Graduate Study of anger displayed towards same-sex couple's affection generates homophobic response
SALT LAKE CITY -- A proposed university study of public displays of affection by same-sex couples came under homophobic attack after social media giant Facebook mistakenly misplaced adverts for a crowd-funding effort by the study's principal researcher.
Dr. Karen Blair, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Utah’s Department of Psychology, told LGBTQ Nation Thursday that she had set-up an account with the research-funding site Microryza to raise $12,000 to fund her study. According to Blair since she is Canadian, her salary is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, but she is unable to get the necessary grants for the research because she is conducting the study in the U. S. and the U. S. sources won't fund a grant because she is not a U. S. citizen or permanent resident.
Blair said she had also purchased four sponsored adverts with Facebook for $120 to recruit an LGBT-friendly audience for study participants and through some mistake in the Facebook algorithm or advert formula the ads weren't seen by her target group.
Instead what she received were homophobic Facebook posts and hate filled vitriol aimed at her including one person who wrote: "Stop your propaganda and pushing your sick lifestyle in people faces, and you won’t be hated"
Blair told LGBTQ Nation that besides not expecting the epithet laced posts, what shocked her were the amount of persons who posted publicly under their own names and with an apparent lack of concern as to whether or not anyone cared what they wrote in the hate filled messaging of some of the posts.
Blair said that the purpose of her study is to record the affects of the physiological effects in those persons prejudiced against LGBT people and who witness public displays of affection, between same-sex couples. Blair said that researchers hoped to determine if there was a "fight or flight" reaction from witnessing public displays of affection by same-sex couples and measuring levels of the stress response and other reactions.
Blair said she became interested in the physiological effects of LGBT prejudice during a trip to Mexico. Blair said she gained valuable scientific insights while observing the behavior of fellow vacationers at a LGBT friendly resort.
"Couples would get to the edge of the resort and stop holding hands," Blair said. "They’d walk off and come back 5 feet apart, and then as soon as they crossed the resort’s boundaries, they’d be back together."
Because of the wider acceptance of public displays of affection among the younger generations, she said her focus will be on those over the age of 25, but particularly the older age groups.
The purpose of the study she said is to fine tune interventions in homophobic reactions/situations to have people better cope with their reactions and root causes. She acknowledged that to mitigate reactions of those suffering from homophobic reaction who in fact may be masking arousal or same-sex attractions a control study will run concurrent with the principal study.
Blair told LGBTQ Nation that she has experienced excellent results previously by reaching out via Facebook to recruit study participants and she considers it a valuable tool. Shocked by the reactions though she said;
"My first reaction was kind of discouragement," she said. "I guess I create a world I live in where that doesn’t happen. I’ve never experienced that much homophobia. But this was really just underscoring the need for the research."