Sex Roles

, Volume 68, Issue 11–12, pp 724–737 | Cite as

Gender, Ethnicity, Religiosity, and Same-sex Sexual Attraction and the Acceptance of Same-sex Sexuality and Gender Non-conformity

  • Kate L. CollierEmail author
  • Henny M. W. Bos
  • Michael S. Merry
  • Theo G. M. Sandfort
Original Article


This study explored the role of gender, ethnicity, religiosity, and sexual attraction in adolescents’ acceptance of same-sex sexuality and gender non-conformity. Using an intersectionality perspective, we also tested whether the effects of gender, ethnicity, and religiosity on adolescents’ attitudes would function differently in adolescents with and without same-sex attractions. Data for this study were collected by means of a paper questionnaire completed by 1,518 secondary school students (mean age = 14.56 years, SD = 1.05) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The sample was 48.1% female and 51.9% male. Approximately one third of adolescents in the sample were of a non-Western ethnic background (32.3%, n = 491) and 7.5% of the participants (n = 114) reported experiencing same-sex attractions. Results of our analyses showed that adolescents in our sample who were male, of non-Western ethnicity, and who were more religious (as indicated by frequency of religious service attendance), were less accepting of same-sex sexuality and gender non-conformity in comparison to female, Western and less religious peers. We also found a significant interaction effect between religiosity and sexual attractions, but only in relation to evaluation of same-sex attracted, gender non-conforming females. The negative effect of religiosity on acceptance of same-sex attracted, gender non-conforming females was stronger among those adolescents who reported same-sex attractions.


Ethnicity Religiosity Sexual orientation Gender non-conformity Adolescence 



The preparation of this manuscript was supported by NIMH center grant P30-MH43520 (P.I.: Anke A. Ehrhardt, Ph.D.) to the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies.

We are grateful to the schools and students who participated in this study and to the University of Amsterdam research assistants who managed the data collection, including Sandy Klaver, Marleen Korf, Merel Maassen, Marijke Metselaar, Yessica Ortega Luna, and Desiree Weijers. Thanks are also due to Michael DeSalvo for assistance with manuscript preparation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kate L. Collier
    • 1
    Email author
  • Henny M. W. Bos
    • 2
  • Michael S. Merry
    • 2
  • Theo G. M. Sandfort
    • 1
  1. 1.HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral StudiesNew York State Psychiatric Institute & Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Education, Faculty of Social and Behavioural SciencesUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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