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Doing research on Homophobia

Describe Homophobia and the research methods a social psychologist might use to approach Homophobia . In the description about Homophobia, include the variables that might be of interest, and an explanation of how examining Homophobia and using a social psychological approach would differ from other ways of approaching the topic. Then, explain why Homophobia should be studied scientifically, versus using a common sense approach. Provide references and citations please

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The definition of Homophobia is commonly defined as an unreasoning fear of homosexuals. This definition is the commonly accepted definition; however, within this definition is the key term unreasoning. It is from this view point we will begin our assessment of homophobia. Consider this statement on the issue of homophobia and how it continues to propagate:

...dereality breeds further dereality because homophobia flourishes in the climate of ignorance bred by the homophobia itself. It is the rare bigot who seeks to discover the truth about his or her subject. Indeed being bigoted virtually requires avoiding the objects of one's bigotry, so that eventually there is no first-hand knowledge of the subject anywhere to be found. While there are myths or stereotypes about straights -- for example, the myth of the hypersexual construction worker, or the hypo sexual nerdy intellectual -- at least some of what most straight people know about other straights is based on direct observation. But for homophobes often the only information they have about gays and lesbians is from newspapers and other secondary sources. As a result what they know about gays and lesbians they get from tabloids, which speak only about the things gays and lesbians do that are considered to be newsworthy -- which is, thankfully, behavior that is atypical for most gays and lesbians. (Kantor, 1998, p. 4)
This excerpt is interesting in that in most commonly observed social situations when men or women are pretending to be homosexual they almost always act either feminine in mannerisms when mimicking the man or masculine when mimicking the female. However, many homosexuals do not exhibit this behavior based on the social stigma and prejudices regarding homosexuality.

There are several different characteristic types of homophobes and there are variables as and categories of homophobes as exampled below:

Grandiose and narcissistic homophobes are know-it-alls who think they have all the answers, even in situations where the experts disagree. For example, they are certain that homosexuality is an illness, though while a few experts believe it to be an illness, most believe otherwise and see it as a lifestyle variant, a personal preference, an alternative biological predisposition, or even part of a sociopolitical movement. As the unattributed article, "Activists Are Targeted in Bishop's Excommunication Order" ( 1996) puts it, here referring to bishops who discriminate against gays and lesbians, grandiose people "exercise monarchal authority in a democratic society [and] lay claim to possession of a singular and universal truth in a secular age rife with religious and cultural diversity" (p. A9). (Kantor, 1998, p. 4)

Other homophobes are prone to reason implicitly. While many homophobes have (knowingly or unknowingly) met a homosexual personally, few have gotten to know one well, so that their ideas about gays and lesbians rarely come from experience with actual gays and lesbians. Instead, what information homophobes do not get about gays and lesbians from secondary sources such as newspapers and television (featuring rumors and myths of the moment), they get implicitly, as they reason ...

Solution Summary

The topic of homophobia and research methods that can be utilised to study it from a social psychologists' perspective is discussed in this solution.