Inventing a Gay Agenda: Students' Perceptions of Lesbian and Gay Professors


  • These studies were supported by a grant from the Spencer Foundation (#200800094). The authors thank Todd Morrison for his helpful comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript.

Kristin J. Anderson, Social Sciences Department, University of Houston–Downtown, One Main Street, Houston, TX 77002. E-mail:


Students' perceptions of lesbian and gay professors were examined in 2 studies (Ns = 622 and 545). An ethnically diverse sample of undergraduates read and responded to a syllabus for a proposed Psychology of Human Sexuality course. Syllabuses varied according to the political ideology, carefulness, sexual orientation, and gender of the professor. Students rated professors on dimensions such as political bias, professional competence, and warmth. Lesbian and gay professors were rated as having a political agenda, compared to heterosexual professors with the same syllabus. Student responses differed according to their homonegativity and modern homonegativity scores. The findings from these studies suggest that students may use different criteria to evaluate lesbian, gay, and heterosexual professors' ability to approach courses objectively.