Discrimination happens to men and women who “sound” gay, who are viewed as less competent and less suitable for jobs.
This is according to a study – “A Leader Doesn’t Sound Lesbian!: The Impact of Sexual Orientation Vocal Cues on Heterosexual Persons’ First Impression and Hiring Decision” by Fabio Fasoli and Peter Hegarty – published in Psychology of Women Quarterly, which found that – yes – gay men and lesbians face discrimination based on the sound of their voices.
The researchers did three studies involving 340 participants. Heterosexual participants listened to short clips of voices that sounded a like job candidate was a lesbian or heterosexual woman, or a gay or heterosexual man, and rated all for job suitability and employability. Candidates applied for jobs as leaders (Study 1), as leaders or assistants (Study 2), and for leadership roles that varied in both gender role and status (Study 3).
The researchers noted that sexual orientation discrimination occurred in all three studies and – interestingly – was greater among women job candidates. This latter finding refutes “role congruity theory”, since several findings disconfirmed the prediction that lesbian-sounding women would be advantaged when stereotyped as masculine and when applying for leadership roles. Rather, “in line with status-beliefs theory, lesbian-sounding women and gay-sounding men were rated and ranked poorly to the extent that they were perceived as less competent than heterosexual candidates.”
Added the researchers: The “findings suggest that hiring discrimination occurs in subtle ways, such as when individuals sound gay/lesbian. This has implications for recruitment as well as sexual-orientation discrimination court cases.”