CHAPTER 14- Sexual Orientation

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CHAPTER 14- Sexual Orientation
- Gay Pride parade commemorates the first time that gay, lesbian, and
transgender individuals openly fought back against police harassment;
occurred June 1969 in Stonewall, a gay bar in New York
Sexual Identity- refers to one’s self-label or self-identification as heterosexual, gay,
lesbian, bisexual, or asexual
- Someone may subjectively sexually identify himself or herself as a lesbian or
gay and their actual sex partners are objectionably males or females
- Tearoom trade: married men stop off in public restrooms and engage in oral
sex with another male
Sexual Orientation- a person’s erotic and emotional orientation toward members
of his or her own gender or members of the other gender
Homosexual- their sexual orientation is towards members of his or her own gender
Heterosexual- sexual orientation is towards members of the opposite gender
Bisexual- sexual orientation is towards both genders
Asexual- does not have a sexual orientation towards either men or women
Using the term homosexual to refer to lesbians and gay men is problematic for three
main reasons:
1. It has been associated with negative stereotypes such a deviance, mental
illness, and criminal behaviour, and thus can be used as a derogatory label
2. It emphasizes sexual behaviour rather than sexual identity
3. It is ambiguous because even though it is a general term, it has often been
used to refer exclusively to gay men
*For these three reasons, it is preferable to use the terms lesbians, gay men, bisexual
women, and bisexual (straight=heterosexual)
Pansexual- people who are open to relationships with people of any sex, gender, or
gender identity
- To determine this there is a scale for heteroeroticism (extent of one’s
attraction to member’s of the other gender) ranging from low to high, and
another of one’s own homoeroticism (one’s attraction to member’s of one’s
own gender) ranging from low to high
- If one is high on both heteroeroticism and homoeroticism, one is bisexual;
the person is high on heteroeroticism and low on homoeroticism is
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heterosexual; the person is high on homoeroticism and low on
heteroeroticism is gay; and the person is low on both scales is asexual
- About 90% of men and women are exclusively heterosexual
- 10% of men and women have had at least one same-sex sexual experience
- 2% of men and 1% of women exclusively engage in same-sex sexual
behaviour and/or identify themselves as gay
- In Canadian culture there is the belief that all people are heterosexual
Attitudes Toward Gay Men and Lesbians
- 74% of Canadians are in favour of equal rights for gay men and lesbians
- 61% of Canadians are in favour of same-sex marriage
- 46% same-sex adoptions
- 63% of Canadians thought that being homophobic was as bad or worse than
being racist of anti-Semitic
- Only 38% of Americans approve of homosexuality
- 33% of Americans approve of same-sex marriage
- 41% of people in the UK approve of same-sex marriage
- 22% of Canadians were accepting of same-sex marriages even though they
don’t approve it
Homophobia- strong, irrational fear of gay individuals and as fixed negative
attitudes and reactions to gay men and lesbians
Some prefer the term homonegativity, anti-gay prejudice, sexual prejudice,
heterosexism, or heterocentrism
Heterosexism- the belief that everyone is heterosexual and that heterosexuality is
the only legitimate, acceptable, and healthy way for people to be
- Most extreme expressions of anti-gay prejudice occur in hate crimes against
- Matthew Shepard, university student, was found tied to a fence, savagely
beaten and comatose. Two men led him to believe they were gay as well and
lured him from a bar to ride in their truck, where they began beating him
with a revolver. They later tied him to the fence to die.
- Aaron Webster, a prominent photographer, was beaten to death in
Vancouver by four males wielding baseball bats, golf clubs, and a pool cue,
and was found naked in an area widely known as a stroll for gay men looking
for casual sex
- 78% of LGBs had experiences verbal assault
- 21% had been physically assaulted
- 21% reported harassment by the police
- 7% assaulted by a weapon
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- LBG study in Vancouver: 74% verbally abused
- 32% physically assaulted
- 9% physically and sexually assaulted
- STATISTICS CANADA: Canadians over the age of 15 who are gay or lesbian
are 2.5 times more likely to be victims of violent victimization than are
heterosexual Canadians
- Reading popular magazines is associated with more positive attitudes
towards LGBs, but reading teen magazines is associated with less positive
attitudes (probably because teen magazines tend to be conservative about
- In 1995, parliament passed a hate crimes sentencing bill, which specifies
longer sentences for hate-motivated crime
- In 2004, parliament passed a private member’s bill that bans hate
propaganda that targets gay men and lesbians
Attitudes Towards Bisexuals
- Bisexuals are often thought of as internally conflicted or psychologically
- Stereotyped as non-monogamous
- Few bisexuals report that they “need” both male and female partners to think
of themselves as bisexual
- Sometimes seen as “fence sitting” a way to get the “best of both worlds”
without having to commit to a particular identity
- It allows more variety in one’s sexual and human relationships and does not
rule out any possibilities and is open to the widest variety of experience
Gay Men, Lesbians, and Bisexuals as a Minority Group
- According to research in the US, gay men are more educated than straight
men, but gay men earn less
- Same sex activity was decriminalized in Canada in 1969
- Age of consent for anal is 18; whereas vaginal consent is 16
- In 1996, parliament amended the Human Rights Act to specifically prohibit
discrimination based on sexual orientation (also bars hate speech against gay
men and lesbians)
- In the US, gay men and lesbians do not have legal protection against
discrimination, and fewer Americans support equal rights for gay men and
- In 2003, courts in Ontario and BC were the fist to legalize same-sex marriage
- In 2004, courts in Quebec, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan,
Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Yukon made the same ruling
- June 28, 2005, the House of Commons passed a bill ensuring that marriage is
a right for all Canadians regardless of sexual orientation
- Marriage is now defined as: “the union of two people to the exclusion of all
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