Queer Ear for the Straight Clinician: Homophobia

As I work on my third book, "Gay Affirmative Therapy for the Straight Clinician: The Essential Guide", I am offering some of my thoughts and research as sneak previews of what will be coming with this book for clinicians.

Assessment of Personal Homophobia

Homophobia, an unrealistic fear of gays/lesbians, affects all of us in this culture – straight and gay alike. It’s characterized by a generalized negative attitude towards homosexuals, if not outright feelings of hatred. Gays and lesbians experience internalized homophobia as a result of growing up in a culture that allows/encourages discrimination against homosexuals. Internalized homophobia can cause or contribute to lowered self-esteem, intense shame, chemical dependency, and a generalized alienation from one’s true self.

Whether you are gay or straight, spend a little time with the questionnaire below. There are no ‘correct’ answers – just what is true for you.

This survey was adapted from the work of A.E. Moses & R. D. Hawkins, Jr.

1. Do you stop yourself from doing or saying certain things because someone might think you’re gay? If yes, what kinds of things?

2. Do you ever intentionally do or say things so that people will think you are NOT gay? Like what?

3. Do you believe gays/lesbians can influence others to become homosexual? Do you think someone could influence you to change your sexual and affectational preference? Do you believe homosexuality can be imprinted on children and thus influence their orientation?

4. If you are a parent (straight or gay), how would you (or do you) feel about having a gay child?

5. How do you think you would feel if you discovered that one of your parents, parent figures, or siblings were gay or lesbian?

6. Are there any jobs, positions or professions that you think lesbians/gays should be barred from holding or entering? If yes, which ones and why?

7. If someone you care about were to say to you, “I think I’m gay”, would you suggest that person see a therapist?

8. Have you ever been to a gay/lesbian bar, social club, party or march? If not, why?

9. Would you wear a button that says, “How dare you assume I’m Heterosexual”?.

10. Can you think of three positive aspects of being gay? Three negative things?

11. Have you ever laughed at a “queer” joke?

©2009 by Joe Kort

Related: Issues, Books

Psychotherapist Joe Kort, MA, MSW, has been in practice since 1985. He specializes in Gay Affirmative Psychotherapy as well as IMAGO Relationship Therapy, which is a specific program involving communication exercises designed for couples to enhance their relationship and for singles to learn relationship skills. He also specializes in sexual addiction, childhood sexual, physical and emotional abuse, depression and anxiety. He offers workshops for couples and singles. He runs a gay men's group therapy and a men's sexuality group therapy for straight, bi and gay men who are struggling with specific sexual issues. His therapy services are for gays and lesbians as well as heterosexuals. His articles and columns have appeared in The Detroit Free Press, Between the Lines Newspaper for Gays and Lesbians, The Detroit News, The Oakland Press, The Royal Oak Mirror, and other publications. Besides providing therapy for individuals and couples, he conducts a number of groups and workshops for gay men. Now an adjunct professor teaching Gay and Lesbian Studies at Wayne State University's School of Social Work, he is doing more writing and workshops on a national level. He is the author of 10 Smart Things Gay Men can do to Improve Their Lives and 10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do to Find Real Love. or E-Mail

* Gaydar (gay'.dahr, n.): (1) The ability that lets gays and lesbians identify one other. (2) This column--where non-gay readers can improve their gaydar, learning more about gay men's psychology and social lives. Also, (3) a regular feature where gay readers can discover the many questions and hassles their straight counterparts--and themselves--must face!

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