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Men who “sound gay” face more discrimination from straight people

A new study by the UK’s University of Surrey has found that Gay men who believe that they sound gay are more likely to be worried about discrimination and gay men were more likely to be worried about this than lesbian women. Fabio Fasoli, the lead author behind the study said “Sounding gay reflects common stereotypes associated with gay men that are still seen as ‘negative. For a man, sounding gay implies not conforming to the norm of sounding masculine and heterosexual.” The study, published in the British Journal of Social Psychology, surveyed straight and gay people and asked them about what they thought about the differences between the way straight and gay people talked and asked the straight people about their aversion to being around gay people. They found that straight people who believed that they can tell who is gay or straight based on their voices were more likely to have discriminatory attitudes towards gay people, especially towards gay men. Surprisingly, straight people who thought that “gay voice” is immutable – that is, that it’s a deep difference between gay and straight people that can’t be changed – were more likely to have discriminatory attitudes towards gay people. Gay men are more likely to think that their voices sound gay. But, the researchers suggested, gay men might be more likely to link their gender presentation with their sexual orientation when asked about it. That is, a gay man who believes he doesn’t sound like straight men might say that he sounds gay. Fasoli said that this might be a subtle form of discrimination since straight people are judging gay people by the sounds of their voices even if a gay person has never said that they’re gay.

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