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The Effects Of Sexual Orientation Discrimination

1704 words - 7 pages

“I was raised around heterosexuals, as all heterosexuals are, that’s where us gay people come from…you heterosexuals.” This is a quote from Ellen DeGeneres; an openly gay celebrity. Ellen, as well as thousands of other Americans are taking a stand to end homophobia. Homophobia refers to discriminatory remarks or actions directed towards a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered (LGBT) person. Homophobia has many damaging effects and for this purpose, should be stopped. Some major effects of homophobia are discrimination at work, the emotional impact it has on homosexuals, and the lack of family recognition. Discrimination against ones sexual orientation not only happens on the streets, it happens in the workplace as well.
The United States legislation is supposed to protect all U.S. employees from all forms of discrimination, whether it’s racial, religious, or sexual discrimination. This is stated in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Dawson). With this being said why is it that this title does not seem to apply to the homosexual community? Data from a 1989-1991 national survey found that gay and bisexual male workers earned eleven percent to twenty-seven percent less than heterosexual workers, regardless of their occupation (Badgett). It is statistically proven that LGBT workers earn less than heterosexuals in most cases. Discrimination of this kind can lead to depressed wages and underemployment for an entire subset of the population (Klobuchar). Most homosexuals choose to hide their sexual identity from their coworkers because of the discrimination they could face (Dawson). “Lesbian and gay men who voluntarily disclose their sexual orientation to employers and coworkers may trade off the risk for diminished career advancement or income loss” says Badgett. As a result of the painful discrimination, many people suffer from emotional instability.
The emotional impact of this form of discrimination can last a lifetime to the LGBT community. Many homosexuals turn to substance abuse to numb the pain of the discrimination; but failure to acknowledge a gay or lesbian’s identity makes recovery more difficult and increases the chances of a relapse. They may not realize it, but many healthcare providers are actually exposing their homosexual patients to discrimination. Typically, the forms an individual fills out at the doctor or hospital are not gay friendly, meaning they exclude homosexuals from the choices. For example, when it asks for one’s marital status; married, single, or divorced are the only options. Using terms such as “domestic partnership” or “significantly involved” could reduce the emotional impact of homophobia on the LGBT community (O'Hanlan).
Most people do not realize the effects that their word choices have on LGBT people. People may not realize that their remarks sound rather homophobic and may cause pain to others listening. One cause of homophobia is a system known as heterosexism. Heterosexism stems from a culture...

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