Examining gay White and gay Latino men's reactions toward nonverbal disclosure
Villicana, Adrian Joseph
University of Kansas
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Nonverbal disclosure is the act of disclosing one’s sexual orientation to others by using nonverbal actions and behaviors, rather than overt declaration. Contrary to assumptions that overt “coming out” predicts well-being in gay men, this does not seem to be true of gay Latino men, for whom nonverbal disclosure appears to be an acceptable alternative “coming out” strategy (Villicana, Delucio, & Biernat, 2016). Yet research has not explored how gay individuals perceive nonverbal disclosure as a coming out strategy that others might practice. In three studies, I examine how gay White and gay Latino men react to information suggesting that other gay men practice nonverbal (as opposed to verbal) disclosure. Across three studies, gay White men (Studies 1-3) and gay Latino men (Studies 2 & 3) were exposed to results of a (bogus) national survey, which indicated that the majority of gay men within the U.S. practice nonverbal or verbal disclosure. Then, participants were given the opportunity to report their reactions toward the information they read. Gay White male participants reported more negative reactions when reading that other gay men practice nonverbal than verbal disclosure (Studies 1-3), whereas gay Latino men reacted similarly to the information of both disclosure strategies (Studies 2 & 3). Moreover, gay White men reacted negatively to nonverbal disclosure in part because nonverbal disclosure is perceived as less authentic. Perceiving other gay men who practiced nonverbal disclosure as less authentic was enough to make gay White men uncertain about their own gay identity (Studies 3). These findings add to the emerging literature on intersections of ethnic and gay identity and suggest that gay Latino men not only practice nonverbal disclosure, but also perceive it to be as acceptable a strategy as verbal disclosure, whereas gay White men do not.
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- Psychology Dissertations and Theses 
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