A new University of Sussex study claims that “gay sounding” men and “butch sounding” women could lose out on top jobs because of the sound of their voices.
In the study a heterosexual study group was presented with photographs and audio recordings of straight, gay and lesbian speakers. No other information of the speakers was offered.
Participants were then asked which individuals they thought they would employ as the CEO of a company, and what they considered an appropriate monthly salary for the “applicants”.
The participants agreed that men with “heterosexual sounding” voices were more worthy of a leadership role, and were deserving of a higher salary than those with a “homosexual sounding” voice.
Similarly, women with a “butch sounding” voice were less likely to be considered for a CEO role.
Doctor Fabio Fasoli, the study’s author 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.
“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 highlights that it can be a real problem in the workplace and for people’s career prospects.”