Who Confronts Sexual Prejudice? How Gender and Ideologies are Related to Heterosexual Allies Challenging Hate Speech
Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Oswald, Debra L.
Sexual prejudice and discrimination are extremely prevalent throughout society and previous research suggests that there are a multitude of negative consequences associated with being the target of this prejudice. One way of reducing prejudice is by confronting the perpetrator; however the majority of previous research examining confrontation has focused on the target's response to racism or sexism. The current study utilized a 10-condition experimental design in order to examine how the gender of the perpetrator, target, and non-target witness of heterosexist prejudice affected the witness' responses. Attitudinal variables and past allied behaviors were also examined in order to determine if they predicted confrontation behavior. A sample of 298 (134 men, and 164 women) undergraduate college students participated in the current study by watching one of 4 videos in which a male or female perpetrator "approaches" them and makes a heterosexist comment about a lesbian woman or gay man and then answering questions about how they would respond if they were in that situation. They also completed a number of surveys about their attitudes and past behavior. Results suggest that gender of the participant, perpetrator, and target all play a significant role in responses to heterosexist hate speech. Furthermore, attitudes toward gay men, allophilia, and number of friends who identify as gay or lesbian were all significant unique predictors of confrontation responses. Implications for reduction of prejudice and future research are discussed.