Gender Threats and Men’s Antigay Behaviors: The Harmful Effects of Asserting Heterosexuality

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antigay behaviors, gay men, gender threats, manhood, sexual prejudice

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Whereas recent work on gender role violations suggests that asserting their heterosexuality may diminish the harmful effects of gender threats (versus gender affirmations) on men’s antigay reactions, predictions derived from social identity theory suggest that asserting heterosexuality can exacerbate the negative effects of a gender threat on antigay reactions. Two studies tested these competing hypotheses. In Study 1, gender threatened versus affirmed men sent more intense noise blasts at a gay partner, but only if they asserted their heterosexuality. In Study 2, men high in sexual prejudice who underwent a gender threat sat farther from a gay confederate than gender affirmed men, but only if they asserted heterosexuality. Discussion considers the theoretical and practical implications of these findings, and highlights directions for future research.

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Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, v. 15, issue 4, p. 471-486