Mishel, Emma, Paula England, Jessie Ford, and Monica L. Caudillo. 2020. “Cohort Increases in Sex with Same-Sex Partners: Do Trends Vary by Gender, Race, and Class?” Gender & Society. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0891243219897062
We examine change across U.S. cohorts born between 1920 and 2000 in their probability of having had sex with same-sex partners in the last year and since age 18. Using data from the 1988-2018 General Social Surveys, we explore how trends differ by gender, race, and class background. We find steep increases across birth cohorts in the proportion of women who have had sex with both men and women since age 18, while increases for men are less steep. We suggest that the trends reflect an increasingly accepting social climate, and that women’s steeper trend is rooted in a long-term asymmetry in gender change, in which nonconformity to gender norms is more acceptable for women than men. We also find evidence that, among men, the increase in having had sex with both men and women was steeper for black than white men, and for men of lower socioeconomic status; we speculate that the rise of mass incarceration among less privileged men may have influenced this trend.
Mishel, Emma. 2019. “Intersections between Sexual Identity, Sexual Attraction, and Sexual Behavior among a Nationally Representative Sample of American Men and Women.” Journal of Official Statistics 35(4): 859-884. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/jos-2019-0036.
Social scientists struggle in how to best operationalize and measure sexual orientation. Depending on the survey, researchers can use self-reports of lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) identity, same-sex partner cohabitation, same-sex sexual attraction, or same-sex sexual behavior. All measures come with their own limitations. To illuminate differences in these measures, this study examines the intersections between self-reported sexual identity, attraction, and behavior among a nationally representative sample of U.S. men and women aged 15-45. I explore how and when the three measures align, examine the determinants of self-identifying as gay or bisexual based on sexual behavior and attraction, and assess gender differences in the patterns. I find that about 20% of women and 10% of men aged 15-45 would comprise the LGB community if it were defined to include those who report at least one of the following: gay or bisexual identity, any same-sex attraction, or same-sex sex in the last year. This is much higher than the 6.4% of women and 3.6% of men aged 15-45 who self-identify as LGB. I conclude with recommendations that can aid in measurement of the LGB population, and discuss implications for using certain measures over others when conducting research on the LGB community.
Mishel, Emma. 2016. “Discrimination against Queer Women in the U.S. Workforce: A Résumé Audit Study.” Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World 2: 1-13. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/2378023115621316
I report on the first study to use an audit method to ascertain whether discrimination occurs against queer women (relative to straight women) when they apply to jobs in the United States. A field experiment was conducted in which a pair of fictitious women’s résumés were sent to apply to more than 800 administrative jobs from online job databases advertised by employers across four states. One woman’s résumé was randomly assigned leadership experience at a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) student organization to signal queer identity, while the other résumé, a control, was assigned experience at another progressive student organization. Results reveal that the women with the LGBT indicator on their résumés were discriminated against compared with the other women, receiving about 30 percent fewer callbacks.
- Winner, Best Graduate Student Paper, ASA Sexualities Section 2018
- Most downloaded paper at Socius, as of August 2018
England, Paula, Emma Mishel, and Mónica L. Caudillo. 2016. “Increases in Sex with Same-Sex Partners and Bisexual Identity Across Cohorts of Women (but Not Men).” Sociological Science 3: 951-970. DOI 10.15195/v3.a42
We use data from the 2002–2013 National Surveys of Family Growth to examine change across U.S. cohorts born between 1966 and 1995 in whether individuals have had sex with same-sex partners only, or with both men and women, and in whether they have a bisexual or gay identity. Adjusted for age, race/ethnicity, immigrant status, and mother’s education, we find increases across cohorts in the proportion of women who report a bisexual identity, who report ever having had sex with both sexes, or who report having had sex with women only. By contrast, we find no cohort trend for men; roughly 5 percent of men in every cohort have ever had sex with a man, and the proportion claiming a gay or bisexual attraction changed little. We speculate that this gender difference is rooted in a broader pattern of asymmetry in gender change in which departures from traditional gender norms are more acceptable for women than men.
Arum, Richard, Kiley Larson, Max Meyer, Emma Mishel, Jessica Lipschultz, and Jason Thompson. Forthcoming. Connected Learning: A Study of Educational Technology and Progressive Pedagogy. Co-Author of Chapters 3 and 4.
Since the connected learning model was first introduced in 2012, dozens—if not hundreds—of schools, libraries, museums, and after-school programs have endeavored to put it into action. The Connecting Youth Research Project, part of the Connected Learning Research Network, followed a large set of these organizations over a five-year period. Guided by a broad set of research questions and supported by funding from the MacArthur Foundation, the Connecting Youth research team amassed a rich array of quantitative and qualitative data about students’ and educators’ experiences with the connected learning model. Comprehensive findings from this five-year study, including lessons learned about implementing the connected learning model, are presented in this forthcoming book.
Arum, Richard, Emma Mishel, and Amanda Cook. Forthcoming. “Results From a Longitudinal Study of Connected Learning.” Connected Learning: An Agenda for Research and Design. Edited volume, by Mimi Ito.
Using data from the Connecting Youth Research Project, a 5-year mixed-methods project on high school education in New York and Chicago, this forthcoming chapter summarizes how connected learning is associated with various educational outcomes.
Wu, Sammy, Emma Mishel, and Paula England. 2018. “Which college students are more permissive about sex? Differences by social class background and educational aspirations.” Contexts: Understanding People in their Social Worlds.
In this blog post for Contexts, we explore how college students’ attitudes about sex and sexual behavior differ by social class and educational aspirations.
Mishel, Emma and Paula England. 2018. “What is the sexual life cycle of those who ever have a same-sex partner?” Contexts: Understanding People in their Social Worlds.
In this blog post for Contexts, we analyze the sexual life cycle of people who have ever had a same-sex partner.
Wu, Sammy, Emma Mishel, Paula England, and Kristine Wang. 2018. “Do Immigrants Have More Conservative Sexual Attitudes than Other Students?” Contexts: Understanding People in their Social Worlds.
In this blog post for Contexts, we examine how college students’ attitudes about sex vary by immigrant status.
Mishel, Emma and Mónica Caudillo. 2017. “Google Searches Show More Worry over Gay Men and Boys than over Gay Women and Girls.” Contexts: Understanding People in their Social Worlds.
In this blog post for Contexts, we analyze Google Search trends and find that people ask Google “Is my son gay?” and “Is my husband gay?” much more than “Is my daughter gay/lesbian?” and “Is my wife gay/lesbian?”
Mishel, Emma. 2016. “Discrimination against Queer-perceived Women.” Contexts: Understanding People in their Social Worlds.
In this blog post for Contexts, I discuss the results of my audit study on discrimination against queer women in the U.S. workforce in this blog post for Contexts Magazine.
Mishel, Emma, Tristan Bridges, and Mònica Caudillo.”Google, Tell Me. Is He Gay?: Masculinity, Homophobia, and Gendered Anxieties in Google Search Queries about Sexuality.” Unpublished manuscript. SocArxiv link here.
How can we really know how accepting people are of same-sex sexual identities? Responses in surveys and interviews are prone to social desirability bias. In this article, we offer a new proxy for this concern: the relative prevalence of Google search queries demonstrating concern over gay/lesbian sexual identities. Theories of gender have long suggested a strong relationship between masculinity and heterosexuality. Likewise, sociological research shows a consistent pattern of femininity being devalued culturally, particularly when enacted by boys and men. And, scholarship on the relationship between gender and sexuality suggests that boys’ and men’s heterosexuality is more precarious compared to that of girls and women. Using Google Trends analysis, we illustrate what these theories posit on a larger scale than previous research has been able to establish. Specifically, we show that gender-specific Google search queries concerned with the status of individuals as gay/lesbian show patterned bias toward masculine searches. We put these search data into context by comparing search frequencies with other popular searches associated with the gender-specific statuses we analyze, and argue that these data offer a new kind of support for three interrelated theories of gender and sexual identity and inequality.