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What are the evolutionary origins of homophobia?

Male coalitions tend to denigrate and exclude effeminate men because they perceive them as physically weak liabilities - argue Bo Winegard, Tania Reynolds, Roy Baumeister, and E. Ashby Plant. Homophobia does not stem from sexual disgust, but low value in armed combat. The authors begin by noting four key trends:

  1. Men (not women) are chief perpetrators of homophobic slurs and attacks;

  2. Military, construction, contact sports (i.e. male coalitions) are extremely anti-gay;

  3. Homophobia is strongest against men (not women)

  4. Effeminate gay men are especially likely to be attacked.

Historically too, effeminate men have long been slammed as 'faggots'. Although the Ancient Greeks permitted homosexuality, they nevertheless denigrated those on the receiving end. “Real men” were perpetrators and protagonists.

This all goes back to evolution. For millennia, men have banded together to protect and consolidate their turf. We've been using projectile weapons for over 50,000 years. Men who built successful coalitions were obviously favoured by evolution. Losers left no trace.

So how did men become victorious? By joining forces with other strong men.

Now here's where the homophobia kicks in. Effeminate men tend to be perceived as physically weak. This triggers anti-gay prejudice, especially when it comes to combative sports.

This is a ground-breaking theory of homophobia! It helps explain one of the fastest social shifts in human history, the rapid rise of support for gay marriage.

Pew Research, 2013

Before now, others speculated things like:

The authors differ! They argue that as societies become peaceful and prosperous, men no longer need violent male coalitions in order to gain prestige. Instead they can ally with women or even even effeminate men. Now, if we look around the world, we see that's not quite right. The Gulf is dripping in oil wealth, stability and homophobia. Latin America has high crime, middling wealth, but surpasses Russia on LGBTQ. Clearly there are mediating factors - like female employment, religion and democracy. Caveats aside, the authors are onto something brilliant. Their emphasis on physically violent coalitions also explains Western pockets of persisted homophobia, i.e. the military, construction, and combat sports. Rap is especially anti-gay. I suggest this is because it celebrates the culture of America's inner cities. Where men join gangs for organised physical combat, they remain exceptionally homophobic.

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Unknown member
Mar 04, 2023

Bo Winegard, Tania Reynolds etc? is this for real? You are platforming far right extremely misogynistic and racist "scholars"? You should be ashamed.

Bo Winegard have literally expressed support for pedophilia.


Saud Akhtar
Saud Akhtar
Feb 08, 2023



Unknown member
Jan 28, 2023

I like the materialist and institutionalist approaches to gender relations that you are applying. However, I think it is important to draw some lessons from the constructionist perspective as well. Perceptions about sexuality and gender vary greatly. Effeminate man is not the same as homosexual. In many warrior cultures of the past, sexual acts between men were widely accepted or even encouraged. The "homosexual" label is quite recent. Finally, there are historical and global variations in ways of dealing with what we now consider "effeminate" men, as well as variations in gender norms regarding masculinity and femininity - i.e. what is a legitimate "man".


Unknown member
Jan 27, 2023

This conforms with what I've long known from introspection. If I'm heading out with a posse to hunt wooly mammoths, I want to know that the rest of my band will pull their weight. I've also long noticed my compulsion, as a slightly built man, to conspicuously outperform on physical tasks with groups of men. I'm proffering reassurance that I'm a worthy colleague.

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