Vindication, sort of. I’m biased against straight people.

Your data suggest a moderate automatic preference for Gay People compared to Straight People.

I recently found out about the Implicit Association Test, which supposedly tests your unconscious preferences for people of one group over another. I took the test, and got the result quoted above.

I was a wee bit nervous about taking the test. I’ve often been told that my conservative religious beliefs about homosexuality (and my choice to take up an ex-gay path) stemmed from hatred, fear, or dislike of gayness. That always sounded implausible to me, but who knows what goes on in the shadowy realms of the unconscious? So I thought, “Uh-oh…now I’m going to unearth all that internalized homophobia and self-loathing I’ve subconsciously managed to disguise as ‘religious conviction’ and ‘sincere attempts to understand what the Bible teaches.'”

Well, the IAT says otherwise! And it’s from Harvard. So there.

When I got my results, I felt a tingly wave of vindication and a big smile breaking out across my face. Since then I’ve sobered slightly, confronted with the reality that this means I’m still evidently unconsciously prejudiced. Is preferring gays over straights really any better than favoring straights over gays? Probably not.

A further sobering afterthought is that despite how it describes itself, the test really doesn’t evaluate how you feel about gay people versus straight people. Rather, it tests how you instinctively respond to words or images associated with homosexuality (“gay”, “homosexual”, a double male symbol, an image of two grooms), as opposed to how you respond to words or images associated with heterosexuality. So it seems to me that if this sort of test accurately measures anything, it measures how you react to homosexuality vs. heterosexuality, not how you react to gay vs. straight people. (If I were the conservative rant sort of person, this might be a good place for a conservative rant about how the test probably plays an integral role in the grand conspiracy to conflate the sin with the sinner, to confuse innocent God-fearing believers who are trying to hate the one while loving the other.)

So, in the end, the results are really more baffling than vindicating. While I’m acquitted of the charge of homophobia, I’m apparently guilty of some sort of inconsistency. I only think I’m a happy ex-gay evangelical. Deep down I’m a gay supremacist. Or something like that.

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