It was a horrific sound–like a watermelon cracking–as a teenage boy with a baseball bat hit a gay man in the back of his head.
Homosexual hating boys swarmed Washington Square Park that summer evening in the 1970's, taking it upon themselves to "wipe out fags."
I was just a kid at the time, but It always struck me that these young, fit, gang-boys, dressed in white muscle tees and tight blue jeans, were so obsessed with hating the gay men whose Christopher Street style they emulated.
A new study documents the role that parenting and hidden sexual orientation plays in gay-phobia. It's the first of its kind to explain some of the deeper psychological dynamics behind bullying and gay hate crimes. It suggests that intense homophobic reactions are more pronounced in people with unacknowledged attractions to members of the same sex.
This is especially true if they were raised by authoritarian parents who react strongly against homosexuality. People who identify as straight, but have visceral fears of homosexuals, homophobic attitudes, open hostilities and enthusiastic endorsement of anti-gay policies may actually be waging a sexual orientation war within themselves. Phobic hatred may be a projection of hidden and confused parts at war with familial attitudes, morals, pressures and beliefs.
The bottom line: The findings suggest that if people are feeling intense reactions to any out-group, they may best be served by looking inside of themselves for those hated tendencies first.