“Homosexuals”: not so bad

So, I’ve been having fun playing with the 2012 ANES data the past few days (yes, parenthood and the 2012 election). I was coding the variables on attitudes towards gays yesterday and noticed that they now have two versions of the question wording. The traditional wording on these issues uses “homosexuals” but the new wording uses “gays and lesbians.”  Presumably, homosexuals is more pejorative and it’s well established that changing a single word– even for a synonym– can have clear effects.  (One of my favorite anecdotes is about the Christian news website that automatically converted the word “gay” to “homosexual” in all their news stories.  Leading to American sprinting great Tyson Gay being touted as Tyson Homosexual in a story).

Anyway, I was surprised to find that using “homosexual” vs “gays and lesbians” made no difference on this, the job discrimination question, or on any of the others I quickly eyeballed.  Short version: Americans have become quite accepting of gays and support their rights, no matter what you call them.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to “Homosexuals”: not so bad

  1. Laurel says:

    That is so interesting!

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