Easily perceived identities (e.g., race) may interact with perceptually ambiguous identities (e.g., sexual orientation) in meaningful but elusive ways. Here, we investigated how intersecting identities impact impressions of leadership. People perceived gay Black men as better leaders than members of either single-minority group (i.e., gay or Black). Yet, different traits supported judgments of the leadership abilities of Black and White targets; for instance, warmth positively predicted leadership judgments for Black men but dominance positively predicted leadership judgments for White men. These differences partly occurred because of different perceptions of masculinity across the intersection of race and sexual orientation. Indeed, both categorical (race and sex) and noncategorical (trait) social information contributed to leadership judgments. These findings highlight differences in the traits associated with leadership in Black and White men, as well as the importance of considering how intersecting cues associated with obvious and ambiguous groups moderate perceptions.
- person perception
- sexual orientation