Sounding Gay, Speaking as a “Fag”: Auditory Gaydar and the Perception of Reclaimed Homophobic Language

Fasoli, Fabio; Hegarty, Peter and Carnaghi, Andrea (2019). Sounding Gay, Speaking as a “Fag”: Auditory Gaydar and the Perception of Reclaimed Homophobic Language. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 38(5-6) pp. 798–808.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0261927X19852753

Abstract

Reclaiming implies that homophobic labels used by gay individuals are perceived as less offensive and their use as empowering speakers. We examined whether listeners in Italy and Britain perceived homophobic labels as “reclaimed” when men’s voices implied their homosexuality. Gay and straight male speakers used neutral or homophobic labels referring to themselves or another. Homophobic labels were offensive when used by straight speakers and when labelling others. Gay speakers self-labelling with homophobic labels were not perceived as more powerful.

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