Heterosexism is used as a tool to reinforce the norms of the status quo and maintain rigid gender roles (Eguchi, 2006). Heterosexism has been used to deny marriage and employment benefits to same-sex couples (Eguchi, 2006). Same-sex individuals of domestic abuse are less likely to receive full protection under the law (Eguchi, 2006). Heterosexism persists through all levels of society, and exists in all class, gender, race, and age groups. The purpose of this paper is to focus on the role of heterosexism and homophobia in college classrooms, specifically, whether or not overt and covert discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) occurs in college classrooms. Specifically, this paper attempts to answer the question, What are the implications of overt and covert heterosexism in college classrooms? First, the relevant literature will be reviewed. Second a methods section will describe the nature of data collection. Third, the results of the research will be reported. This section will include direct quotations from the focus group participants. This paper will conclude with a discussion about the prevalence and impacts of heterosexism.
[...] There have been several recent communication studies that have backed up the theory that overt and covert discrimination against sexual others (those deviating from the heterocentric norm) persist in college classrooms and across college campuses. This literature review will be divided into three sections of analysis: research that pertains to ‘invisibilization', research that pertains to overt harassment, and research about the effects of heterosexism. ‘invisibilization' The rendering of LGBT individuals invisible is an often overlooked component of heterosexism. Covert discrimination can be as damaging as overt discrimination despite the fact that it is often overlooked in contemporary queer research. [...]
[...] And, it's something that happens, a situation you face in life. Overt discrimination was also discussed, and emerged as another important theme. The participants were then asked to describe any instances of heterosexism that they had witnessed in college classrooms. Several participants recounted stories about a person they had known that had come out of the closet, and it was universal that certain people treated these individuals different because of their sexuality. Other participants described much more specific and vicious forms of heterosexism. [...]
[...] Specifically, participants were asked about instances of heterosexism that they had witnessed in college classrooms and why they thought that discussing LGBT issues in a college classroom was beneficial or not beneficial. Focus group moderators observed participants' verbal and non-verbal reactions to questions and recorded their responses. Data Analysis A constant comparative method was used to analyze the focus group interview responses (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). To begin, I read the transcription of the focus group several times to get a sense of the data. [...]
[...] Overcoming heterosexism and the violent suppression of sexual minorities is a long arduous process. The use of open discussion and communication about issues pertaining to LGBT individuals must be an integral part of the process. References Eguchi, S. (2006). Social and internalized homophobia as a source of conflict: How can we improve the quality of communication? The Review of Communication -357. Foster, E. (2008). Commitment, communication, and contending with heteronormativity: An invitation to greater reflexivity in interpersonal research. Southern Communication Journal 84-101. [...]
[...] Effects of Heterosexism The effects of heterosexism, whether in schools or other social institutions, and whether covert or overt, has devastating impacts on LBGT individuals. Eguchi (2006) explains some of these effects gay and bisexual men suffer from unequal treatment and opportunities, from being afraid of anti-gay violence, and from internalizing homophobia. Internalized homophobia as a communicative conflict clearly interferes with intrapersonal and interpersonal communication among gay and bisexual men. Therefore, homophobia and internalized homophobia is an ongoing tension which gay and bisexual men experience in their everyday lives (p. [...]
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