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Straight Allies: What Predicts Heterosexuals' Alliance With the LGBT Community?


  • Portions of these data were presented at the February 2008 annual conference of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Albuquerque, NM. The author thanks Christina Natale and Christina deRoulhac, who inspired this work through their senior honors theses; and Todd Pittinsky for defining the allophilia construct. The author also thanks Allen Omoto, Karen Huchting, Letitia Anne Peplau, Negin Ghavami, Christina Velasco, and Christina Carter for their comments on a previous draft of the paper.

Adam W. Fingerhut, Loyola Marymount University, One LMU Drive, Suite 4700, Los Angeles, CA 90045-2659. E-mail:


Despite their prominence in civil rights movements, out-group allies have been understudied. The current research examined out-group alliance, focusing on predictors of heterosexuals' advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights. Heterosexuals who were recruited through an online panel of research participants completed a survey containing measures of empathy, out-group contact, gender, education, and attitudes toward gays and lesbians. Additionally, participants indicated whether they had engaged in several allied behaviors (e.g., donating money for LGBT causes). Women, educated individuals, and those with gay and lesbian friends were more likely to be allies. Additionally, alliance was greatest among individuals lower in prejudice and simultaneously higher in positivity toward gays and lesbians. Implications regarding intergroup relations and future research are discussed.