The Personal is Political: Internalized Sexual Stigma and the Desire for Gender Complementarity in (some) Same-Gender Relationships

J.L. Napier*, J.M. van der Toorn, A.C. Vial

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

We examined whether gay men (Studies 1–2) and lesbian women (Study 1) who harbor internalized stigma due to their sexuality will desire a romantic relationship that reflects conventional, complementary gender roles where one partner is stereotypically feminine and the other is stereotypically masculine, in terms of both personality traits and division of household labor. Results showed that, among gay men with high (but not low) internalized stigma, self-ascribed masculinity was positively related to preferences for an ideal partner with stereotypically feminine traits. Preferences for partners with gender complementary traits did not emerge among women, or among men high in self-ascribed femininity. Contrary to predictions, internalized stigma was not associated with preferences for a gender-complementary division of household chores. Instead, internalized stigma was associated with the avoidance of tasks that are stereotypically gender incongruent—women high (vs. low) in stigma preferred for the partner (vs. self) to do so-called masculine (but not feminine) chores, whereas men high (vs. low) in stigma preferred for the partner (vs. self) to do stereotypically feminine (but not masculine) chores. Study 2 also included an experimental manipulation to test whether these effects were influenced by societal exclusion or acceptance, but there was no evidence of this.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-118
Number of pages22
JournalSex Roles
Volume89
Issue number3-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Keywords

  • Femininity
  • Gender complementarity
  • Gender differentiation
  • Internalized stigma
  • Masculinity
  • Sexual minorities

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