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Gay Stereotypes: The Use of Sexual Orientation as a Cue for Gender-Related Attributes

Abstract

This study investigated whether gay men and lesbians are assumed to have attributes stereotypically associated with the other gender. Participants were 110 male and female undergraduates from a private, Midwestern, U.S. university. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions (i.e., gay male, lesbian, heterosexual female, heterosexual male) and rated their given target on possession of traditionally masculine and feminine occupational interests, activities, and traits. Results revealed that, despite some changes in the status of gay men and lesbians in society, stereotypes regarding sexual orientation were similar to those seen in studies conducted 20 years ago. Specifically, gay males were viewed as less masculine/more feminine than heterosexual males, and lesbians were viewed as more masculine/less feminine than heterosexual females.

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Correspondence to Aaron J. Blashill.

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Blashill, A.J., Powlishta, K.K. Gay Stereotypes: The Use of Sexual Orientation as a Cue for Gender-Related Attributes. Sex Roles 61, 783–793 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-009-9684-7

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Keywords

  • Stereotypes
  • Gender roles
  • Homosexuality
  • Masculinity
  • Femininity