Have you ever wondered what motivates people who are rampant homophobes? What lies behind the desperate attempts of some people to prove their heterosexuality by denying freedom to others based on their sexual orientation?
It’s actually supported by scientific evidence that a major cause of homophobia is the desire to repress unacknowledged or unwanted homosexual feelings. In August 1996 the American Psychological Association did a study in which they used penile plethysmography (basically the technological measurement of hard ons) to “precisely measure and record male tumescence” of men who were avowedly straight’s reactions to to erotic images. Some of the men were professed homophobes, and some were not, who acted as a control group. The homophobic group basically got a lot more aroused by gay imagery than the control group. Questioned afterwards, the homophobes consistently underrated how much they responded to homosexuality.
One group of activists even cleverly wrote to homophobic MPs who voted against equalising the age of consent for homosexual and heterosexual sex, and challenged them to take the same test of their knob’s reaction to gay stimuli.
Basically, the homophobes experienced severe anxiety and a sense of threat from gay images, which the non-homophobic control group did not. While this is in many ways tragic, and would lead us to the conclusion that many homophobes need help and support to come to terms with themselves and their own feelings, it doesn’t give an excuse for some of the truly awful things people do as a result of that anxiety.
There are many cases of prominent and powerful people who were driving a homophobic agenda in religion, politics or society in general who were actually gay themselves. While this self-loathing is tragic, the harm that these people do to the rights and freedoms of others is inexcusable. To celebrate today’s gay pride march, Leftfield brings you a selection of some of the world’s greatest sexual hypocrites (apologies for them all being American, if you’d like us help expand our list to the UK and around the world then give us some extras in the comments!):
1) Pastor Tom Brock, a Lutheran clergyman from Minnieapolis, who is a local radio personality, and broadcasts his homophobic, extreme Christian viewpoints most days of the week. Pastor Brock most famously blamed a tornado that hit a church and convention centre in the city on gay marriage:
However, he’s been a bit less vocal on the fact that a magazine infiltrated his gay “chastity” support group, where participants used a version of the 12 step programme to try and “resist” their sexual urges. At the group, Brock admitted that on a “preaching mission” to Slovakia he “fell into temptation.”
“I was weak. That place has this really, really weird, demonic energy. I just got weak, and I had been so good for a long time. Things had been going so well for a long time. There’s a lot of gypsies there.”
Brock, who’s also frequently publicly racist, continued: “They’re toothless, filthy; they smell, stink; and the gypsies are trained in how to pick your pocket.”
After he was exposed, the church put him on “administrative leave” while they investigated him. Some attacked the magazine for infiltrating what was supposed to be a private group. If it were really a group trying to help people with genuinely destructive or dangerous behaviour, that might be right. But the fact is this group was a Christian propaganda group teaching gay men to hate themselves. And the magazine didn’t expose anyone’s identity, apart from the Pastor. As they put it themselves:
“Lavender Magazine as a matter of policy do not believe in outing anyone. People are allowed to be crazy and dysfunctional in their lives. There’s one exception: a public figure who says one thing and does another. This is not the first homosexual minister who denounces homosexuality in public and engages in it in private.”
They’re right, and every time one of these prominent closet homophobes is exposed, the less likely another will come along to make others suffer for their own sexual anxiety.
The 100% straight George Rekers
2) George Rekers, a Baptist Minister, helped found the extreme right wing Family Research Council, one of the leading political perpetrators of homophobia in the US. Rekers is the author of such catchy titles as ‘Growing Up Straight: What Families Should Know About Homosexuality.’ The council “promote the traditional family unit and the Judeo-Christian value system on which it is built,” and have used their influence to push political candidates in the US to take up homophobic positions, which have negatively impacted on the lives of millions of LGBT people. You can read some of the organisation’s homophobic statements here, including their call to “export” homosexuality from the USA.
Well, George has been doing some exporting of homosexuality of his own, after he was caught taking a rent boy on holiday in Europe with him. The young man was hired via a rent boy website, where his profile apparently boasted about his penis. However, Rekers claimed he’d been unaware that he worked as a prostitute until midway through the trip, although he didn’t deny hiring him via the site (?!), which has sexually explicit images on its homepage.
Rekers claimed that he’d had surgery and was unable to lift his bags, so had hired the man as an assistant. Perhaps one of the lamest excuses we have ever heard.
As one activist put it: “While he keeps a low public profile, his [Rekers'] fingerprints are on almost every anti-gay effort to demean and dehumanize LGBT people. His work is ubiquitously cited by lobby groups that work to deny equality to LGBT Americans. Rekers has caused a great deal of harm to gay and lesbian individuals.”
Rekers arrives back in the US with his rent boy "baggage assistant"
3) Ted Haggard was the founder of several different evangelical churches, and part of the elite group of evangelical preachers that had direct access to the White House during the Presidency of George W. Bush. What the President didn’t know was that Haggard was also leading a secret life in which he had sex with a male prostitute while they both got fucked on crystal meth.
Haggard prays to God for more crystal meth and cock
Haggard’s downfall came, appropriately enough, after he appeared on publicly denouncing gay marriage, and the man he’d been having sex with realised his true identity. Mike Jones said: “It made me angry that here’s someone preaching against gay marriage and going behind the scenes having gay sex. I had to expose the hypocrisy. He is in the position of influence of millions of followers, and he’s preaching against gay marriage. But behind everybody’s back [he's] doing what he’s preached against.”
Initially Haggard said that Jones was a liar, and that all the allegations were untrue. However, soon afterwards he admitted in private that they were substantially true and resigned from his position. But that doesn’t mean he’s disappeared from public life. After receiving a $138,000 goodbye package from his church, he went on making cash from continued books and TV appearances, netting him about $200,000 a year. On top of that, he appealed to followers for donations to allow him to “pursue a degree in counselling.”
4) Republican Florida State Representative Bob Allen took his voting orders from right wing Christian homophobic groups like the Christian Coalition (founded by Pat ‘Knobhead‘ Robertson). He dedicated his political career to pushing anti-gay legislation. Which made things a bit awkward for him when he was caught offering a man a blowjob and $20 in a public park toilet, who then turned out to be an undercover police officer.
His amazing excuse? He was suffering from “confusion”, but had offered the cash and the oral sex because he was “scared of black people” and “didn’t want to become a statistic.” Words fail us.
"Confused" Bob Allen in his mugshot
5) Republican Senator Larry Craig really takes the biscuit for outrageous excuses though. He had had a dependable record of voting and speaking against any extension of gay rights in Congress. However, he was then arrested on suspicion of “lewd conduct” after a police officer accused him of soliciting for sex in a public toilet.
His counter-argument? He had been bending over to pick up a piece of paper, and merely had a “wide stance”, which had caused his intentions to be misinterpreted. However, he went on to plead guilty in court, pay a fine and resign from his Senatorial seat.
That’s it for just now, but we’ll probably be coming back to update this when we have more time to uncover dangerous hypocrites. Feel free to add your suggestions!