A new study has confirmed that gay men and women face discrimination when seeking leadership positions in their companies simply based on the sound of their voices.
The research, which was published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, explored the assumptions that were made when voice samples and pictures of homosexual speakers were shared with a test group of heterosexual participants. The study group participants were not told of the sexuality of people who provided the voice samples, and the pictures had plain backgrounds which did not contain clues. The participants could only guess as to the sexual orientation of the sample individuals. The people partaking in the study were then asked various questions regarding the employability of the voice samples, as well as what monthly salary they would recommend for them.
The study concluded that the participants did not feel that the sample candidates who they believe to be homosexual were as equipped to be in high level leadership roles as they candidates who they believed to be heterosexual.
One of the lead researchers, Dr. Fabio Fasoli, said: “These results demonstrate that the mere sound of a voice is sufficient to trigger stereotyping denying gay- and lesbian-sounding speakers the qualities that are considered typical of their gender.”
While many workplaces seem to have made significant strides regarding LGBT discrimination, it seems that the underlying stereotypes continue to be pervasive. Fasoli explains: “It is revealing, that despite all the work to lessen discrimination against the LGBT community, people subconsciously type cast an individual before getting to know them. This study highlights that it can be a real problem in the workplace and for people’s career prospects.”