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Imagined contact with famous gay men and lesbians reduces heterosexuals’ misidentification concerns and sexual prejudice


European Journal of Social Psychology

Published online on


--- - |2 Abstract Gay men and lesbians experience bigotry at alarmingly high rates. Traditionally, researchers have focused on reducing sexual prejudice; however, research indicates that heterosexuals’ concerns about being misidentified as gay/lesbian also contribute to the derogation of gay/lesbian individuals. Thus, reducing misidentification concerns is a critical part of decreasing negativity toward gay/lesbian individuals. In the current work, we explored a novel addition to the imagined contact paradigm—imagined contact with famous outgroup members—for reducing misidentification concerns. We found that imagined contact with famous gay men/lesbians reduced misidentification concerns within the imagined interaction and engendered an eagerness to befriend the famous gay/lesbian interaction partner. Moreover, we found that the reduction of these misidentification concerns led to fewer general contagion concerns, and increased eagerness to befriend led to decreased sexual prejudice. The current work develops a useful intervention for improving multiple responses toward gay men and lesbians. - European Journal of Social Psychology, EarlyView.