Sexuality & Culture

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 909–930 | Cite as

Positive Representation of Gay Characters in Movies for Reducing Homophobia

  • Goran Madžarević
  • María T. Soto-SanfielEmail author
Original Paper


This study addresses the effect of narratives offering a positive depiction of gay men on the audience’s change in attitude towards homosexuality. Specifically, it analyzes the relationship of character identification, inter-group contact, religiosity and gender with homophobia reduction. One hundred and fifty students of a Serbian University (MAge = 22.13, SD = 2.28) filled in a questionnaire measuring socio-demographic information and the instrument H25 assessing homophobia. Two months later, they watched a movie depicting gay men in a positive manner and completed a questionnaire containing the homophobia scale and questions related to identification with the main character, inter-group contact and religiosity. The results showed that watching the movie is related to a reduction of homophobia and that character identification and inter-group contact are negatively correlated with homophobia, whereas religiosity is positively correlated with it. Results also show that there is a negative correlation between religiosity and the attitude change induced by the movie, and that men express higher level of homophobia than women. The study contributes to the knowledge of the mechanisms reducing homophobia through media.


Homophobia Undergraduates Attitude change Identification Inter-group contact Religiosity Gender 



The authors thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona research committee, which in turn follows the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departament de Comunicació Audiovisual i PublicitatUniversitat Autonòma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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