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On the Limits of Schadenfreude

Jim Burroway

May 6th, 2010

So what does it really mean when, much to our short-lived delight, we learn that yet another gay basher is actually gay?

“This happens again and again, but do we ever sit down and wonder why it happens?” asks LGBT media expert Cathy Renna. There is the obvious chatter—the person is full of self-hate, is ashamed, is overcompensating to hide his homosexuality. But the true effect of that overcompensation can be dire. “There is an insidious and horrible impact of internalized homophobia. I have no problem pinning someone like Rekers as the kind of person who is responsible for the suicides of young LGBT people, and he’s hired a rent boy?”

…There’s another pop-psychology element to the delight as well, says [UC Davis psychology professor Gregory Herek, a leading U.S. specialist in homophobia]. “There is this notion, one which I try to dispel, which is that people who hold strong antigay positions are always secretly gay.” Herek says to the extent that there is empirical data on the subject, there is no evidence this is true. But when people like Rekers get exposed, it fuels that pop psychology. “People get that ‘Aha!’ feeling, and take those few examples as confirmation of what is not usually true.”

Comments

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John in the Bay Area
May 6th, 2010 | LINK

I think that there is a difference between those who are anti-gay and those who absolutely dedicate their lives to the anti-gay cause. It really makes no sense for anyone to become obsessed with anti-gay activism. That just isn’t normal regardless of your politics or religion.

Paul in Canada
May 6th, 2010 | LINK

”There is this notion, one which I try to dispel, which is that people who hold strong antigay positions are always secretly gay.” Herek says to the extent that there is empirical data on the subject, there is no evidence this is true. ”

RUBBISH!!!

Paul in Canada
May 6th, 2010 | LINK

No one said all anti-gays are secretly gay. What a rediculous comment to make. Stay focused on the issue: Reker.

He needs to admit his fraud, and apologize to the LBGTQ community as well as the anti-gay community he now has both so recklessly destroyed.

He needs to now go quietly into the night and ask God for mercy on his soul and the strength to travel a very long road to self-acceptance and forgiveness.

Jim Burroway
May 6th, 2010 | LINK

Paul in Canada,

Dr. Herek has published more than three dozen articles over the past two decades in peer-reviewed journal on the study of homophobia. I would venture to guess that there is no greater authority on the subject. Instead of shouting a juvenile “RUBBISH”, how about providing evidence to the contrary?

Mark F.
May 6th, 2010 | LINK

”There is this notion, one which I try to dispel, which is that people who hold strong antigay positions are always secretly gay.”

That’s a straw man. Who seriously holds this position? But there is evidence that at least a fair number of people who hold antigay positions are gay themselves.

RJ West
May 7th, 2010 | LINK

Heh, heh, heh… I can’t believe the tone of high-handed seriousness in these comments! Am I the only one who knows what a piss the compiler (burroway… even sounds like a joke-name) of this little blurb is taking? It’s IRONY and SARCASM, people. Look it up in a dictionary, you twits.

Ed W
May 7th, 2010 | LINK

I bet the percentage of self-loathing closet cases amongst the professional anti-gay crowd is way greater than the general population of casual bigots. Not many straight guys would last long in a job that calls for obsessing over man-on-man sex.

Regan DuCasse
May 7th, 2010 | LINK

John in the Bay Area,
I have to give you props for your point.

I started wondering about that once I became more informed about the KINDS of people who are part of organizations that are EXCLUSIVELY anti gay, yet invariably have the word ‘family’ in the titles of their orgs.

Essentially, there is nothing about being homosexual that poses any physical, spiritual, intellectual or emotional harm to heteros OR homosexual people.

But it’s EASIEST to spread fear, misinformation and exacerbate stereotypes. That’s all.
That it’s wrong, they don’t HAVE to care about that.
What WOULD finally compel these people to stop doing it?

The deaths of children like Lawrence King or Carl Walker-Hoover doesn’t move them.
The violent, brutal and torturous deaths of Scotty Joe Weaver or Sakia Gunn doesn’t either.

The suicides of countless young people has no interest to them, except to be in denial of the roots and causation of it being a hostile, misguided social environment that pressures a gay person NOT to be.

And the ONLY reason of necessity for these groups is ideological.
Which will make it intractable too.

The obsession with keeping gay people in this discipline against their will is very strange, because how THEY want to define homosexuality, has no basis in psychiatric or medical evidence.

I remember seeing a clip of a comedian who is just as baffled, he quipped “it’s not like homosexuals are being gay AT you!”

But the same cannot be said for religious people within NARTH, Exodus and so on.
They most definitely are being Christian AT gay people.
And gay people ONLY on condition that gay people lose everyday civil freedoms and protections.

I don’t agree that someone this obsessed has to be gay themselves.
But it IS very weird to what degree, how much expense and how much political energy is spent on it.
It’s safe to say this hasn’t stirred people up as much SINCE racial integration was at issue during the 60’s.

I was just reading in the LATimes about a village in Sudan that expects tall women to fetch more cows. In other words, this is a tradition still among some cultures and the females have no say.
I was reading through a book called, “My Name Is Nujood-I’m ten years old and I want a divorce.”
Which puts a spotlight on the child brides of Middle Eastern and Middle Asian cultures.

In spite of what these ‘thousands of years of traditional marriage’ mavens are always talking about.
These books and articles I’m referencing are actually closer to what traditional marriage has ‘always been.’
Not the egalitarian, mutual adult consent examples it’s been for the last half century.

I’d have a LOT more respect for these people if they were fiercely engaged in stopping domestic violence, and examined the psychological and social things that cause it or can prevent or stop it.

Considering how many women and children are murdered in domestic violence, or how many people are incarcerated for it, this obsession with keeping gay people from becoming married members of society is actually, pretty stupid.
And wasteful.

Rekers, DID do a lot of damage and fed the fat supremacist values of the hierarchy in FRC.
Shame on the pack of them.

Ben in Oakland
May 11th, 2010 | LINK

Regan– you are getting at what I am hoping to write about here, I hope I have timne to write.

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