After years of confusion about why some men are oddly boisterous and bombastic about their condemnation of gays, I think the reason is becoming clearer than ever these days. It turns out to be no big revelation. It seems to be nothing more than the projection of self-hate by tormented souls who feel they are unable to follow their desires in a world filled with prejudice. So what we end up with is an odd subset of males—secretly or subconsciously gay—who make it their mission in life to wage war against men who are openly gay.
Of course some anti-gay men are just following the herd. There will always be empty vessels lining up behind the nearest loudmouths to adopt their prejudices as their own without pause or reflection. And no one can sensibly claim that every man who experiences an increased heart rate at the mere mention of gays is necessarily gay himself. Surely some men simply enjoy hating something or somebody and find gays to be a convenient target. But then we come to the most unusual men of all, those who take up the anti-gay torch with extraordinary gusto. Their motivation is a bit more complicated. They write letters to newspapers, call radio talk shows, pressure politicians, and fight human rights legislation out of the fear that some gay person may exploit the concept of equality and justice as a means to be treated fairly.
I’ll spare readers the details and just briefly mention a scientific study that drew a connection between intolerance for gays and sexual arousal. Researchers found that men who had expressed strong condemnation for homosexuality were more likely to become involuntarily aroused physically while viewing gay porn than were men who had expressed no negative feelings toward homosexuals. This study would seem to explain a lot. Perhaps we should all remember it the next time we hear some enraged moral crusader fighting tooth-and-nail against equality for gays.
Even more compelling than scientific studies is the ever-growing list of real-world examples of these weird gay people who hate gay people. Just consider a few of the many examples of prominent anti-gay politicians, preachers, and activists in the US who have been tripped up in recent scandals:
The Reverend Ted Haggard: After working hard to lobby the Bush White House to restrict the legal rights of gays and morally condemning them from his megachurch pulpit, Haggard was discovered to have had multiple encounters with a male prostitute.
Psychologist and Baptist minister George Rekers: After serving as an expert witness in court rooms to argue against gay adoption and pushing the claim that gays can and should be “cured,” Reker was caught taking a European vacation with a young male he reportedly met through a gay escort Web site called “Rentboy.com”.
Former US Congressman Mark Foley: While opposing gay rights publicly, Foley was busy sending sex-charged e-mails to male teenagers in private.
Former US Senator Larry Craig: This staunch conservative consistently lined up against gay rights throughout a long political career but was arrested in a public rest room for “lewd conduct”. The policeman said Craig had tried to play footsie between the stalls in an attempt to solicit a sex act.
One thing that has always intrigued me about anti-gay crusaders is the way they consistently—and with absolute certainty—declare that homosexuality is a choice, a lifestyle selection akin to joining the Kiwanis Club or volunteering at the Humane Society. This used to puzzle me to no end but now I think I finally have it figured out. For these rabid anti-gay zealots, homosexuality really is a lifestyle choice. They are gay or bisexual but because of their cultural/political/religious perspective—or fear of prejudice—choose to live publicly as heterosexuals. For them sexuality is a cloak to be changed at will. They live as heterosexuals in the office, at church, and with the family, but at night when no one is looking they “become” gay.
So perhaps it is reasonable to suggest that there is a good chance those who declare that homosexuality is a choice are inadvertently confessing their own homosexuality or bisexuality. For example, I’m a heterosexual and cannot imagine simply “choosing” to be gay. Short of a life sentence in prison with the world’s most attractive man as my cell mate, I just can’t see it ever happening. My sexuality feels natural and fixed to me. I don’t even think about it; it just is what it is. I could pretend to be gay and I could even have gay sexual encounters, but it would be acting, just like it is for the gay anti-gay-activists who put so much effort into pretending to be heterosexuals.
It would be nice if they could realize that everyone is not like them. Many of us are just naturally heterosexual or homosexual and cannot or will not change our “lifestyle” like they do. Unlike these sad conflicted zealots, we are who we are when it comes to sexuality.
While they may deserve the shame and scorn heaped upon them when they are exposed, ultimately one has to feel sorry for anti-gay militants, however. How terrible it must be to fight against the very thing that you are down at the deepest part of your core. In a more perfect world they simply could be themselves and live lives that are free of all that hate and internal conflict. In a perverse case of self-inflicted harm, however, they work hard to maintain the sort of societies in which they have to creep around in public rest rooms in search of satisfaction.
I encourage men who feel an irresistible urge to rage against gays to look within and seek out the source of this negative compulsion. Where is the hate coming from? Answer that question courageously and honestly and you just might find some personal calm while also making the world a little more peaceful for the rest of us. Keep in mind, your anger and your defence of discrimination harm not only the gays you call enemy but the rest of us as well. Hate slows progress and darkens the world for everyone. Please, just let it go.
Guy is the author of “Race and Reality: What Everyone Should Know About Our Biological Diversity.” Contact him at [email protected]