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Sexual Identity and Attitudes About Gender Roles

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Abstract

Studies have shown that attitudes about gender roles and attitudes about sexuality are often intertwined. Heterosexual individuals expressing more traditional gender role attitudes, for example, tend to be less tolerant towards sexual minorities. Research examining sexual minorities’ attitudes toward gender roles, however, is comparatively sparse. This study utilizes a nationally representative survey to compare the gender role attitudes of heterosexual individuals to gay or lesbian and bisexual individuals. We examine overall differences and gender-specific differences between sexual identity groups. Our analysis shows that, when it comes to household and family roles, both gay men and lesbian women are more likely than their heterosexual peers to reject traditional gender roles. This is partly a function of differences in political and religious ideology across the sexual identity groups. However, when it comes to gender roles in the public sphere, specifically the suitability of women for political office, gay men’s opinions do not differ from the opinions of their heterosexual counterparts.

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Correspondence to Brittany M. Kowalski.

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Kowalski, B.M., Scheitle, C.P. Sexual Identity and Attitudes About Gender Roles. Sexuality & Culture 24, 671–691 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12119-019-09655-x

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