Well surprise surprise. A new study has found that homophobic attitudes are likely to be more pronounced among those who’ve experienced unacknowledged attraction toward members of the same sex. The study, set to be published in this month’s Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, provides new evidence to support the psychoanalytic theory that fear, anxiety, and aversion toward gays and lesbians can grow out of a heterosexual individual’s own repressed same-sex desires. “In many cases these are people who are at war with themselves and they are turning this internal conflict outward,” states co-author Richard Ryan, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, who helped direct the research for this study. Well, many in the LGBT community have suspected this for a while. Hello!
How many politicians and religious leaders have we heard about who have stood steadfast against gay rights, only to be caught with their, ahem, pants down? Can you say Mark Foley, Ted Haggard, Larry Craig, Bob Allen, and Glenn Murphy Jr., to name a few. I mean it’s one thing to be struggling with fully digesting your sexual orientation, but it’s another to come out against the LGBT community when deep inside you know you’re a part of that community. It’s really the ultimate hypocrisy!
I’m really thankful that, even when I was processing my sexual orientation and trying to figure out how to let everyone that was in my life all the way in, I continued to explore and express that part of myself. And I enjoyed it! At the end of the day, I couldn’t let my fear of judgment get in the way of me living my life for me! Now that’s not to say that my coming out happened overnight. It took me a little time, especially coming out to my mother. Didn’t want her to blame herself, as if she caused my homosexuality or was responsible for my being gay. And I have to say that the process of coming out enabled my mom and me to become closer and more connected.
I told my mother to ask any questions that she may have, and not to worry about me taking them the wrong way. Our conversations were very powerful. She asked if my being gay was a choice. I asked her if there was a time in her adolescence when she decided to choose her heterosexuality. She answered no, that it had always been that way for her. I told her that it’s the same way for me and my homosexuality. I shared that the environment I was raised in, how I was parented, or the people I befriended didn’t drive it. That it wasn’t influenced by any outside factors, but was solely driven by how I felt. My homosexuality is a part of who I am, and after coming out to my mother I didn’t have to filter what I shared with her anymore. Through that process she became an even bigger part of my life as she was fully let into my life. Yay!
I know there are people out there whose parents aren’t accepting of their sexual orientation, and my heart truly goes out to those individuals. It’s a huge mind fuck! I remember dealing with family dynamics in therapy and recognizing that just because they’re blood doesn’t mean you have to accept everything they throw at you. Family or not, it’s really how you’re being treated, and if you aren’t being accepted by someone for who you are, you need to take good care of yourself, accept their limitations, and get on with living your life for you. Easier said than done I know, and in those situations where you’re looking at walking away from a parent or loved one because of their inability to accept you, it goes really deep. If you are in that situation, I would encourage you, if you’re able, to seek out a therapist. It’s such a great and helpful tool! If you can’t afford it, reach out to those friends you have who will listen and just be there for you to download. You need a support system!
We’ve been hearing so much lately about kids committing suicide because they can’t accept their homosexuality, or kids being bullied because of it. Whether you’re an adolescent trying to manage thru all of the changes that you’re going through, including processing your sexuality, or an adult trying to own and embrace your homosexuality and let people in, it all does get better. You being you is going to enable you to attract those individuals who better reflect you back. People who feel the same way that you do about things, who accept the world and view it in a similar way. Just hold on. I know firsthand that it will all come to you at some point, so just know that the difficulties you may be experiencing right now will start to shift. It will and does get better!
I will say this: When you claim yourself for you and represent that to the world around you, you make a huge statement about the love you have for yourself and your desire to get everything out of your life that you can. It can be scary, but the self-esteem you get from it is big!