Study finds link between gender norms and people's perception towards homosexuals

Washington D.C. , Dec 28 : Beliefs regarding gender norms influence people's attitudes towards gays and lesbians, as revealed by a study. Homosexuals have been subjected to prejudice across different cultures and nations.

To better understand the underlying causes and attributes of homophobia, a group of academicians has attempted to plot a correlation between people's ideas pertaining to gender norms and their opinions towards homosexual men and women.

In the research published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, Maria Laura Bettinsoli, Alexandra Suppes, and Jamie Napier from New York University - Abu Dhabi found that globally, gay men are disliked more than lesbian women across 23 countries.

Their results also suggest negative attitudes are guided by the perception that gays and lesbians violate traditional gender norms. But in three countries, China, India, and South Korea, the correlation between beliefs in gender norms and attitudes towards gays and lesbians were absent or even reversed.

The team assessed attitudes towards gay men and lesbian women separately, noting that most research focuses on homosexuality as a broad category and doesn't separate attitudes by gender.

Bettinsoli and colleagues were surprised at how consistently gay men were rated more negatively than lesbian women in the vast majority of their samples.

They were also surprised "at the consistency of the relationship between gender norm endorsement and sexual prejudice," said Bettinsoli. "Even though there were some non-Western countries that did not conform to the pattern, the majority of countries did."

These findings were true for western countries including Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the USA. The same was true for Russia, South Africa, and Turkey too.

"We also found that, in line with previous research, the endorsement of gender norms was associated with anti-gay attitudes--toward both gay men and lesbian women--in every Western country in our sample," said Bettinsoli.

In South Korea, the researchers saw that endorsement of gender norms was unrelated to attitudes toward gays and lesbians, and in Japan, there was a small association between gender norm endorsement and attitudes toward gay men, but not towards lesbian women.

"In China and India, the reverse pattern emerged. Those who were highest on the endorsement of traditional gender roles were the most positive toward gay men and lesbian women," explained Bettinsoli.While some of the countries show friendlier attitudes towards gays and lesbians, Bettinsoli noted that even in the more tolerant places discriminatory attitudes still exist.

The study is one of several appearing in a future special issue of Social Psychological and Personality Science focused on underrepresented populations.

(ANI | 6 months ago)

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Study finds link between gender norms and people's perception towards homosexuals