A study has found that people who display homophobic tendencies are more likely to be gay.
Teams at the University of Rochester in New York, the University of California and the University of Essex found that individuals who identify as straight, often showed a strong attraction to the same sex in psychological tests.
Netta Weinstein, a lecturer at the University of Essex and the study's lead author, said that these individuals "may be threatened by gays and lesbians because homosexuals remind them of similar tendencies within themselves".
The study analysed four separate experiments conduced in the US and Germany, which provided evidence that homophobia is in fact 'external manifestation of repressed sexual desires'.
Richard Ryan, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester in New York, said that: "People who have homophobic attitudes, who are more prejudice or discriminatory against gay people, are themselves more likely to have a discrepancy between their unconscious attractions to same-sex partners than what they are aware of.
"Those people who have such discrepancies, who have really a split between their unconscious attraction and what they consciously say about themselves, are more likely to come from authoritarian homes."
"If you are a parent who really believes your child should be straight, and when you use whatever means you can to convince them them that they're only good and worthy if they are, that would be very controlling and it creates a lot of conflict in the child."
Professor Ryan concludes that the way that children process and resolve this information is to act out in a discriminatory or hateful way towards gay and lesbian people.
It's hoped that the findings might help to explain the dynamics behind bullying and hate crimes.