Maddalena Daniele, Fabio Fasoli, Susie Johnson

Coming out as a factor of voice change: From sounding straight to sounding gay

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Listeners rely on vocal features when guessing others’ sexual orientation. Whether speakers modulate their voices to emphasize or to conceal their sexual orientation remains unclear. Across two studies, participants judged sexual orientation of straight and gay YouTubers after listening to their voices. Recordings referred to different points in time that, in the case of the gay YouTubers, corresponded to before and after their coming out. The gay YouTubers were perceived as sounding more gay after coming out, whereas the straight YouTubers tended to sound increasingly heterosexual over time. Coming out seems to be a key moment for gay individuals’ self-expression.

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