‘Butch Up’ or ‘Sissy That Walk’? Testing the Potential of Gender Affirmations to Moderate Masculinity Threat in Gay Men

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There is evidence to suggest heterosexual men respond to threats to their masculinity in a number of deleterious ways, but few studies have examined this relationship in sexual minority men. For this reason, the present study sought to investigate the effects of an experimentally manipulated masculinity threat on the moods, internalized heterosexism, and self-esteem of gay men, while exploring the potential for gender affirmation exercises to moderate such effects. A sample of 129 gay men were recruited and asked to engage in either a gender affirmation or control writing task, after which they were either exposed to a masculinity threat or control. Findings across conditions were nonsignificant for each of the outcome measures regardless of writing task or threat exposure. Findings were similarly nonsignificant for the interaction between these variables. These findings further complicate the limited and often inconsistent literature on gay men and masculinity.