Thursday, November 3, 2011

In Which Gay Men Continue to Be the Default Gay Human

Via The Daily Mail, we learn of a study showing that "gay resumes" are 40% more likely to be rejected when compared to an identical "non-gay" resume.

What the heck's a "gay resume" anyway, you may ask? Well, in the study, gayness was demonstrated on the resume by listing the job candidate as the Treasurer of a gay college group.


Unfortunately, the article didn't note whether the "gay resumes" were of male or female job candidates (or both). Which, you know, is actually a relevant detail given the way that stereotypes of gay men with respect to fitness for a job might differ from stereotypes of lesbians. Employers also respond to identical male and female resumes differently, after all, meaning that sexual orientation is hardly the only relevant category with respect to a study about bias.

For instance, from the article:

"...[J]obs that traditionally were associated with an aggressive, assertive or decisive persona were far more likely to refuse the gay candidate an interview."


But here's the ambiguity problem when "gender neutral" descriptors are used to refer to only men in some instances and both men and women in other instances. The article never explicitly states that the study actually only pertains to gay men.

Instead, it provide some choice quotes from, I don't know, our Gay Spokemen?, suggesting that the study is only relevant to gay men:

"Reacting to the results, Jonathan Higbee at Instinct magazine said that it proves being, 'a proud gay man looking for a white-collar job,' is a tough business.

But Daniel Villarreal of Queerty said the practice was a, 'blessing in disguise,' with gay men avoiding homophobic work places."

Thusly does the article's author rely on the reader to fill in the missing logical steps:

Okay....let's see... the gay candidates were less likely to get interviewed for "aggressive" jobs... aggressive is a stereotypically masculine men are stereotypically feminine....and the article includes those two quotes about gay men by those two other men who might be gay, therefore this study about "gays" was about gay men and not lesbians...?

It's just sloppy work, really. (And yeah, The Daily Mail, I know). But still, failing to use precise terminology is how the mainstream media, anti-LGBT media, and honestly even the LGBT press sometimes, fails its readers, conflates gay with gay male, and invisibilizes non-heterosexual women.

The actual study, by the way, can be found here (emphasis added): "Pride and Prejudice: Employment Discrimination Against Openly Gay Men in the United States." (Emphasis added).

Anyway, I guess this info is good for gay guys to know. I would contend that the results are not generalizable to non-heterosexual women.

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