Have you ever been discriminated against, or witnessed it happen to a loved one? For some, this is an everyday reality. Heterosexism is discrimination and/or prejudice against those who identify as a homosexual, under the incorrect assumption that heterosexuality is the only normal sexuality. As a wise lady who went by the name of Dorothy Parker once said, “Heterosexuality is not normal, just common.” This topic is a severe form of social justice, which is the concept of fair and just relations between an individual or a group of minorities and society. In the contents of this social justice report, you, as the reader, will be learning deeper into the topic of heterosexism, how heterosexism affects everyone, three different types of heterosexism, how heterosexism can affect an LGBT individual’s daily routine, and why we should take a step towards eliminating discrimination altogether.
Contrary to current belief, heterosexism doesn’t just affect those of the LGBT community. It can impact heterosexuals by pressuring the individual in question into submitting to society’s stereotypes and meticulous expectations. First of all, heterosexism can prevent intimate and close same-sex friendships due to the fear of being perceived as lesbian, gay, bisexual, etc. For example, if two young girls named Lillie and Rae were good friends who lived in a homophobic town, they might break off their friendship because they wouldn’t want to endure harassment and abusive remarks. Secondly, it teaches us to have qualms of those who are different, like those in the LGBT community. Even though everyone is different, those who are visibly different are discriminated against. My final point is that heterosexism reinforces the internal struggle between choosing what is right and just, or submitting to society’s particular demands. When a person sees discrimination occurring, they will almost always stay out of it so they can remain true to society’s “rules and guidelines”. The battle between what is right and what is popular can be a treacherous one, and we don’t always make the right decision. These issues can affect anyone, even though the original problem is closely related to homosexuals.
Heterosexism comes in different ways, shapes, and forms, yet they all tie back to discrimination. First of all, there’s institutional heterosexism. This refers to discrimination against homosexuals in businesses, organizations, governments, or religious institutions. This form of heterosexism can prevent homosexuals from applying certain jobs, or purchasing homes and/or renting apartments. Some stores may even refuse to assist LGBT customers, and if they comply anyways, they do so rudely and make inappropriate remarks. The issue is entangled into the operation of society’s many discriminative institutions. Secondly, we have interpersonal homophobia. This is simply the dislike or fear of those within the LGBT community. This leads to bitter comments and verbal/physical abuse towards those who identify as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender individual. In fact, 59 percent of LGBT adolescents have reported incidents of verbal harassment. I will conclude this subtopic with a category of heterosexism that is flat-out prejudice.