Essays on prejudice against homosexuals
Although usage of the two words has not been uniform, homophobia has typically been employed to describe individual antigay attitudes and behaviors whereas heterosexism has referred to societal-level ideologies and patterns of institutionalized oppression of non-heterosexual people. By drawing popular and scientific attention to antigay hostility, the creation of these terms marked a watershed.
Nevertheless, they have important limitations. Critics have observed that homophobia is problematic for at least two reasons. First, empirical research does not indicate that heterosexuals' antigay attitudes can reasonably be considered a phobia in the clinical sense. Second, using homophobia implies that antigay prejudice is an individual, clinical entity rather than a social phenomenon rooted in cultural ideologies and intergroup relations.
Moreover, a phobia is usually experienced as dysfunctional and unpleasant. Antigay prejudice, however, is often highly functional for the heterosexuals who manifest it. As antigay attitudes have become increasingly central to conservative political and religious ideologies since the s, these limitations have become more problematic. However, heterosexism , with its historic macro-level focus on cultural ideologies rather than individual attitudes, is not a satisfactory replacement for homophobia.
Sexual Prejudice. Scientific analysis of the psychology of antigay attitudes will be facilitated by a new term.
Sexual prejudice serves this purpose nicely. Broadly conceived, sexual prejudice refers to all negative attitudes based on sexual orientation, whether the target is homosexual, bisexual, or heterosexual.
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Given the current social organization of sexuality, however, such prejudice is almost always directed at people who engage in homosexual behavior or label themselves gay, lesbian, or bisexual Herek, Like other types of prejudice, sexual prejudice has three principal features: It is an attitude i. It is directed at a social group and its members.
It is negative, involving hostility or dislike.
First, sexual prejudice is a descriptive term. Unlike homophobia, it conveys no a priori assumptions about the origins, dynamics, and underlying motivations of antigay attitudes. Second, the term explicitly links the study of antigay hostility with the rich tradition of social psychological research on prejudice.
Discrimination Against LGBT Youth in US Schools | HRW
Third, using the construct of sexual prejudice does not require value judgments that antigay attitudes are inherently irrational or evil. Herek, G. Then he fired me. I was escorted back to my desk, told to clean it out, then marched out of the building…I was devastated. Quite the contrary, I worked hard and did my job very well.
Challenges for LGBT people in the workplace and how to overcome them
However that was all discarded when my boss discovered I am a lesbian. In a single afternoon, I went from being a highly praised employee, to out of a job.
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And officer Michael Carney was denied reinstatement as a police officer in Springfield, Massachusetts because he told his supervisors that he was gay:. Gay and transgender individuals suffer from socioeconomic inequalities in large part due to pervasive discrimination in the workplace. Discrimination directly causes job instability and high turnover, resulting in greater unemployment and poverty rates for gay and transgender people, as well as the wage gap between gay and straight workers.
Consider that gay men earn 10 percent to 32 percent less than similarly qualified heterosexual males. Older gay and lesbian adults experience higher poverty rates than their heterosexual counterparts. And transgender individuals are twice as likely to be unemployed and are four times as likely to live in poverty. Nearly 20 percent have been or are currently homeless. Companies should care about these numbers if they are in the business of boosting profits.
Time and again , researchers have demonstrated that discrimination diminishes productivity, job satisfaction, and the mental and physical health of all employees. An increasing number of states, municipalities, and businesses have adopted nondiscrimination protections that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The public, too, has increasingly voiced support for employment protections and workplace fairness for gay and transgender workers.
And more and more gay workers are coming out at the workplace, a sign that workplace climates have become more accepting or at least tolerant overall.
How Are LGBT Youths Affected by Discrimination and What Can Schools Do to Help?
Nevertheless, gay and transgender people continue to lack full workplace protections afforded to women, people of color, veterans, seniors, and the disabled. Under federal law it is still legal to fire someone for being gay or transgender.
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Where state or local laws exist, gay and transgender workers file discrimination complaints at comparable rates and in some case higher rates than other protected classes such as gender and race. But Congress has thus far failed to incorporate gay and transgender workers into employment laws that shield these and other groups from workplace discrimination nationwide. If passed, gay and transgender workers would have similar protections that were afforded to other minority groups with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Lawmakers should swiftly enact ENDA to level the playing field for all American workers, gay or straight, transgender or not.
Gay and transgender individuals comprise a significant part of the American labor force. Every day, they go to work to make an honest living to support themselves and their families, and help our economy grow along the way. But far too many go to work with the fear that they will lose their job based on factors that have nothing to do with their job performance and ability.
Discrimination has no place in our society or in our workplaces. Our nation can and should do better for all our workers. Download this column pdf Download to mobile devices and e-readers from Scribd Gay and transgender individuals continue to face widespread discrimination in the workplace.