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Pride and Prejudice: Employment Discrimination against Openly Gay Men in the United States

András Tilcsik
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 117, No. 2 (September 2011), pp. 586-626
DOI: 10.1086/661653
Stable URL:
Page Count: 41
Subjects: Sociology
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Pride and Prejudice: Employment Discrimination against Openly Gay Men in the United States
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This article presents the first large-scale audit study of discrimination against openly gay men in the United States. Pairs of fictitious résumés were sent in response to 1,769 job postings in seven states. One résumé in each pair was randomly assigned experience in a gay campus organization, and the other résumé was assigned a control organization. Two main findings have emerged. First, in some but not all states, there was significant discrimination against the fictitious applicants who appeared to be gay. This geographic variation in the level of discrimination appears to reflect regional differences in attitudes and antidiscrimination laws. Second, employers who emphasized the importance of stereotypically male heterosexual traits were particularly likely to discriminate against openly gay men. Beyond these particular findings, this study advances the audit literature more generally by covering multiple regions and by highlighting how audit techniques may be used to identify stereotypes that affect employment decisions in real labor markets.

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