The Psychology of the Closeted Individual and Coming Out - 2007
by Jack Drescher, M.D
Many LGB individuals report developmental histories with difficulty acknowledging their homosexuality, either to themselves or to others. This is because, starting in childhood, LGB individuals are often subjected to antihomosexual attitudes, not only from strangers, but also from their own families and communities (Drescher, Stein and Byne, (2005). The childhood need to hide may persist into adulthood, leading many LGB individuals to conceal important aspects of themselves…Closeted individuals cannot acknowledge homoerotic feelings, attractions and fantasies to themselves. They cannot or will not integrate homosexuality into their public personae and these feelings must be dissociated out of conscious awareness…
Some gay men, before coming out, were either gay-baiters or gay-bashers. To maintain a psychological distance from their own homoerotic feelings, they also exhibit dissociative tendencies. Attacking those perceived to be gay can serve several functions. One penile plethysmography study indicated that men with strong antihomosexual beliefs actually had significant homosexual arousal patterns (Adams, 1996). Interpersonally, strong antihomosexual feelings may represent
an effort to control perceptions of a gay-basher’s own sexual identity. If they attack gay people, others will not think of them as gay...
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Likely To Be Stronger Among Those Who Have Repressed Same-Sex Attraction: Report – 4/09/12
A new study has confirmed what many in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community have suspected for some time: that homophobic attitudes are likely to be more pronounced among those who've experienced unacknowledged attraction towards members of the same sex. Photo
…published this month in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology… The findings provide new evidence to support the psychoanalytic theory that fear, anxiety, and aversion that toward gays and lesbians can grow out of a seemingly heterosexual individual's own repressed same-sex desires, co-author Richard Ryan, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester who helped direct the research, told Science Daily.
"In many cases these are people who are at war with themselves and they are turning this internal conflict outward," Ryan is quoted as saying. "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. Homophobia is not a laughing matter."
ScienceDaily (Apr. 6, 2012) — Homophobia is more pronounced in individuals with an unacknowledged attraction to the same sex and who grew up with authoritarian parents who forbade such desires, a series of psychology studies demonstrates.
The study is the first to document the role that both parenting and sexual orientation play in the formation of intense and visceral fear of homosexuals, including self-reported homophobic attitudes, discriminatory bias, implicit hostility towards gays, and endorsement of anti-gay policies…
By Henry E. Adams, Lester W. Wright, Jr., and Bethany A. Lohr, University of Georgia - 1996
…Hostility and discrimination against homosexual individuals are well-established facts (Berrill, 1990). On occasion, these negative attitudes lead to hostile verbal and physical acts against gay individuals with little apparent motivation except a strong dislike (Herek, 1989). In fact, more than 90% of gay men and lesbians report being targets of verbal abuse or threats, and more than one-third report being survivors of violence related to their homosexuality (Fassinger, 1991). Although negative attitudes and behaviors toward gay individuals have been assumed to be associated with rigid moralistic beliefs, sexual ignorance, and fear of homosexuality, the etiology of these attitudes and behaviors remains a puzzle (Marmor, 1980). Weinberg (1972) labeled these attitudes and behaviors homophobia, which he defined as the dread of being in close quarters with homosexual men and women as well as irrational fear, hatred, and intolerance by heterosexual individuals of homosexual men and women… Photo
Journal of Abnormal Psychology, American Psychological Association, Inc.
1996, Vol. 105, No. 3,440—445