Researchers at Indiana University have released another study examining the ways people perceive same-sex relationships. The latest findings show that straight people are generally okay with LGBT folks, but still have a problem with public displays of affection between same-sex couples.
The research looked at both straight and queer people’s acceptance of LGBT people in two main categories: “formal rights,” like marriage equality and hospital visitations, and “informal privileges,” like being able to hold hands or kiss in public. Here are some of the key takeaways about how straight people view same-sex relationships:
- Straight people are overall accepting of legal rights like visiting a same-sex partner in the hospital, sharing health insurance, and taking family leave to take care of a same-sex partner
- But fewer straight people are okay with same-sex couples actually getting married, so perhaps some are only okay with the above in the context of civil unions or other legal, non-marriage relationships
- And across the board, straight people believe that PDA is less acceptable between queer couples than between different-sex couples, including holding hands, kissing on the cheek and making out. Not surprisingly, straight men were more OK with two women kissing in public than two men (hey, male gaze), but overall still viewed queer PDA as more icky than straight PDA.
Straight and queer people alike were surveyed, but queer folks’ responses are less exciting, as we tend to support our own formal and informal rights pretty consistently. However, it is worth noting a substantial number of LGBT people said that same-sex (their own) public affection was less acceptable than that of straight people — internalized homophobia, anyone?
Here’s another important point from Mari’s writeup at Autostraddle:
As with all sociological studies, this data should be taken with a bit of a critical eye. First, while the study is just now being published, the survey data was collected back in 2010, a time when gay marriage was legal in only six states. So, while this data may have reflected attitudes then, it’s possible and even likely there have been some shifts in that period. Secondly, this study relied on presenting written scenarios in a survey, and it’s possible that being actually confronted with an amorous queer couple may elicit different reactions from people. Regardless, it appears that the queer community has a ways to go in gaining the same degree of social acceptance for our relationships that straight people enjoy. Psychology says that exposure is one of the best ways to break down discomforts. We all clearly need to spend more time sucking face in public. You know, for the greater good.
Thoughts? Opinions? Agreements or disagreements?