The “gay agenda:” How the myth of gay affluence impedes the progress toward equality

Maria Laura Bettinsoli, Jaime L. Napier, Andrea Carnaghi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the fact that gay men and lesbian women face significant economic disparities compared to their heterosexual counterparts, people appear to believe that the opposite is true, a phenomenon which has been dubbed the “myth of gay affluence.” In the current research (Ntot = 2,162), we address the consequences of this belief. Specifically, we hypothesize and find that believing that gay men and lesbian women are financially well off—either chronically (Study 1) or because of an experimental manipulation (Studies 2–3)—leads participants to deny discrimination against gay men and lesbian women, above and beyond anti-gay attitudes, and this is mediated by the belief that there is a “gay agenda” that is backed by powerful lobbyists. Thus, perpetuating this myth—either intentionally or inadvertently—could have deleterious effects on efforts for social change and the promotion of rights for sexual minorities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-248
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • anti-gay attitudes
  • discrimination
  • gay affluence
  • gay agenda
  • gay men
  • lesbian women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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