Does Being Openly Gay Affect Performance Appraisal

Author: Clemson University
Published: Sunday 19th October 2014 - Updated: Saturday 17th January 2015
Summary: Researchers say knowing an actor is gay significantly affected ratings of his masculinity, but there was no significant effect on ratings of his acting performance.


A team of researchers tested the hypothesis claimed by recent news columns that an "out" actor cannot convincingly play a heterosexual because knowing someone is gay will bias perceptions of his or her performance.

Ranked No. 25 among national public universities, Clemson University is a major, land-grant, science- and engineering-oriented research university that maintains a strong commitment to teaching and student success. Clemson is an inclusive, student-centered community characterized by high academic standards, a culture of collaboration, school spirit and a competitive drive to excel.

A team of researchers tested the hypothesis claimed by recent news columns that an "out" actor cannot convincingly play a heterosexual because knowing someone is gay will bias perceptions of his or her performance.

Led by Paul Merritt, assistant professor in the Clemson University Department of Psychology, the researchers published their findings in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture.

"Early research showed that people tend to perceive a direct connection between sexual orientation and established gender roles, especially in the entertainment industry," said Merritt. "However, these new findings indicate that knowledge of an actor's sexual orientation doesn't necessarily cause their performance to be perceived in light of stereotypes about gays and lesbians."

Nearly 400 college students participated in the study by answering questions about a male actor's fictional Facebook page that included a photograph and basic demographic information, including sexual orientation. After watching a video of the actor's performance, participants rated the performance and their likelihood of casting the actor in their own productions.

The findings indicate that knowledge of an actor's sexual orientation doesn't necessarily cause their performance to be perceived in light of stereotypes about gays and lesbians. Moreover, there was no significant effect on ratings of a knowingly gay person's performance.


Similar Topics


From our Gay Male section - Full List (6 Items)

Send us your coming events and LGBTQ related news stories.


Experiences of Food Insecurity Among Californian LGBTQ


U.S. DOJ Files Statement of Interest Defending Constitutionality of Idaho's Fairness in Women's Sports Act


US Supreme Court Decision Protects 8.1M LGBT Workers From Employment Discrimination


LGB People Who Have Undergone Conversion Therapy Almost Twice As Likely to Attempt Suicide


After Marriage Equality Ruling LGBT Emotional Well-being Improved


Revolutionary Technology Customizes Film to Viewer's Race, Gender, Sexual Preference, and More


Same-sex Weddings Boost U.S. State Economies by $3.8 Billion Since Marriage Equality Ruling


Over 200,000 LGBT adults in California at High Risk for COVID-19



Tsara Shelton
"Storytellers are powerful and we are all storytellers," suggests Tsara Shelton, author of the book Spinning in Circles and Learning from Myself: A Collection of Stories that Slowly Grow Up..


LGBT Awareness & Events
List of important LGBT awareness dates and coming sexual diversity events.


Transgender Reporting Guide - English
Guide for those writing on transgender and LGBT community - Spanish Version.
Sexuality Definitions
List of definitions and glossary of sexual terms, abbreviations and their meanings.