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Fragile heterosexuality

West, Keon, Borras Guevara, Martha Lucia, Morton, Thomas A. and Greenland, Katy ORCID: 2021. Fragile heterosexuality. Social Psychology 52 (3) , pp. 143-161. 10.1027/1864-9335/a000444

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Abstract. Previous research demonstrates that membership of majority groups is often perceived as more fragile than membership of minority groups. Four studies (N1 = 90, N2 = 247, N3 = 500, N4 = 1,176) investigated whether this was the case for heterosexual identity, relative to gay identity. Support for fragile heterosexuality was found using various methods: sexual orientation perceptions of a target who engaged in incongruent behavior, free-responses concerning behaviors required to change someone’s mind about a target’s sexual orientation, agreement with statements about men/women’s sexual orientation, and agreement with gender-neutral statements about sexual orientation. Neither participant nor target gender eliminated or reversed this effect. Additionally, we investigated multiple explanations (moderators) of the perceived difference in fragility between heterosexual identity and gay identity and found that higher estimates of the gay/lesbian population decreased the difference between the (higher) perceived fragility of heterosexual identity and the (lower) perceived fragility of gay identity.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Additional Information: Distributed as a Hogrefe OpenMind article under the license CC BY 4.0 (
Publisher: Hogrefe
ISSN: 1864-9335
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 12 February 2021
Date of Acceptance: 18 December 2020
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2022 14:20

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