Degrees of Acceptance: Variation in Public Attitudes toward Segments of the LGBT Community
Daniel Lewis et al.
Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming
The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community includes a diverse set of groups, including distinct groups based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity, but it is not clear whether the public makes distinctions in their attitudes toward these subgroups. If they do, what factors motivate individuals to evaluate gays and lesbians differently from transgender people? This study analyzes Americans' attitudes toward these communities, and it evaluates their support for nondiscrimination protections. We find that public attitudes are significantly more negative toward transgender people and policies pertaining to them than they are toward gay men and lesbians and related policies. The analyses reveal that differences in these attitudes are associated with social contact effects, variation in cognitive consistency, elite cues, and the varying magnitudes of key political factors, such as religiosity and partisanship.
Restoring Threatened Masculinity: The Appeal of Sexist and Anti-Gay Humor
Emma O'Connor, Thomas Ford & Noely Banos
Sex Roles, forthcoming
We propose that men scoring higher in precarious manhood beliefs (PMB) express amusement with sexist and anti-gay humor (but not other forms of humor) in response to masculinity threat in order to reaffirm their masculinity. Accordingly, Experiment 1 (166 heterosexual men in the United States recruited through Amazon.com's Mechanical Turk) supported the hypothesis that men higher in PMB express greater amusement with sexist and anti-gay jokes after experiencing a threat to their masculinity but not in the absence of masculinity threat. Also, the significant positive relationship between PMB and amusement following a masculinity threat was unique to the sexist and anti-gay jokes; it did not emerge for anti-Muslim and neutral jokes. Experiment 2 (221 heterosexual men in the United States recruited through Amazon.com's Mechanical Turk) extended the findings of Experiment 1, supporting the hypothesis that, following a masculinity threat, men higher in PMB express amusement with sexist and anti-gay humor because they believe it reaffirms their masculinity. Thus, our findings suggest that sexist and anti-gay humor serve a self-affirming function for men who possess higher PMB in situations that threaten one's masculinity. By uncovering a novel psychological function of sexist and anti-gay humor in social settings, we hope the present research will lead to better understandings of the kinds of situations that foster its occurrence and ultimately to strategies for preventing it.
The effect of the promiscuity stereotype on opposition to gay rights
David Pinsof & Martie Haselton
PLoS ONE, July 2017
Opposition to gay rights is prevalent in countries around the world. Recent correlational research suggests that opposition to gay rights may be driven by an interaction between one's own short-term mating orientation (i.e. willingness to engage in casual sex) and representations of gay people as sexually promiscuous. Here, we experimentally manipulated representations of gay men by randomly assigning participants to read one of two versions of a fictitious newspaper article, one of which contained faux scientific evidence confirming the stereotype that gay men are promiscuous, and the other containing faux scientific evidence refuting the stereotype. We found that the manipulation interacted with short-term mating orientation (STMO) to predict opposition to gay rights, such that low-STMO individuals (i.e. more averse to casual sex) exhibited more support for gay rights when assigned to read the stereotype-refuting article compared to the stereotype-confirming article, whereas high-STMO individuals (i.e. less averse to casual sex) were not significantly influenced by the manipulation. We discuss the implications of these findings for the study of antigay attitudes, as well as for recent societal changes in acceptance of homosexuality.
Prenatal Exposure to Progesterone Affects Sexual Orientation in Humans
June Reinisch, Erik Lykke Mortensen & Stephanie Sanders
Archives of Sexual Behavior, July 2017, Pages 1239-1249
Prenatal sex hormone levels affect physical and behavioral sexual differentiation in animals and humans. Although prenatal hormones are theorized to influence sexual orientation in humans, evidence is sparse. Sexual orientation variables for 34 prenatally progesterone-exposed subjects (17 males and 17 females) were compared to matched controls (M age = 23.2 years). A case-control double-blind design was used drawing on existing data from the US/Denmark Prenatal Development Project. Index cases were exposed to lutocyclin (bioidentical progesterone = C21H30O2; MW: 314.46) and no other hormonal preparation. Controls were matched on 14 physical, medical, and socioeconomic variables. A structured interview conducted by a psychologist and self-administered questionnaires were used to collect data on sexual orientation, self-identification, attraction to the same and other sex, and history of sexual behavior with each sex. Compared to the unexposed, fewer exposed males and females identified as heterosexual and more of them reported histories of same-sex sexual behavior, attraction to the same or both sexes, and scored higher on attraction to males. Measures of heterosexual behavior and scores on attraction to females did not differ significantly by exposure. We conclude that, regardless of sex, exposure appeared to be associated with higher rates of bisexuality. Prenatal progesterone may be an underappreciated epigenetic factor in human sexual and psychosexual development and, in light of the current prevalence of progesterone treatment during pregnancy for a variety of pregnancy complications, warrants further investigation. These data on the effects of prenatal exposure to exogenous progesterone also suggest a potential role for natural early perturbations in progesterone levels in the development of sexual orientation.
In Defense of Tradition: Religiosity, Conservatism, and Opposition to Same-Sex Marriage in North America
Jojanneke van der Toorn et al.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming
Arguments opposing same-sex marriage are often made on religious grounds. In five studies conducted in the United States and Canada (combined N = 1,673), we observed that religious opposition to same-sex marriage was explained, at least in part, by conservative ideology and linked to sexual prejudice. In Studies 1 and 2, we discovered that the relationship between religiosity and opposition to same-sex marriage was mediated by explicit sexual prejudice. In Study 3, we saw that the mediating effect of sexual prejudice was linked to political conservatism. Finally, in Studies 4a and 4b we examined the ideological underpinnings of religious opposition to same-sex marriage in more detail by taking into account two distinct aspects of conservative ideology. Results revealed that resistance to change was more important than opposition to equality in explaining religious opposition to same-sex marriage.
Trends in School-Related Victimization of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Youths - Massachusetts, 1995-2015
Emily O'Malley Olsen et al.
American Journal of Public Health, July 2017, Pages 1116-1118
Methods: We analyzed data from 11 Youth Risk Behavior Surveys conducted among representative samples of students in grades 9 through 12 in Massachusetts during 1995 to 2015. We used multivariable logistic regression models to identify trends over time by sexual identity.
Results: During 1995 to 2015, the prevalence of missing school decreased overall (from 5.6% to 4.8%) and among heterosexual (from 4.3% to 3.8%) and LGB (from 25.0% to 13.4%) students. The prevalence of having been threatened decreased overall (from 7.8% to 4.1%) and among heterosexual (from 6.5% to 3.5%) and LGB (from 32.9% to 6.7%) students.