Recent studies provide empirical evidence that homophobia can result, at least in part, from the suppression of same-sex desire. Our paper describes six studies conducted in the United States and Germany involving 784 university students.
This may explain why political and religious figures who campaign against gay rights so often implicated in sexual encounters with same-sex partners. Several examples come to mind.
Ted Haggard, an evangelical leader who preached that homosexuality was a sin, resigned after a scandal involving a former male prostitute; Larry Craig, a United States senator who opposed including sexual orientation in hate-crime legislation, was arrested on suspicion of lewd conduct in a men’s bathroom; and Glenn Murphy Jr., a leader of the Young Republican National Convention and an opponent of same-sex marriage, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge after being accused of sexually assaulting another man.
Not all those who campaign against gay men and lesbians secretly feel same-sex attractions. But at least some who oppose homosexuality are likely to be individuals struggling against parts of themselves, having themselves been victims of oppression and lack of acceptance. The costs are great, not only for the targets of anti-gay efforts but also often for the perpetrators. We would do well to remember that all involved deserve our compassion.