How discrimination affects LGBT individuals?
It is important to understand the different ways of discrimination the community is facing as it is the first step in fighting it.
There are two main forms of discrimination:
- obvious acts of prejudice and discrimination (e.g. rejection or firing from work based on sexuality)
- reinforcing of harmful stereotypes and othering (e.g. use of the word ‘gay’ as a derogatory term).
People from the LGBTIQ+ community, even those who did not experience direct discrimination, are more likely to alter their life, be it everyday or professional, and hide their identity than the heterosexual individuals. The discrimination does not only have the negative effect on the mental health of LGBTIQ+ individuals but also causes harm in various other ways.
- Informal exclusion – even though it is very unlikely nowadays to be let go due to our sexuality there are ways in which the LGBTQI+ individuals are still discriminated against in the workplace. Those are usually unofficial events with high ranking people that excludes individuals from relationships that improve one’s career.
- LGBT people are also more likely to hide their personal relationships as well as change the way they dress and act to avoid being discriminated against. Even individuals who has not experience discrimination first-hand adapt that way, which is explained by the ‘expectation of rejection”.
- The fear of discrimination can also affects the big life choices such as choosing the place to live, work or study. LGBTQI+ youth has considered the status of “LGBTQI+ safe” as one of the conditions while choosing university.
- Stonewall’s study reveals a shockingly high level of hostility and unfair treatment faced by many LGBT people when accessing healthcare services.
We all need to realise that discrimination works in ways other than hate crime and hate speech. The prejudice in the society affects the LGBTQI+ community in more ways than people usually realise, even influencing their important life choices.