Concealment of sexual orientation

David Sylva*, Gerulf Rieger, Joan A W Linsenmeier, J. Michael Bailey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Sex-atypical behaviors may be used to identify a person as homosexual. To shield themselves from prejudice, homosexual people may attempt to conceal these behaviors. It is not clear how effectively they can do so. In Study 1, we asked homosexual participants to conceal their sex-atypical behaviors while talking about the weather. Raters watched videos of the participants and judged the likelihood that each participant was homosexual. Homosexual participants were able to partially conceal signs of their orientation, but they remained distinguishable from heterosexual participants. In Study 2, we tested the ability to conceal signs of one's sexual orientation in a more demanding situation: a mock job interview. In this scenario, homosexual men were even less effective at concealing their orientation. Higher cognitive demands in this new situation may have interfered with their ability to conceal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-152
Number of pages12
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2010


  • Cognitive load
  • Concealment
  • Sex-typed behavior
  • Sexual orientation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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