This paper is on heterosexuals’ use of words such as "fag" and "queer" to refer to one another in an insulting manner. This behavior perpetuates heterosexism and the stigmatization of gays. Two hundred and fifty-seven university students (73% Euro-American) served as participants. Males exhibited more anti-gay prejudice and anti-gay behavior than females. Heterosexual males frequently used words such as "fag" and "queer" to put one another down. Anti-homosexual prejudice was predictive of anti-gay behavior. However, approximately half of those who engaged in the behavior were not strongly anti-homosexual. For these individuals, the behavior may win approval from their social group. Awareness campaigns and peer reminders that the derisive use of "fag" and "queer" harms homosexuals may be effective in changing this group. It is more difficult to reduce this behavior in individuals with strong anti-homosexual attitudes. The role of individuals and educational and work organizations in bringing about change is discussed.



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This is an electronic version of an article published in Journal of Homosexuality.

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URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/psycd_fac/35