Friday, April 9, 2010

Sexual Orientation and Homophobia are Formed Early in Life – Columbia University Medical Center

Press release 

Book by Leading Psychoanalysts Argues
Dr. Richard C. Friedman & Dr. Jennifer I. Downey

New York, N.Y., July 11, 2002 – In a groundbreaking new book, two leading New York psychoanalysts tackle the problem of homophobia by identifying the developmental roots of sexual orientation and homophobia and by exploring the relationships and cultures of boys and girls that lead to homophobia.

… They also hope their findings will help treat those who have internalized homophobia and therefore may engage in high-risk sexual and other self-destructive behaviors.

They also argue that by understanding the peer cultures that boys and girls develop as children, eventually society may be able to fundamentally change its views of masculinity and femininity.  The psychology of lesbians may be best understood as part of the behavior of women, and the psychology of gay men may be best understood as a dimension of the behavior of men.

In the book, Drs. Downey and Friedman show that homophobia tends to develop in mid- (ages 5 to 7) and late (ages 8 to 12) childhood and has different manifestations in boys and girls. By identifying when homophobia begins and how peer cultures differ between boys and girls, the authors aim to help clinicians highlight those times of early life that are key in shaping children’s overall ideas of masculinity and femininity.

“Boys and girls develop very different peer relationships and cultures,” says Dr. Downey.  “During late childhood, boys tend to play with boys, and they also tend to be less tolerant than girls of what we call ‘gender non-conformity.’  So boys might label certain boys ‘fags,’ ‘sissies,’ or ‘homos,’ which can traumatize the boys being labeled, who may or may not be on a gay track.  Therefore, boys and men may have more of a tendency to internalize homophobic feelings and channel these negative emotions into risky, self-destructive, or even suicidal behavior.” Read more - Sexual Orientation and Homophobia are Formed Early in Life - Dr. Richard C. Friedman & Dr. Jennifer I. Downey 

About the authors
Dr. Friedman and Dr. Downey co-teach a popular course for psychiatric residents in human sexuality at the New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center.  Their articles on sexuality and sexual orientation have appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, and other widely read peer-reviewed journals.  Dr. Friedman also wrote the influential “Male Homosexuality: A Contemporary Psychoanalytic Perspective” (1988), which focused exclusively on men.

Related links:

Study: Same-Sex And Heterosexual Couples Have Same Levels Of Relationship Satisfaction And Commitment - read more

“Helpers-in-the-nest” An Evolutionary Role For Same-Sex Attraction?  Association For Psychological Science – read more

Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals at Increased Risk of Psychiatric Disorders Due to Discriminatory Policies - read more

Homosexuality A Result Of Genetics And Random Environmental Factors, Says Twins Study – read more

Behind Acts of Homophobia Are Homo-Ignorance and Homo-Avoidance - Dude, I'm Not Gay! - by Joe Kort - Gay's Anatomy – Psychology Today - Read more

Single, Angry, Straight Male... Seeks Same? 
A classic study reveals that young homophobic men have secret gay urges - By Jesse Bering – January 30, 2009 - Scientific American – read more

Sexual Prejudice - Understanding Homophobia and Heterosexism - by Gregory M. Herek, Ph.D - read more

The Closet: Psychological Issues of Being In and Coming Out - By Jack Drescher, M.D. - read more

It's The Gays' Fault - The Daily Dish - By Andrew Sullivan - read more

Marriage Equality -> Restores “Hope of Love” To Children In Early Childhood - read more

Ignorance about human sexuality is harmful to children.

“Someday, maybe, there will exist a well-informed, well considered and yet fervent public conviction that the most deadly of all possible sins is the mutilation of a child’s spirit.” Erik Erikson

Kids Are Being Hurt!!!

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