Sex Roles

, 65:580 | Cite as

System Justification, Right-Wing Conservatism, and Internalized Homophobia: Gay and Lesbian Attitudes toward Same-Sex Parenting in Italy

  • Maria Giuseppina Pacilli
  • Alessandro Taurino
  • John T. Jost
  • Jojanneke van der Toorn
Original Article


Adopting a system justification perspective (Jost and Banaji 1994), we investigated the manner and extent to which gay men and lesbians might internalize a sense of inferiority when it comes to parenthood. In an Italian sample of gay and lesbian individuals, we found that gay men who scored high (versus low) on system justification and right-wing conservatism regarded same sex parents as less competent; these effects were mediated by internalized homophobia. Lesbian women, however, perceived lesbian parents as more competent than opposite sex parents, regardless of ideological orientations. For gay men the internalization of societal discrimination harms perceptions of parental competence, whereas for lesbians gender stereotypes about parenting trump the negative effects of bias related to sexual orientation. These findings suggest that men’s and women’s perceptions of their own bodies and capacities are strongly affected by sociocultural processes, including ideological processes.


Parenting, same-sex parenting Internalized homophobia Outgroup favoritism System justification Political conservatism 



We thank Rick Andrews, Rachel Calogero, Irene Frieze, Erin Godfrey, Erin Hennes, Angelica Mucchi-Faina, Andrew Shipley, and two anonymous reviewers for providing superb feedback on earlier versions of this article. We are also grateful to the Associazione Italiana di Psicologia (A.I.P.) for occasioning a timely reunion involving two of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Giuseppina Pacilli
    • 1
  • Alessandro Taurino
    • 2
  • John T. Jost
    • 3
  • Jojanneke van der Toorn
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Istituzioni e SocietàUniversity of PerugiaPerugiaItaly
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of BariBariItaly
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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