Bed, bath, and beyond

Kevin Lewis

May 07, 2016

Examining the Nuance in Public Opinion of Pro-LGB Policies in a “Red State”

Mathew Stange & Emily Kazyak

Sexuality Research and Social Policy, June 2016, Pages 142-157

The red-blue state and urban–rural narratives — which depict that people living in red states and rural areas oppose pro-LGB policies — are popular frames for describing variation in public opinion of LGB policies by geographic region. In a test case of a red state, we examine public opinion of pro-LGB policies to assess the accuracy of the red–blue and urban–rural narratives. Using data from a survey of Nebraskans (n = 1608), we found that public opinion was more nuanced than the red state narrative allows but that urban and rural respondents reported significantly different opinions of pro-LGB policies. Rural people, however, were not unsupportive of all pro-LGB policies. Among all Nebraskans, support was higher for policies to protect LGB people from housing and job discrimination while support was lower for marriage and adoption rights. We discuss what these findings mean for public policy, urban and rural LGB individuals, and future public opinion studies of LGB issues.


Transgender Adults’ Access to College Bathrooms and Housing and the Relationship to Suicidality

Kristie Seelman

Journal of Homosexuality, forthcoming

Transgender and gender non-conforming people frequently experience discrimination, harassment, and marginalization across college and university campuses (Bilodeau, 2007; Finger, 2010; Rankin et al., 2010; Seelman et al., 2012). The minority stress model (Meyer, 2007) posits that experiences of discrimination often negatively impact the psychological wellbeing of minority groups. However, few scholars have examined whether college institutional climate factors — such as being denied access to bathrooms or gender-appropriate campus housing — are significantly associated with detrimental psychological outcomes for transgender people. Using the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, this study analyzes whether being denied access to these spaces is associated with lifetime suicide attempts, after controlling for interpersonal victimization by students or teachers. Findings from sequential logistic regression (N = 2,316) indicate that denial of access to either space had a significant relationship to suicidality, even after controlling for interpersonal victimization. This article discusses implications for higher education professionals and researchers.


Durably reducing transphobia: A field experiment on door-to-door canvassing

David Broockman & Joshua Kalla

Science, 8 April 2016, Pages 220-224

Existing research depicts intergroup prejudices as deeply ingrained, requiring intense intervention to lastingly reduce. Here, we show that a single approximately 10-minute conversation encouraging actively taking the perspective of others can markedly reduce prejudice for at least 3 months. We illustrate this potential with a door-to-door canvassing intervention in South Florida targeting antitransgender prejudice. Despite declines in homophobia, transphobia remains pervasive. For the intervention, 56 canvassers went door to door encouraging active perspective-taking with 501 voters at voters’ doorsteps. A randomized trial found that these conversations substantially reduced transphobia, with decreases greater than Americans’ average decrease in homophobia from 1998 to 2012. These effects persisted for 3 months, and both transgender and nontransgender canvassers were effective. The intervention also increased support for a nondiscrimination law, even after exposing voters to counterarguments.


Stereotypes of Bisexual People: What Do Bisexual People Themselves Think?

Sara Burke & Marianne LaFrance

Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, forthcoming

Little is known about how bisexual people see themselves as a group or the extent to which they agree with the stereotypes that others have of them. We randomly assigned bisexual participants (N = 346) to rate heterosexual, bisexual, or homosexual targets on a variety of traits. Results suggested that bisexual participants do hold stereotypes about sexual orientation groups (including their own group), but not the same stereotypes that heterosexual and gay/lesbian people hold. Specifically, bisexual participants perceived bisexual targets as similar to heterosexual targets on the dimension of masculinity/femininity, rather than “in the middle” between heterosexual and homosexual targets. Further distinguishing their views from those of heterosexual and gay/lesbian participants, bisexual participants did not rate bisexual targets as especially indecisive, prone to nonmonogamy, focused on sex, or likely to cheat. These results help clarify the literature on stereotypes of sexual orientation groups. Prior work left open the possibility that stereotypes of bisexual people reflected a consensus view, including the opinions of bisexual people themselves, but our findings suggest otherwise. Addressing the often-overlooked point of view of bisexual people can reveal patterns of social attitudes that would otherwise escape notice.


The Evolution of Female Same-Sex Attractions: The Weak Selection Pressures Hypothesis

Menelaos Apostolou

Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, forthcoming

Divergence from exclusive heterosexual orientation is commonly observed in women. Understanding this phenomenon requires exploring it from an evolutionary perspective, which in turn entails knowledge of human evolutionary history, particularly with respect to mating patterns. The anthropological and historical records indicate that during most of the human evolutionary time, mate choice was regulated, with parental and social control being directed predominantly toward women. Strong control over mating, along with less emphasis placed on intimacy, male–male competition, and male tolerance toward female same-sex attractions, result in weak selection pressures exercised on alleles that predispose for deviations from exclusive heterosexual orientation. These pressures are weak over small deviations, but become increasingly stronger when such deviations tend toward exclusive homosexual orientation. As a consequence, a distribution of sexual orientation arises with many women having nonexclusive heterosexual orientation, and few women having bisexual and homosexual orientation. Further predictions are derived from this hypothesis, which are matched to available evidence.

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