Study explores roots of homophobia, sexual prejudice

Huffington Post Gay Voices

The complicated psychology of prejudice is something researchers struggle with continuously. Often, racism or homophobia is understood to be motivated by a variety of factors. Now, a report published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science says sexual prejudice in particular may be strongly related to a deep-seated fear of being hit on by a member of the same sex. Lead author Angela Pirlott said the paper will hopefully shed light on a little-explored corner of sexual prejudice, and thinks it may surprise scientists who have been focusing all their efforts on perspectives such as the gender-role violation hypothesis, sexual identity threat or religious-values threat.

“[O]ur article says that straight men perceive gay and bisexual men to direct unwanted sexual interest, but not lesbians or bisexual women; and straight women perceive lesbians, bisexual women and bisexual men to direct unwanted sexual interest, but not gay men; and that this perception strongly explained their sexual prejudices,”  Pirlott elaborated, adding, “I think people, in general, are uncomfortable by the notion of unwanted sexual interest.”

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