Homophobia is a negative attitude toward homosexual people. Some authors have often defined homophobia as an irrational fear either of contact with homosexual people or of one's own suppressed homosexuality. Social scientists however claim that homophobia is a typical prejudice. Series of three studies investigated relation between homophobia and anxiety. Personality trait anxiety proved not helpful as a predictor of homophobia level. Homosexual person's category activation also evoked no stronger state of anxiety in more homophobic subjects as compared to the less prejudiced ones. These results suggest that homophobia cannot be equated with anxiety. The latter might be, but doesn't have to be, only one of elements of affective component of prejudice against gay men and lesbians. Reactions to anticipated physical or emotional contact with homosexual person and to sexual advances from a person of the same or the other sex were also compared. Subjects were more fearful of contact with homosexual person of the same than the other sex, which suggests presence of fear of the situation becoming perceived as erotic by the homosexual person. Subjects were also more fearful of sexual advances from a person of the same than of the other sex. In men differences obtained were greater, which can be explained with different cultural influences on men and women in the western society.
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