Date of Award

Summer 7-1-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Newman, Leonard S.


Gender expression, Sexual orientation, Sexual prejudice

Subject Categories

Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Psychology


The purpose of this study was to determine how violation of gender-based expectancies might influence attitudes toward men who differ by sexual orientation (i.e., straight or gay). While other studies have examined attitudes toward gay and straight men who differ by gender expression, their designs may have been susceptible to demand effects; this study was specifically designed to avoid such methodological issues. This research was informed by Expectancy-Violation Theory (EVT) and the Black Sheep Effect, which together suggest that an effeminate straight man should be evaluated by other straight men more negatively than an effeminate gay man because the former target negatively violated expectations. Additionally, EVT suggests that a masculine gay man should be evaluated more positively than a masculine straight man because the former positively violated expectations. Self-identified straight men evaluated a male target whose sexual orientation and gender conformity were manipulated through a photo and vignette. Moderated mediation analyses were performed to determine if perceived expectancy violation mediated the relationship between sexual orientation and evaluations for both effeminate and masculine men. When sexual prejudice was used as a covariate, straight masculine targets were evaluated more favorably than gay masculine targets. Perceived expectancy violation did not mediate the relationship between sexual orientation and evaluations regardless of gender expression. More research should be conducted to identify the mechanism through which evaluations of straight and gay targets differ based on gender expression.


Open Access



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