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The Young and the Prejudiced? Millennial Men, “Dude Bro” Disposition, and LGBTQ Negativity in a US National Sample

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Abstract

Background

The young are often considered to be among the most open-minded age group, especially as compared to older adults. Millennials have been regarded as particularly interested in commitment to social justice and diversity issues, including LGBTQ acceptance. Yet recent political and socio-cultural shifts along with the emergence of “dude bros” (typically young (millennial), straight, White cisgender males of privilege who express masculinity in entitled, obnoxious, and toxic ways) may be related to a trend in decreasing LGBTQ support among millennial men that drastically contradicts previous research that suggests that being “young” and being “woke” are one in the same.

Methods

Data collected via online panelists in November 2018 are utilized to investigate how being a millennial cisgender man relates to attitudes toward LGBTQ people (lesbian women, gay men, bisexual women, bisexual men, trans women, trans men, non-binary people, queer women, queer men) among a nationally representative sample of US adults aged 18–64 stratified by US Census categories of age, gender, race/ethnicity, and census region (N = 3104).

Results and Conclusions

Findings show that being a millennial cis man is robustly related to the stigmatization of LGBTQ people and that overlapping layers of patriarchy, aversion to being “hit on” by other men, and the use of anti-LGBTQ slurs (“fag,” “faggot,” “queer,” “dyke,” “tranny,” “no homo,” and “that is so gay!”) relate to these patterns in diverse ways.

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Notes

  1. The survey was administered January 8–11, 2019; thus, this group of young people includes those born from 1985 to 2001. Though they were obtained at the start of the year 2019, GLAAD reports these figures as “2018” findings.

  2. In this study, millennials who were/are adolescents or emerging adults (those ages 15 to 25) are described as “coming of age” during the time of Trump (which started in the year 2015 and continues to the year 2020), in line with some previous work (Hoyt, Zeiders, Chaku, Toomey, & Nair, 2018; Metzger, Alvis, Romm, Wray-Lake, & Syvertsen, 2020). This includes n = 277 millennial cis men who were aged 18–28 during the time of data collection (2018) (who were ages 15 to 25 in 2015 when the Trump campaign started) which is well over half (66%) of the total millennial cis men (n = 420) in this study.

  3. Since 2012, the highest spike in Twitter frequency of “faggot” was 46,667 tweets on August 2, 2018, and of “dyke” was 26,116 tweets on June 29, 2019.

  4. Since 2012, the highest spike in Twitter frequency of “no homo” was 42,805 tweets on October 7, 2017.

  5. Since 2012, the highest spike in Twitter frequency of “so gay” was 11,090 tweets on November 5, 2019.

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Acknowledgments

The author would like to acknowledge the University of Oklahoma Office of the Vice President for Research who provided financial support for the data collection utilized in this project via the Faculty Investment Program.

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Correspondence to Meredith G. F. Worthen.

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Appendix

Appendix

Table 6 LGBTQ Stigma Scale items (Worthen, 2020)

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Worthen, M.G.F. The Young and the Prejudiced? Millennial Men, “Dude Bro” Disposition, and LGBTQ Negativity in a US National Sample. Sex Res Soc Policy 18, 290–308 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-020-00458-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-020-00458-6

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