A new study has revealed that some gay men are looking to find out what it means to be “an adult” when they grow up.
The survey of 1,200 gay and bisexual men, conducted by research firm YouGov, also found that a majority of gay men believe their sexual orientation is neither gay nor straight.
The researchers, led by Professor Michael Cohen from YouGov’s LGBT research unit, said that a large majority of men felt that the term gay was either too narrow or overly negative.
The research showed that nearly a quarter of gay and bi men, or 24% of all gay men, thought the word “gay” should be more inclusive.
The study found that the majority of those surveyed (56%) thought the term “gaydar” was too negative, while only 20% thought the same of “gaylove” or “gaydating”.
And more than a quarter (27%) of those polled said that “gay-themed” websites were not inclusive enough of their community.
The YouGov study was published in the Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health, and the researchers believe the survey was the first to explore the way gay men were perceived.
Cohen, a professor of psychology at York University, said: “There’s a big difference between ‘gay’ and ‘straight’, which is a pretty big difference for people to deal with.”
The word ‘gaydar’ can be a bit of a buzzword in the gay community and there’s a lot of stigma attached to it.
“We wanted to know if people are actually accepting of the word ‘straight’ and if that is a barrier for them to feel comfortable expressing themselves, or if that’s a barrier they can get over.”
The Yougov survey found that there were clear gender differences.
The research found that gay men (65%) were more likely to have a partner than straight men (54%).
And women were more than twice as likely as men to have had a partner.
The data also revealed that a third of gay, bisexual and transgender men (35%) said they felt they were more comfortable in the public eye if they were gay.
And a third (32%) of gay male respondents said they were “more comfortable” with being seen in the media if they identified as gay.
The poll also revealed a growing gap between gay men and lesbians, with almost half (46%) of them having a partner and more than half (55%) of lesbians having a same-sex partner.