Are you a Homosexual Masochist? by Joe Kort
Since writing my book, “10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do To Improve Their Lives” in August, 2003 I have had the opportunity to travel across the country meeting gay men. I have to admit I was taken by surprise that my book sold so well in places like Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.
As a Mid-western man from Detroit Michigan, I thought my book would be more helpful to gay men in more conservative areas. However when I was at the Different Light Bookstore in the heart of San Francisco, I asked the men who came to my booksigning, “Why do you think this book has done so well out here? In a community where you are living openly gay lives, holding hands on the streets, with gay life all around you on billboards, street corners and even in party stores selling gay magazines as if gay life were just mainstream – what did I say that reached you?” They surprised me by reminding me, “Joe, you have to remember, we didn’t come from here. Your book reminded us of the internalized homophobia we still carry that is unresolved from where we came from.”
Wow! That made total sense. Most of these men fled the homophobic and heterosexist places they came from for this freedom, but still had unresolved issues. My book offered them a way to finish them.
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 learn to be homophobic toward each other was well and then turn it onto themselves. The very thing we grew up learning to hate is inside us. The enemy is within. We 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. It truly is homosexual masochism!
Whether you are gay or straight, spend a little time answering the questionnaire below. There are no “correct” answers—just what is true for you.
This survey was developed by A.E. Moses & R. D. Hawkins, Jr. and I have further adapted it:
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 affectional preference?
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?
12. Do you think it is wrong to live in a “gay ghetto”? If so why? What about Jewish individuals who prefer to live in Jewish neighborhoods, or Arab-Americans who prefer to live in primarily Arabic neighborhoods, etc. Do you have the same reaction to them?