The "Closet Heterosexual" Concept
The term "closet queen" or "closet homosexual" is often used in
reference to the "gay" man or woman who has not as yet "come out".
I believe that this concept is equally useful as a diagnostic label for the
heterosexual man who does not date or informally interact with women
even though he would much prefer to be able to do so. To be sure,
"closet homosexuality" is only occasionally caused by shyness. Indeed,
there is evidence that love-shyness is about equally prevalent among
the ranks of homosexuals as it is among the ranks of heterosexuals.
More succinctly, there probably is no difference between heterosexuals
and homosexuals in this regard.
However, whereas closet heterosexuality appears to be almost exclu-
sively caused by severe love-shyness, MOST closet homosexuality is due
to the fear of being detected by potentially hostile employers, family
members, heterosexual friends and acquaintances, etc. Because of the
many constructive social and political changes that were wrought
throughout the decades of the 1960s and 1970s, closet homosexuality
appears to be a good deal less commonplace today than it formerly had
been. Today most homosexuals eventually do "come out of the closet".
And the evidence is unequivocal that homosexuals have gained enor-
mously in mental health, personal pride and self-esteem as a result of
this. As a direct consequence of their "coming out", they have become
of far greater value both to themselves and to their respective
The only sort of "closet heterosexual" whose lack of social involve-
ment with women may not ordinarily be due to love-shyness is the
Roman Catholic priest or brother, Buddhist monk, or other similar reli-
gious functionary who for his own religious reasons has taken vows to
avoid informal heterosexual interaction with non-family members. Of
course, there are some graduate students in American universities who
have sold themselves a bill of goods to the effect that they are not really
interested in the "distraction" posed by women. Many of these seem-
ingly dedicated and very serious young men have a good deal in common
psychologically with the religious functionary who similarly studies books
a very great deal and who has taken vows of celebacy.
On the other hand, for many ultra-serious graduate students the
avoidance of women for the alleged reason of improving concentration
may well constitute more of a "cop out" rationalization than anything
else. Research evidence has shown that for all fields of scholarly endeavor,
men with a close, loving relationship with a woman earn significantly
better grades than do those without the benefit of this. Moreover, after
such heterosexually attached men have completed their studies they
move ahead in their respective fields significantly faster than do those
who had avoided female companionship while in school.
Finally, it has been found that unattached male university graduate
students (those without girl friends or wives) have a great deal in com-
mon psychologically with men studying to become Roman Catholic
priests. Using the widely employed Minnesota Multiphasic Personality
Inventory ("MMPI"), several researchers have found that both groups
evidence far below average mental and emotional health. In fact, grad-
uate students in psychology and seminary students preparing for the
priesthood have both been found to have "MMPI" profiles as bad as
those of long-term residents in mental hospitals! For example, both groups
tend to score far above average on "schizoid tendencies"--a diagnostic
category having to do with social withdrawal and social isolation.