Discriminationof the LGBT Community
Discriminationof the LGBT Community
LGBTstands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender in full. Thissociety has been around as long as the history of human beings, buthas always been treated with a lot of discrimination by the majoritymainstream community. According to an e-book by Burns et al. (2012),America is made of approximately one million transgender or gaypeople. Some of these people work in state, local, or municipalgovernments and many more others are employed in the private as wellas public sector. They work as nurses, child-care providers, policeofficers, military personnel, librarians, and teachers. Despite thathowever, they live in fear of losing their jobs because of theirsexual orientation (Burns et al., 2012). As a result, most of thesepeople have lived in closets fearing to come out to the public oftheir sexual orientation.
Thistopic is of great interest because, as a free country, every citizenhas the right to enjoy a happy life without having fears. Members ofthe LGBT community deserve to live openly like any other citizen ofthe great nation of America. In addition, for the country to claim tobe the world’s perfect democracy, all minority groups including theLGBT community need to be recognized and protected. Theever-increasing civil unrest and lobbying carried out by the membersof the LGBT community has in the past, led to enactment of laws thatgrant more freedom to the group. Other nations in Europe such as theUK have also adopted laws that protect the LGBT community againstdiscrimination in all aspects of employment (Council of Europe,2011). In addition, Human Right Organizations have changed theirstance of LGBT groups and decided that people in this communityremain human beings who require equal rights as others. Therefore,Human Right Groups in the United States and Europe have embraced thisgroup and enforced laws and measures that ensure their rights areprotected (Council of Europe, 2011).
Thistopic has a lot of relevance to the study of society especially withthe recent changes in law where gay marriage has been legalized inall states. The reaction of the society against the LGBT communitycan be studied from this perspective too. Dynamics in societalattitude over time will become easier to study and understand.
Discriminationof Members of the LGBT Community in the Work Sector within the PeriodStarting from 1970s?
Reasonsfor choosing this research question
Despitethe LGBT Community being of great use to the functioning of thesociety, its members have continued to be harassed and treated badly.Studying how the discrimination of the LGBT community has beenhappening from the 70s until a few months ago when gay marriage waslegalized is important in comparing with how the situation is likelyto be in the future. Comparing the levels of discrimination over theyears is important in determining the impact of theantidiscrimination laws that have been passed over the years. A studyof the years within the stated time bracket will also help todetermine if laws in other countries especially countries in Europesuch as the UK, have had any effect on the levels of discriminationin the work sector. It is also important to understand which of thetwo work sectors is more hostile to the LGBT community. Today, about92% of members of the LGBT community state that the society hasbecome more accepting to them. They hope for more acceptance andtolerance in the future as they continue advocacy and interactionswith the non-LGBT community (Taylor,2013).
LGBT Employees in the Public and Private Work Sectors
TitleVII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964protected American workers from any form of discrimination. SinceAmerica started to experience an increased number of lesbians andgays, issues of discrimination emerged throughout the nation as someperceived it to be a sin against God and humanity. However, as theyears progressed the American government ensured the protection ofall its citizens even the disabled population group by enforcing theDisabilitiesAct. Sincethe 1970s, Congress has failed to enact a law that expressly protectsAmerican workers against sexual orientation or gender identity orexpression discrimination.
Dueto this LGBT workers in various employment sectors in the UnitedStates are not legally protected by the law hence, exposing them tothreats and physical assault from anti-gay lobby groups. Forinstance, research shows that 33 states lack state wide legislationsthat prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace.Additionally, 41 states have not outlawed discrimination on the basisof transsexual or gender identity. Therefore, LGBT employees in suchstates are left without their individualistic liberty to freelyexpress their LGBT status in the public domain. In the 1970s, LGBTworkers were explicitly exposed to harassment and violence becausethe anti-gay lobby groups were more dynamic and declaredhomosexuality an abomination to God and the entire human race. Theseanti-gay groups argued that human beings cannot be gay by birth andthat God did not create homosexuality. It is during this period ofthe 1970s that American Christian Conservative groups openedrehabilitation clinics where gays were supposed to be treated andcured of homosexuality. Currently, 12 American states have enforcedlaws that protect employees and job applicants from demotion,dismissal, harassment and other form of discrimination due to theirsexual orientation and gender identity (Johnson,Jackson, Arnette, & Koffman, 2005).For instance, transgender people are allowed to use the restroom thatis consistent with their gender while at work. Plus, employmentnon-discrimination statutes prohibit employers from requestingdetails about the employee’s transgender status. The state ofCalifornia has legalized the FairEmployment and Housing Act (FEHA) whichcondemns discrimination based on sexual orientation by employers andhiring agencies.
LGBTEmployees in the Public and Private Work Sectors
Inthe 1970s, LGBT employees were publicly discriminated becauseAmericans were not accommodative of such sexual practices and genderidentity. During this time members of the LGBT community weremarginalized and excluded from social environments. LGBT members weredenied equal rights as the other people because they were termed amenace to the society since their behaviors contradicts the Word ofGod and the course of nature.
Inthe public sector, they were stigmatized by receiving negative publicattitudes and denied social rights like mingling amongst themselvesin public areas. In addition, their opportunities to make socialcontributions were limited as they were always on the receiving endof public shame and ridicule even from young children. Hence, LGBTmembers developed low self-esteem and self-confidence as they slowlybecame isolated from the general population eventually leading tosome of them suffering mental health complications due to the hatefulenvironment they were exposed to. In the late 1960s, when America wasexperiencing an increased rate of human right lobby groups as AfricanAmericans and the minority groups were seeking equal rights, anti-gay groups expressed their levels of hate by encouraging people toexpress their homophobia and transphobia in all public venues likethe bus and train station, public parks, schools, hospitals andcommercial buildings (Johnson,Jackson, Arnette & Koffman, 2005).In the private sector, LGBT employees were mocked and harassed byemployers and employees who did not accept them for who they were. Inmost scenarios, they were rarely given job promotions despite theiracademic qualifications and work experience. In the states ofWashington DC, New York and California LGBT employees were frequentlyquestioned if they were married, single and whether they fancied theopposite sex so that the human resource department could identify ifthe applicant was part of the LGBT group. Moreover, the bylaws withinany private organization in the 1970s did not explicitly recognizeLGBT people and this was evidenced by not hiring any LGBT individualin their companies. However, as the years progressed into the late1980s and early 1990s, as the American government passed legislationsthat protected this group, some private firms did not promote LGBTindividuals as well as offer them employee benefit packages likehealth and medical insurance coverage. In severe occasions, parentswhose children were openly involved in the LGBT community wereisolated from their neighborhoods and others were fired fortolerating the ‘weird’ behavior among their children (Carabine,& Monro, 2004).Basically, LGBT community was condemned in the 1970s until the 21stcentury when the world start to accept them as human beings withrights as the others (Kimmel,Rose, Orel, & Greene, 2006).
HowSociological Perspective and Methodologies May Be Used To ExamineThis Research Question
Sociologicalperspectives and methodology may be used to examine:
Relationships between people
Reaction of people to societal attitudes
Societalattitudes towards LGBT vary considerably among different cultures andacross different historical periods. It is evident that LGBT issuesare indeed as old as the human race and there has been considerablearguments project for and against LGBT groups. However, a moreappalling aspect is that despite unprecedented changes in social,economic and political development, LGBT are still projected tosocial stigmatization. Reliable literature ranging from academic,medical, psychological, and political and sociology field affirm thatLGBT rights continue to raise various debates. Consequently, LGBTgroup live in ‘concealed’ identities for fear of socialdiscrimination in social, economic and political activities. Thefollowing literature review affirms the observation that LGBT socialacceptance remains a far dream especially in work discrimination.
Ina recent study conducted by Jennifer, Brad, Christy and Nan (2012) onthe persistent and pervasive workplace discrimination against LBGTpeople assessed that stronger Federal laws are required to safeguardthe LGBT people from workplace discrimination. In this study anexhaustive exploration on past and present workplace discriminationcases across the American society was done. The study confirmed thepersistence and pervasiveness of widespread social discriminationtrends among most American private and public workplaces. Furtherassessment on the existing Federal and State laws on LBGTdiscrimination revealed that these laws are insufficient inaddressing the pervasive workplace discrimination. This studyconfirms numerous other studies conducted in the past with regard toLGBT people discrimination in all aspects of social, political andeconomic aspects. Jennifer, Brad, Christy and Nan (2012) used a casestudy approach in gathering information on LBGT people discriminationby analyzing various courts’ rulings, researches and existing legalframeworks for LBGT rights. According to Jennifer, Brad, Christy andNan (2012), most people are aware of LBGT rights but continue todiscriminate them based on cultural, religious and individual values.The augment posted by Jennifer, Brad, Christy and Nan (2012) was thatthere is significant Federal, local and State laws but there are notsufficient enough to curtail the prevalence of LBGT discrimination.LBGT do not have equal rights in employment and those employed livein perpetual fear of implement termination of been subjected tosocial stigmatization by other workers. Jennifer, Brad, Christy andNan (2012) concluded that there is need to strengthen the Federal,Local and State laws to curb the increased discrimination againstLBGT. However, the assessment made by Jennifer, Brad, Christy and Nan(2012) fails to acknowledge that there i.e. need for increased publicawareness on the ‘constitutionality’ of the LBGT issue ratherthan debating it from cultural or religious perspective. Nonetheless,Jennifer, Brad, Christy and Nan (2012) assessment affirms thatdespite decades of LBGT rights legalization and the subsequenthistoric signing of gay marriage rights by President Obama in 2015,LBGT discrimination will remain a pervasive issue.
SarmaKiran (2004) conducted a holistic review on victimization of gay andlesbians’ community in Ireland. In her study, Sarma Kiran (2004)found that just like other nations, the issue of LGBT peoplediscrimination was as widespread in Ireland as anywhere else in theworld. However, Sarma Kiran (2004) was more concerned with overtharassment and violence subjected to women and men perceived to begay or lesbians. Sarma Kiran (2004) was surprised that despite thegrowing awareness on social seclusion and deprivation subjected tothe LBGT community little has been achieved in entrenching tougherlaws to protect LBGT against social economic discrimination. SarmaKiran (2004) approached the LBGT issue from a sociologicalperspective based on violence subjected to LGBT in work and socialplaces.
Inher meta-analytic review, Sarma Kiran (2004) argued that in mostcountries beginning 1980 to present day society, over seventy percentLBGT people are subjected to violence each day. Sarma Kiran (2004)also found that in most cases, LBGT people are not only harassed byother workers but also the police. Sarma Kiran (2004) reviewedvarious studies across the world on ‘LBGT hate crime’ in work andsocial placesand found that indeed many respondents were subjectsof ‘LBGT hate crime.’ After reviewing these studies, Sarma Kiran(2004) argues that hate crime against the ‘LGBT’ people is onincrease despite increased legalization and public awareness on LGBTrights. The study review by Sarma Kiran (2004) confirms that LBGTcommunity still faces significant social and legal discrimination.The conclusion is that if the LBGT people are not discriminatedduring employment they suffer in their work stations from ‘hatecrime’ violence. Sarma Kiran (2004) meta-analytic review affirmsthat social and work discrimination against LBGT remains a greatproblem in the modern society.
Amore recent study by Tilcsik (2011) found that gay men who openlyexpressed their sexual orientation faced increased employmentdiscrimination. In this study, Tilcsik (2011) sent pairs offictitious resumes for 1,769 job vacancies in seven states. In thisstudy, some resumes had a description indicating that the jobapplicant was gay. After the study, it was evident that mostorganizations ‘failed to give jobs to the ‘applicant’ whodescribed himself as gay. However, the findings were different amongthe seven states thus indicating the differences in social, culturaland ant-discrimination laws against gay people. In addition to thestudy, the authors conducted a random study on organizationrecruitment for self-proclaimed gay people. The study revealed thatindeed some organizations did not employ individuals who had openlystated that they were gays. Tilcsik (2011) study adds to the growingliterature studies that agree that LGBT discrimination in employment,at work and in social settings is a reality. The troubling trend isthat even after gay identity rights were acknowledged through theestablishment of laws the society is still hesitant in accepting theLBGT people.
Ina research paper written by the Center for American Progress, Humanrights Campaign and Freedom to work in May 2014, lamented onincreased and unchecked discrimination against the LBGT community.The authors alluded that the LBGT community continue to suffer from abroken bargain in which LBGT people are subjected to discriminationat work, have fewer benefits and more taxes. The Center for AmericanProgress, Human rights Campaign and Freedom to work (2014), observedthat the hiring process in most American firms is discriminatory.
Inaddition, the Center for American Progress, Human rights Campaign andFreedom to work (2013) highlighted that LGBT are unfairly treated atwork places even after struggling to get jobs. In particular, thegroup pointed out those LBGT workers receives low pay, job inequalityand suffer from ‘LBGT hate crime’ stereotypes. The argumentsfronted by the Center for American Progress, Human rights Campaignand Freedom to work are valid and shows that LBGT people do not enjoylife like others. LBGT community forms a significant group infacilitating social, economic and political development.Discrimination subjected to this group harms the economy in one wayor the other. As such, there is need for increased social and legalawareness on the need to respect LBGT rights for the benefit ofsociety economy.
Inan analytical article written by Blackwell, Riscks and Dziegielewski(2004) argued that there is need to develop a policy such as ‘donot ask, do not tell, do not pursue’ as an important strategy ofcurbing increased discrimination at work places. The authorsconducted various assessments in public and private sector andconcluded that social injustice for LBGT was indeed b deeplyentrenched in most organizations. As a solution to the increasedsocial injustice, Blackwell,Riscks and Dziegielewski(2004), suggested that the only way to end discrimination againstLBGT community was implementing a policy that prohibits people fromasking, responding or pursuing LBGT status of other individuals inwork places. The argument fronted by Blackwell,Riscks and Dziegielewski(2004) is indeed promising given the persistent of social andeconomic discrimination subjected to LBGT community. However, despitethe prevalence of social-economic discrimination against LBGT, thefuture is promising as more public awareness and legislation takesplace.
Ina study conducted by Pew Research Center in June 2013 on attitudes,experiences and values in changing times with regard to LBGTAmericans, the study found a significant improvement on socialacceptance for the LGBT. In addition, the Pew Research Center alsodiscovered that this social acceptance on LBGT is growing and more isexpected in future. A surprising aspect is that most LBGT respondentsobserved that social discrimination against them had reducedconsiderably in the past years due to increased public awareness andlegalization. These findings are particularly important given thelong decades of LBGT discrimination and oppression in social and workplaces.Conclusion
Thepurpose of this paper was to assess the discrimination of members ofthe LGBT Community in the Work Sector within the Period Starting from1970s with particular insight on laws against LBGT discrimination onemployment. The research focused on studies and scholastic studies onlegal and social discrimination of the LGBT community. The studiesfound that social and economic discrimination against LBGT communityis still prevalent in society and employment (Center for AmericanProgress, Human rights Campaign and Freedom to work. 2014). LBGT aresubjected to innumerable discrimination such as denial of employment,inequality at work places, low pay and less benefits, increasedverbal and physical violence against LBGT people (Blackwell, Riscksand Dziegielewski, 2004). The study also found that LBGT play anintegral role in social-economic activities and thus the need tosafeguard, advocate and strength laws against overt discrimination ofLBGT. The studies also found that the current Federal, State andLocal laws weak in safeguarding the interests of LBGT community(Tilcsik, 2011). However, socialacceptance for LBGT in work and social places is growing and more isexpected in future(Pew Research Center. 2013).
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