Keywords: Intergroup-Contact; Closeness; Sexual Prejudice; Homophobia; LGBT.
Research, mostly conducted in US, has shown that contact with homosexuals is associated with less sexual prejudice. The present research aims at investigating this link in an Italian sample and by distinguishing between quantity of contacts and contact closeness. The study involved 125 heterosexual individuals - who reported at least a contact with a homosexual - and examined several indicators of sexual prejudice. Results showed that contact closeness, rather than quantity of contacts, is associated with lower level of homophobic attitudes toward homosexuals and with higher support for the extension of equal rights to LGBT people (i.e. same-sex parenting). Differently, contact was not related to the perception of homosexuals as target of discrimination. Theoretical and applied implications of these findings and the role of contacts on homophobic prejudice are discussed.