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THE ROOTS OF HOMOPHOBIA  What have historians and psychologists learned about anti-gay attitudes and hatred?  How does this kind of hatred differ from other hatreds?

WHAT SCIENCE SAYS
The Mind of a Gay Basher

This is FRONTLINE's interview with Karen Franklin, a forensic psychologist whose dual interests in psychology and the law brought her to question the roots of anti-gay hate crimes. Her interviews with perpetrators and with San Francisco Bay Area college students provide badly needed empirical data on the nature and extent of negative reactions to gays. Franklin does not find one motive for anti-gay violence, but many, with ideological opposition to, and plain hatred of homosexuality, only one among them. In Franklin's view, the focus should be on cultural norms--an attitude that society gives permission for anti-gay violence--rather than on individual psychology.

· Learning from "gay bashers": Karen Franklin's research

Putting Freud to the Test

Many heterosexuals repress homosexual tendencies, Sigmund Freud believed, and some repress them more strongly than others. Homophobia is the name for what Freud saw as heterosexuals' "vigorous counter-attitudes" to homosexuality. For most of this century, many writers on the topic, following Freud, have accepted this relationship between repressed (or "latent") homosexuality and homophobia. But, Dr. Henry Adams of the University of Georgia, was the first to attempt to test the proposition empirically. The results? Individuals who score in the homophobic range on the "Homophobia Scale" demonstrate signficant sexual arousal to male homosexual erotic stimuli.
Hating Gays: An Overview of Scientific Studies

Once science and medicine stopped asking questions about the pathology of homosexuals, they turned their lens around to focus on the other side: the reasons for negative anti-gay attitudes. In the 1970s and 1980s, empirical scientific studies on homophobia proliferated. In this review, scholar Greg Herek provides an important synthesis and analysis of homophobia research which yields a composite portrait of a person likely to hold negative atittudes toward gays.

· A Primer on Sexual Prejudice


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