Parallels and Intersections
|“||Using the term heterosexism highlights the parallels between antigay sentiment and other forms of prejudice, such as racism, antisemitism, and sexism.||”|
—Gregory M. Herek, researcher, author, and professor of psychology at UC Davis.,
It has been argued that the concept of heterosexism is similar to the concept of racism in that both ideas promote privilege for dominant groups within a given society. For example, borrowing from the racial concept of white privilege, the concept of heterosexual privilege has been applied to benefits of (presumed) heterosexuality within society that heterosexuals take for granted. The analogy is that just as racism against non-white people places white people as superior to non-whites, heterosexism places heterosexual people or relationships as superior to non-heterosexual ones. In trying to rebut this premise, some commentators point to differences between the categories of race and sexual orientation, claiming they are too complex to support any generalizations. For example, "trainer on diversity" and consultant Jamie Washington has commented, although heterosexism and racism are "woven from the same fabric" they are "not the same thing". Conservative leaders such as Rev. Irene Monroe comment that those who suggest or state "gay is the new black", as in a cover story of The Advocate magazine, exploit black people's suffering and experiences to legitimate their own. Nonetheless, a study presented at the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology 2009 Conference shows that heterosexist prejudice is more pervasive than racism.
Heterosexism can, also intersect with racism by further emphasizing differences among arbitrary groups of people. For example, heterosexism can compound the effects of racism by:
- promoting injustices towards a person already facing injustices because of their race
- establishing social hierarchies that allow one group more privilege than other groups.
Likewise, racism can allow LGBT people to be subjected to additional discrimination or violence if they belong to or are considered a part of a socially devalued racial category. Some of the privileges afforded to people falling into the categories of white people and (perceived) heterosexuals include, but are not limited to, social acceptance, prestige, freedom from negative stereotypes, and the comfort of being within the norm and thereby not being marginalized or viewed as different.
Famous quotes containing the word parallels:
“If, while watching the sun set on a used-car lot in Los Angeles, you are struck by the parallels between this image and the inevitable fate of humanity, do not, under any circumstances, write it down.”
—Fran Lebowitz (b. 1950)