Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) stems from people having a compulsion that they cannot shake.
That can be an action (Turning a light on and off, organizing things, etc.) or a thought (Obsessing about violence, fixating on one’s body, etc.) but both are the product of a person’s mind getting too tightly wound around a specific unhealthy pattern of thought. A fascinating area of OCD is one in which a person who isn’t gay becomes obsessed with the idea that they are gay. That’s called HOCD, Homosexual Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
No, this isn’t someone who is denying or burying their queerness. No, this isn’t a person who is confused and fucking around. These people are straight people who, after an uncomfortable or bizarre homoerotic prompt, become mentally engulfed with the idea that they are gay, that whatever situation they were in made them gay. This thought process leads them to be convinced that there is a sexual interloper within them that must be understood, inspiring forced sexual scenarios and an obsession with same sex arousal.
It’s a fascinating realm of mental disorders that is often misdiagnosed. This phenomenon was recently chronicled by Chadwick Moore in OUT and is a fairly quick moment of queer what the fuck. The story features a few persons who suffer from HOCD explaining why the disorder has been such a problem for them.
Where HOCD gets interesting is that it’s often confused for homophobia and, in the worst case scenario, validates persons pushing reparative therapy. Psychologist Dr. Monnica Williams explains to Moore how this conclusion is drawn.
The most common criticism is that those who obsessively worry about being gay must actually be homophobic.
“That’s not really the case,” Williams says. “Some people are homophobic, because of their religious concerns or how they were brought up. But we see plenty of people who don’t have anything against being gay — they just aren’t gay. Yet they keep having these unwanted thoughts about it. I think a lot of people commit suicide. I’ve had a number of people tell me, ‘I was getting ready to kill myself before I found you.’”
See? It’s a very, very fascinating subject.
While it’s easy to giggle at this problem, it is an issue for some people and is often handled poorly or used to reenforce hate towards LGBTQ persons. Even though these people aren’t “one of us,” they’re deeply connected to gay culture in their own, strange way.
You can read OUT‘s HOCD story here.