Straights Still See Gay Men as Feminine

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Thursday May 8, 2014

Sorry, gym bunnies -- all that pumping iron doesn't seem to have had the desired effect: a recent study shows that many people still consider straight men to be more masculine than gay men.

Gay Star News reports on a study presented by Mariana Pinho, a PhD student at the University of Lincoln, England, presented the research at the British Psychological Society's annual conference on May 8.

"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," said Pinho. "Increasing our understanding of the beliefs that surround homosexuality is a crucial step in the effort to reducing prejudice and discrimination."

The research was aimed at attempting to reduce prejudice and discrimination. In it, 158 Portuguese participants were asked to evaluate and react to a fictional man described either straight or gay and either single or married.

Interestingly, the participants' gender factored into whether or not they viewed the subject as gay or not. Masculine men viewed the fictional man as more feminine if the study described him as gay, while women viewed the subject as more friendly, and were curious and interested in his background.

The study revealed that most participants thought the man was most masculine when described as both heterosexual and married, and more feminine when he was described as gay, whether or not he was married. Single men, whether straight or gay, were seen as being more competent.

The study showed that most people viewed a man as more reliable if he were single rather than married.

"I was extremely surprised to see the significant influence that marital status has on the attribution of competence. When our participants were advised that the subject was single, regardless of his sexual orientation, their replies revealed that marriage made him seem less competent," said Pinho. "I believe that research in this area is highly important, because it is vital to understand the impact our internal preconceptions can have on the way we approach other members of society."

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


  • , 2014-05-09 11:13:26

    And we define masculine as?

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