Gay Identity Questionnaire

Gay Identity Questionnaire

STEPHEN BRADY,Boston University School of Medicine

The Gay Identity Questionnaire (GIQ) can be used by clinicians and researchers to identify gay men in the develop- mental stages of “coming out” proposed by Cass (1979) in the Homosexual Identity Formation (HIF) Model. These stages include Confusion, Comparison, Tolerance, Acceptance, Pride, and Synthesis. Test construction procedures included the selection of questionnaire items based upon the constructs of the HIF model, and the establishment of reliability and validity for the GIQ through two pilot tests and one final administration of the instrument (Brady, 1983; Brady & Busse, 1994).


The GIQ is comprised of 45 true-false items and can easily be scored for the purpose of identifying the respondent’s stage of HIF. Findings suggest that the GIQ is a reliable and valid measure that can be used by clinicians and researchers to examine the coming-out process. Two hundred twenty- five male respondents were administered the final version of the GIQ and a psychosocial/background questionnaire. Efforts were made to recruit a developmentally heterogeneous sample of men with same-sex thoughts, feelings, and/or behavior. The majority of the respondents (179) were young (age = 28.8 years), non-Hispanic White men residing in Southern California in 1983. All respondents indicated they had homosexual thoughts, feelings, or engaged in homosexual behavior. In addition to the author’s use, the instrument has been used in a number of doctoral dissertations and Master’s theses.

Response Mode and Timing

The GIQ consists of 45 randomly ordered, true-false statements to which respondents respond by circling either the letter T or F depending upon whether they agree or disagree with the statement. The instrument takes approximately 15–20 minutes to complete.


The scoring of the GIQ includes the following. Three items (Items 4, 22, & 40) are used as validity checks and identify that an individual has thoughts, feelings, or engages in behavior that can be labeled as homosexual. Respondents must mark at least one of these three items as True for the instrument to be considered appropriate for use in classifying the stage of homosexual identity formation.

The other 42 items are used to determine respondents’ stage designation. Each of the six stages of HIF is represented by seven items that are characteristic of individuals at that stage. For each item a respondent marks as true, he accrues one point in the HIF stage represented by that item. For every item a respondent marks false, he receives a zero point subscore. The subset of items in which a respondent accrues the most points is his given stage designation. If a respondent accrues the same number of points in two or more stages, he is given a dual stage designation.


Interitem consistency scores for the GIQ were obtained using the Kuder-Richardson formula (Hays, 1973). Too few respondents were identified in the first two stages of HIF for data analytic procedures to be utilized. The reliabilities for the other four stages were: Stage 3 (Identity Tolerance), = .76; Stage 4 (Identity Acceptance), = .71; Stage 5 (Identity Pride), = .44; Stage 6 (Identity Synthesis), = .78.


No statistically significant relationships were found between respondent age, education, income, religiosity, political values, and HIF stages. Findings that most demo- graphic variables did not confound the HIF process sup- ports the validity of the HIF model for predicting stages of coming out independent of those variables.

Findings also support a central construct of the HIF model which describes the importance of psychological factors in the evolution of a homosexual identity. Statistical tests revealed a significant positive relationship between respondent stage of HIF and a composite measure of nine self-report items assessing psychological well-being, F(3, 189) = 8.67, < .01. Subsequent post-hoc analysis of ANOVA results using Tukey’s HSD test (Hays, 1973) revealed that respondents in Stage 3, Identity Tolerance, reported having less psychological well-being compared to their counterparts in Stages 4, 5, and 6.

Significant relationships were also found between respondent’s stage of HIF and five indices assessing homo- sexual adjustment. More specifically, respondents in Stage 3, Identity Tolerance, compared to respondents in the later stages of HIF, reported homosexuality as being a less viable identityF(3, 190) = 9.86, < .01; they were less exclusively homosexual, F(3, 188) = 14.34, < .01; they were less likely to have “come out” to significant others, F(3, 190) = 25.04, < .01; they were less sexually active, F(3, 191) = 4.52, < .01); and they had fewer involvements in intimate homosexual relationships, χ2 (3, = 194), = 9.68, < .01.

Respondents in the latter three stages of HIF did not differ appreciably from one another on measures of psycho- logical well-being or homosexual adjustment. These latter findings suggest that homosexual identity formation may be a two-stage process rather than the six stages proposed by Cass (1979) in the HIF model. In the first stage (Identity Confusion/Comparison/Tolerance) respondents remain unclear about or do not like their homosexual identity, whereas in the second stage (Identity Acceptance/Pride/ Synthesis) respondents know and approve of their identity while maintaining different public identities.

Findings support the use of the GIQ as a brief measure for identifying young middle-class White men at one of the stages of homosexual identity formation proposed by Cass (1979). In order to increase the generalizability of the instrument, future researchers should recruit a sample that includes women and people of color. In addition, a refinement of the instrument so that homosexual identity is treated as a continuous variable with a summed scale score, rather than a categorical variable with a stage designation, would be an improvement in the measurement of homosexual identity formation.

Address correspondence to Stephen Brady, Division of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine, 715 Albany Street, Robinson 2 B-2903, Boston, MA 02118; e-mail: [email protected]

Gay Identity Questionnaire

Directions: Please read each of the following statements carefully and then circle whether you feel the statements are true (T) or false (F) for you at this point in time. A statement is circled as true if the entire statement is true, otherwise it is circled as false.





1.  I probably am sexually attracted equally to men and women. (Stage 2)
2.  I live a homosexual lifestyle at home, while at work/school I do not want others to know about my lifestyle. (Stage 4)


3. My homosexuality is a valid private identity, that I do not want made public. (Stage 4)
4. I have feelings I would label as homosexual. (validity check item)
5. I have little desire to be around most heterosexuals. (Stage 5)
6. I doubt that I am homosexual, but still am confused about who I am sexually. (Stage 1)
7. I do not want most heterosexuals to know that I am definitely homosexual. (Stage 4)
8. I am very proud to be gay and make it known to everyone around me. (Stage 5)
9. I don’t have much contact with heterosexuals and can’t say that I miss it. (Stage 5)
10. I generally feel comfortable being the only gay person in a group of heterosexuals. (Stage 6)
11. I’m probably homosexual, even though I maintain a heterosexual image in both my personal and public life. (Stage 3)
12. I have disclosed to 1 or 2 people (very few) that I have homosexual feelings, although I’m not sure I’m homosexual. (Stage 2)
13. I am not as angry about treatment of gays because even though I’ve told everyone about my gayness, they have responded well. (Stage 6)
14. I am definitely homosexual but I do not share that knowledge with most people. (Stage 4)
15. I don’t mind if homosexuals know that I have homosexual thoughts and feelings, but I don’t want others to know. (Stage 3)
16. More than likely I’m homosexual, although I’m not positive about it yet. (Stage 3)
17. I don’t act like most homosexuals do, so I doubt that I’m homosexual. (Stage 1)
18. I’m probably homosexual, but I’m not sure yet. (Stage 3)
19. I am openly gay and fully integrated into heterosexual society. (Stage 6)
20. I don’t think that I’m homosexual. (Stage 1)
21. I don’t feel as if I am heterosexual or homosexual. (Stage 2)
22. I have thoughts I would label as homosexual. (validity check item)
23. I don’t want people to know that I may be homosexual, although I’m not sure if I am homosexual or not. (Stage 2)
24. I may be homosexual and I am upset at the thought of it. (Stage 2)
25. The topic of homosexuality does not relate to me personally. (Stage 1)
26. I frequently confront people about their irrational, homophobic (fear of homosexuality) feelings. (Stage 5)
27. Getting in touch with homosexuals is something I feel I need to do, even though I’m not sure I want to. (Stage 3)
28. I have homosexual thoughts and feelings but I doubt that I’m homosexual. (Stage 1)
29. I dread having to deal with the fact that I may be homosexual. (Stage 2)
30. I am proud and open with everyone about being gay, but it isn’t the major focus of my life. (Stage 6)
31. I probably am heterosexual or non-sexual. (Stage 1)
32. I am experimenting with my same sex, because I don’t know what my sexual preference is. (Stage 2)
33. I feel accepted by homosexual friends and acquaintances, even though I’m not sure I’m homosexual. (Stage 3)
34. I frequently express to others, anger over heterosexuals’ oppression of me and other gays. (Stage 5)
35. I have not told most of the people at work that I am definitely homosexual. (Stage 4)
36. I accept but would not say I am proud of the fact that I am definitely homosexual. (Stage 4)
37. I cannot imagine sharing my homosexual feelings with anyone. (Stage 1)‌
38. Most heterosexuals are not credible sources of help for me. (Stage 5)
39. I am openly gay around heterosexuals. (Stage 6)
40. I engage in sexual behavior I would label as homosexual. (validity check item)
41. I am not about to stay hidden as gay for anyone. (Stage 5)
42. I tolerate rather than accept my homosexual thoughts and feelings. (Stage 3)
43. My heterosexual friends, family, and associates think of me as a person who happens to be gay, rather than as a gay person. (Stage 6)
44. Even though I am definitely homosexual, I have not told my family. (Stage 4)
45. I am openly gay with everyone, but it doesn’t make me feel all that different from heterosexuals. (Stage 6)


Brady, S. M. (1983). The relationship between differences in stages of homosexual identity formation and background characteristics, psychological well-being and homosexual adjustmentDissertation Abstracts International, 45, 3328(10B).

Brady, S. M., & Busse, W. J. (1994). The Gay Identity Questionnaire: A brief measure of homosexual identity formation. Journal of Homosexuality, 26(4), 1–22.

Cass, V. C. (1979). Homosexual identity formation: A theoretical model. Journal of Homosexuality, 4, 219–235.

Cass, V. C. (1984). Testing a theoretical model. The Journal of Sex Research, 20, 143–167.

Hays, W. L. (1973). Statistics for the social sciences. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.