-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
FRIDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) -- Although being openly gay
appears to affect a male actor's masculinity ratings, it does not
affect views on his performance, according to a new study.
Researchers from Clemson University in South Carolina found that
an actor who is "out" can be convincing when playing a heterosexual
role, despite stereotypes about homosexuals.
"Early research showed that people tend to perceive a direct connection between sexual orientation and established gender roles, especially in the entertainment industry," said the study's leader, Paul Merritt, a psychology professor, in a Clemson news release. "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."
The study, published recently in
Psychology of Popular Media Culture, was conducted in the
wake of news columns that maintained that knowing someone is gay
will bias perceptions of his or her performance in a heterosexual
The researchers questioned roughly 400 college students about a
male actor's fictional Facebook page, featuring photos and
information about his sexual orientation.
The students then watched a video of the actor and rated his
performance. The students also stated how likely they would be to
cast the actor in their own production. The study revealed that
being openly gay didn't affect perceptions or ratings of the
actor's performance, but it did influence their opinion of his
The American Psychological Association has more about
sexual orientation and homosexuality.
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