Understanding prejudice and discrimination : heterosexuals' motivations for engaging in homonegativity directed toward gay men
Jewell, Lisa M.
To date, little research has documented the prevalence of anti-gay behaviours on Canadian university campuses or directly explored heterosexual men’s and women’s self-reported reasons for holding negative attitudes toward gay men and engaging in anti-gay behaviours. Consequently, the purpose of the current study was to: (1) assess the prevalence of anti-gay attitudes and behaviours on a Canadian university campus using the Attitudes Toward Gay Men Scale (ATG) and the Self-Report Behaviour Scale – Revised (SBS-R); (2) describe heterosexual men’s and women’s lived experiences as perpetrators of homonegativity; and (3) explore how heterosexuals find meaning in their homonegativity within personal and social contexts. A mixed-methods approach was used wherein a quantitative questionnaire was administered to 286 university students in the first phase of the study. The majority of the participants scored below the midpoint of the ATG and they most often reported engaging in subtle behaviours directed toward gay men. In the second, qualitative phase of the study, open-ended interviews were conducted with eight individuals (four men and four women) who held negative attitudes toward gay men and had engaged in anti-gay behaviours. The interviews were analyzed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. The participants’ lived experiences of homonegativity were primarily characterized by their feelings of discomfort upon observing gay men display affection and their perceptions that gay men are feminine. For the most part, participants used their religious beliefs, negative affective reactions toward homosexuality, and their beliefs that homosexuality is wrong and unnatural to understand their homonegativity. Further, the participants indicated that they had only engaged in subtle anti-gay behaviours, such as joke-telling, social distancing, or avoidance. Many of the participants were concerned about being perceived as prejudiced and, consequently, monitored the behaviours they directed toward gay men. Limitations of the study and directions for future research concerning anti-gay behaviours are also presented.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
SupervisorMorrison, Melanie A.
CommitteeDuggleby, Wendy; Cochrane, Donald B.; Chirkov, Valery I.; Alexitch, Louise R.
Copyright DateOctober 2007
negative attitudes toward gay men
interpretative phenomenological analysis