Gay bashing is a cultural thing. Gay bashing is also about sex role stereotyping.
My first college experience was at a fundamentalist college. I’m not going to hell because I was in hell for two years at that college (besides I don’t believe in hell anyway). I managed to survive and I’m a stronger person. In that college I saw a whole lot of hate directed at anyone who was gay or who didn’t meet the sex role stereotyping of male or female. Of course, I was never accepted because only my mother was a member of the church, so I was always one of the “odd” ones in college. My father was also active duty military, meaning that I was a full fledged military brat and an expert at being a “participant observer”.
The military wa/is also another gay hating/gash bashing culture. Both the fundies and military have so many examples of cultural sex role extremes: Ultra feminine housewives and ultra macho – tough guy males. I came from two cultures where I was exposed to homophobia — and their hating is foreign to me. It could be because I was always the other — the not normal the outsider — that I developed great empathy for other outsiders?
After my two years of hell I went to public colleges in California. I have degrees in Psychology and Anthropology. The professor I took Abnormal Psychology from was light years ahead of most psychologists of his day, he was also one of the fathers of Sports Psychology. He told his classes that although male macho professional athletes are the ultimate in what is considered masculine/maleness — many of these fine athletes are also gay. At the same time some males who appear to be soft or not very macho and who might meet the stereotype of gay — these men were not gay at all. This professor brought gays into the classroom so that they could tell us about what it was like trying to live their lives in a culture that hated them. Cops were not friends of gays and all the men said that they had been abused by cops. Bashing gays was a cop sport. Cops are considered very macho and yet we know that there are gay cops. I wonder how many gay cops have joined the gay bashing — fearful that if they didn’t bash gays they might be outed?
Ironic isn’t it that the fundies and radical right conservatives want control of education and that they bash “liberal” professors. Haters want to keep the next generation of haters coming.
PBS Frontline has produced a program about gay bashing called, Assault on Gay America. It is an in depth examination of the Who and whys of Gay bashing.