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Can Openly Gay Actors Convince in Straight Roles?

Can Openly Gay Actors Play Straight Roles? New research looks into the influence of gender roles on job credibility and performance ranking among entertainers.

Clemson University researchers studied an issue raised in a recent news column that suggested an “out” actor cannot convincingly play a heterosexual because knowing someone is gay will bias perceptions of his or her performance.

Researchers discovered that although knowing an actor is gay significantly affected ratings of his masculinity, there was no significant effect on ratings of his acting performance.

“Early research showed that people tend to perceive a direct connection between sexual orientation and established gender roles, especially in the entertainment industry,” said Paul Merritt, Ph.D.

“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.”

For the study, published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture, nearly 400 college students answered 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.

Source: Clemson University

Man standing with another man behind him photo by shutterstock.

Can Openly Gay Actors Convince in Straight Roles?

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Can Openly Gay Actors Convince in Straight Roles?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 19, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2013/05/14/can-openly-gay-actors-convince-in-straight-roles/54815.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.