Preliminary results from both studies were presented to the Future of European Prevention among MSM (FEMP) conference in Stockholm last week.
While the term ‘homophobia’ is probably better known than ‘homonegativity’, a number of researchers prefer the latter as it does not suggest that negative attitudes to homosexuality and homosexuals are fundamentally driven by fear. Public expressions of homonegativity may include discriminatory laws, personal rejection by family and friends, violent attacks in public spaces, disapproval from religious authorities and hostile newspaper articles.
When gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men have negative or ambivalent feelings about their own sexuality, this is termed ‘internalised homonegativity’. It has been defined as “the gay person’s direction of negative social attitudes toward the self, leading to a devaluation of the self and poor self-regard”.
While it may seem obvious that negative social environments can create negative psychological states, the link between social factors at a country level and men’s internalised homonegativity has not been clearly demonstrated before.