Researchers want to know why you think you’re gay
A nationwide survey by Sydney researchers promises to reveal new insights on sexual identity by asking same-sex attracted people what beliefs they have about the nature and origins of their sexual orientation.
In what may come as a surprise to some, only one previous study, undertaken in America in 2008, has looked at the beliefs same-sex attracted people have about their own sexuality. That study looked at the extent to which sexual orientation was viewed as biological and fixed, as compared to socially constructed or chosen.
Lead researcher James Morandini, from the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Science, told SX the Australian study will extend this previous research by exploring how beliefs about sexual orientation are associated with the development of sexual identity and attitudes to sexual orientation.
“We will be investigating whether popular understanding of scientific and psychological literature influence the sexual orientation beliefs of same-sex attracted people,” he said.
“Some of the themes we will investigate include the role of parenting styles and upbringing, the role of early sexual experiences, the relationship between same-sex attraction and gender roles, and specific biological theories of sexual orientation relating to genetics, brain structure and early development.”
Morandini, who is conducting the research to complete his Doctor of Clinical Psychology/Master of Science, said the US study found that beliefs about sexual orientation differed considerably by gender, sexual identity, and age.
“Interestingly, older individuals perceived sexual orientation as more biological/fixed and discrete than younger same-sex attracted people – suggesting that sexual orientation beliefs reflect cohort attitudes, and that younger people may be less likely to endorse traditional notions of sexual orientation,” Morandini said.
People aged over 18 who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer and otherwise same-sex attracted and residents of Australia are invited to participate in the online survey, which researchers expect will take about 20 to 30 minutes to complete.
The data collected will not be personally identifiable and all aspects of the study, including results, will be strictly confidential.
To take part in the survey click here.