Most Straights Subconsciously Believe Gay Men are Dirty
New research shows that straight people still consider gay men to be ’dirty,’ even if it is subconsciously.
Gay Star News reports that a study of more than 200 participants in the UK, Portugal and Poland showed that they felt the need to physically cleanse themselves after just imagining contact with a gay.
"Labeling people as impure is a culturally universal way of expressing prejudice," said lead researcher Agnieszka Golec de Zavala. "Physical cleansing is used as a way to euphemize through actions such as excluding from social life, depriving of human rights, imprisoning of, and finally exterminating."
Researchers, who described the results as "shocking" and "alarming," believe that it proves that some think that gay men will contaminate them in their mind.
In four experiments, the same outcome was reached: if the study participant self-identified as socially conservative, then they were far more likely to consider gay men to be dirty.
In an experiment in Portugal, 55 participants were asked to do a word completion task with a mix of cleanness-related words, neutral words and words around cleansing. Those who imagined borrowing a phone from a gay man generated significantly more words around cleansing that those who imagined borrowing a straight man’s phone.
After the experiment, participants were offered either a yellow pencil or a yellow disinfecting wipe. Those who borrowed the phone from a gay man chose the wipe much more often.
"It’s alarming that prejudice can still be found on a subconscious level. It may be difficult to reduce the prejudice people are unaware they hold," said Zavala. "Therefore there is still hope that more can be changed with education to limit and eradicate prejudice."