Divergence between descriptive and normative stereotypes/expectations for gay men and lesbian women
Previous research has shown people believe that the hobbies and preferences of gay men are similar to straight women while lesbian women are similar to straight men (gender inversion theory). However, what is not well understood is whether gender inversion assumptions also underlie normative perceptions of what gay men and lesbian women should(n't) do and be. Across six studies we show a divergence between descriptive and normative stereotypes, as gender inversion does not fully explain what traits people believed were desired of gay men and lesbian women. The data suggest that individuals differentiate between gay men and lesbian women based on gender much less than they differentiate between straight men and women. Instead, gay men and lesbian women were assumed to exhibit low status, and incompetent, traits and abilities in gendered domains.