STUDY: LGBT Asian Americans seen as 'more American' than those who are straight

  • A student-run study at the University of Washington finds that gay Asian Americans are perceived as more “American” than their straight counterparts.
  • The co-author of the study stated that “being gay increase[s] perceptions of Asian Americans’ ‘Americanness.’”

Research from the University of Washington found that students believe Asian Americans who identify as LGBTQ are "more American" than those who do not. 

The recent findings, published June 27 in Social Psychological and Personality Science, were collected from multiple studies that involved four randomly assigned groups of participants from the school’s student body. Each participant was asked to answer questions regarding different profiles of imaginary people. 

"I am offended that my patriotism is being questioned in this study..."   

[RELATED: Scholars claim Asian Americans used to perpetuate racism in STEM]

In the first study, students were assigned a brief description of a person named John, either labeled as an “Asian American man” or a “gay Asian American man.” With a one through seven scale for various questions, they were to rate how American he was. The questions included “How fluently do you think this person speaks English?” and “How integrated is this person in American culture?”

The results overwhelmingly found that the “gay Asian American man” scored higher on the “Americanness” scale that the normal “Asian American man.”

The second study used questions similar in nature, but included more groups of people, with profiles of men, women, whites, and Asian Americans. The hypothetical profiles listed each person as either “gay” or not specified. Common “American” names were also given to each imaginary subject. Once again, the study found that Asian Americans who identified as gay were seen as "more American."

“One possible extension of this work is that gay Asian Americans may be less likely to have their American identities questioned than straight Asian Americans,” said Sapna Cheryan, a UW psychology professor.

[RELATED: Asian students guilty of 'colorblind racism,' prof claims]

Separate studies by the Pew Research Center have shown that Asians are the fastest-growing racial group in the U.S. UW, however, notes that they are also consistently perceived as “foreign.” 

“I am offended that my patriotism is being questioned in this study,” Caleb Chung, an Asian American student at Northeastern University, told Campus Reform. “Regardless of my race, I was born and raised in the U.S., and I want to be seen as an American.”

"The bottom line is that if you are an American citizen, you love this country, and you are willing to defend the Constitution and the principles that this country was founded on, you are an American by all means,” Joel Valdez, who studied at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, told Campus Reform

Valdez, an intern for Campus Reform's parent organization the Leadership Institute, noted that he is a Mexican-American and proud to be a citizen of this country: “The danger in designating a ranking of Americanism based on a minority status completely undermines the longing for equality that the LGBT community has been fighting for. We are all equal under the red, white, and blue."

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @ethanycai



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Ethan Cai
Ethan Cai | New Hampshire Campus Correspondent

Ethan Cai is a Campus Reform Intern and New Hampshire Campus Correspondent, reporting on liberal bias and abuse. He is a Freshman at Dartmouth College studying Quantitative Government Analysis with a minor in Economics.

20 Articles by Ethan Cai