Homophobia and hypocrisy

From mentioning breasts earlier in the week, I now turn to penises. In a study that deserves a great deal of publicity, psychologists used a questionnaire to identify a group of men with strongly negative attitudes to homosexuality, and another group of men who were comfortable with it. The men watched various kids of erotic films while a rubber ring around their members, hooked up to a computer, monitored them for arousal.

“Both groups exhibited increases in penile circumference to the heterosexual and female homosexual videos. Only the homophobic men showed an increase in penile erection to male homosexual stimuli. […] Homophobia is apparently associated with homosexual arousal that the homophobic individual is either unaware of or denies.” (Henry E. Adams, Lester W. Wright, Jr., and Bethany A. Lohr (1996) “Is Homophobia Associated With Homosexual Arousal?” Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Vol. 105, No. 3, 440-445

This is from 1996, but worth blogging now because of recent news from the USA. This week saw Idaho Senator Larry Craig plead guilty to lewd conduct in a men’s toilet. Craig had a record of voting against gay rights. Florida legislator Bob Allen (also a Republican) was in similar trouble earlier this summer. He had sponsored or co-sponsored a range of bills to increase punishments for lewdness and sexual solicitation, then was caught soliciting oral sex from a man in a public toilet. In November, Ted Haggard, one of the top US Christian evangelists, admitted “sexual immorality” with a male prostitute. Haggard had frequently denounced both homosexuality and living a secret life and had been seen on British television ranting against Evolution.

  1. #1 by Water Traveller on August 30, 2007 - 6:23 am

    I have seen the occasional homophobic individual insist that gays can change and “reform”, that in fact “everyone is straight” and gays are just people whose sexuality got “out of hand”. And I always think: why should a heterosexual person believe that they know what it’s like to be gay, and be so certain that a gay person was “really straight inside”– unless perhaps they were speaking from a position of knowing what it was like to have those impulses and repressing them, and insisting to themselves that they were really straight inside (and therefore that anyone who had gay impulses could be similarly really straight inside if they just “reformed”.)

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