Fragile Heterosexuality

West, Keon; Borras Guevara, Martha Lucia; Morton, Thomas and Greenland, Katy. 2021. Fragile Heterosexuality. Social Psychology, 52(3), pp. 143-161. ISSN 1864-9335 [Article]

West, Borras Guevara, Morton & Greenland.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (300kB) | Preview
1864-9335_a000444.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (673kB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

Previous research demonstrates that membership of majority groups is often perceived as more fragile than membership of minority groups. Four studies (N1=90, N2=247, N3=500, N4=1176) investigated whether this was the case for heterosexual identity, relative to gay identity. Support for fragile heterosexuality was found using various methods: sexual orientation perceptions of a target who engaged in incongruent behaviour, free-responses concerning behaviours required to change someone’s mind about a target’s sexual orientation, agreement with statements about men/women’s sexual orientation and agreement with gender neutral statements about sexual orientation. Neither participant nor target gender eliminated or reversed this effect. Additionally, we investigated multiple explanations (moderators) of the perceived difference in fragility between heterosexual identity and gay identity and found that higher estimates of the gay/lesbian population decreased the difference between the (higher) perceived fragility of heterosexual identity and the (lower) perceived fragility of gay identity.

Item Type:


Additional Information:

This work has been supported by the European Research Council
(fund no. Starting grant 2017 to Keon West).

The electronic supplementary material is available with the online version of the article at 10.1027/1864-9335/a000444


Fragile sexual orientation; heterosexuality; gay; estimates of gay/lesbian population; social normativity

Related URLs:

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



18 December 2020Accepted
31 May 2021Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

23 Dec 2020 11:59

Last Modified:

13 Jun 2021 19:45

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)