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PSYCH 2075_Ch 14 Sexual Orientation and Identity_EC.docx

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Psychology 2075
William Fisher

C H 14: S EXUAL O RIENTATION AND IDENTITY : G AY , L ESBIAN , B , OR S TRAIGHT ? • Beginning of Gay liberation- fight in June 1969 in the Stonewall, a gay bar in NYC’s Greenwich village • First gay liberation group in Canada was formed in Vancouver in 1970 • Distinction: sex (sexual behaviour), gender (being male or female) and sexual orientation (heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual) • Sexual identity: one’s self-identity as homosexual, heterosexual, or bisexual • Sexual orientation: a person’s erotic and emotional orientation toward members of his or her own gender or members of the other gender • Homosexual: a person whose sexual orientation is toward members of the same gender • Heterosexual: a person whose sexual orientation is toward members of the other gender • Bisexual: A person whose sexual orientation is toward both men and women • Use of the term homosexual to refer to lesbians and gay men is problematic for three main reasons o 1. In the past it has been associated with negative stereotypes such as deviance, mental illness, and criminal behaviour = derogatory label o 2. Emphasizes sexual behaviour rather than sexual identity o 3. It is ambiguous because even though it is a general term, it has often been used to refer to exclusively to gay men o Preferable to use the terms lesbians, gay men, bisexual women, and bisexual H OW M ANY PEOPLE ARE G AY, LESBIAN , B, OR S TRAIGHT ? • Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS): o Men: 1.3% homosexual, 0.6% bisexual o Women: 0.7% homosexual, 0.9% bisexual • NSFG Survey: o About 2% men, 1% women are exclusively homosexual in their sexual behaviour and in their identity o 10% of both men and women have had at least one same-sex sexual experience in adulthood o 4% both men and women experience sexual attraction to members of their own sex • Three ways of conceptualizing homosexuality and heterosexuality o 1. The typology: heterosexual or homosexual  Typological conceptualization o 2. Kinsey continuum  From Exclusive Heterosexual (0) to Equal hetero and homo experience (3) to exclusive homosexual (6) o 3. Two dimensional scheme  Homoeroticism vs. Heteroeroticism  4 subtypes: Homosexual (high homo, low hetero), Bisexuals (hi ho, lo het), Heterosexual (lo homo, hi hetero), Assexual (low het/homo) • Kinsey- instead of talking about homosexuality, should be talking about homosexual behaviour Emily Chan PSYCH 2075 | Ch14: Sexual Orientation and IdenFebruary 2011 • In general: 90% of men/women are exclusively heterosexual, 10% at least one same-sex sexual experience in adulthood, 2% men + 1% women are exclusively homosexual and/or identify themselves as homosexual A TTITUDES • Stereotypes and negative attitudes lead to discrimination and hate crimes against gays and lesbians A TTITUDES T OWARD G AYS AND L ESBIANS • Most Canadians (74 %) are in favour of equal rights for gays and lesbians • Canadians are more divided on same-sex marriage (43% in favour) and adoption by same sex couples (46% in favour) • 63% thought that being homophobic was as bad as or worse than being racist or anti-Semitic • Respondents who were women, younger, had more education, and were living in Quebec and BC were more accepting of issues such as same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex couples • Canadians are much more accepting of homosexuality than Americans are • Homophobia: A strong irrational fear of homosexuals; negative attitudes and reactions to homosexuals • Homonegativity: negative attitudes and behaviours toward gay and lesbians; sometimes called anti-gay prejudice or sexual prejudice • Heterosexism: The belief that everyone is heterosexual and heterosexuality is the only legitimate acceptable and healthy way for people to be; homosexuality is denigrated • Internalized homonegativity • Cultural homonegativity • Hates crimes against LGBs = most extreme expressions of anti-gay prejudice o Matthew Shepard, tied to a fence, savagely beaten, comatose died 5 days later • SURVEY: Canadian LGBs high rates of violence o 78% experienced verbal assaults o 21% physically assaults o 21% harassment by police o 7% assaulted with a weapon • SURVEY: LGBs in Vancouver o 74% verbal abuse o 32% physically assaulted o 9% physically and sexually assaulted • Canadians over the age of 15 who identify themselves as gay or lesbian are 2.5 times as likely to be victims of violent victimization than heterosexual Canadians • Hate crimes against and harassment of LGB youth are not rare, isolated incidents  have a psychological toll A TTITUDES T OWARD B ISEXUALS • Bisexuals are often thought of as internally conflicted or psychologically immature  stereotyped as non- monogamous, need both same-sex and opposite-sex partners to satisfy both the “gay/lesbian” and “heterosexual” sides of their sexualities • Bisexuality is sometimes seen as “fence-sitting”, a way to get the “best of both worlds” without having to commit to a particular identity • Some gay and lesbians even argue that there is no such thing as a true bisexual • Proponents of bisexuality Emily Chan PSYCH 2075 | Ch14: Sexual Orientation and Identity | Page 2 February 2011 o Allows more variety in one’s sexual and human relationships than does exclusive heterosexuality or exclusive homosexuality o Bisexual does not result out any possibilities and is open to the widest variety of experiences G AYS , LESBIANS , AND B ISEXUALS AS A M INORITY G ROUP • Changes to Criminal Code = turning point in the recognition and increasing acceptance of LGBs in Canada • Anal sex is illegal only if it involves children or is not done in private o Age of consent for anal sex is 18, age of consent for vaginal intercourse is 14 o Anal sex is deemed not to be done in private (illegal) if more than two persons are present o = criminal code still discriminates against gay men in this way • Recent decisions by the SCC recognize that the equality rights guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms include sexual orientation and that provincial human rights codes must recognize sexual orientation as a prohibited ground for discrimination • Human Rights Act amended to specifically prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation • Same-Sex Marriage o Legalized June 20, 2005 o Marriage now “the union of two people to the exclusion of all others” o 4 country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage o Ontario Court of Appeal that a child can have three parents  biological mother and father as well as the mother’s same-sex partner o 53% in favour of same-sex marriages + additional 22% accept same-sex marriage as a matter of civil rights even if they don’t personally approve of it o Americans: 35% in favour, 59% want to ban it • Stereotype: gay men are child molesters o Research shows that only 2-3% of child abusers are gay • LGB different from other minority groups o Can hide their status  aren’t visible  Benefits: get along in heterosexual world  Negatives: encouraging a person to conceal his or her true identity to avoid homonegativity = psychologically stressful • Change must occur at many levels: individual, interpersonal, and organizational levels, + society as a whole and its institutions o Individual  all of us must examine our own attitudes toward LGBs to see if they are consistent with basic values we hold  May need to educate ourselves o Interpersonal  Parents should consider the message they convey to their children about gay men and lesbians  Adolescent peer group  Media  People must recognize that LGBs are often a hidden minority  Must examine our interaction with other people, recognizing the extent to which many of us assume that everyone is heterosexual until proven otherwise Emily Chan PSYCH 2075 | Ch14: Sexual Orientation and Identity | Page 3 February 2011 o Institutional  Education  Schools have a responsibility to ensure that homophobic harassment and name-calling does not occur  Gay-straight alliances L IFE E XPERIENCES OF LGB I NDIVIDUALS • Covert homosexual: a homosexual who is “in the closet”, who keeps his or her sexual orientation a secret • Overt homosexual: a homosexual who is “out of the closet”, who is open about his or her sexual orientation • “down low”/”d”” men who secretly have sex with other men while in a sexual relationship with a women • Other gay men and lesbians may live almost entirely within an LGB community, particularly in a large city like Toronto or Vancouver where there is a large gay subculture • Various degrees of overtness and covertness • Different lifestyles and different discrimination against gay men and lesbians • Lifestyle vary based on: male/female, overt/covert about one’s sexual identity, social class, occupation, personality, etc C OMING O UT • Coming out: The process of acknowledging to oneself, and then to others, that one is gay or lesbian • Following the stage of coming out, there is a stage of exploration, in which the person experiments with the new open sexual identity  makes contact with the LGB community and practices new interpersonal skills  next, forming first relationship (short-lived and characterized by jealousy and turbulence)  integration stage: person becomes a fully functioning member of society and is capable of maintaining a LT committed relationship • Identity development typically proceeds in six stages o 1. Identity confusion  Person most likely began assuming a heterosexual identity because heterosexuality is so normative in our society. As same-sex attractions or behaviours occur, there is confusion. Who am I? o 2. Identity comparison  The person now thinks, “I may be homosexual”. There may be feelings of alientation because the comfortable heterosexual identity has been lost o 3. Identity tolerance  “I probably am homosexual”. Person now seeks out gay men and/or lesbians and makes contact with the gay subculture, hoping for affirmation. The quality of these initial contacts is critical. o 4. Identity acceptance  “I am homosexual”. Accepts rather than tolerates this identity o 5. Identity pride  Person dichotomizes the world into gays and lesbians (who are good and important people) and heterosexual (who are not). There is a strong identification with the gay group, and an increased coming out of the closet. o 6. Identity synthesis Emily Chan PSYCH 2075 | Ch14: Sexual Orientation and Identity | Page 4 February 2011  The person no longer holds an “us versus them” view, recognizing that there are some good and supportive heterosexuals as well as some LGBs who hold distorted attitudes. In this final stage, the person is able to synthesize public and private sexual identities o Criticisms of this model  1. Some people do not go through one or more of these stages • Not everyone goes through the stages in this order  2. The traditional view, particularly based on men, has been that sexual orientation once established does not change VS New evidence that women’s sexuality may be more fluid and may be capable of change over time  3. Stage model suggests that to be fully developed a person must reach the fial stage  only one positive ending = may not be accurate  4. Does not fit for many individuals who ultimately adopt a bisexual identity Bisexual Identity • Bisexual men and women generally begin to think of themselves as bisexual in their early to mid-20s • Some gender differences in the sequence of behaviours o Bisexual women typically have their first opposite-sex attraction and sexual experience before their first same-sex ones o Bisexual men, are more likely to have same-sex experience first followed by opposite-sex ones • Most bisexual men and women base their sexual identity on their feelings of sexual attraction or capacity to fall in love with either women or men regardless of whether they have expressed these feelings through sexual behaviour • Many describe their sexual attractions to women and men as different from each other • Indicate that they do not cease being bisexual when they become monogamously involved with either a woman or a man • Some individuals adopt bisexual identities to reflect their politics  see it as a challenge to the importance of gender in defining sexuality, viewing their bisexual identity not as a combination of their attractions to women and men, but an attraction to specific people regardless of their gender L ESBIAN , G AY , AND B ISEXUAL C OMMUNITIES • Distinct LGB communities in Canada (Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal)  businesses cater to a gay clientele (bars, clubs, restaurants, bookstores, etc)  also cater to lesbian and bisexual • Symbols: upside down pink triangle, lowercase Greek letter lambda, rainbow glad (represents diversity and multiculturalism) • Pink, purple, blue striped glad is used to symbolize bisexual pride o Pink= attraction to members of the same gender o Blue = other gender o Purple = both men and women • Pride celebrations, Pride parade • Use of slang (in the closet, coming out, queen, nellie, drag queen, drag king, butch, dyke, femme, straight, trick, cruising, tearoom) • Gay bars: a gay-friendly bar or club frequented by lesbians and gays • Gay baths: clubs where gay men can socialize; features include a swimming pool or whirlpool and access to casual sex o Controversy as to whether they encourage risky sexual practices o Others see it as the celebration of the liberated sexuality Emily Chan PSYCH 2075 | Ch14: Sexual Orientation and Identity | Page 5 February 2011 • Internet o Communities can be found when, geographically, they do not live in a palce that has a gay community o Chat-rooms, form online relationships • Gay liberation movement o Encouraged LGBs to be more overt and to feel less guilty about their behaviour o EGALE (Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere) – national organization committed to advancing equality and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and their families across Canada  Fights for justice in courts, build communication and action networks o Can also socialize at the Metropolitan Community Church (a gay and lesbian church), gay athletic organizations, and gay political organizations o Gay newspapers and magazines S AME -S EX R ELATIONSHIPS • Substantial number of LGB form long-term relationships • Reasons why same-sex Canadian couples wanted to be married o Important to publicly declare their life-long commitment to each other o Marriage was part of a spiritual journey o Legal protection provided by marriage was important o About equality rights and making things better for gay and lesbian youth in the future • All couples must struggle to find a balance that suits both persons  3 aspects of the relationship typically have to be negotiated and can be sources of conflict: money, housework, and sex • Much research shows that on how similar all relationships are, regardless of sexual orientation, in their satisfactions, loves, joys, and conflicts L ESBIAN AND G AY F AMILIES • Increasingly, gay and lesbian couples are creating families that include children • Legislation in most p
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