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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -A controversial new study suggests people who are overly homophobic are probably just hiding their own same-sex desires. The study out of Germany started with a question about a rumor.
"So essentially we were looking at whether or not this idea that gets pushed around in talking, that the people who are most homophobic are the ones who are a little bit gay themselves," explained William Ryan, a researcher for the study.
The study surveyed 160 people in Germany and New York. They were asked to identify their sexual orientation on a 1-10 scale, one being completely straight and 10 being completely gay.
The people who indicated they were a "one" and also said in a second question that had some sexual attraction to the same gender were found to be the most homophobic.
The study shows it starts at home.
"Parents and the home environment play a very important role in people coming to accept themselves and it's not so much that these people are necessarily gay, but that they have some level of same-sex attraction that they aren't willing to admit to themselves or to others," Ryan said.
Because they aren't willing to admit some amount of homosexuality, they want to put down the group to make themselves feel better. That comes out in homophobia.
Ryan said going into the study he and fellow researchers were under the impression that males would have more homophobic tendencies than females, but the study actually shows that it's about even.
The research is made up of four studies. It took about three years to complete. The study was published in the April edition of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Click here for more on the study.
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