How people cloak their homophobia (and racism, for that matter)
Very interesting article in Pacific Standard by Bettina Chang:
Earlier this month, gay rights advocates cheered as seven couples in North Dakota filed suit against the last un-challenged gay marriage ban in the United States. The marriage equality tide is turning, and although gay men and women are still far from obtaining equal rights across the country, American attitudes toward marriage equality have evolved faster than most other policy issues this decade.
As anti-gay attitudes become socially unacceptable, researchers expect to see them replaced with a subtle form of discrimination that has long been the dominant form of racism and sexism. As Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote cogently at The Atlantic, “Elegant racism is invisible, supple, and enduring. It disguises itself in the national vocabulary, avoids epithets and didacticism.”
Researchers Mark R. Hoffarth and Gordon Hodson at Brock University in Canada published a paper in the latest Personality and Individual Differences that reveals claims of “conflicted” or “mixed” feelings toward gays as an elegant homophobia.
The participants were 185 Canadian heterosexual undergraduate students with low overall levels of overt anti-gay bias. They completed surveys measuring their subjective ambivalence (e.g. “How conflicted do you feel in your attitudes toward gay men/lesbians?”), attitudes toward gays and lesbians, various beliefs linked with anti-gay prejudice (e.g. right-wing conservatism, religious fundamentalism), and support for gay rights.
As researchers predicted, higher levels of ambivalence were consistently associated with stronger anti-gay bias across almost all measures. Ambivalence was not associated with positive beliefs at all, and it was negatively correlated with gay rights support.