Psychology of Homophobia

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  • Topic: Homosexuality, Sexual orientation, Gay
  • Pages : 5 (1452 words )
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  • Published : March 13, 2005
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Psychology of Homophobia/Sexual Prejudice

Society began to rethink homosexuality in the 1960's when heterosexual psychologist George Weinberg coined the term "homophobia." Weinberg used the term to label heterosexuals' fear of being in contact of homosexuals as well as the self-loathing of homosexuals, meaning that homosexuals hated themselves for being gay. As of the new millennium, there has been a new special term that has been born to define the fear, hate and disgust that people show towards anyone's sexual orientation called "sexual prejudice." Like other types of prejudice, there are three main principals that surround sexual prejudice: it is an attitude, it is directed at social groups and its members, and it is negative as involving hostility or dislike. As time goes by there has been differing perspectives on sexual prejudice (homophobia).

In an interview with Karen Franklin, a forensic psychologist and former criminal investigator, which was conducted by PBS's program "FRONTLINE," reveals her interest and perspective on anti-gay hate crimes that relate to homophobia. Franklin has interviewed multiple perpetrators of anti-gay hate crimes and with San Francisco Bay Area College students that has lead to the production of important data of the nature and extent to the negative reactions to gays.

When Karen Franklin was asked, "What makes a person become a gay basher?" she answered, "there is no simple answer to that question." Franklin explains that for a person to commit any violent act one must have had something influence them to be violent and the fact that a gay person is being targeted is another motivation. She explains that there are several motivations for these acts. The first motivation is "peer dynamics," in which a person tries to prove masculinity, or to prove heterosexuality, or just not to back down and let one's peers down. The next most common motivation she found was what she called "anti-gay ideology" in which their reasons for their anti-gay feelings are based on morals or religion. Another common motivation was that a person might be thrill-seeking and trying to have a good time at someone else's expense. Franklin states that, in general, "people are trying to endorse a cultural message that gay people are second class citizens and are not worthy of respect. Franklin feels that this sexual prejudice is a cultural problem and that people see gays as the last social acceptable group to assault because it is no longer acceptable to assault other minorities. Franklin thinks that young people feel that if gays do not have equal rights they feel that itself is a reason that there is something wrong with gay people and that it is okay to hurt them.

When Franklin was at the Bay Area College in San Francisco, she found that one in ten students (non-criminal) reported physically or verbally assaulting gays. Something that Franklin found quite interesting was that these people claim that it's the gay person's fault because they feel that gay people are sexual predators and she also said that they perceive the gays as trying to flirt with them. For some bizarre reason, these people claim that they feel as if they have a specific duty and the right to punish a gay person for flirting with them. Franklin says that the results show that young people in school end up doing drugs, alcohol, quitting school and even suicide because they are not being accepted in society and they are violating gender norms. For those who did not assault gays said they wouldn't because they are not violent but still verbally assaulted them.

A study appearing in the August 1996 issue of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, entitled Is Homophobia Associated With Homosexual Arousal?, published By Professor Henry Adams, a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) has provided new evidence supporting the controversial psychoanalytic theory that homophobia, the fear, disgust and anxiety...
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