Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Heterosexism


Can a single conversation change minds on divisive social issues, such as same-sex marriage? A randomized placebo-controlled trial assessed whether gay (n = 22) or straight (n = 19) messengers were effective at encouraging voters (n = 972) to support same-sex marriage and whether attitude change persisted and spread to others in voters' social networks. The results, measured by an unrelated panel survey, show that both gay and straight canvassers produced large effects initially, but only gay canvassers' effects persisted in 3-week, 6-week, and 9-month follow-ups. We also find strong evidence of within-household transmission of opinion change, but only in the wake of conversations with gay canvassers. Contact with gay canvassers further caused substantial change in the ratings of gay men and lesbians more generally. These large, persistent, and contagious effects were confirmed by a follow-up experiment. Contact with minorities coupled with discussion of issues pertinent to them is capable of producing a cascade of opinion change.

Concepts: LGBT, Sociology, Same-sex marriage, Homosexuality, Bisexuality, Conversation, Heterosexism, Homophobia


The growing body of literature on the recognition of sexual orientation from voice (“auditory gaydar”) is silent on the cognitive and social consequences of having a gay-/lesbian- versus heterosexual-sounding voice. We investigated this issue in four studies (overall N = 276), conducted in Italian language, in which heterosexual listeners were exposed to single-sentence voice samples of gay/lesbian and heterosexual speakers. In all four studies, listeners were found to make gender-typical inferences about traits and preferences of heterosexual speakers, but gender-atypical inferences about those of gay or lesbian speakers. Behavioral intention measures showed that listeners considered lesbian and gay speakers as less suitable for a leadership position, and male (but not female) listeners took distance from gay speakers. Together, this research demonstrates that having a gay/lesbian rather than heterosexual-sounding voice has tangible consequences for stereotyping and discrimination.

Concepts: LGBT, Gender, Sexual orientation, Homosexuality, Bisexuality, Gay, Heterosexism, Lesbian


Objectives. We determined whether individuals who harbor antigay prejudice experience elevated mortality risk. Methods. Data on heterosexual sexual orientation (n = 20 226, aged 18-89 years), antigay attitudes, and mortality risk factors came from the General Social Survey, which was linked to mortality data from the National Death Index (1988-2008). We used Cox proportional hazard models to examine whether antigay prejudice was associated with mortality risk among heterosexuals. Results. Heterosexuals who reported higher levels of antigay prejudice had higher mortality risk than those who reported lower levels (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.25; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.09, 1.42), with control for multiple risk factors for mortality, including demographics, socioeconomic status, and fair or poor self-rated health. This result translates into a life expectancy difference of approximately 2.5 years (95% CI = 1.0, 4.0 years) between individuals with high versus low levels of antigay prejudice. Furthermore, in sensitivity analyses, antigay prejudice was specifically associated with increased risk of cardiovascular-related causes of death in fully adjusted models (HR = 1.29; 95% CI = 1.04, 1.60). Conclusions. The findings contribute to a growing body of research suggesting that reducing prejudice may improve the health of both minority and majority populations. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print December 12, 2013: e1-e6. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301678).

Concepts: Epidemiology, Proportional hazards models, Demography, Sociology, Life expectancy, Sexual orientation, Heterosexuality, Heterosexism


Individuals who identify as heterosexual but engage in same-sex sexual behavior fascinate both researchers and the media. We analyzed the Online College Social Life Survey dataset of over 24,000 undergraduate students to examine students whose last hookup was with a same-sex partner (N = 383 men and 312 women). The characteristics of a significant minority of these students (12% of men and 25% of women) who labelled their sexual orientation “heterosexual” differed from those who self-identified as “homosexual,” “bisexual,” or “uncertain.” Differences among those who identified as heterosexual included more conservative attitudes, less prior homosexual and more prior heterosexual sexual experience, features of the hookups, and sentiments about the encounter after the fact. Latent class analysis revealed six distinctive “types” of heterosexually identified students whose last hookup was with a same-sex partner. Three types, comprising 60% of students, could be classified as mostly private sexual experimentation among those with little prior same-sex experience, including some who did not enjoy the encounter; the other two types in this group enjoyed the encounter, but differed on drunkenness and desire for a future relationship with their partner. Roughly, 12% could be classified as conforming to a “performative bisexuality” script of women publicly engaging in same-sex hookups at college parties, and the remaining 28% had strong religious practices and/or beliefs that may preclude a non-heterosexual identity, including 7% who exhibited “internalized heterosexism.” Results indicate several distinctive motivations for a heterosexual identity among those who hooked up with same-sex partners; previous research focusing on selective “types” excludes many exhibiting this discordance.

Concepts: LGBT, Sexual intercourse, Sexual orientation, Homosexuality, Bisexuality, Gay, Heterosexuality, Heterosexism


Even in relatively tolerant countries, antigay bias remains socially divisive, despite being widely viewed as violating social norms of tolerance. From a Justification-Suppression Model (JSM) framework, social norms may generally suppress antigay bias in tolerant countries, yet be “released” by religious justifications among those who resist gay rights progress. Across large, nationally representative US samples (Study 1) and international samples (Study 2, representing a total of 97 different countries), over 215,000 participants, and various indicators of antigay bias (e.g., dislike, moral condemnation, opposing gay rights), individual differences in religious attendance was uniquely associated with greater antigay bias, over and above religious fundamentalism, political ideology, and religious denomination. Moreover, in 4 of 6 multilevel models, religious attendance was associated with antigay bias in countries with greater gay rights recognition, but was unrelated to antigay bias in countries with lower gay rights recognition (Study 2). In Study 3, Google searches for a religious justification (“love the sinner hate the sin”) coincided temporally with gay-rights relevant searches. In U.S. (Study 4) and Canadian (Study 5) samples, much of the association between religious attendance and antigay bias was explained by “sinner-sin” religious justification, with religious attendance not associated with antigay bias when respondents reported relatively low familiarity with this justification (Study 5). These findings suggest that social divisions on homosexuality in relatively tolerant social contexts may be in large part due to religious justifications for antigay bias (consistent with the JSM), with important implications for decreasing bias. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Sociology, Homosexuality, Anomie, Heterosexism, Homophobia, Protestantism, LGBT social movements, LGBT rights


Individuals who face barriers to health care are more likely to access the Internet to seek health information. Pervasive stigma and heterosexism in the health care setting are barriers to health care for sexual minority people (SMP, ie, lesbian, gay, and bisexual people); therefore, SMP may be more likely to use the Internet as a source of health information compared to heterosexual people.

Concepts: Health care, LGBT, Sexual orientation, Homosexuality, Bisexuality, Gay, Heterosexuality, Heterosexism


Heteronormativity describes a set of norms and assumptions pertaining to heterosexual identities and binary gender. In 2015, we conducted our annual Sex, Drugs and Rock'n'Roll study, an online health survey of over 1000 Victorians aged 15-29 years. Feedback from participants suggested that our survey contained heteronormative language. In response to this, we aimed to make inclusive changes to our survey via consultation with young gender and sexually diverse (GSD) people.

Concepts: Sexual intercourse, Gender, Gender role, Human sexual behavior, Gender identity, Quantitative research, Heteronormativity, Heterosexism


Although strong evidence documents the elevated prevalence of both substance use and mental health problems among sexual minorities (i.e., gay, lesbian, and bisexuals), relatively less research has examined whether risk of the co-occurrence of these factors is elevated among sexual minorities compared to heterosexuals. The object of this study was to (1) explore sexual orientation-based differences in substance use, psychological distress, and their co-occurrence in a representative sample in Sweden, and (2) examine if greater exposure to stressors, such as discrimination, victimization/threats, and social isolation, could explain these potential disparities and their co-occurrence.

Concepts: LGBT, Mental disorder, Sexual orientation, Homosexuality, Bisexuality, Gay, Heterosexuality, Heterosexism


As gaming culture continues to marginalize women and people of color, other gamers are also highlighting the inequalities they face within digital gaming communities. While heterosexism and homophobia are commonplace within gaming culture, little is known about the actual experiences of “gaymers” and even less about “gaymers” of color. As such, this article seeks to explore lesbians of color and their experiences “gayming” out and online. Exploring identity development, community building, and connectivity via social networking, the women within this study articulate what it means to be lesbian online and how this impacts their physical and digital experiences. The private spaces within gaming culture that many marginalized groups inhabit are the few spaces that value the articulation of marginalized interests and viewpoints. Ethnographic observations reveal how supportive communities can improve resilience by mitigating the effects of stereotyping, microaggressions, and other discriminatory practices in online gaming.

Concepts: Community, Discrimination, Heterosexism, Homophobia, Lesbian, Gamer, Windows Live, Xbox Live


Between 2000 and 2015, the number of people newly infected with HIV in the Caribbean decreased by 76% and HIV-related deaths by 42%. The number of people living with HIV (PLHIV) on anti-retroviral therapy (ART) increased from near zero to 50% (44% to 57%) in 2015. In many Caribbean countries communities of men-who-have-sex-with-other-men (MSM) have higher incidence and prevalence of HIV. They are often stigmatized and subjected to both social and institutional discrimination. This study compared attitudes of the general public obtained through public opinion polls 2013-2014 towards homosexuals and willingness to socialize with them in seven Caribbean countries. Informants were asked if they “hate, tolerate or accept” homosexuals and if they would socialize with them. In St. Vincent 53% indicated they “hate” homosexuals, compared with 12% in Suriname; the converse was observed for those who “accept” homosexuals; 63% of St. Vincent informants would not socialize with homosexuals, compared with 25% in Suriname. Findings for the other 5 countries fell within these ranges. Women were more likely to accept and socialize with homosexuals, as were informants with a tertiary education and “passive” religious believers. These groups are less likely to adhere to a culture of “compulsory heterosexuality” or “hyper-masculinity” dominant among Caribbean men. The homophobic views expressed by these cultures result in stigma and discrimination by members of the “general” public towards MSM. This negatively affects the involvement of MSM in successful national HIV responses. Public messaging, communications campaigns and educational measures need to be employed to change the culture of “compulsory heterosexuality” or “hyper-masculinity” that result in stigma and discrimination of homosexuals to improve early access to services by MSM. Repeat use of well performed opinion polls is one method that can be employed to monitor progress over time in “key” and “general” populations.

Concepts: Antiretroviral drug, AIDS, Sociology, Discrimination, France, Caribbean, Opinion poll, Heterosexism