Joel Perry's picture

Are You as "In Love" as Straight People?

 A new study out of Indiana University says how "in love" people perceive a couple to be depends a lot on whether that couple is gay or straight.

Worse, those couples perceived to be more "in love" were judged to be more worthy of formal and informal rights. Thanks to the starkly heterosexist hierarchy that emerged from these findings, opposite-sex couples were perceived as more "in love" -- and therefore more deserving of basic rights and protections -- than same-sex couples.

Long Doan, a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at IU Bloomington's College of Arts & Sciences and his colleagues asked survey participants to read the exact same story about a romantic couple. The researchers randomly changed the names of the two main characters to denote whether the couple was heterosexual, lesbian or gay.

The findings suggest that people seem to think of loving relationships in a hierarchy, with heterosexual couples being the most "in love," followed by lesbian couples and then gay couples.

  Plainly, what heterosexist people think can hurt us. If they think you're less in love, they think you're not as deserving of rights, from holding hands in public to marriage equality.

So what can you do about this? Be seen. Be affectionate wherever you feel you can be safe doing it. Let people know you are capable of loving just as deeply and profoundly as anyone else!

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Comments

Straight couples behave differently in public than gay couples. It's primal.  Women conspicuously display affection towards their men when they want to show other women that they are attached. It tells the other women to back-off, and also it is also one of the many ways they show the world that they have landed a man. Straight men, generally, don't initiate these kinds of social signals until they feel threatened. Gay men don't either. Nor do lesbian women. One of the theories is that women do this to create a protective wall around the man who they intend to father their children. Which obviously isn't something that gay and lesbian couples need to do at the same level.

Public displays of affection have very little to do with love, and have more to do with what they want other people to think. 

Interesting that those who can "safely" show affection without fear of reprisal or threat of physical violence and considered "more in love" than those who risk violence and even death for their expressions of love and comittment.

I would argue here that gay men are not affectionate in public because it is seen as being unsafe. For all that things are changing in the world two men showing affection in public is still frowned on and generates verbal and in many cases physical abuse. 

Because of this we are deemed to not be as in love as other couples. 

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