Discrimination is very much alive in the world today. It can happen in school, in the workplace, at church, in stores and about anywhere else you can think of. For as long as there are narrow-minded individuals, discrimination will happen.
There are many forms of discrimination and one of the most common is gay discrimination. Individuals who have a sexual orientation different from what most people think is normal often get discriminated upon. Gays are often rejected by family members, friends and people in the community. Some are taunted, bullied or harassed in school, the workplace and other places. There are even those who are threatened physically just for being different. Gays are marginalized in many societies.
Knowing how to handle gay discrimination can help you or another person you know deal with this type of problem.
- Accept that people can be different. People have their own individual needs and wants. They differ in their religious affiliations, political views and sexual preference. Some prefer engaging in heterosexual relationships while others find comfort and love in homosexual associations. Accepting that as human beings, everyone is entitled to his or her own sexual preference is the first step in dealing with gay discrimination.
- Understand that discrimination can happen anywhere and to anyone. Gay discrimination often starts early. It happens in school. Growing up gay is not the easiest of situations. But by having loving and understanding family members and friends around helps softens the negativity stemming from other people. In the workplace, gays are not often given the respect that they deserve. Instead of looking at the person’s performance and abilities, bosses and co-workers would rather focus on the person’s sexual orientation. Most gay groups are not given the freedom to express themselves by city officials. Parades and meetings are not approved or at least discouraged just because they are headed by gay groups. Believing that gay discrimination does not exist will only add to the problem.
- Know the law. There are laws that protect against discrimination. Some states protect employees from getting fired for their sexual preference. Find out which local or federal laws specifically address gay discrimination.
- Read and understand contracts and agreements. Since there are not many laws that can protect against gay discrimination, some rental contracts are biased against homosexuals. Landlords are allowed to screen possible tenants. They can also outline what they believe is acceptable conduct in their rental units. Make sure that the terms of the contract or agreement are clear to you before signing any lease.
- Seek advice from the right organizations. Get in touch with groups that support gays and lesbians. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation or GLAAD for example is one such group that aims to promote understanding, increase acceptance and advance equality. They have local chapters where you can seek advice from. Organizations similar to GLAAD can also refer you to lawyers who have experience in dealing with gay discrimination cases.
Many people are still homophobic whether or not they admit it. As such, these individuals tend to deal with a gay person differently. They allow their judgments to be clouded by a person’s sexual preference rather than that person’s abilities and performance. Sadly, gay discrimination is not going anywhere until everyone is ready to accept each other’s individuality. For now, deeper understanding and tolerance is necessary. Knowing the rights of gay men and women is important. This is your protection from gay discrimination not only in the workplace but in other venues as well.