Asian Americans flying the rainbow flag are treated as “more American” by others as they are perceived to have “effectively adopted American cultural values,” new research has found.
“American culture is perceived as more accepting of gay people compared to Asian cultures,” researchers from the University of Washington posited. “As a result, gay Asian Americans are perceived as more likely to be American than their straight counterparts.”
In the first study, 345 adults around the University of Washington campus were randomly assigned to read a description of “John,” who was identified as either “an Asian-American man” or “a gay Asian-American man.”
The participants then answered nine questions about “John,” including how fluently he speaks English, and how integrated he is into American culture.
Based on the results, the gay version of John “was perceived as significantly more American” than the John whose sexual orientation went unmentioned.
In the second study, 991 university students were similarly assigned to read a description of either a man or a woman. This time, the subject was described as either white or Asian-American, and either gay or of an unspecified sexual orientation.
Using the same questions as the first study, the participants rated the “Americanness” of this hypothetical person. Just like in the first study, Asian Americans were seen as more American if they identified as gay. Meanwhile, the white subjects “were perceived as highly American regardless of sexual orientation.”
Based on the follow-up studies, the research team concluded that the findings reflected “a belief that American culture is relatively more accepting of gay people than Asian culture.”
According to the researchers, a person is seen as effectively having adopted American cultural values if he or she identifies as gay.
“Gay Asian Americans may be less likely to have their American identities questioned than straight Asian Americans,” Cheryan was quoted as saying.
“At the same time, being gay puts people more at risk for other forms of prejudice based on sexual orientation.”