Sexual-minority men more empathic towards fellow minorities

August 24, 2015, University of Houston

White sexual-minority men may be more empathic toward other minority groups compared to their heterosexual white peers. A new study from the University of Houston College of Education compared the attitudes of white heterosexual men to those of white sexual-minority men.

"Racial empathy is a crucial component of social justice," said Nathan Smith, associate professor in the college's Department of Psychological, Health, and Learning Sciences. "'Coming out' as a may lead to added introspection that, in turn, can lead to increased empathy towards other minority groups."

The research paper, "Translating Oppression: Understanding How Sexual Minority Status is Associated with White Men's Racial Attitudes," was published in the journal Psychology of Men and Masculinity, a publication of the American Psychological Association.

Sexual minority defines diverse sexual orientations, such as gay, bisexual, questioning or queer.

Study participants consisted of 97 , heterosexual men, as well as 83 sexual minority, . They were recruited in Canada and responded to questionnaires on race, gender and sexual orientation. Researchers used the Color-Blind Racial Attitudes Scale, a 20-item questionnaire that assesses denial, distortion and minimization of race and racism.

"We found white male participants from sexual- had higher positive racial attitudes and empathy than white ," Smith said. "Participants who had experienced discrimination because of their sexual orientation showed more racial empathy and positive racial attitudes."

The more participants experienced discrimination based on their , the more empathic they were to those who had been the targets of racism and discrimination, possibly because they were able to use their own experience of discrimination to empathize with others. That ability to have racial empathy translated into more positive racial attitudes. Smith says social justice efforts and diversity education can gain insight from the attitudes of sexual-minority men.

"Examining these experiences has the potential to inform how psychologists work with white men," he said. "The experience of sexual-minority can promote the development of white racial allies and, ultimately, enhance social equity."

Smith's main area of research focuses on stress and coping. His emphasis is on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, as well as those at risk of or living with HIV/AIDS. Specific areas of interest include discrimination and resilience, lesbian/gay/bisexual identity and the intersection of minority stress. He also examines health behaviors among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.

Explore further: Bisexual men and women report poorer health than gays, lesbians and heterosexuals

Related Stories

Bisexual men and women report poorer health than gays, lesbians and heterosexuals

June 30, 2015
Bisexual males and females report poorer health than gays, lesbians and heterosexuals, according to a new study from sociologists at Rice University.

How sexual minority men cope with harassment, masculinity, and body image

May 12, 2015
What does an ideal man or woman look like? How do they dress and behave? These are questions that every young person agonizes over. For those who don't compare to the typical man or woman, ridicule from peers and insecurities ...

White, straight women leading surge in infertility treatments

August 18, 2014
Heterosexual white women are twice as likely as racial or sexual minority women to obtain medical help to get pregnant, according to a recent study published by the American Psychological Association.

Study: Health-care providers hold biases based on sexual orientation

July 16, 2015
In the first study that looks at a variety of healthcare providers and their implicit attitudes towards lesbian women and gay men, researchers found there is widespread implicit bias toward lesbian women and gay men.

Considerable gender, racial and sexuality differences in attitudes toward bisexuality

November 5, 2013
Men who identify themselves as heterosexual are three times more likely to categorize bisexuality as "not a legitimate sexual orientation," an attitude that can encourage negative health outcomes in people who identify as ...

Recommended for you

Research reveals stronger people have healthier brains

April 19, 2018
A study of nearly half a million people has revealed that muscular strength, measured by handgrip, is an indication of how healthy our brains are.

Overcoming bias about music takes work

April 18, 2018
Expectations and biases play a large role in our experiences. This has been demonstrated in studies involving art, wine and even soda. In 2007, Joshua Bell, an internationally acclaimed musician, illustrated the role context ...

Study suggests we can recognize speakers only from how faces move when talking

April 18, 2018
Results of a new study by cognitive psychologist and speech scientist Alexandra Jesse and her linguistics undergraduate student Michael Bartoli at the University of Massachusetts Amherst should help to settle a long-standing ...

Scientists disconfirm belief that humans' physiological reaction to emotions are uniform

April 18, 2018
How do you feel when you're angry? Tense? Jittery? Exhausted? Is it the same every time? Is it identical to how your best friend, co-worker, or barista feel when they experience anger? In all likelihood the answer is no, ...

How mental health diagnosis should be more collaborative

April 18, 2018
Mental health diagnosis should be a collaborative and useful process, not a meaningless label - according to new research from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) and the University of East Anglia.

Does pot really dull a teen's brain?

April 18, 2018
Pot-smoking teens may not be dooming themselves to a destiny of dim-wittedness, a new review suggests.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

RMQ
not rated yet Aug 24, 2015
It Is because homosexual men have higher IQ in average, and far more reading. I am not homosexual, but many of the smartest men I met are homosexuals and just gifted.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.