Cornell West reminds us that justice is what love looks like in public (Cox). Using this as a guideline, how is love shown to the LGBT community? How is justice shown? To analyze it further, what is considered justice and who gets to make that definition? “Doctor refuses treatment of same-sex couple’s baby” (“Doctor refuses treatment”). This headline is one of many that could be perceived as unjust to the LGBT community; however, the doctor has every legal right to carry this out. Lots of the LGBT community is subject to discrimination throughout several public spaces, which can have negative effects in private spheres.
Unfortunately, pattern recognition is far too applicable to stories such as lesbian moms being denied health care for their six day old baby (“Doctor refuses treatment”). These stories appear all the time in the media containing similar characteristics and the same structures of discrimination which allows for pattern recognition. An article related to this one, even states that lots of LGBT people are not seeking health care treatment because of discrimination; therefore, leading to more health complications (“LGBT health concerns”). Binary thinking, in which doctors and other members of society are viewing people as if there are only two concrete options where sex and gender allied; has stigmatized the LGBT community and made it a regular occurrence that they are denied health care due to discrimination.
Schools are a public space that have a big impact on children throughout the impressionable stages of their lives. “Gay Ottawa teen who killed himself was bullied” (“Gay Ottawa teen“). This was the CBC headline for the suicide of Jamie Hubley in 2011, the son of an Ottawa city councilor (“Gay Ottawa teen“). Hubley seemed comfortable with his gender expression; he figure skated, sang, and tried to start a rainbow group at school; however, the efforts left him surrounded by homophobic remarks (“Gay Ottawa teen“). There were a lot of pink dollars spent to fund the ‘It Gets Better” campaign in reaction to homophobic bullying. The campaign tried to let people in the LGBT community know that there are people you can talk to and that there is a community that accepts you. Hubley made some comments towards this campaign, saying that he could not wait for ‘it to get better’ (“Gay Ottawa teen“). Social constrictions are ideals, images, and roles that society has created over time and generally, people subconsciously conform to these constructions. Social constructions have idealized the ‘standard story’ of the typical binary thinking for so long that homophobia is justified as a means of protecting this ideal story of heteronormativity.
Discrimination in the workplace is difficult to accept because many people want to believe that it can be a professional space and that the days of high school bullying are behind them. The film Love is Strange demonstrates that these wishes are not the reality (Thompson). Even in states (and Canada) where gay-marriage is legal, some gay people are still being fired after exercising their right to wed. Recently, there is the Employment Non-Discrimination Act; however, this cannot stop people from bullying in the workplace and making an LGBT person uncomfortable in a space that is meant to be professional. Currently, several companies such as Apple, Twitter, Google, Facebook, and 375 more have teamed up on a same-sex marriage case to help improve the diversity, welfare, and morale of all employees (Duffy). Overall, in the space of the workplace there have been many efforts for improvement however, there has not been much input as to how these efforts are working.
Recently, the Anti-LGBT Discrimination Bill has been a controversial topic. In Arkansas, the Bill was passed due to the efforts of Michelle Duggar from ’19 Kids and Counting’ (Kleyman). In her push to repeal the Bill Michelle Duggar rallied her wide Christian fellowship and explained to them that men who were formerly sexual predators, could dress up as women and change beside their daughters (Kleyman). The Duggar’s have been known to make many homophobic comments and this specific attack on trans men is no different. Lots of people petitioned to have them off the air, however this movement failed (Kleyman). This notion that religion justifies the discrimination of other human beings is rather contradictory to religion itself and to the concept that justice is what love looks like in public. In society we keep seeing these give and take scenarios: where gay-marriage is legal, but gay people are still losing their jobs for it, freedom of (religious) speech versus human rights for LGBT people (and everyone), children need a space to explore their gender expression but they do not want to get bullied, and there are so many more examples.
Each structure and space produces two-sided stories. The space could be hospitals and health care, the workplace, schools, through the law, in the media, and so on. These are all public spaces which have many recent and long-standing examples of LGBT discrimination. Although several movements have their motives in the correct place, it is hard to distinguish their actual impacts on the lives of LGBT people. More than anything, conversations need to be constructed. The two-sidedness of these news stories need to be analyzed to look at how we, as a society, can bring better understanding on all fronts. Without these conversations, LGBT discrimination will most likely persist in many public spaces which in all likelihood, will continue to have negative effects in private spaces.
Cox, Laverne. “Laverne Cox Explains the Intersection of Transphobia, Racism, and Misogyny (And What to Do About It)” Everyday Feminism. n.p. 7 Dec 2014. Web. 7 March 2015.
“Doctor refuses treatment of same-sex couple’s baby.” MyFoxDetroit. n.p., 18 Feb 2015. Web. 4 March 2015.
Duffy, Nick. “Apple, Microsoft, Google and Facebook team up for same-sex marriage case.” Pink News. 7 March 2015. Web. 8 March 2015.
“Gay Ottawa teen who killed himself was bullied.” CBC News: Ottawa. n.p.,18 Oct 2011. Web. 7 March 2015.
Kleyman, Katia. “Michelle Duggar Helps Pass Arkansas Anti-LGBT Discrimination Bill! ’19 Kids and Counting’ Homophobic History.” Design&Trend: Entertainment. n.p., 15 Feb 2015. Web. 7 March 2015.
“LGBT health concerns need special attention, experts say.” Fox News: Women’s Health. n.p.,15 Jan. 2015. Web. 6 March 2015.
Thompson, Ian. “Love is Strange Paints an Accurate Portrait of Anti-LGBT Workplace Discrimination.” Slate: Outward. n.p., 22 Aug 2014. Web. 6 March 2015.