Political Behavior

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 313–337 | Cite as

When to Tell? : Disclosure of Concealable Group Membership, Stereotypes, and Political Evaluation

  • Ewa A. Golebiowska


Although their group membership is normatively irrelevant to vote choice, members of politically underrepresented groups (e.g., women, nonwhites, and gays and lesbians) are often evaluated through the prism of their group memberships and related stereotypes when competing for elective office. Because membership in groups defined by gender, race, or ethnicity is easily perceptible, women and nonwhite candidates may have little control over the political effects of their group membership. Membership in groups defined by a candidate's sexual orientation is concealable, in contrast, and thus potentially gives gay and lesbian candidates some control over the impact of their homosexuality and accompanying stereotypes on voters' responses. Using an experimental design, I examine the relationships between timing of group membership disclosure, group stereotypes, candidate sex, and political responses to gay and lesbian candidates for office—taking into consideration voters' attitudes toward homosexuality and their sex.

gay and lesbian candidates candidate evaluation electoral choice timing of group membership disclosure 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ewa A. Golebiowska
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceWayne State UniversityDetroit

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