- From an Interview on Stereotypes of Homosexuals.
- With J. Michael Bailey, Department of Psychology, Northwestern
- Q: What stereotypes have turned out to have some truth
- A: One big thing is occupational and recreational
interests. In fact, hairdressers, professional dancers, actors
and designers tend to be gay men, at least at much higher rates
than their population rate, which is somewhere between 1 and
4 percent. And women who are in the armed services, or professional
athletes (two of the three best all-time women's tennis players
are lesbian), are disproportionately lesbian.
Children who are sex-atypical do tend to become homosexual. Especially
males. Boys who want to be girls become men who want men. Most
very masculine girls probably become heterosexual women, but
their rate of homosexuality is probably still higher than would
be expected given the population rate of female homosexuality,
which is probably less than 1 percent.
- Recently, we have shown that on average, gay men and lesbians
are very different on average from straight people in the way
they walk and speak. There is such a thing, evidently, as a gay
voice. And lesbians tend to look different than straight women
-- in particular, they have shorter hairstyles.
On the other hand, some stereotypes about homosexual people are
due to the fact that they are in certain other ways psychologically
like straight people of their own sex. For example, gay men have
lots of sex partners compared with straight men. This is because
they have a male-typical level of interest in casual sex, but
because they are seeking other men with the same interest, they
can have as many partners as they want. Straight men are constrained
by the desires of women. I think that there is nothing intrinsically
"gay" about having hundreds of sex partners. Lots of
straight guys would if they could. But they can't, because they
can't find female partners who'll have anonymous sex with them.