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Sexual Consent: Perception of Ambiguous Sexual Encounters of LGBTQ+ and Cisgender, Heterosexual Individuals
AuthorBlauenstein, Laura J.
AdvisorHylton, Mary E.
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The literature is lacking in information on the perception of sexual consent behaviors of people with non-dominant gender identities and sexual orientations. This study explored how sexual consent is perceived for people with diverse gender identities and sexual orientations. College students were recruited to participate in a survey in which they were asked to respond to a heterosexual version or a sexual minority version of vignettes featuring ambiguous sexual consent scenarios. The study findings indicate that 5 of the 16 vignette themes showed possible differences in participant perception. The statistically significant research findings show that participants perceived the retraction of sexual consent theme differently between the cisgender, heterosexual and sexual minority vignette version, in that the sexual minority characters (gay) were perceived to have consented more than the cisgender, heterosexual characters. In looking at the characters in the aggressor role in the vignettes, the cisgender, heterosexual characters were perceived to have consented to the sexual scenarios at a higher degree than characters of sexual minority groups in the emotional dysregulation (male to female transgender), retraction of sexual consent (gay), bribe or blackmail (lesbian), and rape fantasy (queer) themes. In looking at the characters in the victim role in the vignettes, the character of a sexual minority group (questioning sexual orientation) in the consensual theme was perceived to have consented more than the cisgender, heterosexual character. Implications and future recommendations are discussed.