A new study finds that many people, particularly heterosexual men, still perceive straight men as “more masculine” than gay men, Gay Star News reports.
158 men and women participated in a social experiment aimed at reducing prejudice and discrimination. The study was conducted by Mariana Pinho, a PhD candidate at the University of Lincoln, England. It asked participants to evaluate a fictional man.
The man was described to participants in a variety of ways: either straight or gay, and either single or married. All other facts about him remained the same.
Researchers observed that the man was considered by participants as “more masculine” when he was both heterosexual and married, and “more feminine” when he was described as gay.
Researchers also found that participants considered the man “more competent” when he was single, regardless of his sexual orientation.
Finally, participants were asked to judge the fictional man. Heterosexual men proved more likely to view the fictional man as feminine when he was described as gay. They also expressed fewer positive feelings towards him. Women, however, claimed to be more curious about and friendly towards the man.
So what exactly does this all mean?
Pinho says: “Our findings shed light on the complex effects of individuals’ sexual orientation and marital status, on the way they are perceived and the emotions they elicit in other people. Increasing our understanding of the beliefs that surround homosexuality is a crucial step in the effort to reducing prejudice and discrimination.”