Gay men enjoy more privilege in social settings than their straight counterparts, suggests a new study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
The study’s author, Max Morris of Durham University, interviewed 40 gay male students at four universities. As homosexuality has become more commonly accepted, most of the respondents reported that their campuses were “gay-friendly spaces” where they could forge friendships with people of diverse sexual orientations and genders.
After analyzing the interviews, Morris concludes that the men’s “visibly gay identity” gave them a form of privilege he calls “gay capital.”
“Through shared knowledge of gay cultures, belonging to gay social networks, and having one’s gay identity recognized as a from of prestige, gay capital supplements cultural, social, and symbolic forms of capital,” Morris wrote. “These findings trouble traditional generalizations of gay youth as victimized due to their sexual minority status.”
The study claims that the differences in interviewees’ perceptions must mean that “access to gay capital is limited by other forms of class, gender and sexual hierarchy.”
Interesting enough, Morris doesn’t mention race in his “intersectional analysis.”
Perhaps that’s because an earlier study, published in Social Psychology Quarterly, suggests that gay black men may actually enjoy an advantage in the job market.
Previous research “assumes that combining marginalized social categories results in a ‘double disadvantage,’” the study says—but its author argues that “in the case of race and sexual orientation, the opposite may be true.”
In this study, the researcher had his subjects look at resumes, experimentally manipulating the race and sexual orientation of job applicants.
“Being gay will have negative consequences for white men in the job application process, but … being gay will actually have positive consequences for black men in this realm,” the study suggested.