Learning to Hate: Conceptualizing Anti-Gay and Lesbian Violence

Helena Alden, University of Florida

This research examines the possibility of using Akers' social learning theory to explain anti-gay and lesbian violence. The first section examines the role of learning mechanisms in explaining anti-gay and lesbian violence. The second section investigates how learning constructs can be utilized to describe the transmission and pereptuation of homophobia. The construction of homophobic definitions is critical as it forms the ideological base upon which anti-gay and lesbian violence hinges. This research concludes with a discussion of how concepts developed here may be empirically tested. The findings suggest that, indeed, social learning theory would be a valid tool for both the explanation of anti-gay and lesbian violence, and for the perpetuation of homophobia.

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Updated 05/20/2006