More than ever before, heated public policy debates over sexual orientation point to a critical need for a clearer understanding of lesbians and gay men. Empirically rich and intellectually rigorous, Lesbian and Gay Psychology presents innovative empirical studies that explore the children of lesbians, internalized homophobia, lesbian and gay development, and aspects of relationship quality of cohabitating couples. Theoretical analyses of physical appearance, issues of sexual pride and shame in lesbians, impact of the feminist political movement, and heterosexual attitudes are also provided. A chapter on boundary issues in a lesbian therapist/client relationship adds to the diversity of perspectives contained in this volume. The accessible format and clear writing style contribute to making Lesbian and Gay Psychology an ideal resource for practitioners, interns, social service professionals and students. Anyone interested in seeking a deeper level of understanding into the complexities and subtleties of the lesbian and gay community will also find this volume an invaluable resource. “Using a ‘lesbigay’ affirmative perspective, this book takes us successfully toward the goal of building a theoretical and empirical knowledge base for understanding and improving the lives of lesbians and gay men. … I appreciated the variety of styles, approaches, and topics that the editors chose for this volume because it is this variety, as well as the content, that provokes the discussion and the evaluation of the concepts and research. This reviewer will be waiting and looking forward to future annual volumes.” --Affilia “All of the contributors have broken ground in one way or another with their work, and this volume helpfully brings them together while also pointing us further ahead conceptually.” --The Lesbian Review of Books
Chapter 10: Internalized Homophobia: Conceptual and Empirical Issues in Measurement
Internalized Homophobia: Conceptual and Empirical Issues in Measurement
The construct of internalized homophobia can serve as a central organizing concept for a gay and lesbian affirmative psychology. There are several reasons why this construct is significant. First, the internalization of homophobia is a developmental event experienced to varying degrees by almost all lesbians and gay men raised in a heterosexist and antigay society (Forstein, 1988; George & Behrendt, 1988; Gonsiorek, 1988; Sophie, 1988).
Second, internalized homophobia is often an important cause of psychological distress in lesbians and gay men (American Psychological Association, 1991; Gonsiorek, 1982; Malyon, 1982). Third, reduction of internalized homophobia can be considered an important measure of the success of therapies and prevention efforts with lesbians and ...