Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Nathan A. Bowling (Committee Member), Gary N. Burns (Committee Chair), Corey E. Miller (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Currently, there is no research that assesses how individual's perceptions of personality and other characteristics in gay male and lesbian applicants affect employment decisions. I examined individuals' perceptions of personality in gay and lesbian applicants and the effect of these perceptions on employment outcomes. I hypothesized that individuals would prescribe gender atypical traits to gay male and lesbian applicants, and that qualification ratings for these applicants would depend on job-type match with the applicants' gender atypical traits. In the current study, I used a sample of undergraduate students. Each participant evaluated a resume that potentially contained cues reflecting a homosexual sexual orientation. The participant evaluated the personality and femininity/masculinity of the applicant, as well as the applicant's qualification for the job they were applying for. I found partial support for hypotheses concerning femininity and masculinity, suggesting that in regard to some traits individuals perceive gay male and lesbian applicants as gender atypical. Results did not suggest that gay male and lesbian applicants will be at a disadvantage when applying for positions that are traditionally viewed as masculine and feminine, respectively. Nor will gay male and lesbian applicants necessarily have an advantage when applying for positions that are traditionally viewed as feminine and masculine, respectively. However, due to the nature of the sample in the current study, further research involving managers and other human resource professionals is needed to sufficiently address this research topic.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Psychology

Year Degree Awarded