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Understanding Homonegativity in America

By on February 1, 2016

Jonathan Mathias Lassiter, PhD has a passion for helping people understand and experience themselves and the world better. He is invested in helping others be their best. And as a researcher, he’s studied and written about the connection between African Americans and homonegativity, among other topics.

“I grew up in Augusta, GA. I grew up a sheltered life. It was home and church. Church spoke to me and religion spoke to me. I internalized the messages of the Bible and it was very helpful to me. I found the Bible stories helpful to me. But I went through my own process of cognitive dissonce where the two ideas [homosexuality and biblical teachings] clashed of what a man is and what I was struggling with, with my own sexuality.”

Homophobia is a description of emotions and feelings towards homosexuality, such as fear, hatred or aversion, as “Homonegativity” means intellectual disapproval of homosexuality.

According to the research data analyzed by Dr. Lassister, “the more that Black people feel the need to adhere to fundamentalism and if they feel the Bible is a literal document, then the denomination may have more anti-gay rhetoric.”

In my opinion, the biggest psychological threat to Black men or Black people are imperialist beliefs – a European domination of thought; The white supremacist as in a racist superiority over others; A pure capitalist standard in which in order for me to be worth something, I have to have something; And patriarchy as in men are better.

Understanding that research should be helpful to the public, Dr. Lassiter says he hopes his work could influence public policy.

“I really like to have my work be integrated into the community, and I speak on topics in public settings, etc. I would love to see some of my work with Same-Gender-Loving people and HIV be disseminated to organizations working with target populations.”

Resting in the dark

Resting in the dark

I am a clinical psychologists and I see patients, so I use the research I do and come across in the therapy room.

“I do the work because I’m here to help people. I identify as a healer. The practice of healing takes place in several forms. It happens as a therapist, as a researcher, as an academic.”

Dr. Lassiter received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology in San Francisco, CA. He received his clinical training at Alameda County Medical CenterPsychological Services CenterHarlem Hospital, and Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center.



Dr. Lassiter is an experienced public speaker with expertise related to health disparities (e.g. HIV, depression), religion and spirituality, ethnic and racial minority issues, and LGBTQ issues.

Walker Tisdale III is the Executive Editor of Healthyblackmen.org and spoke with Dr. Lassiter exclusively for this article.