“She Is My Roommate”: Why and How Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Individuals Deceive Friends About Their Sexual Orientation

  • Yachao LiEmail author
  • Jennifer A. Samp


This chapter explores why and how lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals deceive friends about their sexual orientation. Quantitative and qualitative data from 87 participants showed that individual and friend characteristics (e.g., age, gender, sexual orientation, attitude toward homosexuality) and cognitive appraisals of coming out conversations (e.g., fear of negative consequences and communication efficacy) appeared to determine LGB individuals’ decision to deceive. Sexual minority individuals mostly used three deception strategies: passive (i.e., keeping silent and letting friends assume heterosexuality), active (i.e., talking about heterosexual topics around friends), and interactive (i.e., directly interacting with persons of the opposite sex). LGB individuals in same-sex romantic relationships also utilized avoidance or denial (e.g., avoiding social events where romantic partners are invited, denying that they are in a relationship) and naming (e.g., referring to a romantic partner as a “roommate”) to deceive friends about their sexual orientations. Deception motivations and strategies are discussed in light of past studies on relational development and maintenance. Directions for future research on sexual orientation deception are also discussed.


Sexual orientation deception Lesbian Gay Bisexual LGB Sexual minority Motivations Deception strategies 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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