While we have shown that increased contact with gay men and lesbians does positively alter attitudes toward that group in the United States, these findings may not hold for the American South. First, a long series of analyses of racial politics in the region have shown that, contrary to the contact theory, white southerners' attitudes towards African-Americans are actually inversely related to the percentage of blacks in their community. Second, the demise in explicit race baiting in the South's politics has been met by an increase in gay baiting in Southern campaigns. We conclude that the South is indeed distinctive in the manner in which contact with gay men and lesbians operates as a social phenomenon. While non-southerners respond to increased contact with gays and lesbians with warmer attitudes, this is not true in the Southern states. Moreover, other findings suggest that this regional disparity is likely to increase in the future and suggest that gay and lesbian activists must take regional differences into account as they develop strategies for creating change in public policies related to sexual orientation.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||19|
|Journal||Politics and Policy|
|State||Published - Sep 2003|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations