Author Topic: Was Ennis really an homophobic person ?  (Read 8729 times)

Offline Forever

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Was Ennis really an homophobic person ?
« on: Mar 15, 2012, 03:03 PM »
Hello everyone!

I am new on this forum, I discovered BBM 3 months ago and sinds I am totally hooked! I would like first to apologize in advance for my English that I didn't practice for 20 years! I am very happy to have found this amazing forum, and would like to thanks all your beautiful thoughts and insights about this film. I didn't mean really to start a new topic, but on the other hand I didn't see an entire topic about the homophobic tendency of Ennis. So here I am, my question concerned so this problematic of Ennis being homophobic but in love with a man. But i am very confused concerning this fact because in the short story of Annie Proulx she never mentionned that Ennis has homophobic tendencies, reading her book we only understand that his father was. So my question is : was Ennis really an homophobic person ? :)
you have no idea how bad it gets!!!

Offline BBMsheep

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Re: Was Ennis really an homophobic person ?
« Reply #1 on: Mar 18, 2012, 10:17 AM »
Hello everyone!

I am new on this forum, I discovered BBM 3 months ago and sinds I am totally hooked! I would like first to apologize in advance for my English that I didn't practice for 20 years! I am very happy to have found this amazing forum, and would like to thanks all your beautiful thoughts and insights about this film. I didn't mean really to start a new topic, but on the other hand I didn't see an entire topic about the homophobic tendency of Ennis. So here I am, my question concerned so this problematic of Ennis being homophobic but in love with a man. But i am very confused concerning this fact because in the short story of Annie Proulx she never mentionned that Ennis has homophobic tendencies, reading her book we only understand that his father was. So my question is : was Ennis really an homophobic person ? :)

I don't think so. I think Ennis doesn't understand his feelings for Jack at first. I think Ennis has assimilated that homosexuality is bad, that a "real" man love a woman, not another man, that a man in love with another man is "against nature". He reproduces the homophobic ideas of his father (and of the society). Maybe I'm not very objective because I have a huge affection and compassion for Ennis, and I can't imagine him being homophobic. To me, he is above all a hurted child, becoming a broken man incapable to assume his love and his desire for Jack because of social norms which forbidden love between two persons of same sex.
It could be like this - just like this - always

Later, that dozy embrace solidified in his memory as the single moment of artless, charmed happiness in their separate and difficult lives. Annie Proulx

Offline lancecowboy

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Re: Was Ennis really an homophobic person ?
« Reply #2 on: Mar 19, 2012, 11:20 AM »
First of all, welcome, Forever, and BBMSheep. I haven't been on the forum recently and haven't given you a proper Brokeback Mountain welcome so here it is.  :ghug: Welcome to the valley of peace and friendship.

Secondly, it's great to have new insights and questions to a movie that never gets old, so please, post any and all of your questions, comments, insights. Your English is great, and in this forum, the only language that matters is the language of love, which we all speak fluently, because we love the movie that brought us together.

Back to your question. In my opinion, Ennis was homophobic. It is not expressed in hatred and violence as with some homophobes, but in fear and self-denial. This is evident in all the little gestures whenever Jack tried to show him affection in public. This is what every gay man has to come to terms after coming out to himself. Lucky is the gay man without any trace of homophobia because that's the man who has full self-acceptance. That's the real meaning of living. Imagine, when the person you love tries to hold your hand, and you brush away unconsciously because you fear ridicule and maybe even violence. That's homophobia. Imagine, when the person you love comes to hug and kiss you after a time of separation, and you feel apprehension, instead of pure joy in the moment of reunion. That's homophobia. Imagine, when you want to reach out and hold the person you love in your arms, but you hesitate, look around, and wonder if it's okay. That's homophobia.

Ennis lived with that for more than twenty years. Jack put up with it for almost twenty years. But like a line from Scotty in Brothers and Sisters, it's hard to love someone who doesn't love himself. That was Jack, "I wish I knew how to quit you."

Ennis was liberated from his fear, his homophobia, when he found Jack's Ma's acceptance in that kitchen at Lightning Flatts, when he finally recognized the love that was always there, waiting for him, in Jack's closet. He took home that love, that liberation, that sense of self-acceptance in a plain brown paper bag.

Ennis was a homophobic gay man that was liberated by the love of his life, but only too late, after losing it, and grieving for it. The Ennis that met Alma Jr in his trailer, toasting to the love of her life, was finally the self-accepting man, content with the memories of his love, his Brokeback Mountain, "I swear." I will fear no longer.
Heath, you are loved, like this, always.

Offline BBMsheep

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Re: Was Ennis really an homophobic person ?
« Reply #3 on: Mar 19, 2012, 02:58 PM »
The valley of peace and friendship... I love that  ^f^ Thanks Lancecowboy for your welcome.

Your post is a very interesting point of view, and I have to say that it moves me a lot. :_(

I am a little confusing now...
To me, Ennis thinks that by loving openly a man, he signed his death warrant, somehow, because his only experience of the subject is Earl's story. His fear and paranoia in public is something he can't control. I think that is a very sad way to behave but I can't help myself to understand this. His fear made him a broken, alone, sad man, it has ruin his life and broke Jack's heart. I have difficulties to admit that his fear and self-denial make him someone homophobic. I think that if Earl's story had never happened, Ennis would have loved Jack passionately, openly, and he would have accepted the sweet life with him.

Anyway, the things are complex, and I'm glad to share points of view here.

The end of your post, about Ennis's self-acceptance, touched my heart. And the brown paper bag :_(

It could be like this - just like this - always

Later, that dozy embrace solidified in his memory as the single moment of artless, charmed happiness in their separate and difficult lives. Annie Proulx

Offline brokebacksoul

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Re: Was Ennis really an homophobic person ?
« Reply #4 on: Mar 19, 2012, 04:23 PM »
  I really appreciate your post, as so often, Lance  :)   ...
   but like BBMsheep, I'm a bit confused as for what you describe as Ennis' homophobia.
By definition and, up to now, in the context I have always related it with ... that's homophobia as an aversion against gays and lesbians, and if it has something to do with fear (and it probably has) I'd rather think of the fear of  "someone being different from oneself" . But Ennis' paranoia is resulting from the fear of being discovered, traced, punished or even murdered;  in general, the fear of not conforming to social norms, IMO. But I've never viewed homophobia as something that one could also turn upon oneself   :s)

You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness. (Gotye)

Offline Forever

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Re: Was Ennis really an homophobic person ?
« Reply #5 on: Mar 20, 2012, 07:36 AM »
Thank you Lance for your warm welcome  ^f^ I get your point concerning Ennis, Ok he was in self-denial, loving a man no way, it was his state of mind for 20 years! But then he met Jack, he was stroked by love, thus imo, when someone fall in love, it changes you completly, it changed your heart and your soul, Ok Ennis had been broken by his father, his child trauma, but for me, when you fall in love, it has such a huge impact on you, that you become a complete other person, a person you wouldn't have thought to become. For me love can be so powerful that it should have thrown away all the fears of Ennis, love can make such miracle! But it didn't happen for Ennis, so I'm wondering if Ennis was really totally in love with Jack, or am I missing something here ?  :s) My god the Shakespeare language give me a lot of frustrations! :m}
« Last Edit: Mar 20, 2012, 07:47 AM by Forever »
you have no idea how bad it gets!!!

Offline lancecowboy

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Re: Was Ennis really an homophobic person ?
« Reply #6 on: Mar 20, 2012, 09:41 AM »
Brokebacksoul, BBMSheep, the real tragedy of bullies is not the physical harm they inflict on their targets, but the internalized hatred that their viewpoint imposes on the people they bullied, as well as any witnesses who feel powerless to do anything. That was Ennis at the age of nine or there about. Ennis was terrified of being gay, of being discovered, and so he was all "closed-up" and said few words to anyone. As Heath described him, with tightly held fists, clenched jaw. Homophobia is not merely the abuse that can be seen. Its much more horrible aspect is the self-hatred and self-denial that stays forever in a young soul, as evidenced in Ennis, as revealed in the many suicides. Brick and stones may break bones, but words can cut souls and bleed hearts, not just once, but forever. Unless a soul is lucky enough to be healed by love, as Ennis was.

Forever, what you said about love is so very true. Love completes a person, and re-orient a person, and heals the parts that were broken, missing, hurt. Love is indeed powerful, but so too was Ennis's fear. Jack's love is the irresistible force which met its match in Ennis's fear, the immovable object, for twenty years. But death is more powerful than both, more final and lasting, and with the acceptance from Jack's Ma (perhaps for the second time in his life) and in his grief for Jack, Ennis moved.

For me the miracle is not only Ennis and Jack meeting up there in Brokeback Mountain, but also Ennis meeting Jack's Ma, and finding 'em shirts in Jack's closet. There are places you can't go back, but there are opportunities for life, when we are willing to be open to love and to be loved.

The language of Shakespeare may be frustrating, but the modern English language is an amalgam of French, German, Italian, Dutch, even smattering of Japanese, Chinese, and a smorgasbord of languages. The rules may be arbitrary, but also flexible, so be not concerned with the formality and appearances. The spirit of love comes through loud and clear from all your posts, ladies. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and sparking this discussion.  ^f^ }s{ :c)
Heath, you are loved, like this, always.

Offline myprivatejack

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Re: Was Ennis really an homophobic person ?
« Reply #7 on: Mar 20, 2012, 10:56 AM »
I tend to agree with Lance in that homophobia reveals itself not only with violence and hate against the others; it can be also against oneself and this is the worst kind of homophobia one can feel.Often,many of the "world saviors" who have attacked gays and lesbians for the simple fact of being that way,hid inside them a repressed homosexuality that made them address these violence and hate to the persons who remind them they were the same.Look at the Nazi groups who murdered gays during 20's,30's or the 2nd World War: many of them had male lovers and were seen in some Berlin's gay cabarets...
Ennis hadn't this kind of violence,luckily; but sometimes he was like a volcano when erupts.His violence was mainly a way of relief himself from all his tensions,his fears...and his denies.Because I have always thought that he hated himself for feeling "this thing" towards another man; even I dare to declare that sometimes he hated Jack for making him feel it.He spent half his life denying not only this "sweet life together" that Jack offered to him,but also denying himself.Moreover,Heath-who really understood fully and deeply his character and his reasons-told once that Ennis was "an homophobic man in love with another man".
As regards to love and its strength,yes,it can change a person,but it can't change the environment that person is...If it would be so easy,there weren't so many forbidden loves and so many persons suffering for not being able to live them openly.One would give everything to the person one loves,even one can defy one's environment for keep on being near that person: but one can't fight against everything and everybody and,above all,against oneself.And believe me,denying something one wishes deeply inside oneself and in spite of himself is even worse than being denied... :-\\
Ennis’s eyes gone bright with shock, mouth opening then closing again. “Love?” Ennis said finally, voice strangling in his throat.

Jack smiled sad. “Yeah, Ennis. Love.” Leaned forward and kissed Ennis’s temple, whispered, “What’d you think it was, all this time?”
("If I asked")
                         ----------------
Heathcliff Andrew Ledger (1979-2008)/Rajel Karen Ashkenazi (1986-2008)
You will be forever in my heart,friends.

Offline Forever

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Re: Was Ennis really an homophobic person ?
« Reply #8 on: Mar 21, 2012, 08:40 AM »
Maybe out  *o) concerning the homophobia, I just read wonderful post concerning the destructive fears of Ennis : A very bad childhood can break you or make you, it broke Ennis. For 20 years Jack was telling to Ennis, COME OUT the hole you're in, here is my hand. How could they live together happy if Ennis didn't TRUST in Jack. And in an other powerful post : Fear is one of the most powerful feeling, Ennis isn't scared of getting in a fight with 2 big guys, but he's scared to death about the possibility that them living together will bring HARM to them thus, harm to Jack. Ennis realised far too late that the safer choice after all would have been keeping Jack CLOSE, and not holding him at the arm lenght he believed was SAFE. Because then they would have at least be able to FIGHT TOGETHER, and not apart, because in the end, better FALL TOGETHER than being the last one standing. And finally the post of Lance : Fear keeps us SEPARATE as lonely individuals, LOVE brings us TOGETHER in communities. I'm speechless, AWESOME, SIMPLY AWESOME! (t)
you have no idea how bad it gets!!!

Offline Borealis

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Re: Was Ennis really an homophobic person ?
« Reply #9 on: Apr 21, 2012, 02:41 PM »
Ennis had his share of internalised homophobia, I agree. But I don't agree that internalized homophobia in a gay man necessarily equals hate and violence. I believe I have had a bit of this myself. Isn't that common among closeted gays? That doesn't make us aggressive or violent. It scared me. It silenced me and made me anonymous. The mere thought of being disguised terrified me. All this kept me in the closet until I was in my mid-forties and older than Ennis of 39 when I finally came to reason, decided to take action and come out. I don't blame Ennis for his feelings. In his case I don't think his physical aggressiveness is due to his internalised homophobia alone. I frustrates him, yes, but his first attack doctrine was something he had learned from his father, and it didn't have anything to do with his sexual orientation. He was a man of of very few words, and when he felt threatened or frustrated, the only reaction he knew was physical attack.
I can identify with his anger when he understands that Jack has been in Mexico. Ennis himself has never thought about having sex with other men than Jack. Maybe he is disgusted by Jack's visits to red light districts and his casual sex with other men, but first of all I think he is jealous for the first time in his life. I really think Ennis felt threatened, and his first reaction was anger.


My interpretation of Ennis' reaction is strongly influenced by my own experience, of course. But still...!

Offline lancecowboy

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Re: Was Ennis really an homophobic person ?
« Reply #10 on: Apr 22, 2012, 01:50 AM »
Borealis, I don't think we can blame homophobic gay men for their homophobia. I even feel compassion for the violent homophobic gay men who would beat their partners out of their own self-hatred. "You made me this way. You are the reason I am like this. I am nothing. I am no where." I do NOT excuse their violence, but I understand their frustration, feeling trapped in a life that they hate. That was Ennis before the final confrontation. It was a love/hate relationship because he loved Jack but he hated that he loved Jack, not that he understood that it was love.

You are quite right about Ennis's feelings, concerning Jack's unfaithful infidelity, with prostitutes or ranch foreman. He was jealous and hurt that Jack felt anything for anyone else but him, as he himself felt nothing for any man except Jack.

In a way, it was this jealousy, combined with Cassie's "Girls don't fall in love for fun." that opened his eyes, and made him realize that he loved Jack. That's why he sent the letter to Jack hoping for November. That's why he called Lureen and went to visit Jack's parents. He could not let go. It was only finding that his loved was returned by Jack twenty years ago, and hidden in Jack's closet (literally and metaphorically) since they first parted, that Ennis finally was able to both embrace and let go of the love that he lost.

Every gay man struggles with homophobia in his own way. There is no right or wrong way, just the way that brings self-acceptance. I hope you find your happiness at the end of the old journey, and begin a new one with someone you love.
Heath, you are loved, like this, always.

Offline Borealis

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Re: Was Ennis really an homophobic person ?
« Reply #11 on: Apr 22, 2012, 11:04 AM »
I agree that nobody should be blamed for their homophobic feelings, Lancecowboy! How we deal with our feelings, how we chose to express them, that's where our individual responsibility lays. However, nobody is perfect. Ennis is not perfect. That's one of the qualities that makes the distinction between BBM and the average love story. Our Ennis and Jack are real human beings with their good and bad points. Always this bitter taste to the sweetness. Not to mention the quality of its ambiguity (I hope this is the right expression in English!) Without it we would not have had these interesting discussions and exchange of personal impressions of the drama.
Not that it matters much, but I believe Cassie said: "Ennis, girls don't fall in love WITH fun." She responded to his "Sorry. I was probably no fun anyway, was I?" Until I read your words, Lancecowboy, I never thought that Cassi's words made Ennis realise his love for Jack, but I see your point. You "get you point across."  I think Ennis' self denial over a long time would have made him regard himself as unworthy of love. Cassie's words also might help him accept that he was a worthy love object in his own right. But Cassie's words didn't change him. It didn't open his eyes. Not in my view. I think he was too stubborn for that, and I think he was glad to get rid of her. After all she was his cover up. He sent the postcard to Jack, yes, but that was just to go on with the routine: two or three annual mountain trips. I think he stuck to his own words: "Jack, if you can't fix it, you have to stand it. ... For as long as we can ride."
I don't think Ennis admitted himself his own deep feelings towards Jack before he got the postcard in return after Jack was dead, and he never really accepted Jack's expressions of love before Lureen told him about Jack's wish for his ashes to be spread at BBM. (flood of tears, just a moment..)

It is possible that I misunderstand your words since English is not my mother's tongue, but I disagree with you that Ennis finally was able to let go of the love that he lost after he found the two shirts. That's not happening. On the contrary, he brings the brings the memory of love home. I think this is the crucial point when he really is able to see the true nature of his and Jack's relationship; love. It's too late, of course, but he does never let go of this love. I don't think so. In a way they are both dead. That's the beauty and the tragedy. It's a classic - Romeo and Juliet - Tristan and Isolde - Ennis and Jack.

 *o)Tristan calls Isolde "the mistress of silences"/"des schweigens Herrin" (Wagner, 1. act). Jack: "that's more words than you spoke in the last two weeks" Kirsten Flagstad - Liebestod - 1939 San Francisco


Best regards

Borealis
« Last Edit: Apr 22, 2012, 01:35 PM by Borealis »

Offline lancecowboy

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Re: Was Ennis really an homophobic person ?
« Reply #12 on: Apr 22, 2012, 02:08 PM »
Goodness gracious, Borealis, that's an awesome exposition!  #$# :t)

I agree that nobody should be blamed for their homophobic feelings, Lancecowboy! How we deal with our feelings, how we chose to express them, that's where our individual responsibility lays. However, nobody is perfect. Ennis is not perfect. That's one of the qualities that makes the distinction between BBM and the average love story. Our Ennis and Jack are real human beings with their good and bad points. Always this bitter taste to the sweetness. Not to mention the quality of its ambiguity (I hope this is the right expression in English!) Without it we would not have had these interesting discussions and exchange of personal impressions of the drama.

The bittersweet taste of Brokeback Mountain. Perfect, like dark dark chocolate. Yes, the ambiguity throughout the entire movie, and even in the characters themselves, makes it more realistic. The imperfection in the characters gives a depth to them that bring them to life. That's why we love them so.

Not that it matters much, but I believe Cassie said: "Ennis, girls don't fall in love WITH fun." She responded to his "Sorry. I was probably no fun anyway, was I?" Until I read your words, Lancecowboy, I never thought that Cassi's words made Ennis realise his love for Jack, but I see your point. You "get you point across."  

You are probably right. It's been a while since I watched the movie, so the word may indeed be "with" and not "for" however, in this case, the English language is flexible enough to allow either word to convey more or less the same meaning, although the word "fun" would be changed from an active word on Cassie (girl) part to an attribute describing the love object (Ennis). This makes his response more understandable and appropriate.

I think Ennis' self denial over a long time would have made him regard himself as unworthy of love. Cassie's words also might help him accept that he was a worthy love object in his own right. But Cassie's words didn't change him. It didn't open his eyes. Not in my view. I think he was too stubborn for that, and I think he was glad to get rid of her. After all she was his cover up. He sent the postcard to Jack, yes, but that was just to go on with the routine: two or three annual mountain trips. I think he stuck to his own words: "Jack, if you can't fix it, you have to stand it. ... For as long as we can ride."
I don't think Ennis admitted himself his own deep feelings towards Jack before he got the postcard in return after Jack was dead, and he never really accepted Jack's expressions of love before Lureen told him about Jack's wish for his ashes to be spread at BBM. (flood of tears, just a moment..)

This is brilliant! I am sure you are right about Ennis feeling unworthy, and feeling stuck in his old ways, not ready to change, until the postcard marked "Deceased." We don't know what we miss until it's gone. I think you may be right about the timing. Part of Heath's genius in the telephone booth, as Jackster pointed out elsewhere, was his facial portrayal of a man tortured and in pain, not only for the lost of Jack, but also in search of the meaning for his pain...and the realization of it, as Lureen spoke of Jack's fond memory of Brokeback Mountain...that summer when he was tending sheep. That resonated with his own memories. It made sense of everything between him and Jack, that this moment of revelation galvanized his motivation to take Jack's ashes up the mountain, "I swear."  :ghug:  :_( :^^)

It is possible that I misunderstand your words since English is not my mother's tongue, but I disagree with you that Ennis finally was able to let go of the love that he lost after he found the two shirts. That's not happening. On the contrary, he brings the brings the memory of love home. I think this is the crucial point when he really is able to see the true nature of his and Jack's relationship; love. It's too late, of course, but he does never let go of this love. I don't think so. In a way they are both dead. That's the beauty and the tragedy. It's a classic - Romeo and Juliet - Tristan and Isolde - Ennis and Jack.


No you did not misunderstand me, but I did not express myself clearly. I don't mean Ennis let go of the love, but that he let go of the grief for the love that he did not know he had. In a way, it was the vague undefined nature of the love he felt for Jack, which tortured him most. It was nebulous and fuzzy, and Ennis was not the sharpest tool in the shed at the best of times. So it was confusing. He tried running from it, tried holding back from it, tried ignoring it. And when he lost it, he wanted to have it, and could not and did not understand this deep pain in his whole being. But when he finally "got" it, it made sense of everything, and he held this lost love in memory, but let go of it in his struggle to catch it. "When you got nothing, you need nothing." Ennis was used to being denied, and in his self-denial, the lost of Jack was his penance for all 'em years of denying Jack. So he understood Jack's love in a flash, and accepted its lost as he reached out in the closet to touch the blood stained sleeves. The love was made real. As you said, he took it home with him in a paper bag, put it in a closet, and carried on with his life. He still had dreams of it, and he welcomed it, but he was no longer held in its spell.

It's kind of difficult to explain, but in a way, it is like PBS. Until I had this forum to sort out all the intricate subtle nuances of the movie, I as held in its grip and searched and wanted to know more. Then two three years of therapy in this valley of peace and friendship, where none was expected, helped me to put it in a safe and treasured space. I still love and enjoy it, as Ennis would the two shirts, but am no longer held hostage, captive by it. I can let it go, because I know I own it, in a place sacred and private, shared with no one, unless I want to share it. Just as Ennis was happy to share his love for Jack with Jack's Ma, and even a glimpse of it with Alma Junior, he was neither afraid of showing it, nor needing to showing it off. It simple was. Ennis was unclenched, smiling, and happy.

I appreciate the reference to the mistress of silence. Sometimes, no words speak louder and more volumes than long speeches.

when you say nothing at all- Ronan Keating
« Last Edit: Apr 22, 2012, 02:18 PM by lancecowboy »
Heath, you are loved, like this, always.

Offline Borealis

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Re: Was Ennis really an homophobic person ?
« Reply #13 on: Apr 22, 2012, 05:36 PM »
Thanks for your clarifying answer, Lancecowboy!

Bittersweet, yes, that's the word.

Ennis living his sad life in that miserable trailer, living on sweet memories of long gone days of happiness. Bittersweet!

Jack at the last meeting: "We could have had a good life.. ...but you didn't want it, Ennis! So what we got now is Brokeback mountain. Everything's built on that. That's all we got... ."

Oh! Ennis, Ennis! :_(


Sleeping like a horse, going to bed.

Good night, everybody!

Offline jackster

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Re: Was Ennis really an homophobic person ?
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2012, 03:37 AM »
This may be relevant here, found this recent story in the New York Times very interesting and seems to point directly at Annie Proulx's Ennis Del Mar and his upbringing too. Judge for yourself:

Homophobic? Maybe You’re Gay
By RICHARD M. RYAN and WILLIAM S. RYAN
Published: April 27, 2012

In recent years, Ted Haggard, an evangelical leader who preached that homosexuality was a sin, resigned after a scandal involving a former male prostitute; Larry Craig, a United States senator who opposed including sexual orientation in hate-crime legislation, was arrested on suspicion of lewd conduct in a men’s bathroom; and Glenn Murphy Jr., a leader of the Young Republican National Convention and an opponent of same-sex marriage, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge after being accused of sexually assaulting another man.
One theory is that homosexual urges, when repressed out of shame or fear, can be expressed as homophobia. Freud famously called this process a “reaction formation” — the angry battle against the outward symbol of feelings that are inwardly being stifled. Even Mr. Haggard seemed to endorse this idea when, apologizing after his scandal for his anti-gay rhetoric, he said, “I think I was partially so vehement because of my own war.”
It’s a compelling theory — and now there is scientific reason to believe it. In this month’s issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, we and our fellow researchers provide empirical evidence that homophobia can result, at least in part, from the suppression of same-sex desire.
Our paper describes six studies conducted in the United States and Germany involving 784 university students. Participants rated their sexual orientation on a 10-point scale, ranging from gay to straight. Then they took a computer-administered test designed to measure their implicit sexual orientation. In the test, the participants were shown images and words indicative of hetero- and homosexuality (pictures of same-sex and straight couples, words like “homosexual” and “gay”) and were asked to sort them into the appropriate category, gay or straight, as quickly as possible. The computer measured their reaction times.
The twist was that before each word and image appeared, the word “me” or “other” was flashed on the screen for 35 milliseconds — long enough for participants to subliminally process the word but short enough that they could not consciously see it. The theory here, known as semantic association, is that when “me” precedes words or images that reflect your sexual orientation (for example, heterosexual images for a straight person), you will sort these images into the correct category faster than when “me” precedes words or images that are incongruent with your sexual orientation (for example, homosexual images for a straight person). This technique, adapted from similar tests used to assess attitudes like subconscious racial bias, reliably distinguishes between self-identified straight individuals and those who self-identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual.
Using this methodology we identified a subgroup of participants who, despite self-identifying as highly straight, indicated some level of same-sex attraction (that is, they associated “me” with gay-related words and pictures faster than they associated “me” with straight-related words and pictures). Over 20 percent of self-described highly straight individuals showed this discrepancy.
Notably, these “discrepant” individuals were also significantly more likely than other participants to favor anti-gay policies; to be willing to assign significantly harsher punishments to perpetrators of petty crimes if they were presumed to be homosexual; and to express greater implicit hostility toward gay subjects (also measured with the help of subliminal priming). Thus our research suggests that some who oppose homosexuality do tacitly harbor same-sex attraction.
What leads to this repression? We found that participants who reported having supportive and accepting parents were more in touch with their implicit sexual orientation and less susceptible to homophobia. Individuals whose sexual identity was at odds with their implicit sexual attraction were much more frequently raised by parents perceived to be controlling, less accepting and more prejudiced against homosexuals.
It’s important to stress the obvious: Not all those who campaign against gay men and lesbians secretly feel same-sex attractions. But at least some who oppose homosexuality are likely to be individuals struggling against parts of themselves, having themselves been victims of oppression and lack of acceptance. The costs are great, not only for the targets of anti-gay efforts but also often for the perpetrators. We would do well to remember that all involved deserve our compassion.
Richard M. Ryan is a professor of psychology, psychiatry and education at the University of Rochester. William S. Ryan is a doctoral student in psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/opinion/sunday/homophobic-maybe-youre-gay.html?_r=1
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Offline lancecowboy

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Re: Was Ennis really an homophobic person ?
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2012, 02:24 AM »
Thanks, Jackster. That's an interesting study.

I'd like to think Ennis WAS homophobic when he met Jack. His clinched fist, his slow mannerism, his slow reaction time to match his manly mannerism with his self-image. I ain't queer. His homophobia progressively diminished as he reconciled with his love for Jack, culminating in his liberation from homophobia, literally freedom from fear, in the closet in Jack's room when he was a boy. Ironic. Ennis came out of the closet, finally after twenty years, by going into the closet of the man he loved, who kept their shirts/love hidden. He looked like a weight was lifted from his shoulders after he climbed down 'em stairs with their own rhythm. He talked faster and walked faster, and a smile came to him faster.

I ain't queer. -> Jack, I swear.

From 'em three little words, to 'em three other little words, the cowboys and the movie took us on some wild ride.

Thank you, everyone who made Brokeback Mountain possible.

Thank you, everyone here on this forum, this wonderful valley of peace and friendship.

You all are the reason I am like this.  <^(
Heath, you are loved, like this, always.

Offline jackster

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Re: Was Ennis really an homophobic person ?
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2012, 05:11 AM »
. . . Ennis came out of the closet . . . . by going into the closet of the man he loved . . .

           Well said  . . . and the love shall set you free.


Like Ennis, simple, direct, yet deep and profoundly loyal.

 :^^) bud.
we get to drinkin' and talkin' an all

Offline lancecowboy

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Re: Was Ennis really an homophobic person ?
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2012, 03:06 PM »
          Well said  . . . and the love shall set you free.


Like Ennis, simple, direct, yet deep and profoundly loyal.

 :^^) bud.

 :c) right back at you bud, and your Jack. When you coming to visit again?
Heath, you are loved, like this, always.

Offline bluemountainsky

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Re: Was Ennis really an homophobic person ?
« Reply #18 on: Oct 02, 2014, 03:16 PM »
He was not homophobic in the way that Jack and Earl's murderers were homophobic, and not in the way his father was homophobic. He was homophobic in the way a closeted gay man is...the homophobia doesn't manifest itself in hatred, disgust, and violence towards others. Ennis's homophobia manifested itself in his own self-loathing, denial, and guilt. He felt there was something wrong him if he was queer, and tried so desperately to be "normal". He was in so much denial that it was eating him up inside. He knew he loved Jack, but he didn't want to believe the truth about himself and his relationship with Jack, because his father and society had ingrained into his mind when he was young that it is wrong and bad, that people like that deserve to be punished, that that being queer means that there's something wrong with you. Ennis would never hurt other gay men, obviously as he if was another kind of homophobic, he would have beaten up Jack as soon as Jack started making advances towards him. He wasn't that type of homophobic.

In fact, he feared that homophobia very much, as evidenced by his refusal to live with Jack, and his compulsion to hide the truth and pretend to be something, because he deeply feared the abuse and violence that might befall him if anyone ever knew the truth. He recognized that he was "one of those guys", as his biggest fear was what hateful homophobic people would do to him and Jack if they found out. This proved that although he was in denial about who he was, deep down he knew the truth. He knew that he was queer, but the worst part of it for him was the internalized homophobia, the ugly feeling that he was dirty and wrong, that he was inferior if he was this way, that there was something wrong with him. Therefore, he spent all those years in the closet, Jack forced him to confront who he was, because once he started a relationship with a man, his life was never the same again. Before that, Ennis didn't have to confront that, but after he met Jack, there was no choice but do so. This caused a multitude of turmoil for him over the next twenty years, until Jack's death caused him to reach a deeper understanding and finally accept himself for who he is. Ennis was a  the victim of homophobia, and sadly, most of it was his own internalized homophobia.
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Offline FlwrChild

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Re: Was Ennis really an homophobic person ?
« Reply #19 on: Mar 09, 2018, 09:25 PM »
I know I've stumbled onto this thread long after the last post but I just had to say this was a great discussion.

I agree with the many points about internalized homophobia. And I love the insights from all sides. Thank you all for sharing your thoughts on this. I'm glad I found it even if I'm a few years behind. This is the wonderful stuff I missed while I was away from the forum. Lesson learned!
For a moment in our lives. Forever in our hearts.

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The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind. (Mister Rogers)