Sexual Prejudice, Discrimination and Oppression.

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Sexual prejudice is the scientific examination of all unfavorable attitudes about sexual orientation. Homophobia is a term used to describe hatred, aversion, disdain, and negative attitudes against homosexuality or sexual minority people who are viewed or identified as lesbian, gay, transgender, or bisexual. Sexual minorities include anyone whose sexual orientation, sexual identity, sexual behavior, gender orientation, or gender identity differ from what dominant society considers ""normal"" or typical. Institutionalized homophobia, such as religious homophobia and state-sponsored homophobia, and internalized homophobia, which is experienced by persons who have same-sex attractions regardless of how they identify, are examples of recognized types of homophobia.Sexual prejudice is mainly characterized by discrimination against people based on their sexuality, alienation, name calling, mistreatment and oppression.

Despite major shifts in public opinion of sexual orientation, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people are still being bruised, beaten or killed because of who they are and who they choose to love. One in every five LGBT people has experienced homophobic oppression, hatred or mistreatment due to their sexuality. Due to social stigma and discrimination, most people remain closeted for fear of being oppressed, disowned or discriminated against by the community including family and long-life friends. Oppression is the exercise of power to disenfranchise, marginalize, or unjustly ostracize particular individuals or groups.

Although laws have changed to accommodate sexual diversity, including same sex marriages, many people's attitudes have not changed. Homophobia still exists mainly due to ignorance.

Summary.

According to Smith et al (2010), When children at adolescence develop, they become aware of sexual attraction and experiment the attraction through dating. Children who attracted to people of the same sex have a hard time experimenting on the attraction in dating people of their sex. For this reason, such children end up developing sexual stress or forcing themselves to date people of the opposite sex against their attraction. This leads to internalized homonegativity which may contribute to developmental opportunity loss, self-doubt, constriction of affect, social vigilance, turning away of social opportunities, and inauthentic heterosexual role-playing or relationships. Because of the internalized homonegativity, these children grow with a burden of hate for themselves and conflict within themselves as they try to date people of the opposite sex in order to fit in to the societal expectations. This kind of sexual orientation victimization leads to internal effects of not feeling comfortable in their own skin and are unable to forthrightly express sexual attraction and affection without fear of stigmatization through direct attacks by children who know or suspect their sexual orientation.

Direct attacks are a common form of aggression against most LGBT people in the society today. They occur in the form of verbal abuse through threats and harassment, property attacks such as vandalism, physical attacks through beating, kicking, stoning or mob justice and sexual attacks through rape, sexual assault and incest. (Smith et al, 2010). Due to these constant bombardments and negative attacks, most LGBT people end up alienating themselves from the society and even developing stress. Unlike most other minority groups who share brutal experience with family to get console, most LGBT people do not enjoy family support in the event of victimization for their sexual orientation. This is because most LGBT people are born to heterosexual families who do not support their children’s sexual orientation. For this reason, LGBT people who experience attacks and victimization from friends, society or family hoard the pains to themselves which may lead to social intoxication and depression when excessive. (Smith et al, 2010).

Integration.

It was on February last year, 2016, when Andrew, my cousin visited my home over winter. Andrew was a jovial guy who loved playing basketball at the estate court and chess with me in the house whenever he visited my home. This time the situation was different. Andrew had just joined high school and contrary to the mood he experienced while joining high school, he had turned into a morose, gruffly gentleman. We were sharing a room whenever he visited. On the first night of his winter visit, Andrew told me he was contemplating suicide. Seeing I was shocked at the revelation, he asked me to stay calm as he had more to reveal to me about him. Andrew was developing strange likings for men. He first experienced it immediately he joined high school but dismissed it. Over the first weeks, he fell for a guy in his class, the guy sensed the sexual attraction that was developing in Andrew towards him. Bold enough, Andrew approached his crush and to his amusement, the guy decided to give Andrew a chance, discreetly.

After 2 months of being together, the affection and bond between the two guys was escalating beyond control. They were no longer able to hide it from their schoolmates. Little did they know this was to be the beginning of a tough path. Andrew’s schoolmates alienated the two guys from their activities. Nobody wanted to be in the same study groups or basketball practice with Andrew. People in class and all-round the school seemed to be gossiping about the affection between Andrew and his friend. This did not work well with Andrew as he felt alienated. He began feeling hated by his friends; this made him remorseful for choosing to date a guy. Andrew became stressed, he stopped talking to the guy he liked and this left him with nobody to call a friend in school despite being his first semester.

On this night, Andrew had made up his mind that he was not going back to either his school or his home. I had not experienced such a revelation from a close friend or relative before, but I knew about homosexuality as I had a gay couple in my neighborhood. I had heard my parents discuss about the couple several times more so when they moved into the neighborhood. Everybody in my estate thought they were bad but as time passed by, families in my hood accepted diversity and embraced the couple for who they are and now the family became the estate sweethearts. I narrated the couple’s story to Andrew, to help ease him, since I had already grown to know homosexual was part of a society. I suggested to tell the revelation to my mother so that jointly we could offer Andrew a shoulder.

Andrew narrated the guilty conscience, that had been eating him up since his schoolmates discovered his sexuality, to my mother. I could not help but imagine how he felt being alienated, discriminated by his friends and self-reproached for his sexuality. He was depressed. My mum offered to help Andrew through cognitive therapy. I helped introduce Andrew to the gay couple in my neighborhood, the couple was so pleased to walk Andrew through a stress therapy. One of the gay partners who was a gym trainer carried Andrew and I with him to the gym where he introduced Andrew to people who were like him. Andrew begun to cheer up and look at his future in a different perspective. He begun to love himself and enjoy the life in his sexuality. On that winter, I asked my mum to help convince Andrew’s parents to transfer him to a high school near the acquaintances, of his sexual orientation, who he had begun growing fond of. My mum gave my thought a chance. After accessional conversations between Andrew’s parents and the gay couple in my hood, it was agreed that it would be best for Andrew to stay close to the couple and change school until he was fully recovered and in acceptance of his sexual orientation. Andrew’s parents were liberal and were okay to support Andrew through his sexuality.

Ignorance among our society has led to continued homophobia, sexual oppression and prejudice. Most people who are attracted to people of the same sex opt to date people of opposite sex in order to look normal in the society and to fit in the society norms. Sexual minority includes anyone whose sexual orientation, sexual identity, sexual behavior, gender orientation, or gender identity fall outside what is considered normal by the society. Among sexual minorities today are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people in our societies. One in every five LGBT people has experienced sexual oppression, discrimination or sexual harassment. Sexual minority people continue to face stigma as they increasingly get judged for who they choose to love, some get disowned by their families, others get beaten by their friends and relatives while others face sexual harassment mainly due to their sexual orientation. This has led to minority stress, depression and compunction among the LGBT community.

Reference.

Smith, S. D., Dermer, S. B., & Barto, K. K. (2010), Identifying and Correctly Labeling Sexual Prejudice, Discrimination, and Oppression. Journal of Counseling & Development, 88, 325-332.

April 26, 2023
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