Overcoming Discrimination against LGBT Youth

Authors

  • АП Неверодська Украина

Abstract

Article explores social issues surrounding LGBT youth asserting that a broad-based public campaign is the best option to solve the current problem. It first reviews the history of the LGBT legislation movements, shows the evidence for the issue, and then reports the effects of it. Next, it describes several successful examples of campaigns and describes possible variants for this particular solution and its benefits. Finally, it considers and dismisses rival perspectives. Discrimination against LGBT – lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender—society began a long time ago. As a result of their exclusion from society, such individuals paved their own path for creating a safe environment for themselves, their families, and their friends. Nevertheless, LGBT youth turn out to be more vulnerable when it comes to violence than adults as they have not yet learned how to defend themselves and therefore, need to be protected the most. The reasons for the discrimination are simple: negative stereotypes occur in every culture, and those who do not fit the norm are mistreated. The situation is thought to be taken care of today: there are many new laws which are supposed to protect and support victims. However, it is still not enough to solve the problem completely. Unfortunately, these regulations are mostly aimed at the whole LGBT society, but few specifically focus on teenagers, who suffer the most. In other words, LGBT youth face discrimination because society has a negative stereotype of homosexuality and a failure to accept people who do not fit the norm. However, this problem can be solved by a broad-based public campaign. Considering the effectiveness and success of several examples of public campaigns, such a strategy is likely to change the minds of people who oppose LGBT rights and make the lives of LGBT teenagers safer. Although the history of LGBT discrimination is long, the very first organization to support such individuals was founded only in 1924. Its purpose was to gain gay rights and publish the earliest homosexual newspaper. Despite the fact that the existence of “The Society for Human Rights” lasted only for a few months, it is still considered to be the first step to the LGBT legislation the world knows now. The next major event happened in 1952 and, unfortunately, it was a step backwards - the American Psychiatric Association stated that homosexuality is a sociopathic disease. This event enormously affected the lives of sexual minorities, as since they were considered mentally ill, they were not getting jobs (“LGBT Rights,” 2018). Additionally, homosexuality themes were banned from the television and only presented, if at all, in a bad light. For instance, gay characters were usually the ones who committed suicide in movies (“Gay Rights,” 1989). The following breaking point was the Stonewall Riots in 1969, when LGBT New-Yorkers resisted a police raid causing a six-day long protest with violent battles against law-enforcement agencies to change society’s attitude towards LGBT Americans. For the next 45 years, the LGBT community was facing changes for the better and even set the stage for the legalization of same-sex marriages, which first took place in Massachusetts in 2004. Unfortunately, these days discrimination still occurs. Although people have been fighting against it for the last century, 31 out of the 50 states of the US are discriminatory. Only New Hampshire so far is on its way to fully protecting victims, yet another 30 states are strictly against the LGBT society. But regardless of the place sexual minorities live in, they experience hard times becoming politicians, and recently transgender people are started being disqualified from joining the military services in the US (“LGBT Rights”, 2018). In other words, despite all the efforts LGBT individuals have made in order to gain equality with straight people, their history does not always increase but, in fact, has its own ups and downs, and, unfortunately, such people are still being mistreated in 2018. To solve any kind of problem successfully, its roots need to be identified first. There are two main causes of LGBT discrimination: a negative stereotype and failure to accept people who do not fit the norm. In fact, the latter can be interpreted as a consequence of the first. Specifically, the negative stereotype of LGBT people results from certain gender schemas, a society’s knowledge structure of what is considered masculine and feminine (Bem, 1981). People start forming the idea of what is normal since childhood, and this schema formation occurs in three stages. First, a child takes a look at other people. In this case, they can see that LGBT people are not welcomed by, for example, their own family. Second, a child imitates those around them. Since their family does not accept such individuals, neither does the child. Third, a child sees positive and negative consequences, which makes them continue or stop the action. They do not get any punishment for their nonacceptance because their family is against LGBT, and, as a result, the child is likely to also discriminate against such people. In other words, discrimination is being reproduced, and so some other actions need to be taken in order to break this cycle of never-ending prejudice. Undoubtedly, the reasons for the discrimination mentioned above lead to several effects of the problem, such as bullying, rejection of family, and the impact on mental health. The biggest part of a childhood is attendance at school. In order to actually study and gain knowledge, students need to have a safe environment where they feel themselves more or less secure. However, according to Kosciw, Greytak, Giga, Villenas & Danischewski, 57.6% and 43.3% of teenagers do not feel safe in school due to their sexual orientation and gender identity, respectively. Moreover, 31.8% of students skipped an entire school day for the same reason (2016). Bullying significantly affects a student’s academic performance, and, for this reason, some further changes need to be made to resolve this issue. The next problem youth may face is the rejection of parents after coming out – a metaphor which means finally revealing sexual orientation or gender identity (APA, n.d.). This rejection makes children feel lonely and left out, as if they do not matter to the world anymore. Besides, in some severe cases it may lead to homelessness, and as many as 40% of all 2 million homeless teenagers in the US identify themselves as LGBT (SAMHSA, 2017). Undoubtedly, 80,000 children living on streets is a huge number. Particularly, it happens because the atmosphere at home was not welcoming or parents threw a child out after coming out, not wanting to accept them the way they are.

References

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Published

2019-03-08

How to Cite

Неверодська, А. (2019). Overcoming Discrimination against LGBT Youth. Pridneprovskiy Scientific Bulletin, 3(611). Retrieved from http://www.rusnauka.com/index.php/rusnauka/article/view/7128