Sex Roles

, Volume 58, Issue 3–4, pp 179–191 | Cite as

Slurs, Snubs, and Queer Jokes: Incidence and Impact of Heterosexist Harassment in Academia

  • Perry SilverschanzEmail author
  • Lilia M. Cortina
  • Julie Konik
  • Vicki J. Magley
Original Article


Previous research has suggested that overt hostility against sexual minorities is associated with decrements in their well-being. However, subtler forms of heterosexism and their potential effects have been overlooked, heterosexuals have not been asked how they fare in a heterosexist environment, and no research has examined whether women and men might respond differently to heterosexism. Data from 3,128 northwestern US university students (representing all sexual orientations) address these gaps. Approximately 40% reported experiences of heterosexist harassment (HH) in the past year, and those who encountered both ambient and personal HH reported worse psychological and academic well-being than those who encountered no HH. Similar patterns of findings held for sexual minorities and heterosexuals, and for women and men.


Heterosexism Harassment Sexual minorities College students Academic outcomes 



We are grateful to our respective labs at the Universities of Michigan and Connecticut for their work on the larger project. Special thanks to Kathi Miner-Rubino for her suggestion that the concept of bystander stress might be applied in a sexual-minority context.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Perry Silverschanz
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • Lilia M. Cortina
    • 2
  • Julie Konik
    • 2
  • Vicki J. Magley
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Psychology and School of Social WorkUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychology and Program in Women’s StudiesUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  4. 4.Substance Abuse Research CenterUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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