It’s practically a cliche at this point that those who publicly (and harshly) oppose marriage equality, or even queerness at a fundamental level, likely have some major skeletons buried deep within their psychic closets.
Give it a few weeks and we can almost guarantee another antigay [insert powerful title here] will be revealed to have a Grindr account or be caught hiring male prostitutes.
And the numbers certainly bolster the argument.
According to a recent PornHub survey, in states like Mississippi and North Carolina — both of which recently enacted antigay legislature — rates of porn consumption are curiously high, especially same-sex content. Of the top five gay porn-consuming states in the country, three are in the South, an area not particularly known for its sweeping LGBTQ inclusiveness.
Other previous studies have reached similar conclusions. And it’s not just gay porn — “family value” conservatives secretly consume all sorts of adult content behind closed doors.
A 2009 study revealed that the 27 states which had passed resolutions against same-sex marriage consumed 11% more adult material than the states that didn’t.
Another set of researchers who looked at the phenomenon wrote, “At minimum, these internet-search data clearly demonstrate that those living in states with greater proportions of very religious or conservative citizenry nonetheless seek out and experience the forbidden fruit of sexuality in private settings.”
So what’s going on?
Salon recently hypothesized:
The simple answer might be sexual repression in a culture of abstinence-only education, but these rates also speak to the wider lack of affirming resources for people to explore what they like. Many cities and areas of the country don’t have a gay bar, let alone a visible LGBT community, meaning that their Web browser is forced to provide the connection they lack elsewhere.
These attitudes begin at the highest levels of state government and religious institutions and trickle down to browser histories everywhere.
“[W]hen people are touting these very hard lines about what others should and shouldn’t be doing and then in their private lives they’re not doing what they say, that doesn’t surprise me,” Chauntelle Tibbals, a sociologist and sex researcher, told The Daily Beast, “because they themselves are putting boundaries around their own sexuality.”
At best, it’s a sorry state of affairs that well-intentioned people are losing themselves to religious and political dogma, developing fractured identities along the way.
The darker take, though, is there are those who are well aware of the hypocrisy who maintain the illusion in order to control others for personal gain — the politicians and religious leaders who we will gladly continue to expose whenever they slip up and reveal their true selves.