Why is the history of heterosexuality essential? Beliefs about the history of heterosexuality and homosexuality and their relationship to sexual prejudice.

Hubbard, K. and Hegarty, P. J. (2014). Why is the history of heterosexuality essential? Beliefs about the history of heterosexuality and homosexuality and their relationship to sexual prejudice. Journal of Homosexuality, 61(4) 471 - 490.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00918369.2014.865448

Abstract

Heterosexual people with more positive attitudes to lesbians and gay men generally believe that homosexuality is immutable, is not a discrete social category, and that homosexuality exists in all cultures and time periods. Equivalent beliefs about heterosexuality and beliefs about components of sexuality have been less-often researched. 136 people with diverse sexualities described heterosexuality as more universal across history and culture than homosexuality (Study 1). 69 heterosexual-identified participants similarly believed that love, identity, behaviour and desire were more historically invariant aspects of heterosexuality than of homosexuality (Study 2). Less prejudiced participants thought all components of homosexuality – except for identity – were more historically invariant. Teasing apart beliefs about the history of components of heterosexuality and homosexuality suggests that there is no “essential” relationship between sexual prejudice and the tension between ‘essentialist’ and ‘constructivist’ views about the history of sexual identity.

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