Homophobia hurts everyone

_72345252_putin_afpIt’s hard to say exactly how many people in the population are gay, but it’s probable that at least 5% of men are mainly attracted to other men and at least twice that number have at some point found another man sexually attractive. So what happens in countries like Russia, or in cultures like that of poor Afro-Caribbeans, where there is a very specific expectation of how men should act and coming out as gay simply isn’t acceptable?

In these situations you must have a whole load of men who are gay but pretending not to be. A few of them will find a way to avoid the problem by becoming celibate or seeking out all-male environments like the army or prison, but most will get into relationships with women who they find at best unattractive and at worst disgusting. They will naturally be dissatisfied by this life, full of anger and further enraged by anything which reminds them of the life they secretly desire. It’s easy to see how they might be emotionally withdrawn or violent with their partners and confusing and disorienting as parents. In places where there is more homophobia there are more women who are worried that their husbands are secretly gay and of course there is really nothing that they can do about that predicament.

The societies that are produced by these kinds of ‘family values’ are similarly violent and emotionally repressed, they have high levels of drug or alcohol abuse, broken families and ideas about masculinity that in themselves prevent social change by limiting opportunities for people to break out of poverty. Homophobia is much more than merely a choice about lifestyles, it’s a conservative social disease that perpetuates itself through destructive behaviour and miserable family life.

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