(EDGE) A new study from the University of Surrey in England claims that "gay" sounding voices might cost people a new job or prevent them from receiving a salary increase.
Researchers gave a heterosexual sample group voice samples of gay and straight speakers and their photos. Without giving them any further information, the participants were allowed to guess the voice from the face of each person.
"The sample group was asked to form impressions about applicants for the fake position of CEO and evaluate the employability of candidates by responding to five statements (which were rated on a scale of one to five) and to report the amount of monthly salary they considered adequate," a report about the findings reads. "The process was then repeated with lesbian candidates."
Researchers found that participants who perceived men and women as gay believed these people were "inadequate for a leadership position."
For male candidates, auditory and not facial features impacted on whether they were deemed suitable for the role. Researchers discovered that having a heterosexual- rather than a 'gay- sounding' voice created the impression that the speaker had typically masculine traits, which in turn increased their perceived suitability for the role and the chance of receiving a higher salary. Lesbian candidates were associated with a lack of femininity and identified as gender non-conforming and received less positive evaluation than heterosexual counterparts.
"These results demonstrate that the mere sound of a voice is sufficient to trigger stereotyping denying gay- and lesbian-sounding speakers the qualities that are considered typical of their gender," Dr. Fabio Fasoli said of the study. "It is revealing, that despite all the work to lessen discrimination against the LGBT community, people subconsciously type cast an individual before getting to know them. This study highlights that it can be a real problem in the workplace and for people's career prospects."
Read the full report on the study by clicking here.