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Dykes on Bikes motorcycle group embracing their stereotype.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) stereotypes are conventional, formulaic generalizations, opinions, or images about persons based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Stereotypes or homophobia are a learned outlook, i.e. from parents, teachers, peers or the mass media,[1] or a lack of first hand familiarity, may tend to lead to more reliance on learned stereotypes.[2] Negative stereotyping is often a result of homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia.[3] Positive stereotypes, or counterstereotypes, also exist but may be no less harmful, as they are still oversimplified views of the group being stereotyped.[4][5]

Female homosexuality

Portia de Rossi

Lesbians are female homosexuals who are also subjected to the stereotypes and misconceptions of who they are, and how they dress and behave. Typically, they are thought to be butch, with short haircuts and work boots. Ordinary lesbians are generally more difficult to identify in the general female population than the males are. Lesbians who dress more like men or dykes, a mainly pejorative term, are thought to be making a strong statement of their place in today's society, and seeking acceptance as a part of humanity. They embrace the designation of dykes, which hopefully serves to take the onus out of the term. [6] Portia de Rossi has made progress in dispelling a general misconception of how lesbians look and function. [7]

Lipstick lesbian refers to femme women whom are attracted to other women. The term U-Haul lesbian became a stereotype of sexual identity. [8] It intimates that lesbians move in together in a very short period of time. This joke is considered a classic of lesbian humor.[9] The origin of this term is an old joke which refers to U-Haul (a brand of rental "move yourself" trucks and trailers):

Question: What does a lesbian bring on a second date? Reply: A U-Haul. [10][11]

Male homosexuality

Prevalent stereotypes about male homosexuals are they are licentious, have substance abuse problems, and have trouble staying in committed relationships.[12] Often, people associate gay men with sexual addiction. Nevertheless, the majority of gay individuals are generally no more sexually active than heterosexuals. Some gay men visit bars, clubs or the internet in an attempt to find sexual partners, be that as it may, there are just as many searching for long term relationships in the same places. Another prominent misconception, especially in the media, is that gay men are always easy to identify with the "pretty" effeminate or hypomasculine image, and speaking with a gay lisp.[13] Many gay men are indistinguishable from their straight counterparts, especially in professional fields. Diversity in the gay community is as common as any other faction.

The bear community is a subculture of the gay community that is composed of generally large, hairy men called bears.[14][15] Stereotypically, they are usually seen with facial hair and also wearing suspenders. They embrace their hypermasculine image, and some will shun a more effeminate man, such as a twink.

Pederasty, an ancient Greek practice, is the archetypal stereotype of male age-structured homosexuality.[16] The word derives from the combination of paides (Greek for "boy") with erasteio (Greek for "to long for"; cf. eros), and is often incorrectly used interchangeably with the term pedophilia (illegal trans-generational sex). In modern times, no society openly finds either practice acceptable and all jurisdictions have strictly legislated against these practices.[17]


A bisexual person is defined as having an attraction to both genders, usually in varying degrees.[18] [19] However there is significant disagreement among bisexual theorists and bisexuals themselves in establishing a more precise definition.[20] "A bisexual individual may experience conflict with a homophobic society; however, such conflict is not a symptom of dysfunction in the individual. Their preferences are no more a choice than those of straight, gay or asexual people. The APA Board recognized that a significant portion of homosexual and bisexual people were clearly satisfied with their sexual orientation and showed no signs of psychopathology." [21] Stereotypes exist for bisexuals about an inability to maintain a relationship based on their promiscuity based on their attraction for both genders.[21] Woody Allen is quoted as saying: "Being bisexual doubles your chance of a date on Saturday night." Cite error: A <ref> tag is missing the closing </ref> (see the help page). The beliefs that transgendered people are all prostitutes and caricatures of men and women are two of many erroneous misconceptions.[22]


A transsexual is a person born with the physical characteristics of one gender (natal gender) who psychologically and emotionally believes they belong to the opposite gender, or gender dysphoria [23]; in other words they believe that they were born into the wrong body. [24][25] It is a painful and confusing phenomenon, especially to those afflicted with transsexuality and their parents, much less society. There is a high rate of suicide of transgendered young people.[26]

Stereotyping transsexual women as tall and that transsexual men are short is a popular misapprehension. While some MTFs and FTMs will fall into this stereotype, far more do not. Taking steps to alter the body early can avoid the height differences.[27] A male-to-female transsexual will switch from a tall man's body to a tall woman's body.[28] Another stereotype is that it is possible to "tell" a transgender woman by her hands, that they will be larger and more masculine than a biological female.


Transvestites are often assumed to be homosexual. The word transvestism is from the Latin, combining (trans-, "across, over" and vestitus, "dressed") to refer to the sexual interest in cross-dressing.[29] However, most transvestites are heterosexual.[30][dubiousdiscuss] Transvestism may have a fetishistic component, whereas cross-dressing does not, although many people use the words interchangeably.[31]

In the media

A 1983 research study of 1,968 Asian and European students found that many European respondents think that their cultural values were negatively influenced by media content produced in the United States.[32] Europeans also thought that the U.S. media influenced other cultures less than their own. The research did not attempt to find direct evidence of influence, relying only on the indirect evidence of popular perception.[32][33]

See also


  1. ^ Stangor, Charles (ed.) (2000). Stereotypes and Prejudice: Essential Readings. Philadelphia, Pa.: Psychology Press. ISBN 0863775888. ((cite book)): |first= has generic name (help)
  2. ^ McCrady, Richard (1976). "Effect of direct exposure to foreign target groups on descriptive stereotypes held by American students". Social Behavior and Personality. 4 (2): 233. doi:10.2224/sbp.1976.4.2.233. ((cite journal)): Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help); Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  3. ^ "The Face of Homophobia/Heterosexism". Carlton University Equity Services. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-04-07.
  4. ^ Nachbar, Jack (1992). Popular Culture: An Introductory Text. Bowling Green University Popular Press. ISBN 0879725729. ((cite book)): Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)[dead link]
  5. ^ "Gay Images: TV's Mixed Signals". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Portia heart & soul: in an intimate interview, Arrested Development star Portia de Rossi talks for the first time about sex at 16, coming out to grandma, and finding happiness with Ellen DeGeneres.(Interview)(Cover Story) - The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine) | HighBeam Research - FREE trial". 2005-09-13. Retrieved 2011-01-15.
  8. ^ The Advocate August 19th, 2003
  9. ^ "How many lesbians does it take to screw in a light bulb?" An Analysis of Lesbian Humor
  10. ^ Kelleher, Kathleen (January 31, 2000). "Couple's Emotional Bonding Can Take the Steam Out of Intimacy". LA Times.
  11. ^ Jo Ann Brown-Scott, Epiphany and Her Friends: Intuitive Realizations That Have Changed Women's Lives, BookSurge, July, 2007 page 339
  12. ^ "Homosexuality (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)". Retrieved 2011-01-15.
  13. ^ Beyond Lisping: Code Switching and Gay Speech Styles
  14. ^
  15. ^ "WOOF! - What is a Bear?". Retrieved 2011-01-15.
  16. ^ Sandfort, Theo (2000). Lesbian and gay studies: an introductory, interdisciplinary approach. SAGE. ISBN 076195418X.
  17. ^ "ICD-10:". Retrieved 2011-01-15.
  18. ^ "Bisexuals Doing Gender in Romantic Relationships - Journal of Bisexuality". 2009-01-01. Retrieved 2011-01-15.
  19. ^ "Bisexuality: A unique sexual orientation". Retrieved 2011-01-15.
  20. ^ "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Bisexual - Journal of Bisexuality". 2009-07-04. Retrieved 2011-01-15.
  21. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference bi was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  22. ^ "Transgendered Youth at Risk for Exploitation, HIV, Hate Crimes". Inter-Q-Zone. 1995. Retrieved 2007-04-07.
  23. ^
  24. ^ "transexual - definition of transexual by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2011-01-15.
  25. ^
  26. ^ "Transgender Children, Transsexual Children , Parents of Transgendered Children, Support, Chat, Forums". Retrieved 2011-01-15.
  27. ^ "Parents of Transgender, Transsexual, Crossdresser, Intersex, TG, TS Kids Help Page". Retrieved 2011-01-15.
  28. ^ Green, Jamison (2004). Becoming a Visible Man. Nashville, Tenn.: Vanderbilt Univ. Press. ISBN 0-8265-1457-X. ((cite book)): Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  29. ^ Hirschfeld, Magnus: Die Transvestiten. Eine Untersuchung über den erotischen Verkleidungstrieb mit umfangreichem casuistischen und historischen Material. Berlin 1910: Alfred Pulvermacher
    Hirschfeld, M. (1910/1991). Transvestites: The erotic drive to cross dress.([M. A. Lombardi-Nash, Trans.) Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books.
  30. ^ Feinbloom, Deborah Heller (1976). Transvestites & Transsexuals: Mixed Views. Delacorte Press/S. Lawrence. ISBN 0440085136.
  31. ^ "Transgender FAQ". Retrieved 2007-04-07.
  32. ^ a b >Michelle A. Mazur, Tara M. Emmers-Sommer, University of Oklahoma. "The Effect of Movie Portrayals on Audience Attitudes About Nontraditional Families and Sexual Orientation". Journal of Homosexuality.((cite journal)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  33. ^ James Davis. "Gays seen through narrow lens on TV". The Daily Cougar.