Persons of interest

Kevin Lewis

March 09, 2019

Revolutionary Homophobia: Explaining State Repression against Sexual Minorities
Joshua Tschantret
British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming


Why do unthreatening social groups become targets of state repression? Repression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people is especially puzzling since sexual minorities, unlike many ethnic minorities, pose no credible violent challenge to the state. This article contends that revolutionary governments are disproportionately oppressive toward sexual minorities for strategic and ideological reasons. Since revolutions create domestic instability, revolutionaries face unique strategic incentives to target 'unreliable' groups and to demonstrate an ability to selectively punish potential dissidents by identifying and punishing 'invisible' groups. Moreover, revolutionary governments are frequently helmed by elites with exclusionary ideologies - such as communism, fascism and Islamism - which represent collectivities rather than individuals. Elites adhering to these views are thus likely to perceive sexual minorities as liberal, individualistic threats to their collectivist projects. Statistical analysis using original data on homophobic repression demonstrates that revolutionary governments are more likely to target LGBT individuals, and that this effect is driven by exclusionary ideologues. Case study evidence from Cuba further indicates that the posited strategic and ideological mechanisms mediate the relationship between revolutionary government and homophobic repression.

Does Concealing a Sexual Minority Identity Prevent Exposure to Prejudice?
Jin Goh et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming


Concealing a stigmatized identity is considered self-protective in that it presumably decreases exposure to bias during intergroup interactions relative to disclosing the identity. We conducted two studies exploring sexual minorities' expectations about the self-protective properties of concealment and the reality concerning whether concealment prevents exposure to bias. In Study 1, half of sexual minorities who imagined interacting with a straight peer chose to conceal their identity, and this was predicted by the belief that concealment carries protective benefits. Study 2 randomly assigned sexual minorities to reveal or conceal their sexual orientations in actual interactions with straight peers. Neither sexual minority partners nor independent sexual minority coders perceived less bias among straight partners who interacted with sexual minorities concealing versus disclosing their identities. This was confirmed with Bayesian inferences demonstrating more evidence for the null model than the alternative. We discuss the potential benefits and costs of disclosure.

Urban Migration of Sexual Minorities in the United States: Myth or Reality?
Christopher Scheitle & Sara Guthrie
Sexuality & Culture, March 2019, Pages 96-111


It is often suggested that sexual minorities in the United States, especially gay men and lesbian women, move to urban areas at a higher rate than heterosexual individuals. Existing analyses of this claim are limited for one or more reasons, such as only examining patterns of current residential context without considering movement between contexts or only examining movement for partnered sexual minorities. Utilizing the General Social Survey, a probability survey of the US adult population, we compare patterns of residential context in childhood and adulthood for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual individuals. Initial findings do suggest that gay and lesbian individuals are slightly more likely than heterosexual individuals to reside in more urban areas as adults. However, this difference is explained away by the more urban childhood contexts of gay or lesbian individuals relative to heterosexual individuals. In sum, we find no robust sexuality effect on urban migration.

Sex Effects on Development of Brain Structure and Executive Functions: Greater Variance than Mean Effects
Lara Wierenga et al.
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, forthcoming


Although male brains have consistently reported to be 8-10% larger than female brains, it remains not well understood whether there are differences between sexes (average or variance) in developmental trajectories. Furthermore, if sex differences in average brain growth or variance are observed, it is unknown whether these sex differences have behavioral relevance. The present longitudinal study aimed to unravel sex effects in cortical brain structure, development, and variance, in relation to the development of educationally relevant cognitive domains and executive functions (EFs). This was assessed with three experimental tasks including working memory, reading comprehension, and fluency. In addition, real-life aspects of EF were assessed with self- and parent-reported Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function scores. The full data set included 271 participants (54% female) aged between 8 and 29 years of which three waves were collected at 2-year intervals, resulting in 680 T1-weighted MRI scans and behavioral measures. Analyses of average trajectories confirmed general age-related patterns of brain development but did not support the hypothesis of sex differences in brain development trajectories, except for left banks STS where boys had a steeper decline in surface area than girls. Also, our brain age prediction model (including 270 brain measures) did not indicate delayed maturation in boys compared with girls. Interestingly, support was found for greater variance in male brains than female brains in both structure and development, consistent with prior cross-sectional studies. Behaviorally, boys performed on average better on a working memory task with a spatial aspect and girls performed better on a reading comprehension task, but there was no relation between brain development and cognitive performance, neither for average brain measures, brain age, or variance measures. Taken together, we confirmed the hypothesis of greater males within-group variance in brain structures compared with females, but these were not related to EF. The sex differences observed in EF were not related to brain development, possibly suggesting that these are related to experiences and strategies rather than biological development.

Gender Identity as a Political Cue: Voter Responses to Transgender Candidates
Philip Edward Jones & Paul Brewer
Journal of Politics, forthcoming


Voters frequently use demographic characteristics such as race or gender as shortcuts when evaluating politicians. We use two survey experiments to show that candidates' gender identity (specifically whether they identify as the same gender as the sex they were assigned at birth) functions as a similar cue. When a news story identified candidates as transgender, respondents rated them as more liberal and less likely to represent them, and less likely to receive their vote. The overall electoral penalty is moderated by voters' party, ideology, religiosity, and authoritarianism. In contrast to research on other demographic cues, we find that these effects persist even in the presence of cues about the candidate's party, suggesting that voters infer substantial information from politicians' gender identity.

The dark side of morality: Prioritizing sanctity over care motivates denial of mind and prejudice toward sexual outgroups
Andrew Monroe & Ashby Plant
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, February 2019, Pages 342-360


Moral values bind communities together and foster cooperation, yet these same values can lead to the derogation and marginalization of outgroups. Five studies tested a theoretical framework proposing that preferentially endorsing moral values of sanctity versus care (the sanctity-care trade-off) produces a motivational bias whereby people perceive sexual outgroup members as less human. This denial of mind, in turn, legitimizes expressions of prejudice and discrimination toward sexual outgroups. Study 1 showed that natural variations in people's moral values predicted denial of mind and prejudice. Study 2 replicated this pattern, examining political liberals and conservatives, and demonstrating that moral values and denial of mind help explain the relationship between personal politics and prejudice. Study 3 measured people's moral values by examining people's willingness to trade-off a moral value for money and used this measure to predict denial of mind, prejudice, and decreased willingness to help transgender individuals. Study 4 used religion to boost sanctity values and found a corresponding increase in denial of mind and prejudice. Finally, Study 5 reduced denial of mind and prejudice by intensifying concerns about care. Together, these studies demonstrate that moral values importantly influence how people decide who possesses a mind and is entitled to moral rights and who is mindless and allowed to be hurt or neglected.

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