Sounding like you have a ‘gay voice’ could cost you a top job or promotion, a new study has found.
Undertaken at the University of Surrey, the study found gay men face discrimination for feminine-sounding voices.
The same is also true for lesbian women, who face discrimination for ‘huskier’ voices.
Researchers asked participants to listen to various voices and form impressions based on features like tone and pitch.
Participants were also shown photos of the heterosexual and homosexual people attached to the sound clips.
They were then asked about the suitability of each candidate for a fictional job of a CEO and the monthly salary they should get.
Heterosexual men are less likely to think a ‘gay sounding’ person should get a job or higher salary over a ‘straight sounding’ person.
Dr. Fabio Fasoli, lead researcher of the study, told Broadly that this research proves real discrimination: ‘This study highlights that it can be a real problem in the workplace and for people’s career prospects.
‘It is revealing, that despite all the work to lessen discrimination against the LGBT community, people subconsciously typecast an individual before getting to know them.
‘This study demonstrates that unacceptable levels of discrimination, be they subconscious or conscious, still exists in our society.
‘We need to do more to tackle the discrimination faced by the LGBT community,’ Fasoli said.
‘Do I sound gay?’
David Thorpe is a documentary film maker and openly gay man with a self-confessed gay voice.
He has often wondered where his voice came from, so asked celebrities like David Sedaris, Tim Gunn and Margaret Cho.
In his film, Do I Sound Gay? Thorpe goes on a journey to try to challenge his own misconceptions about his voice.
Thorpe believes the recent study would have similar results if conducted in the States.
He believes studies like these are important ‘because they prove that people have these stereotypes.
‘Obviously in real life when you’re sitting in a real interview situation you’re seeing much more.
‘I don’t know that the outcome would be the same if you were able to study actual job interviews,’ he said.