With the recent attacks at a Florida LGBT nightclub, one can't help but wonder why anyone would do something so terrible and inhumane. The recent development that Omar Mateen, the gunman, was a regular at the Pulse nightclub and used gay dating apps leaves us with more questions than actual answers.
But researchers at the University of Rochester in New York, the University of California, and the University of Essex may bring some light to this tragedy.
After examining four different studies from the U.S. and Germany about homophobia as an "external manifestation of sexual desire," resesarchers discovered that many homophobes who claim to be straight may actually be gay themselves.
In psychological tests, those who claim to be straight tend to show a strong attraction to a person of the same sex. However, external factors such as growing up in super-conservative households that forbid such desires may contribute to these findings.
"Those people who have such discrepancies, who have really a split between their unconscious attraction and what they consciously say about themselves, are more likely to come from authoritarian homes," said Richard Ryan, a psychology professor at the University of Rochester.
University of Essex professor Netta Weinstein believes that these homophobes feel threatened by gays and lesbians because they remind themselves of their own often forbidden desires.
In the case of Mateen, this is a possible answer to his rampage that resulted in the death of at least 49 people.
According to a report in The Telegraph, a frequent club goer, Ty Smith, told the press that Mateen "would go over in the corner and sit and drink by himself, and other times he would get so drunk he was loud and belligerent."
Smith also claimed that Mateen had talked about his father a few times, and that he had a wife and kids.
Whether the reasons for the Orlando shooting are related to this study or not, it's a tragedy that should be mourned. A tragedy that will hopefully open more conversations about acceptance of the LGBT community.