The suicide of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi shows well how homophobia preys on gay teens, writes NYU professor Jonathan Zimmerman. But often overlooked is the damage it inflicts on straight males—in fact on "our entire culture," he writes in the Christian Science Monitor. "Homophobia hurts all of our boys, by driving a wedge between them. Sharing your deepest feelings with another man? That’s so ... gay. Or so we’ve been taught."
Our society's been conditioning boys for decades to act like little he-men afraid of showing emotion to one another. "You can hear the message still, at any school or playground, where they call each other homo, fag, or queer," writes Zimmerman. "That hurts the gay kids most of all, as the awful death of Tyler Clementi reminds us. But it hurts the rest of us, too, by limiting the ways that men can act and feel. And that’s bad news for all American men, and for anyone—male or female—who loves them."