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American attitudes toward PDA in the gay community



I came across an interesting article which reported a survey on American attitudes on public displays of affection (PDA). It used several scenarios and the results were interesting.


Here is the link:




And here is the article!





Americans Support Legal Rights, But Not PDA, for Gay Couples

by Kelly Dickerson, Staff Writer | November 20, 2014 07:28am ET





48820-americans-gay-legal-rights-pda.htmlgay-couple-140715.jpg?1405408948[/url] Credit: Aleksandar Stojkovic/Shutterstock.com View full size image

Many Americans support legal rights for gay and lesbian couples but still don't think those couples should kiss in public, a new study suggests.

Over the past two decades, same-sex couples have made great progress in terms of legal rights in the United Sates. Gays and lesbians can now get married in 33 states and the District of Columbia, after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month cleared the way for same-sex marriages in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. And yet, the new research shows that deep-rooted prejudices against same-sex couples may manifest themselves in more subtle ways.

The experimental survey revealed that heterosexual people are equally supportive of legal benefits for same-sex couples and heterosexual couples, but are much less supportive of public displays of affection (PDA) for same-sex couples than for heterosexual couples. [10 Milestones in Gay Rights History]



Perhaps more surprisigly, the study revealed that some gay and lesbian people were more supportive of heterosexual PDA than they were of same-sex PDA. The results seem counterintuitive at first, but gays and lesbians are much more likely to be victims of harassment or hate crimes. The lack of support for same-sex PDA is likely out of concern for safety, study lead author Long Doan, a doctoral candidate at Indiana University, told Live Science.

In the new study, more than 1,000 volunteers (male and female, gay and straight) read a short story about a gay couple, a lesbian couple or a heterosexual couple who were living together but were not married. After reading the scenario, each volunteer answered questions about what they thought of the couple. Questions included whether the couple should be granted legal rights, such as hospital visitation, health insurance and inheritance rights. Other questions included how acceptable it was for the couple to tell people they are in a relationship, or to engage in PDA, such as holding hands, kissing on the cheek or French kissing.

Heterosexual participants generally supported same-sex legal rights; for example, they were almost equally in favor of inheritance rights for heterosexual, gay and lesbian couples (with 70 percent, 69 percent and 73 percent in favor, respectively). But heterosexual study participants were pretty negative across the board about granting some informal privileges to gay and lesbian couples, Doan said. Of the study participants who read the scenario about a heterosexual couple, 95 percent approved of the couple kissing on the cheek. For comparison, just 55 percent approved of a gay couple kissing on the cheek, and 72 percent approved of a lesbian couple kissing on the cheek.

The gay and lesbian volunteers were generally positive about these privileges, except for PDA. That's why Doan and the researchers think the lack of support for same-sex PDA is related to safety concerns. The results also showed that people were more tolerant of lesbian PDA than gay PDA. This could be more evidence that research on same-sex attitudes and prejudices should not lump gay couples and lesbian couples into the same category, Doan said.

The findings fit in with a growing body of research that explores modern prejudice — the term psychology and sociology researchers use to describe the more subtle prejudices and racist attitudes that still persist after legal rights are granted to various racial groups, sexual orientation groups or genders. Doan's research addresses the difference between old-fashioned gay prejudices that are rooted in long-held religious beliefs and moral objections and modern prejudices that are more nuanced.

Doan also noted that while heterosexual people were generally supportive of gay and lesbian legal rights, they were still largely unsupportive of same-sex marriage. (Indeed, a Gallup poll in May found that 55 percent of Americans are in favor of same-sex marriage. That's the highest level of support Gallup has ever seen, but it shows how divisive the issue still is.) This discrepancy suggests that heterosexual people view marriage as an open display of commitment and affection (a privilege) rather than a contract solidifying a partnership (a legal right), Doan said. Gay and lesbian people, on the other hand, are more likely to view marriage as a legal right.

The research appears in the December issue of the journal American Sociological Review.

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Doan also noted that while heterosexual people were generally supportive of gay and lesbian legal rights, they were still largely unsupportive of same-sex marriage


Not seeing any support for this assertion in the research they describe, maybe there's more. It'd be interesting to read the article.

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Guess maybe I am more old fashioned than I care to admit. I have no problem with hand holding or KOTC with any couple, gay or straight, but I feel more intimate PDA's are not acceptable. Save the making out for the back seat, regardless of the pairings.

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Kisses on the cheek and holding hands is one thing. French kissing isn't something any couple should do in public, its just way too intimate. I think the one bit about it being more okay for lesbian couples to kiss in public is crap. Lesbians are still homosexuals (and if you have a problem with homosexuals don't be selective) so that just shows how ridiculous people can be with their way of thinking (and also gross because a number of straight guys have a weird thing for lesbians, which is uncalled for and I would think uncomfortable). I really just wish people would get off it the lgbtq community isn't hurting anyone.


...rant over... :)

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I think the one bit about it being more okay for lesbian couples to kiss in public is crap.


I'm inclined to agree but the issue with this is, women, and for the longest time, have kissed their friends on the cheek casually in public without a care. It is something no one bats an eye at. I'm pretty sure that lesbianism isn't the first thing most people think of when seeing this behavior. On the other hand, when two guys do the same thing, gay is the first thing they think of.


To add to the discussion: I moved to Boston, and to the South End, during the trailing days of the gay neighborhood. Since moving here the neighborhood has lost so many (mostly to the high cost of living in the area) gay men and lesbians. Yet, among the multitudes of baby carriages that now choke the sidewalks (and cafés), it is still possible to see men walking down the sidewalk holding hands. The odd peck on the lips between couples and the hug and air kiss prevalent among gay male friends, are both still seen.


Non-sexual signs of affection should be the least of things that people should be worrying about. A quote from the lyrics of the band The Temper Trap -


Sweet disposition

Never too soon

Oh, reckless abandon

Like no one's watching you


A moment of love.....

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I was in the Mission in San Francisco tonight at an art event hosted by gay artists and I think I may have seen one guy cup another's elbow in an affectionate manner. I really doubt I need to worry about Frenching anytime soon... Honestly, outside of high school, I've never seen much sexual PDA in the US.


Edited many times and all over the place...


The odd peck on the lips between couples and the hug and air kiss prevalent among gay male friends, are both still seen.


I don't get how anyone can justify frowning on that stuff given the resounding smackeroos that the men of Mr Irris family plant on each other in public. They must've gotten it from somewhere... How could you tell an allowed ethnic kiss from a forbidden air kiss?

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There wasn't any kissing going on between the men in my family, air kiss or otherwise. Aside from my one Iranian friend in Toronto, no straight man has ever kissed me on the cheek. Nor have any of my straight friends every exhibited this behavior. I've witnessed displays of close affection between men outside of the US and certainly no one is shamed by the behavior... or even finds it remarkable, excepting maybe me the first time. I mean, I knew people behaved that way, but up until I actually saw the casualness of it... There is no substitution for experience!

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In 1995 we took my middle school daughter and freshman in highschool son on a vacation to Paris in late May.  We walked a lot of the city to see the sights and my kids were astonished by all the PDA going on.  It was only heterosexual couples, some of vastly different ages as well.  It was fun explaining that it was a cultural difference.  I wonder what they would think today as I expect there would be more same sex PDA as well.....

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