Couples and partners who embrace same-sex relationships and marriages have been subject to discrimination based on their sexual orientation. The idea that gay and lesbian partners can co-exist does not seem to conform to societal expectations. In this respect, the negative feelings that people have towards same-sex partners form the basis of the problem of homophobia and gender. Homophobia is also known as heterosexism and is said to exist when there are negative perceptions towards people who are either lesbian, bisexual, gay, or transgender. In addition, advanced levels of homophobia may also have a negative impact such as undermining the mental and physical well-being of individuals. Homophobia also has a correlation with prejudice and discrimination, thus giving men more power as compared to women, which brings about the concept of gender inequality (Cramer 116). The discrimination aspect stems from the fact that gay males tend to fight heterosexist society for the right to adopt and raise children, while lesbians do not encounter such problems. Therefore, the repercussions of homophobia can give rise to homophobic slurs, rejection, suppression, and the individuals’ exclusion from gender-specific activities.
The Stigma of Homophobia and its Impact
Homophobia, discrimination, and stigma have been prominent nowadays. Inculcating negative perceptions towards gay people are influenced by people who embrace strong religious beliefs that refute homosexuality. Subsequently, the homosexuals are treated with disdain and intolerance, which forces them to resort to crimes and commit suicides at extreme circumstances. However, the issue of homophobia affects all genders but only at some degree because the involved genders are not discriminated equally. In fact, the experience of homophobic attacks, for instance, leaves men more susceptible to substance abuse as compared to women. Most women who experience rejection due to their sexual orientation end up having a lower level of self-esteem. It is inappropriate to advocate for the issue of discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation as it forms the basis of violence and harassment.
The issue of gender discrimination and homophobia bullying should be avoided at all costs because of the negative effects it has on the participants. People ought to come to terms with the fact that gay relationships have always been in existence and the gay stigma discourages the partners to come out of the proverbial closet. An example of the effect of homophobia is peer victimization and homophobic teasing, which are among the health concerns that the victims face sometimes. The teasing triggers negative attitudes as well as physical and verbal abuse. With the current advent of technology, the abuse can be in the form of cyber abuse and bullying. In addition, an internalized form of homophobia can pave the way for emotional distress, which leads to low confidence levels.
Gender discrimination and homophobia should be done away with because they also encourage suicidal ideation that incorporates both active and passive ideation. Passive ideation is the contemplation of committing suicide but without any intentions to orchestrate the action. Active ideation, on the other hand, includes having both the thought and intentions of committing suicide (Cramer 110). Therefore, passive ideation seems more dangerous, and active ideation progressively leads to active ideation. The act of suicide emanating from sexual orientation discrimination has more risk than protective factors. Examples of the inherent risk factors comprise of substance abuse as well as mood disorders. As a matter of fact, gay and lesbian individuals are more likely to commit suicide as compared to their fellow straight counterparts.
Even with gender discrimination that occurs, it is vital to acknowledge that sexual orientation is a matter of personal choice. Therefore, someone’s way of life should not expose them to such hostility, suffering, and discrimination (Poteat et al. 598). Then again, homosexuality is caused by natural factors, which means that those involved do not have the option of deciding whether to be gay or not. In this respect, their decision and union ought to be respected and should not be used in blowing their self-esteem.
An issue of gender discrimination has been confined to the fact that gay couples cannot raise children because they will end up like their gay parents. The ideology stems from a narrow thinking capacity because the sexual orientation of the parents does not determine the path that their children ought to follow. Moreover, the cognitive development of a child does not necessitate for the presence of a mother and a father. Therefore, there is no tangible evidence that gay parents can actually raise a child who will end up following a similar path. Everyone has a right to raise a family without being subject to discrimination with respect to their sexual orientation (Cramer 98).
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Gay people deserve the same parental rights just like everybody else. The issue of child adoption particularly aims at homosexuals because of the idea that a child would not grow without a mother figure. However, there should be no problem so long as the guardians are being nice and caring to the children.
The Impact of Homophobia and Gender Discrimination on Children
Same-sex marriages have been a controversial issue of concern for a while now, and the impact it has on children should not be looked down upon. The predominant reason as to why the issue has been of concern is that it advocates for something that has been stigmatized for a very long time. The childhoods of same-sex adults have been characterized as sheltered ones that lack romantic feelings. In fact, children are not born with discriminatory beliefs in either gender or any other aspect of their being.
The discrimination grows from what they surround themselves with and the perceptions they borrow from people towards various subjects. With the issue of sexual orientation, children are compelled to pick from one column which is a social category that will not have them discriminated (Cramer 125). In this respect, the impact of homophobia will not convince children to be close friends with people of the same sex because of fear of stigmatization. As a result, boys feel discouraged to associate and befriend their fellow male friends. Similarly, girls will fail to have close relationships with other girls, which will reduce the levels of their socialization (Poteat et al. 600).
The impact of homophobia is unproductive because, at a tender age, children ought to be friends with other children of similar gender since they have similar physical developments. Therefore, they can confide in each other because they understand the physical dynamics better (Cramer 89). It is integral for children to form bonds in the course of their upbringing, as it is important for them to have platonic friendships that are a part of their socializing.
Solid Solutions on the Issue of Gender and Homophobia
A solid solution to those engaging in same-sex marriages is giving them a strong support system that they can rely on in their most vulnerable moments. The support system can also act as a buffer against stress, thus elevating the level of self-confidence as well as self-esteem. Such a solution comes in handy because of the lack of positive role models makes it difficult to cope with the stress and challenges caused by stigmatization (Poteat et al. 599). Additionally, human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch should collectively rule outlaws against homosexual relations between consenting adults. It will also be important to move towards a superficial and individualistic analysis of heinous events by targeting heterosexism, patriarchy, and religion.
Religion, Patriarchy, and Homophobia
Most of the discussions that revolve around homophobia always involve some aspects of religion, religious beliefs, or both. However, it is apparent that not all churches advocate for the existence of same-sex marriages. Even though religion is an institution, it also plays a role in homophobia because it supports the illegality of the act with solid proponents from the Bible. For instance, there is the existence of distinct conservative divisions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, all of which are part of the most influential religions (Cramer 75). These religions put forth negative views and impressions on homosexuality, promoting homophobic messages in such a way.
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Similarly, all the generations that are brought up under the religious affiliations grow up hearing all the negative beliefs on homophobia and developing a negative attitude towards it. Therefore, religion makes the young ones grow up with a mentality that homosexuality is inferior, which additionally fuels homophobia. Such a distortion of the mind is a powerful process and it forms the foundation of future anti-gay abuse as well as violence. Religious personnel has the ability to influence masses of people due to their sentiments on a particular subject matter. Thus, the religious groups should take advantage of their position and inculcate positive thoughts on homophobia. Everybody should be given the right to choose a sexual orientation of their choice and it should not be used against them (Poteat et al. 608). Therefore, religious organizations should take the prerogative of ensuring that religious organizations are free from public criticism. In addition, places of worship that greatly condemn homophobia should be exposed because of the impact on the promotion of homophobic violence.
The contribution of patriarchy to homophobia and gender discrimination is a function of the double standards between men and women. In fact, the inequality between men and women continues to exist, and it manifests itself in terms of political differences, financial, and locational differences. Therefore, inequality is spread to other areas of concern such as discrimination against homosexuals and lesbians. However, the concept of patriarchy is more of an amalgam of memes and ideologies that oppresses and limits men. On the surface, one might question the correlation between patriarchy and homophobia but the relationship is predominant (Poteat et al. 598).
For instance, the patriarchal perception of women allows them to be sexual for the sake of male satisfaction whereas bisexual men are just labeled as gays. Women can be labeled as lesbians and society might not judge them or their action as compared to the judgment directed towards homosexuals. Therefore, patriarchal attitudes have an impact of resisting changes to social norms, thus upsetting traditional gender roles limits.
The Future of Homophobia and Gender Discrimination
It is imperative to undertake actions and steps that will negate or reduce discrimination on homosexuals because it keeps on extending to other areas as well. It may extend to places of work, in the media, in sports or even in medical facilities. The more the discrimination extends, the more severe the situation becomes, compromising the well-being of individuals (Poteat et al. 607). In the realm of sports, for example, there might be a bisexual trainer or even a lesbian couple who might want to share a room together. Such people should not be viewed as different from other beings, and their decisions should be respected (Cramer 65). Similarly, female athletes should never feel uncomfortable if a transgender athlete uses female changing rooms.
There are also some weird misconceptions such as most lesbians excel at sports or gay men tend to have an aptitude for sports. Such presumptions are harmful and they may make people uncomfortable talking about their sexuality because of the labels they are about to be confronted with. The future of homophobia might even advance to a level where one is judged just by looking at them. An apt example is a perception that females who look muscular and ‘butch’ tend to be lesbians. However, male and female homophobia will always vary because there is more openness towards lesbians.
Homophobia is upholding negative beliefs and attitudes towards gay people even though it is not a phobia in its psychiatric sense. Just like racism and sexism is discrimination based on race and gender respectively, homophobia is sexual orientation discrimination. Gay people have been subject to gender-based violence as well as homophobic abuse in most countries. States that have not legalized same-sex marriages are more susceptible to discrimination. Same sex relationships and marriages are neither moral depravity nor a mental illness but a way of life chosen by the minority. Everybody can play a role in reducing discrimination based on sexual orientation, which will eventually negate suicidal thoughts and low self-esteem levels. In the course of homophobia reduction, it is the small things that count, and even offering moral support might play a positive role.