Preaching Against Homosexuality Can Be the Ultimate Denial

Psychologist Jeff Gardere says that in cases like the one involving Bishop Eddie Long, publicly condemning homosexuality may be a form of atonement.

Jeff Gardere
Jeff Gardere

If you cannot deal with your feelings or conflicts with your own homosexuality in a constructive manner, you’re either left with being a ranting homophobe or you might act out sexually, or you became an alcoholic or a drug addict or even very promiscuous heterosexually. There are many ways to deal in an unhealthy manner with any issues we are trying to repress.

TR: Is there a level of subterfuge in their behavior?

JG: I don’t think these guys wake up and say, “I know I am gay, and I am going to cover up by being anti-gay.” They live in a fugue state. It may be unconscious behavior. It’s a step toward failure later on; it’s much worse to be outed.

It’s almost like having a split personality. On part of the day or month or week, you give in to this Mr. Hyde thing; most of the time you’re a Dr. Jekyll and fighting these impulses. These are very real emotional and psychological issues. Someone like that really needs treatment and needs to be on the [analyst’s] couch.

Joel Dreyfuss is The Root‘s managing editor. Follow him on Twitter.

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