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Brandon Dickens
Brandi Bradley
ENC 2135
02 December, 2015
LGBT Community
In 2015, gender discrimination is still a common occurrence and in many cases socially
accepted and even promoted. People are often denied of certain privileges or job opportunities
simply due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. These people are being stripped of their
human rights and denied of freedoms promised by the laws established by their government. This
is an issue that spreads across the globe and is not limited to third-world and underdeveloped
nations as many countries do not have any legal protection for LGBT people.
The LGBT community is an embodiment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender
people along with allies who join together in support of the expansion of human rights. The
alliance between queer people originated in the 1970s and as the community evolved, the group
became politically focused and adopted the term LGBT (Cruells 124). The community has
grown tremendously over the past few years as allies have joined in support and policies have
been established to advance the rights of the community. Many straight allies have joined the
community to support and comfort the members as well as expand their voice for equal rights.
Although the community has seen vast improvements over the past 5 years such as the end of the
military policy of Dont Ask, Dont Tell, notable progress by the United Nations (Austin), and
the legalization of same-sex marriage, the United States and most other nations have long path of
reform until fair equality is established.

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Discrimination against LGBT members can occur in several different settings with
varying effects. Discrimination of gender identity and sexual orientation can be seen through
inequality in the workplace, targeted bullying, and the denial of equal rights by healthcare
practitioners or police officers. Improvement in education and attention could drastically
decrease these instances from occurring. As the community fights for adequate legal protection,
some people outside of the community have opposing views primarily influenced by moral or
religious beliefs. These issues have been portrayed through the media, news, and activism of the
LGBT community to increase awareness of these issues and potentially gain support from others
outside of the community.
According to Erik S. Thompson, many states have inadequate protection for LGBT
employees and some do not have any protection at all (286). In areas that lack protection for
these workers, such as Alabama and Ohio, employers can underpay or terminate employees
strictly due to their gender identity or sexual orientation. Research shows that with all other
factors constant, (including education, work experience, and region) gay or bisexual men make
11-27% less than heterosexuals with the same job (Martinez 456). The notable range within this
statistics is caused by inadequate protection for LGBT employees as many withhold this
information due to fear of unemployment.
Under the religious freedom laws granted by the first amendment, controversy has risen
due to the conflicting protections of equal rights. Both of these rights are fundamentally
important and though one cannot simply say that one right trumps the other, it would be illogical
to promote discrimination because a religious person did not agree with, or feel comfortable
doing something. In a case in Canada, which has a very similar protection of religious freedom,
an owner of a printer refused to print material promoting the LGBT community. Although

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discrimination was clear, the court sided with religion and justified the mans refusal to print this
material due to his religious perspective (Mendelsohn 626). The decision of this case allowed for
further discrimination against LGBT members and promoted religious freedom above human
rights for the LGBT community.
As children are growing up and exploring their identities, they not only face internal
conflict, but also targeted bullying. Homophobic and transphobic bullying have become more
common over the past few years and has a strong impact on LGBT members. In 2012, over half
of the lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth in the United Kingdom had been a victim of homophobic
bullying by verbal, physical, or digital means (Marston 162). Prejudice-based bullying can have
a severe effect on students and often go unreported. After being bullied, victims can experience
suicidal ideas, depression, self-harm, and lower performance in school (162). Students are often
scared to vocalize the harassment they have received because they can begin to believe they
deserve it for being different or do not want others to know.
At the root of homophobic bullying lies gender expectations about masculine and
feminine behavior; [t]he pressure to conform to gender expectations can be a great source of
anxiety amongst young people (164). These gender expectations limit the freedoms of young
people as they feel restricted due to their gender. In a recent study analyzed by Hanya Pielichaty,
many girls claimed to have enjoyed playing football when they were younger, but hesitated to
continue playing as they got older. Girls worried that they would not be accepted by boys and
have a hard time getting married or having boyfriends (Pielichaty 496). Societal expectations
limit the ability for young girls to freely find their identity and can cause girls simply pursuing
their interests to become outcasts. However, women are not the only ones effected by gender
expectations. There is a common misconception that men are a gender exempt from burdening

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expectations, stereotypes, and societal pressures (Olson), which lead to a reduced focus on the
faults in the societal stereotypes of men. These stereotypes are highlighted when boys who are
gifted and love music, art, and theater are mocked and considered to be gay or called other
inappropriate names. Thomas Policastro recalls his childhood as he states I was hit with a
couple of mocking jabs along the lines of real men don't do drama in grades 7 and 8 (Olson).
Many men feel hesitant to express themselves in fear of being seen as less of a man or being
bullied. In return, they store up their emotions and become increasingly emotionally unstable
which can lead to sever consequences. These gender expectations should be a focus in schools,
as well as households, in order to provide children the comfort they need to express themselves.
Teaching boys empathy and emotional awareness will help them navigate through social
traumas as children and teenagers, which will equip them for the pressures theyre bound to face
in adulthood (Olson). Gender expectations should be removed by increased education on gender
identity for the youth and equal opportunity in sports and other fields.
Members of the LGBT community often face discrimination in healthcare services and
are not provided the same services as heterosexuals with the same job. According to Deborah F.
Farmer, LGB and transgender persons are less likely than their heterosexual counterparts to
have employer-based health insurance (77% and 51% vs 82%) and far less likely to be covered
under their partners health insurance (39). This statistics shows that health care services do not
equally recognize LGBT people, which forces them to suffer chronic conditions due to
insufficient medical treatment. This discrimination continues due to the absence of federal laws
that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation (39). A 2009 national study by Lamda
Legal reveals that LGBT people faced harsh environments in health care settings and were
victims of homophobic actions such as verbal abuse and care delivered without touching the

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patient (Farmer 39). The discrimination that the LGBT community receives stem from a lack of
education and prejudice against the community. In order to promote equality, Health care
providers should provide equal, judgement-free, and health care to all, regardless of their sexual
orientation or personal stories.
LGBT members also commonly face discrimination by police officers, are treated
negatively, and approached more often if they appear to be queer (Dwyer 494). The relationship
between LGBT youth and police have proven to be detrimental and can be described as
adversarial, harassing, discriminatory, characteri[z]ed by mutual mistrust, and focused
unnecessarily on the surveillance and criminalization of young peoples leisure activities (494).
LGBT youth often receive increased police attention as Mac, a 19-year old gay male, claims
because Im a queer and I was dressed like a queer I got treated like one (501). In numerous
cases, young LGBT members face discrimination from police officers which can have a negative
impact in some cases as serious as engagement in criminal activities and being homeless (495).
These interactions cause a growing mistrust between LGBT youth and police officers and lead to
serious consequences later on. If the youth cannot trust the people responsible for protecting their
rights, then they will be unwilling to report violations in fear of being further harassed. This can
reduce the effectiveness of future LGBT policies and contribute to further discrimination and
harassment without consequence to the offender. The police interactions with these young people
appeared to pedagogically instruct LGBT young people about how same sex intimacies should
not be visible in public space as they do not belong in public space because that space is
inherently heterosexual (508). As the LGBT community continues to be mistreated by
authorities, the growth of human rights will be hindered and all future efforts will be less
effective.

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Members of this community feel very strongly about these issues and frequently come
together to stand up for each other and against the discrimination they face. The LGBT
community does not wish to punish those who mistreat them, but hope to prevent future
incidences and have their rights recognized. They communicate these issues through a variety of
mediums in an attempt to create a stronger voice and have a significant influence on their
audience. Allies will often attend pride parades and marches to show their support and draw the
attention of others. Along with face-to-face interactions, the community will also communicate
through social media. Members and supporters will sometimes change their profile pictures to
symbols which support and promote equal rights and post about issues the community faces or
show their support for each other and policies which promote LGBT equality. Using multiple
means of communication, the community hopes to reach the most people and educate them on
the issues that they face. However, along with large exposure, they are also at a large risk to be
further discriminated against and harassed by anti-LGBT people. This can be especially true on
social media where people can hide behind their digital persona and harass others without
receiving direct consequences to themselves. Most of this backlash is caused by conflicting
religious beliefs or a lack of education which permits homophobia and bias.
As the discrimination of LGBT members has increased in awareness and exposure, it has
also gained a political spotlight and many new policies have been created which focus on
decreasing the discrimination. The first major steps towards equality occurred in 2011 when the
United Nations created policies to end violence against LGBT and to remove laws that
criminalize homosexuality (Austin). Legislators have also been working hard to pass the
Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which would protect individuals against
employment discrimination based on sexual orientation (Martinez 455). However, this bill was

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not the complete solution as it still left many opportunities for discrimination based on religious
motives (Thompson 288). Private employers could also refuse to provide an adequate reason of
why they fired or refused to hire a LGBT member and could leave them unable to find a job and
unable to pay their bills. Although there has been many shortcomings in the advancements of
LGBT rights, there has also been noticeable improvements such as the legalization of same-sex
marriage. In 2013, same-sex marriage was only available in ten countries, and only seven states
in the United States (Austin); in 2015, there are now 20 countries that offer same-sex marriage
and it is now legalized in all 50 states(The Freedom to Marry Internationally).
Although outside discrimination (such as occupational or targeted bullying) is one of the
most well-known issues the LGBT community faces, there are also underlying issues within the
community that also need to be addressed. According to Skye Kim, a bisexual member of the
community, bisexual and pansexual erasure is a significant issue that she has faced within the
community as well as outside of it. She describes this as when people who identify as [bisexual
or pansexual] are seen as less valid or less important in the LGBT community because they are
also attracted to the opposite sex, and are seen as having a more convenient sexuality. She
states that she has naturally felt doubt and confusion about this topic and the negative consensus
associated with this lifestyle made it even harder for her to find her identity and be comfortable
with herself. This issue exists both outside and inside the community as bisexuals and pansexuals
are a smaller portion of the LGBT community and have less of a voice. In accordance with most
issues regarding the community, Kim suggested that the root of this issue is a lack of education,
specifically on sexuality and preferences.
Although there has been many positive steps towards equality for the LGBT community,
there have also been many issues that have been overlooked due to a variety of reasons. For

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pansexuals and bisexuals, their inequality has been overlooked because of broader inequality
issues that demand more attention. It is difficult to address smaller issues, such as bisexual and
pansexual erasure, before addressing the major issues that involve the whole community. As
advancements are made towards equality, minor issues within the LGBT community will be
much easier to address.
In order to achieve equality in the LGBT community and ensure protection of these
members rights, education and public policies should adapt and become more LGBT friendly.
Although there has been a significant increase in the amount of political attention and policies
created to help the community, there are still blatant loop holes in these documents that continue
to limit the rights of the LGBT community. To obtain true equality, strict policies must be
enforced to prohibit any discrimination or bias against lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender
people. Paired with this intended political success, social success should also be achieved
through improved education on sexuality and gender expectations. Due to the current state of
gender expectations, children have a more difficult time establishing their identity and
discovering who they are, as gender identity is influenced by social and cultural valuations of
gender and not the core of the person (Pielichaty 494). These expectations limit them and
their desires to do something because they are afraid of what others will think or how they might
react.
Many of the accomplishments made so far would not have been possible without the
cumulative support from straight allies in order to gain a greater impact. Straight allies can
expand and take the voice of the LGBT community much further than what would have been
accessible without this benefit. One does not have to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender to
have a significant impact towards equality for this community as straight allies are essential for

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growth and further advancement. A close friend of mine, Skye Kim, who is an active member of
this community on the Florida State University campus and social media provides more insight
to what a straight ally can do for the community. Kim suggests that the best way for a straight
ally to have a positive impact on this community is to seek opportunities to not only learn more
but act more. One can make an impact through supporting and loving those around them in the
LGBT community and treating them as humans with the respect they deserve. Support and love
are always welcomed with open arms (Kim).
Over the past couple of years Americas most iconic brands have begun publically
showing their support for equal rights for the LGBT community (Joughin). The support of these
companies significantly aid the LGBT community and raise awareness throughout the country. It
is also beneficially to the company as a majority of the population supports equality and are
pleased with the companys public display of support. These countries show support primarily
through social media and features implemented into their production such as Levis pride month
clothing (Joughin). The support provided by these companies has proved to be beneficial for the
community and effectively raised awareness of the inequality faced throughout the LGBT
community. Although it is not uncommon for these businesses to receive hate and lose potential
profit, the general response to their support is positive and highly appreciated.
As social media has skyrocketed in popularity, it has also became a very effective way to
promote awareness and equality for the LGBT community. A few words on Twitter or Facebook
may seem insubstantial, but in accordance with others it can gain attention and spread awareness
which could potentially have a significant impact on future decisions and policies made by the
government to promote equality. These policies could drastically change the lives of the LGBT
community and have a strong impact on societal norms and gender expectations.

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Works Cited
Austin, David W. "Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity." International Lawyer 46.1 (2012):
447-62. Web. 6 Oct. 2015
Cruells, Marta, and Gerard Coll-Planas. "Challenging Equality Policies: The Emerging LGBT
Perspective." European Journal of Women's Studies 20.2 (2013): 122-37. Web. 4 Oct. 2015.
Dwyer, Angela. "Teaching Young Queers a Lesson: How Police Teach Lessons about NonHeteronormativity in Public Spaces." Sexuality & Culture 19.3 (2015): 493-512. Web. 8 Oct.
2015
Farmer, Deborah F. Hospice and Palliative Care for Older Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender Adults: The Effect of History, Discrimination, Health Disparities and Legal
Issues on Addressing Service Needs. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Palliative Medicine and Hospice Care.
Openventio, 29 May 2015. Web. 02 Dec. 2015.
"International | Freedom to Marry." International | Freedom to Marry. N.p., 26 June 2015. Web.
20 Oct. 2015.
Joughin, Charlie. "American Corporations Celebrate Pride Month with LGBT Advertising,
Promotions." Human Rights Campaign. N.p., 13 June 2014. Web. 20 Oct. 2015.
Kim, Skye. Interview by Brandon Dickens. Online interview. 8 Oct. 2015.
Marston, Kate. "Beyond Bullying: The Limitations of Homophobic and Transphobic Bullying
Interventions for Affirming Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) Equality in
Education." Pastoral Care in Education 33.3 (2015): 161-8. Web. 4 Oct. 2015
Martinez, Larry R., et al. "The Role of Organizational Leaders in Sexual Orientation Equality at
Organizational and Federal Levels." Journal of Business & Psychology 28.4 (2013): 455-66.
Web. 7 Oct. 2015
Mendelsohn Aviv, Noa. "(When) Can Religious Freedom Justify Discrimination on the Basis of
Sexual Orientation? -a Canadian Perspective." Journal of Law & Policy 22.2 (2014): 61372. Web. 6 Oct. 2015
Olson, Samantha. "Male Gender Stereotypes Are Ruining Boys' Futures." Medical Daily. N.p.,
22 Mar. 2015. Web. 20 Oct. 2015.
Pielichaty, Hanya. "Its Like Equality Now; its Not as if its the Old Days: An Investigation
into Gender Identity Development and Football Participation of Adolescent Girls." Soccer
& Society 16.4 (2015): 493-507. Web. 7 Oct. 2015

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Thompson, Erik S. "Compromising Equality: An Analysis of the Religious Exemption in the


Employment Non- Discrimination Act and its Impact on Lgbt Workers." Boston College
Journal of Law & Social Justice 35.2 (May 2015): 285-318. Web. 4 Oct. 2015