desire. Several male homosexual friends of mine have expressed aversion to female bodies, and the aversion seemed pretty genuine to me, FWIW.

Hell, there are aspects of sex that just aren't always 100% alluring to anyone. So aversion isn't *always* tamped-down desire.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 8:09 AM on April 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


it's unheard of for men have a problem with lesbians.

I have heard a nonzero number of Resentful Straight Dudes blame lesbianism for their dating struggles.
posted by EatTheWeak at 8:19 AM on April 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think you have a perfectly valid point, Fists of Fury, but I also think that there is some correlation between the severity of people's phobias and their own internal identity. Those who are most virulently homophobic are more likely to be repressed homosexuals -- or under the influence of a repressed homosexual. There's no denying the power of the influence of certain figures, such as fathers or mothers or ministers. A parishioner with a homophobic minister might we be very homophobic themselves without being a repressed homosexual, but their minister may well be.

In any event, I think you can draw the analogy with Islamophobia as well. Those who are most Islamophobic may not be repressed Muslims, but they certainly may well question their own faith, and by hating Islam, that is a way to suppress their own doubts. Or, if they hate Islam because they think they're all lunatics who want to kill for God, then maybe they secretly want to see Christ be more vengeful.
posted by PigAlien at 8:20 AM on April 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Islamo"phobes" aren't secretly attracted to Islam.

While I completely agree with the sentiment in Fists O'Fury's comment, I think an analysis of the totalitarian religious/political tendencies among the most strident anti-Islamic commentators would be both apt and illuminating.
posted by tivalasvegas at 8:22 AM on April 28, 2012 [14 favorites]


I have heard a nonzero number of Resentful Straight Dudes blame lesbianism for their dating struggles.

Somebody get this man a hamburger detector.
posted by Aquaman at 8:27 AM on April 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Islamo"phobes" aren't secretly attracted to Islam.

However, I think some particularly annoying members of the atheist community are secretly attracted to faith. This of course is My Unfounded Opinion.
posted by luftmensch at 8:30 AM on April 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


PigAlien and tivalasvegas: I'm sympathetic with both of your points, FWIW.

In particular, it's not going to surprise me if lots of viciously anti-homosexual people out there turn out to be closeted. But don't underestimate the amount of pure, non-suppressed-desire-based hatred there is out there, either.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 8:31 AM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think some particularly annoying members of the atheist community are secretly attracted to faith.

I'm not sure what "the atheist community" is, but I'm an atheist. And it's not secret that I'm attracted to faith. I would prefer to be a believer. I'm simply not one and never have been. I don't seem to have it in me.
posted by grumblebee at 8:41 AM on April 28, 2012 [15 favorites]


Well, FOF, I must say, I hate George Bush and these conservative Christian fundamentalists who want to kill the gays and lock women in the kitchen, but I seriously doubt I'm a repressed conservative. Oh, Lord, help me if I am!!
posted by PigAlien at 8:41 AM on April 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


I appreciate that you might not want to rehash this in every LOLRepublicans thread, so is there a thread I can check out wherein y'all all established to your full satisfaction that (for instance) opposing gay marriage and/or hate crime legislation is implicitly anti-gay? That seems quite a leap to me and a species of sloppy thinking, but maybe I'm missing something.

PS I already know all the snarky dismissive responses to this comment, thanks.
posted by Infinity_8 at 8:43 AM on April 28, 2012


Ok, you can oppose gay marriage without being anti-gay. You're still wrong and participating in a cruel oppression.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:46 AM on April 28, 2012 [14 favorites]


Hey, Infinity_8: I actually have a gay conservative friend who is anti-same-sex-marriage, so I get your point.

But isn't *most* of the opposition to SSM anti-gay? I mean, how many folks who are anti-SSM are not anti-homosexual? My guess, FWIW: way less than half.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 8:48 AM on April 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm glad we can admit that it's a guess. FWIW I'm a straight conservative who supports gay marriage and opposes hate crime legislation. So I guess it's a wash and I get to keep my straight card?

Rope-rider, I felt that one.
posted by Infinity_8 at 8:53 AM on April 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


What is this 'gay marriage' to which you are opposed, Infinity_8? Marriage is marriage, and the laws, protections and privileges of this countries democracy should be provided to everyone equally. Whether you're anti-gay or not is irrelevant.
posted by PigAlien at 8:54 AM on April 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can still remember my mother, raised by atheists, and who sent all six of her kids to Sunday School so they could learn the Bible Stories so that we could understand classic poetry, saying, "I'd like to believe in God, but..."

Atheists/agnostics understand the comforts of belief. I'm not sure that heterosexuals really understand what it is like to be homosexual, though. In fact, I can't even understand how a person can be 80% straight, like these homophobes discussed in these studies. How can you be just a little gay? Of course, this train of thought has me thinking that I may very well have a touch of Asperger's...I'd like to be more empathic than I probably am...
posted by kozad at 8:54 AM on April 28, 2012


"country's"
posted by PigAlien at 8:54 AM on April 28, 2012


I appreciate that you might not want to rehash this in every LOLRepublicans thread, so is there a thread I can check out wherein y'all all established to your full satisfaction that (for instance) opposing gay marriage and/or hate crime legislation is implicitly anti-gay? That seems quite a leap to me and a species of sloppy thinking, but maybe I'm missing something.

People can hold all kinds of beliefs for all kinds of bizarre reasons, but as a matter of observed social fact the intersection between the group of people who believe that gays should enjoy all the same rights and privileges as straights in our society and the group of people who fervently oppose allowing gay people to marry is pretty tiny. There may be no logical bar to opposing gay marriage while feeling no animosity to gay people, but if you're going to argue against gay marriage you're joining a group that's 99.9% homophobes. The onus is really going to be on you to explain why you're the exception.

Similarly, if you propose that America should be an all-white nation, there's no strict logical necessity that you must therefore be a racist (at least, in the "my race is better than their race" sense), but if you start marching in the streets for your cause, you'd better expect that people are going to assume that you are.
posted by yoink at 8:57 AM on April 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


In fact, I can't even understand how a person can be 80% straight

Well, I can't understand it, either, in a visceral way, because I've never felt attraction to a man, but surely it's not that hard to understand. Someone who is 80% straight is bisexual. He's mostly attracted to women, but every once in a while he feels attracted to a man.
posted by grumblebee at 8:59 AM on April 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


“People in homosexuality are incredibly evangelical,” he adds, sounding evangelical himself. “It’s pure sexuality. It’s almost like pure heroin. It’s such a rush. They are committed in almost a religious way. And they’ll take enormous risks, do anything.”

Hey, I went to an all-women's college, and nobody tried to recruit me!


anecdata: every homophobe I met on campus was out by the end of their sophomore year.
posted by ambrosia at 9:03 AM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


OK then what about the President, whose attitude toward gay marriage is, "I'm *thinking*, I'm *THINKING*!" Isn't he also taking part in the oppression rope-rider mentioned? Why does a President who remains above the fray on this issue which is so important to so many of his supporters get a pass in a thread where others are being pilloried for oppression that is a matter of degree?

And anyway, what effect would the election of, say, gay marriage opponent Mitt Romney, have on gay rights that Barack Obama hasn't already had with his winking "above the fray" pose?

Mitt Romney has to come out (heh) against Gay Marriage for the same reason that Barack Obama can't come out (sorry) in support of it. Isn't it disingenuous to pretend to assume that BO is on the side of the angels?
posted by Infinity_8 at 9:08 AM on April 28, 2012


I'm not sure that heterosexuals really understand what it is like to be homosexual, though.

I am bisexual and generally don't understand people who have a strong attraction to only one sex and/or gender. I mean, I can conceive of it logically, I just can't imagine what it would be like. And even beyond that, who hasn't looked at someone else's relationship and been like "them? REALLY?" And yet we all refrain from banning them from marrying.

However, we can all imagine what it would be like to be unable to be with or care for the person whom we love. That is where the empathy comes in.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:10 AM on April 28, 2012 [31 favorites]


That some vocal homophobes are closeted is nothing new, but any conclusion that one implies the other is problematic. For every Larry Craig there are hundreds of Rick Santorums who are straight and who are homophobes. When we casually assume that homophobes are gay we are making the problem about gay people. The gays just have to get their shit together and the homophobes will disappear. But there quite clearly is a good deal of homophobia among heterosexuals. Perhaps because there is a gay community and no straight community it is difficult for some straight people to feel a degree of responsibility for homophobia and much easier to have an external group responsible.

That is what I hear when people say this sort of stuff: that homophobes are my people and my problem.
posted by munchingzombie at 9:10 AM on April 28, 2012 [11 favorites]


You know, the "He's gay but doesn't know it" crap can make it very frustrating for bisexual men to come out.
posted by yaymukund at 9:10 AM on April 28, 2012 [4 favorites]



OK then what about the President, whose attitude toward gay marriage is, "I'm *thinking*, I'm *THINKING*!" Isn't he also taking part in the oppression rope-rider mentioned?

Yup. I think it is flat-out wrong.

Why does a President who remains above the fray on this issue which is so important to so many of his supporters get a pass in a thread where others are being pilloried for oppression that is a matter of degree?

In several threads around here he does get pilloried.

And anyway, what effect would the election of, say, gay marriage opponent Mitt Romney, have on gay rights that Barack Obama hasn't already had with his winking "above the fray" pose?

Well, if you look at the actual actions that BO (heh) has taken, he has had the practical effect of improving life for some people in same-sex partnerships. I see no reason to assume that Romney would have even this effect. I look back to W and see the DOMA, for example, which has had a real and ongoing negative effect on the ability of same-sex marriages to be recognized in all states. It's not all about looks or poses.

Isn't it disingenuous to pretend to assume that BO is on the side of the angels?

I don't think people are pretending to assume that. I think that based on his actions and his general inclination towards equality and inclusion they are genuinely coming to that conclusion. I don't pretend to know what he's thinking. His words (wrong) and his actions (okay, if not perfect) are what I stick with and on that level I still judge him better than Romney. You might reasonably disagree, but I see no reason to assume that any supporter of Obama's reelection who also supports gay marriage is lying about this particular issue.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:16 AM on April 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


This is all just very frustrating to me as a straight republican who supports gay marriage. (And if the phrase "gay marriage" is a trigger for you, I get it.) Because, as one who is on the opposite side of the fence from y'all in many other issues, I'm here to tell you, this isn't helping. You're not convincing anyone or causing them to question their sincerely held beliefs by pretending to know their deep dark nature. It feels as if you've acknowledged that you can't win by making the moral case so you just want to trash the other side.

(It's frustrating when my conservative brethren do that to y'all as well. Except they're usually right.) (That was a joke.)

And, RR, yeah, I shouldn't have implied that people are lying when they presume to know the President's position.

I gotta run. It's been good talking with y'all.
posted by Infinity_8 at 9:21 AM on April 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Maybe you could tell any screamingly homophobic republicaqns you know that they aren't fooling anyone and they might as well give up the game and adopt being pro-gay as their cover? Point out how it would be pretty much impenetrable. Works for homophobic female republicans depserately covering for closeted husbands too.
posted by Artw at 9:24 AM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


If I encounter any republicans who aren't already aware that y'all are onto their secretly gay ways, I'll pass on the message.

There: my snark for the day.
posted by Infinity_8 at 9:40 AM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


luftmensch: "Islamo"phobes" aren't secretly attracted to Islam.

However, I think some particularly annoying members of the atheist community are secretly attracted to faith. This of course is My Unfounded Opinion.
"

As an annoying atheist I find faith incredibly attractive. I spent a long time searching for god before I decided he didn't exist.
posted by Splunge at 9:46 AM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, c'mon. Obama can't fess up about same-sex marriage. As in so many other cases, he's got to pretend to be more conservative than he really is. If he came out and said what he almost certainly thinks--what is obvious--that SSM is not immoral and ought to be legal, he'd be dooming the country to a Romney presidency, something that would be a disaster. Obama coming out for SSM won't help the cause much, and, as important as the issue is, it isn't nearly important enough. It's really, really, really, really important, for the U.S. and for the world, to keep the GOP out of power until they come approximately back to their senses.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 9:52 AM on April 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


munchingzombie, yaymukund, I totally agree with both of you. Making assumptions about someone's sexuality is inherently "trashing" them, because it is assuming that you know them better than they know themselves. And as a ridiculously feminine, ridiculously straight guy, let me tell how wonderfully helpful it is to have everyone assume my sexuality for me.

Homophobia is not a gay problem, it is completely and entirely a straight problem - straights got this ball rolling, and the onus is on straights to line up with their LGBT friends to fix it.

the young rope-rider, Infinity_8, I'm really enjoying your dialog.
posted by special agent conrad uno at 9:53 AM on April 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well, I can see your point, but when you have a group of people who

* Talk frequently about homosexuality and how it must be countered
* No really, they talk about it so much you wonder if they even think about anything else
* Say weird stuff about it like how it's so tempting that if it's not fought everyone would go gay
* Frequently get caught sucking cock in restrooms

Well, it leads to some assumptions...
posted by Artw at 9:59 AM on April 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


it is completely and entirely a straight problem - straights got this ball rolling, and the onus is on straights to line up with their LGBT friends to fix it.

I'm confused by this line of reasoning. I help fix the problem, because I care about it -- and about the people it affects.

I happen to be straight, but I had nothing to do with getting the ball rolling. I have exactly the same amount of responsibility for that (none) as many of my gay friends. I am not part of a straight community, I don't identify with other straight people. Other straight people are not "my people." Why are you putting me in a category with them?

I would say that the onus is on PEOPLE to fix human problems.
posted by grumblebee at 10:04 AM on April 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


:)

Trouble is, ArtW, there's a selection bias here. No Republican can be interviewed by anyone at NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, or CNN without fielding question after question about homosexuality. This just isn't true of the president. I wish they'd quit blundering into these obvious traps but they get fooled every time.
posted by Infinity_8 at 10:07 AM on April 28, 2012


Trouble is, ArtW, there's a selection bias here. No Republican can be interviewed by anyone at NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, or CNN without fielding question after question about homosexuality.

...

Have you, like, SEEN Rick Santorum? You think that dude need prompting? And that's the guy that in it's heart of hearts the Republican party really wanted to make it's king, expect at the end of the day they had to acknowlege that the fact that he's violently insane might be a voter turn-off.
posted by Artw at 10:10 AM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


dave99: "Is Some Homophobia Self-Phobia? ... In the study, 20% of self-identified 'highly-straight' participants demonstrated some level of same-sex attraction in reaction time tests."

Ah. So the answer is 'usually not, no.' Gosh, I'm glad we cleared that up.

It's kind of silly that we're still going down this stupid rabbit hole of claiming that the people who hate gay people are all secretly gay people. As this study seems to indicate, usually people who hate gay people are just assholes. Delicious irony is tasty and all, but we don't need to waste all our time trying to invent it.
posted by koeselitz at 10:11 AM on April 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


PigAlien, there's a great quote in that Psychology Today article you linked:

Heterosexual men with the most anti-gay attitudes, when asked, reported not being sexually aroused by gay male sex videos. But, their penises reported otherwise.

Metafilter: Penises reported otherwise.
posted by jonp72 at 10:53 AM on April 28, 2012


Islamo"phobes" aren't secretly attracted to Islam.

Nope, but I think they tend to be non-secretly attracted to the idea of the male-dominated fundamentalist religious suppressive government though.*

*I know that Islam itself is not about male-dominated fundamental etc. per se, but the very thing that Islamophobes tend to decry about Muslim societies are the things they want to instill here.
posted by jabberjaw at 10:55 AM on April 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


You're not convincing anyone or causing them to question their sincerely held beliefs by pretending to know their deep dark nature. It feels as if you've acknowledged that you can't win by making the moral case so you just want to trash the other side.

As a gay man I’m personally exhausted after spending my entire adult life trying to “convince” people who hate me that it’s not the best thing in the world to hate me. They’re gonna hate me whether I support their “sincerely held beliefs” or not. I suppose your suggestion would be that I turn the other cheek and live and let live. Well, I’ve done that too, and the “other side” still continues to hate and spend money and spread fear trying to get gay people legislated back into the closet as if it were 1952 and not 2012. So I’m done trying to “convince” anyone that their hate is wrong. It just is wrong, period, and whether they like it or not, time isn't on their side.

And anyway, what effect would the election of, say, gay marriage opponent Mitt Romney, have on gay rights that Barack Obama hasn't already had with his winking "above the fray" pose?

Mitt Romney being in in the White House and the Republicans controlling either or both of the houses of Congress (one of which would not be very likely to happen without the other happening) would have an immeasurable impact on gay rights, given the unhinged opposition to the "gay agenda" that exists among the extreme right politicians who are the wave of the future in the Republican Party (and to whom Romney has spent the last year pandering). I’m not going to rehash what Obama has done for gay rights in the past three years that Mitt Romney would never come anywhere near doing and would in fact fight hard to reverse, unless he really is the secret moderate-in-waiting that his primary opponents have painted him for the past 18 months as being.
posted by blucevalo at 11:04 AM on April 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Personally I'm getting tired of the "they're probably secretly gay" narrative. It casts the problem of violence against queer people as an internal problem and shifts the focus away from all the actually, totally, and honestly straight people who actually, totally, and honestly hate us.

I agree. The "they're probably secretly gay" narrative is irritating. If the takeaway from this post is that 20% of homophobes are repressed or closeted homosexuals, then aren't 80%, a fairly overwhelming majority, of them just bigots, rather than conflicted?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 11:07 AM on April 28, 2012


Sort of like that boring martial sex, I gather.

xarnop, I assume that Dr. Cameron meant to say marital sex. Martial sex is covered by Don't Ask Don't Tell.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 11:10 AM on April 28, 2012


Some homophobia very well could be self-phobia.

But I would bet that anyone who says that sexuality is a choice is someone who has MADE a choice.
posted by chimaera at 11:17 AM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, c'mon. Obama can't fess up about same-sex marriage. As in so many other cases, he's got to pretend to be more conservative than he really is.

So, if you flash the word "Me" and then a picture of someone being an actual liberal, Obama would get aroused?
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:33 AM on April 28, 2012


* Frequently get caught sucking cock in restrooms

Wait. That's gay?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:42 AM on April 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


If left untreated. Fortunately if you apply enough Jesus it goes away for a bit.
posted by Artw at 12:11 PM on April 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


...subjects were primed with "we" and "they" terminology...hmm. Of course they were.

Relegating homosexual preferences to a "community" doesn't seem to me to be a very enlightened tendency. For so-called liberals to do this smacks of condescension. "Many of my friends are gay." Homophobes use the determiner as an epithet.

Neither mind set is actually helpful--in fact hey both lead to sly euphemisms, avoiding the need to deal with sexuality as an issue. Consider that homosexuals have hijacked the word "gay,"perhaps as an attempt to have some sort of non-pejorative referent. This means that sexual referent is the issue. My question is, should it be?

Maybe yes, maybe no. Certainly not in a public restroom. If we are talking about consenting adults, why should anybody care? While we are at it, I don't necessarily consider a mild interest in the possibilities relevant to (various acts of) sex as an indicator that I would want to do them, have them done to me, or actually watch them done. Okay, maybe I might like to watch, but only if they are displayed with good taste.

It doesn't take a lot of work to look back on societies that didn't count one's sexual orientation as any big deal, except inasmuch as it didn't involve, say, livestock, or take up one's time on the job.

reminds of the limerick I saw on a bathroom wall:

A gay fellow who came from Khartoum,
Took a lesbian up to his room.
They argued all night over who had the right
To do what, and with which, and to whom.

(Please, if you are from Sudan, don't get pissed. I already had enough trouble finding a euphemism at the beginning of the line. PC really sucks.)
posted by mule98J at 12:24 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


The kind of strident closeted homophobe that we are talking about here?

These closeted homphobes sound exactly like islamophobes with Sharia Envy. Look it up, it is a thing.

I was on the wrong side of this growing up. I felt attracted to both girls and boys, but most strongly to girls. I found it extremely hard to get girls interested in me, I did not get to make out with a girl until I was in college. But with boys I could have all the sex I wanted, any time, with little effort, since I was 13 or so. And I hated myself for this, and I hated the out gay people I knew for this. I hated them because I was jealous of how easy they had it (ha!, just like summer camp, being a gay kid in my home town was always great, except for the other 99% of the time), for how they could have what they wanted and not feel the shame I would feel.

But I was ashamed, I KNEW it was wrong and evil and anti natural (thank you catholic upbringing). I tried to appear as masculine and straight as possible, and part of the strategy was to be double extra mean to any man who showed the tiniest sign of femininity or gayness. I did not want to be associated with them.

So I was an asshole to many gay or rumored gay boys and men. Being all nice and open and flirty and 100% sincere in private, then literally kicking them while they were down the net day if they talked to me in public.

Treating people like that is one of my biggest regrets. But I got better. I got better because of high school teacher and the books he lent me, but that is a long story.

And just to close, those 10 years or so between finding out that I liked men and liked sex with men and finally figuring out it was perfectly OK were some of the worst in my life. Being full of shame and hate and pain and living with the constant fear of being found out is not good for anyone.
posted by Ayn Rand and God at 12:30 PM on April 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


You know, you never hear rumors that anti gay women are secretly lesbians.

It's funny you say that. I came into this thread thinking about my mom. She is a very anti-gay fundamentalist. And most of her vocalized disgust is towards lesbians. In fact I think I have never heard her say anything negative about gay men. Even when other fundies try to connect being a gay man to being a pedophile she argues against them and says pedophiles can be either straight or gay. But I remember being in swimming pool locker rooms with her as a very young girl and she would whisper to me, "see those women just walking around naked? Those are THE LESBIANS! They are perverts!" And, "Can you believe there are women who like BREASTS! Disgusting!"

One of the things she says most often is that being gay is gay people choose to be gay. I remember when I was a teenager who was super unattractive to guys and could not get dates, but had lots of lovely female friends who would have dated me, screaming at my mother, "If anyone could choose to be gay, I WOULD CHOOSE TO BE GAY." I also used to scream at her, "if being gay is such a choice then why do people kill themselves over being gay??"

But one day I just asked her, "how can you think it's such a choice? Could YOU just choose to be gay?" And she said, "Of course I could. If there was a woman here, and we were sharing a bottle of wine, and she made a move on me, I could just choose to go along with it and enjoy it."

My jaw kind of dropped at that. I have thought ever since then that she probably has some non-zero level of same sex attraction.
posted by cairdeas at 1:23 PM on April 28, 2012 [16 favorites]


Please, if you are from Sudan, don't get pissed. I already had enough trouble finding a euphemism at the beginning of the line. PC really sucks.

Yeah, it sucks that you couldn't just blithely drop pansy or faggot into a thread about homophobia. Poor you.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 1:30 PM on April 28, 2012


Personally I'm getting tired of the "they're probably secretly gay" narrative. It casts the problem of violence against queer people as an internal problem and shifts the focus away from all the actually, totally, and honestly straight people who actually, totally, and honestly hate us.

Yeah. I'd rather be angry at people different than me!
posted by zephyr_words at 1:46 PM on April 28, 2012


selfmedicating: " if they ever stopped picking up their laundry and let themselves go, there would be dirty socks ALL OVER THE PLACE."

dirty, filthy, hot gay socks, the kind good Christian men don't have
posted by idiopath at 2:14 PM on April 28, 2012


Your Time Machine Sucks: "it's unheard of for men have a problem with lesbians"

Maybe they don't have a problem with the pornographic version of lesbianism that is designed to tittilate straight men. Straight men do harass, and even assault, actual flesh and blood lesbians for being gay.
posted by idiopath at 2:16 PM on April 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


Yes, I know.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 2:33 PM on April 28, 2012


I think this does get at a deep asymmetry between the two sides of politics, and why there are often speculations that homophobes are secretly homosexual, and even that aggressive atheists or islamophobes are secretly attracted to the objects of their scorn. It's often argued that the two sides are fundamentally similar or different (see the Haidt discussion), but here is one way in which they seem pretty different:

Conservatives, for the most part, really do understand why liberals hate them. The poor, blacks, women, Muslims, gays, the youth -- all of them are wrong to resent the existing power structure, without which, after all, society would fall to pieces. But though most conservatives think these minorities are childish and stupid for resenting it, they understand the psychology of it.

Many liberals, on the other hand, often really are baffled at conservative hate a lot of the time, particularly the generous-minded liberals. They understand that conservatives have the good stuff and don't want to lose it, but that really doesn't explain the more aggressive behavior on the personal level, where obviously no policies or real threats exist. These conservatives could go through their day doing what they usually do, or they could go through their day doing what they usually do, plus going out of their way to hate a passing gay, black, poor, female, or muslim person. Why bother?? This bafflement keeps pushing some on the left -- perhaps correctly -- to seek hidden psychological motivations beneath these otherwise apparently unnecessary hatreds.

Obviously there are a lot more answers than just "they are secretly drawn to the object of their hate, which amplifies that hate." But the motivation to try to find these explanations will persist until a coherent psychological story coalesces around these various studies.*

But that's also why the militant-atheist example from the left us so useful. I'm an atheist myself, but I really only care about it when I see religious political leaders on the right using their religion to abuse others. Why someone like Dawkins bothers to attack regular people for their harmless religious beliefs, when Dawkins himself is not threatened, nor seems particularly aligned with the plights of those threatened by political-religious persecution, similarly asks for a psychological explanation. Though not nearly as acutely as do the hatreds of the right.

* Recently in academia we've seen general explanations via authoritarianism, heightened disgust, rigid adherence to existing patterns of behavior, and a bunch of others, but none really seem to explain the full set of hateful behaviors that seem so correlated on the right. I'm not sure such a totalizing theory exists, though that doesn't mean the left won't coalesce around one eventually. But again, returning to the asymmetry point, the right already has its totalizing theory of the left: "they hate us for what we have and they lack, and for the fact that this is for the best." That's very different from the left's somewhat mystified understanding of the right.
posted by chortly at 2:34 PM on April 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


I was chased all the way down the DuPont Circle metro escalator by a guy who definitely had a problem with butch lesbians - he was shouting about how if we wanted to be men (I was with another butch dyke at the time) he would show us what it meant to be a man.

Also, I'm a very seductive lesbian who leaves her dirty socks on the floor. There is no hope for me.
posted by rtha at 2:42 PM on April 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm surprised this hasn't shown up in the thread yet: Reuben Bolling's The New Gay Stereotype.

Funny[1] 'cos it's true[2], I guess.

[1] For some values of 'funny'.
[2] For some values of 'true'.
posted by kandinski at 4:58 PM on April 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


...really? "Self-phobia"? Why not "autophobia"? Very disappointing.
posted by kavasa at 5:40 PM on April 28, 2012


I agree. The "they're probably secretly gay" narrative is irritating. If the takeaway from this post is that 20% of homophobes are repressed or closeted homosexuals, then aren't 80%, a fairly overwhelming majority, of them just bigots, rather than conflicted?

The take away is not that of all the participants who reported being "highly straight" are bigots. Most of the highly straight participants weren't anti-gay at all.

But the subset who were anti-gay? Significantly more likely to display same-sex attraction themselves. There's no ignoring that correlation even if you find it irritating.
posted by dave99 at 9:27 PM on April 28, 2012


Hell, there are aspects of sex that just aren't always 100% alluring to anyone.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 1:09 on April 29


Eponysterical?
posted by crossoverman at 9:58 PM on April 28, 2012


I don't think that everyone who is virulently anti-gay is a repressed homosexual and therefore, this is a "gay problem" for the "gays to figure out".

A particular bigot might see two guys kissing and have a wide range of reactions from "Eww, gross" to glowering resentment based on envy.

I'm also an atheist who spent a lot of time chasing after God. I would love to have some greater power to turn to in my times of need, but I can't because He either doesn't exist or absolutely doesn't give a shit about humanity.

Put me down for about 85% straight. I have a few fantasies, have met a few very attractive men but have never even kissed a guy and have no plans to ruin a good marriage with a wonderful woman to explore that side of my sexuality. I don't seethe with resentment over what I didn't have because I'm grateful for what I do have.
posted by double block and bleed at 10:21 PM on April 28, 2012


> I wish they'd quit blundering into these obvious traps but they get fooled every time.

It's like they just can't resist those hot gay questions!

(A serious reply seems pointless since you won't stick around to read it.)
posted by octobersurprise at 8:08 AM on April 29, 2012


I felt attracted to both girls and boys, but most strongly to girls. I found it extremely hard to get girls interested in me, I did not get to make out with a girl until I was in college. But with boys I could have all the sex I wanted, any time, with little effort...

I don't know if this will make you feel better or worse, but as someone who has known she's bisexual from a pretty early age, I felt something similar. I'm pretty equally attracted to men and women, but I felt shame for being in my early 20s and putting my energy into meh-but-guaranteed-affirmation relationships with men instead of putting a little more effort into convincing other queer women that I am also queer and interested. Easy acceptance is easier than risking rejection.
posted by desuetude at 11:01 PM on April 29, 2012


"This is all just very frustrating to me as a straight republican who supports gay marriage. (And if the phrase "gay marriage" is a trigger for you, I get it.) Because, as one who is on the opposite side of the fence from y'all in many other issues, I'm here to tell you, this isn't helping. You're not convincing anyone or causing them to question their sincerely held beliefs by pretending to know their deep dark nature. It feels as if you've acknowledged that you can't win by making the moral case so you just want to trash the other side."

As someone whose job involves reaching out to the "moveable middle" on things like the freedom to marry, I can tell you that concern about this study or thread particularly helping are misplaced. The general way to win, as couched in Haidt's terminology, is to remove justifications based on authority and sanctity, while shifting the framing to include LGBT folks as part of the middle's "in-group." (I think that Haidt overstates the usefulness of his framework, especially how universal it is, but it's a handy way to talk about this issue of American politics.)

However, this study can be used to impugn the credentials of otherwise credible-to-conservative sources. It also serves to reinforce arguments like that sexual repression leads to worse outcomes than individual freedom.

And the on-message response to this study is that the people who are gay and lash out with homophobia deserve sympathy and that working to broaden social acceptance for LGBT folk will help a lot of them resolve inner pain, with the superseding benefit that LGBT folks will be more accepted and equal under the law.

But attempting to make this somehow about how liberals are attacking conservatives again is silly, as it ignores both the underlying salience of the study and requires a circular foundation for conservative martyrdom.

Finally, it's great that you support marriage equality. But frankly, it's a small — if symbolic — step toward supporting LGBT equality. I'm sorry that it's not the majority position for Republicans — it is the majority position for Americans — but there are a raft of other important LGBT issues and I get a little annoyed when people pat themselves on the back for taking one small step toward what every American should already believe and thinking that's all that's required of them to be a good citizen.

(Says this straight liberal who is annoyed at Obama. When the best case scenario is that the president is craven for a decent political/tactical reason, and the worst case is that he's a bit of a bigot, it's hard not to be annoyed even if you can sympathize with the dilemma.)
posted by klangklangston at 4:31 PM on April 30, 2012


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