Several social problems had happened in our worlds such as poverty, famine, gender inequality, and homophobia. Even though society has increased its acceptance of gays and lesbians, homophobia is still present in schools, workplaces, public places and at home. People have negative reactions towards homosexuals because it is not considered the norm and does not respect gender roles that are established by our society. This is a problem that affects our society because homosexuals and lesbians still struggle with acceptance by other people, their families, and peers based on what is considered the norm by the modern society. All of that to say homophobia is still a social issue in our modern society and made worse because of bullying in schools and in the workplace as well as difficulties with the acceptance of their sexual orientation by their family.
Homophobia is still an issue in public places such as where LGBT people work. In fact, A 2008 GSS survey have found that 42% american respondents who identified as either gay, lesbian or bisexual have experienced at least one form of employment discrimination where 27% of them have suffered from discrimination for 5 years prior to the survey. (Pizer,Sears, Mallory and Hunter, 2012) Even if workplaces have improved their acceptance of homosexuality, some countries such as the United States still struggle with homophobia. Surveys have found that employment discrimination happens more than society is really aware. As a matter of fact, a 2009 survey also found that 58% of LGB respondents have heard derogatory comments about their sexual identity and gender identity in their respective workplace. (Pizer et al., 2012) Homophobia in the workplace has psychological impacts on the employees that are victims of discrimination at work. Despite the fact that gays or lesbians are less likely to be discriminated because of their sexual orientation in Canada, there is still a lot of work to do. In comparison with the United States, Canada is more tolerant but do not diminish homophobia enough. In fact, 34% of gay and 40% of lesbians in Canada have experienced employment discrimination (Angus Reid Public Opinion, 2011). Homophobic discrimination is present everywhere even if you cannot see it all the time which explains why it is a social issue in our world.
The acceptance of homosexuality from family members is still an issue in our modern society. This phenomenon was founded to be present in father-son relationship about homosexuality. As a matter of fact, a study on gay father/sons and gay sons/father shows that 68% of fathers of gay sons have shown homophobic behaviors prior to coming out in comparison to 52% of sons of gay fathers (Bucher, 2014). Even though more parents are accepting homosexuality as something normal, there are still exceptions to the rule. In reality, coming out as homosexual seems harder than it seems for the LGBTQ youth in the United States. A study on LBGTQ youth families in California shows that in families with low level of acceptance, the LBGTQ youths were more likely to have less self-esteem, less social support, more risk to develop depression as well as a higher risk for substance abuse (Ryan, Russell, Huebner, Diaz, and Sanchez, 2010). Moreover, 56.8% of LGBTQ youth with a low percentage of acceptance by their family attempt suicide in comparison with 30.9% in high level of acceptance family (Ryan et al, 2010). Being accepted for who they are seems to be an important thing for LGBTQ youth in California. The less acceptance they received from their family, the more likely they tend to feel disgust about themselves and considering suicide at some point. In reality, 38.3% of LGBTQ youth with low acceptance of their sexual orientation by their family have had suicidal thoughts in the past 6 months in comparison with 18.5% of those with high rate of acceptance. (Ryan et al, 2010) All of that to say that not every families accept their children for their sexual orientation which proves that it is a social issue in our modern society.
Disregarding how much progress there has been made to solve the problem that homophobia cause, the LGBT community still get homophobic teasing at schools. Studies in the United States has found that in New York schools, 70% of the LGB students were harassed because of their gender preference/sexual orientation (Birkett, Espelage and Koenig, 2008). It also found that 40% of them experienced physical harassment due to their sexual orientation 64.3% felt unsafe because of it.( Birkett et al., 2008) The United States is not the only one to struggle with this issue in their schools. Canada is pretty tolerant towards homosexuality since gay marriage was legalized and everything. However, harassment is still an issue in our Nordic country. Indeed , 61% of gay and 66% of lesbians students were verbally harassed at school in Canada (Taylor & Peters, 2011). Teasing gets worst when countries like the United States reveals their statistics. As a matter of fact, an American’s study shows that in the United States, 86.2% of LGBTQ students were homophonically harassed and 66.5% because of their gender expression. (Taylor & Peters, 2011) Not only homophobia is a social issue in North America, it is also a problem in other countries such as Portugal. In fact, in Portuguese’s schools, 30% to 50% of LGB youth have experienced homophobic violence, sexual violence, social exclusion and isolation. (Rodrigues, Grave, de Oliveira,& Nogueira, 2015) In other words, bullying is not only based on race and ethnicity in our modern schools, it is also based on the sexual orientation of the student and how they behave at schools to meet the gender roles which makes it a social issue.
Regarding psychological and behavioural impacts of homophobia in our modern society, researchers have found that homophobia can result in a higher risk of depression, increased in suicidal thoughts, substances abuse, suicide attempts, school problems such as lower grades and difficulty to concentrate in class, a low self-esteem as well as mental and health issues. Some studies have found that in families with low level of acceptances, the LBGTQ youths were more likely to have less self-esteem, less social support, more risk to develop depression as well as a higher risk for substance abuse (Ryan et al, 2010). Moreover, 56.8% of LGBTQ youth with low percentage of acceptance by their family attempt suicide in comparison with 30.9% in high level of acceptance family (Ryan et al, 2010). The stress from coming out and being constantly harassed and bullied at schools put them at risk of depression, suicide, substance abuse, and school problems such as a decreased in schools performance and difficulties to concentrate in class. (Birkett et al., 2008) Finally, homophobia can results in mental disorder and health issues. In fact, high levels of perceived discrimination and fear of discrimination towards LBGT people result in a high link with psychiatric disorders, psychological distress, depression, loneliness and low self-esteem. (Pizer et al., 2012)
There are no countries in this world that does not have social issues even in hog-industrialized countries. However, some solutions exists to solve the problem of homophobia such as creating a positive environment for the LGBTQ community. Indeed, creating a more positive environment where homophobic bullying is forbidden could be an important intervention to improve psychological outcomes for LGB students. (Birkett et al., 2008) To create a positive environment, a solution could be to provide more awareness to people by showing more advertising, talking more in schools and workplaces to help educate people about homosexuality is normal as well as helping creating a positive environment. Why does it matters? Well, according to Stonewall’s 2014 research on homophobia in schools shows that 50% of primary teachers witnesses homophobic behaviour against boys who are not masculine or into sports. (Stonewall, 2014) Moreover, the study says “more than one in ten say that pupils whose parents or carers are gay are bullied, and one in five say that pupils who are perceived to be lesbian, gay or bisexual are bullied” (Stonewall, 2014) Lastly, 70% of the teachers who participated in the research says that they have been aware of a lot of homophobic comments by students against other students. (Stonewall, 2014) This solution would be efficient to help solve this social issue because it has been proved efficient in some schools that have tried this method. In fact, Brian K. Marchman, a high school teacher from the P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School, teach a mini-unit about homophobia during 5 years and received positive results from it. Marchman says “In the five years I have taught this mini-unit, I have found that involving my students in working on solutions to homophobia within the context of the school community is the most effective technique for empowering them to think critically about their own predispositions regarding homophobia.” ( Marchman, 2002, 304) In other words, he says that homophobia prevention seems to provides great awareness and his students told him that it is an unit worth teaching. (Marchman, 2002) Some organizations are working on solving homophobia by teaching awareness as much as they can in schools and public places. In fact, the organism #StopHomophobia is an example of online international organism that supports the LGBTQ community as well as providing educational tools and advertising to stop homophobia. Their purpose is to report, share stories and help to build a community spirit. They also offered tools to prevent suicide among the LGBTQ community
Angus Reid Public. (2015). Opinion Most LGBT Working Canadians Experience Tolerance But Some Discrimination Persists. For Immediate Release Canadian LGBT Survey, 1-19. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
Birkett, M., Espelage, D. L., & Koenig, B. (2009). LGB and questioning students in schools: The moderating effects of homophobic bullying and school climate on negative outcomes. Journal of youth and adolescence, 38(7), 989-1000.
Bucher, J. (2014). “But He Can’t Be Gay”: The Relationship between Masculinity and Homophobia in Father-Son Relationships. The Journal of Men’s Studies, 22(3), 222-237.
Marchman, B. K. (2002). Teaching about homophobia in a high school civics course. Theory & Research in Social Education, 30(2), 302-305.
Pizer, J. C., Sears, B., Mallory, C., & Hunter, N. D. (2012). Evidence of Persistent and Pervasive Workplace Discrimination Against LGBT People: The Need For Federal Legislation Prohibiting Discrimination and Providing for Equal Employment Benefits. Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, 45, 715th ser., 715-779. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
Rodrigues, L., Grave, R., de Oliveira, J. M., & Nogueira, C. (2016). Study on homophobic bullying in Portugal using Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA). Revista Latinoamericana de Psicología, 48(3), 191-200.
Ryan, C., Russell, S. T., Huebner, D., Diaz, R., & Sanchez, J. (2010). Family acceptance in adolescence and the health of LGBT young adults. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, 23(4), 205-213.
Taylor, C., & Peter, T. (2011). “We Are Not Aliens, We’re People, and We Have Rights.” Canadian Human Rights Discourse and High School Climate for LGBTQ Students. Canadian Review of Sociology/Revue canadienne de sociologie, 48(3), 275-312.