Question for straight men regarding homophobia.

This came up in another part of the internet I frequent, and I’m curious to know what you guys think. I’m aware this is not a scientific poll, and that Dopers tend to lean leftward, I just want some outside perspectives. (Also, all of the participants in the other discussion are women, and I’d like to hear what men think.)

What’s the question?

Look again - I didn’t realize it would post before I had the poll ready. Sorry about the confusion.

BTW, the context in which the conversation takes place is within the United States, but non-American perspectives are welcome.

I think “typical” highly depends on demographic variables more fine-grained than simply living in the U.S. (e.g., by age, by where you live, and so on).

Maybe my group of friends is weird or abnormal, but of my guy friends, we have one out-of-the-closet gay guy and we have no problems with him. He’ll even share his experiences dealing with the crazy guys he meets when we’re all together telling stories of the crazy girls we’ve all met and/or dated. Nothing weird at all.

I know it’s very vague, but I really want to know people’s own subjective impressions. Objectivity is not the goal.

I am pretty confident that being gay is not an attribute that affects my level of comfort or discomfort around gay men… however there are immature and annoying gay men (especially younger men) who are just as bad as immature and annoying straight men, or worse. But I’m generally unphased by a person who “acts” gay, or I know/suspect to be gay. And I think most gay men sense that and seem to like me (as a person, not necessarily sexually, although I can’t really know what they’re thinking…), which doesn’t phase me either. In a way, it’s kind of flattering.

My answer’s a little complex. I don’t have a problem with gay men. Most of my friends are from my church, which is very gay-friendly and known for that. Obviously that’s a self-sorting group, so the fact that none of my real buddies are homophobes is to be expected. But the guys I know at work (none of whom I’d call friend) come off as quite homophobic. Of course if I knew them better, I might know better.

I picked the “No, and that’s typical”, because I think that’s true of the circles I run in, but I also think there are circles that it’s not true of, even within the mainstream, so to speak; even among my friends, of similar age and location and so on as me, I’ve known some (generally, more religious ones, if that counts for anything) who’ve explicitly noted their own discomfort around gay people. I also think there are small ways in which I have occasionally exhibited minor awkwardness in the past, but I did not feel they rose to the level of making me answer “Yes”.

I’m okay with them in theory-but once they start to hit on me that’s it game over I’m out of there.

The only thing that makes me squirmy is when two men are swapping spit in public. It seems to violate some biologic imperative in me. I don’t really care to watch a guy and a girl making out in public, either, but I don’t get skeeved out by it. Otherwise, no, gay men don’t bother me.

I live outside the US. Finland to be exact. Personally, I have nothing against homosexuals. In fact I suspect that one of my best male friends is a closeted one, since just about the only subject we don’t talk much about is women. He has this weird relationship with a much older lady, and it has occured to me that she might be his beard. His father is very old-fashioned, and my friend might be staying in the closet because of him.

I’ve been hit on by a gay man twice, and being weirded out was my main reaction. The situation was just so alien that my brain just basically froze up and I didn’t know how to react.

It’s difficult to judge how tolerant the Finnish males are of gays in general. I’d say that it depends on where they live. The capital, and coastal cities tend to be more open minded places, as usual, since the population there has had more contact with different kinds of people in the past, and therefore have tended to absorb new influences faster. Subjectively, I’d say that there’s very little outright hostility towards homosexuals here. More commonly they’re the target of mostly good natured jokes, or people just react with “Why would you do that?”-kind of disbelief. Of course, much like in the States, there are christian sects(namely the Laestadians here) and just outright hicks who condemn homosexuality as evil.

I picked the ‘No, and I think my reaction is not typical of straight men.’ option. There’s still a lot of casual homophobia (juvenile descriptions of unpalatable things as “gay” or “homo”), dismissal of well known homosexuals due to their sexuality and whatnot. That’s just one childish aspect of homophobia, but it is ubiquitous among idiots.

More seriously, I think it comes down to a basic ‘squick’ factor (like Chefguy mentions, although with a hostile reaction) that men feel when they see other men display physical affection for each other, which can make people very uncomfortable, in a physical sense. Why this occurs I don’t know, but it could be simple reaction to the unfamiliar, cultural sensibilities, or even some evolutionary mechanism at work. Who knows.

In my experience there’s also a fairly common ‘macho’ reaction to homosexuality, the “backs to the walls lads!” kind of idea. That being homosexual makes you less of a man, or even a complete joke. Again, probably ignorance and hostility to the unknown. A lot of men are uncomfortable because they imagine that every homosexual wants to bum them, which makes as much sense as every straight woman wanting them.

No doubt my experience would be different in more…cosmopolitan areas.

Not only am I not uncomfortable around gay men, I have gay friends who hit on me. I find it very flattering. I love having my ego fluffed every now and then.

When people my age (20s) call something gay or homosexual we mean it as a synonym for “lame”. The same way when you old timers called someone a square, you did not mean they were an equal-sided rectangle.

“homosexual” is a rather odd word to use as a synonym for “lame” if you don’t intend any connotations of disparagement towards homosexuality.

I chose the fourth option, bearing in mind that straight men are not a monolithic group. While I’d wager that most of my straight male friends are comfortable around gay men, that’s probably not typical on, say, a worldwide scale.

Well, even ‘square’ was not chosen completely arbitrarily. Wiki says on the slang term that "In the counterculture movements that started in the 1940s and took momentum in the 1960s a “square” referred to someone who clung to repressive, traditional, stereotypical, one-sided, or “in the box” "

My point exactly, like the use of ‘square’ the use of ‘homo/gay’ to disparage can’t be dismissed as completely random and unconnected to homophobia. By way of analogy, imagine if a slang term ‘Mexican’ came to mean something negative, in the context of ‘that’s so Mexican’, or ‘he’s such a Mexican’ - used to disparage. I’d wager that a citizen of Mexico would take issue, and be justified in doing so.

See my above post about my feelings regarding homosexuals.

That being said, I describe things as gay. So do my gay friends.