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Coming out: discrimination, harassment and homophobia. Are LGBT lives liveable?

Title: Coming out: discrimination, harassment and homophobia. Are LGBT lives liveable?


This programme is very important as it addresses the issue of blurring gender, bigotry and homophobia. The programme promotes understanding of LGBT history, the impact of homophobia on the society and the changes that have taken place in genders. How do LGBT community cope with society? Are they on a level playing ground with the rest of society? How widespread is homophobia are some of the questions that are addressed by the documentary. Given the rising number of LGBT coming out, there is need to highlight their plight and history.

Point of view

The point of view adopted by the documentary is a humanist one. This implies looking at the situation considering happiness and fulfilment as the ultimate values to be fulfilled in this life. The humanist believes in a living a good life without having any religious superstition. It looks at the way LGBT community is condemned by some in society. It also looks at the ways in which gender controls the behaviours in organisation and in some cases oppressive to minority who are the LGBT community. Here, the documentary looks at ways in which LGBT community use freedom and choice to gain personal happiness required in life. The main approach is based on looking at ways in which LGBT community has gained access to their rights in a historical context.

Theoretical background

This show draws materials from varying sources of literature on LGBT issues. The sources include LGBT websites which debates issues facing the LGBT community in the society (Gay Centre, 2016). The literature on these websites also offers support to its members (Wilcox, 2006). There are several publication on LGBT based on humanist view. The literature shows that human sexuality can be experienced in a diverse way hence cannot be fixed. This supports the fluidity of sexuality and gender. The issues of LGBT made a major development in the 1970s through the research design on the sexual orientation and identity development. The model was related to resolving the conflict that existed between the LGBT identification in the process referred to as “coming out” (Waters, 2013).

Homosexual according to the western world refers to gay men and lesbian women. The straight partners are referred as heterosexual while bisexual have feeling of attraction to both sex. The gender research has been for a long time used to focus on men and women, feminineness, masculinities and distribution of resources and power (Wilson, 2014). The use of predominant constricts in gender have affected the LGBT community in a great way. In the gender debates, the LGBT community is usually left out. This has been limiting the gender analysis leading to a narrow outlook (Wilcox, 2006).

It is important to note that there are two types of gender. There is self-identified gender identity and the imposed gender identity. The imposed gender is based on the appearance and reproductive organs. Transgender involves both transsexual persons and transversities. For a transsexual person, their gender is different from the one ascribed at birth. A transsexual person can be in any form of relationship that they ascribe to. Transversities are in some cases and in varying regularity dresses to clothes which are traditionally ascribed for the opposite sex (Waters, 2013). This leads to the three types of gender as man, woman and transgender. Intersex people are born with physically or genetically indeterminate gender. They are sometimes referred as hermaphrodites and are extremely marginalised (Wilcox, 2006).

Discrimination, marginalisation and violence have been perpetrated against the LGBT communities worldwide (Battle and Bennett, 2005). There have been violations of their rights which in some cases have been supported by the religious institutions and political leaders. The LGBT community has been used as a scape goat for crimes and health issues and have been represented as a deviation from the norm. Due to their sexual orientation, the LGBT community have been associated with negative and erroneous beliefs (Wilcox, 2006).

Based on LGBT website deeply embedded homophobic and transphobic attitudes combined with lack of legal protection for the LGBT community has fuelled violations (Gay Centre, 2016). The LGBT community finds itself discriminated in the labour market, schools and hospitals. In some countries, LGBT community has been assaulted and even killed. At the moment, there are still countries where the LGBT community is criminalised and risks prosecutions due to their sexuality (Smith, 2013).

Research chows that close to 10% of the world population display a more or lesser degree to homosexuality (Gay Centre, 2016). Despite the high number of the LGBT, they live in culture of non-recognition, silence and without getting any respect. The discrimination can occur in form of state repression and social setting (Drucker, 2011). There is widespread criminalisation and institutionalised homophobia in some countries. Several presidents in countries such as Uganda and Zimbabwe have criminalised homosexuality without any scientific backing. The rise of HIV and Aids among the LGBT led to discrimination. It was initially assumed by many people that HIV was brought by the LGBT community. In most countries, there is high prevalence of HIV among the LGBT communities (Makadon, 2011).

The year 2011 marked a major step in the recognition of the LGBT community. Most of the companies are now able to acknowledge and accept the LGBT community in their workforce (Wolf, 2009). Based on PEW Research Centre, majority of the Americans now feels that the LGBT community should be accepted instead of being discouraged. Despite this, there are still reports of the LGBT community facing discrimination at the workplace. This includes unlawful firing, lack of promotion and poor pay in some cases. There are reports of the LGBT community members lying about their lives in order to get acceptance in the workplace (Gay Centre, 2016).

Over the recent past, adolescents have come out and stated that they are gay. Also, most of the LGBT members have waited till they are adults to declare their identity and identify with other members. The fear of rejection has kept a lot of the LGBT adults from living their normal lives (Wilson, 2014). The resources for the LGBT communities are limited and there is low level of support in most countries. Until recently, there was no information on the way families react when one of them comes out as LGBT. A research has showed that a lot of homeless people in major cities are LGBT. These are people who were thrown out of their families after coming out. Most of the domestic shelters fail to welcome the LGBT community (Bronski, 2011).

In schools LGBT community faces a lot of harassment. This makes their lives tough as teenagers since they do not feel safe. Students who are perceived to be LGBT are harassed. Students are supposed to worry about what to study only but for the LGBT community, they have a lot to worry about (Drucker, 2011). This is a form of harassment that is allowed in the popular culture. Stress and experiences of being LGBT lead to a lot of mental issues. This has a negative impact on the students’ mental health leading to psychological distress and suicides. Teenagers are isolated and left to explore their sexual orientation without any support. This is very important point in their lives where they require support as they develop emotionally. In the rural areas, the problem is worse (Makadon, 2011).

The LGBT community is highly likely to be addicted to drugs than heterosexual couples. Their use of drugs is for the same reasons as other groups but they have a higher likelihood (Wolf, 2009). This is heightened by the personal and cultural stress due to bias. The group relies mostly on bars to socialise and have high stress levels caused by discrimination. LGBT have a different sexual orientation and faces exclusion and ostracism (Stanley, 2009). Their problems and plights needs to be addressed for them to live a normal live. All people irrespective of sex are supposed to be protected and have freedom based on the international laws. This documentary is all about protecting the LGBT community and ensuring that they live a normal and free life.

Outline of the show


For centuries, the LGBT community has been struggling to attain recognition and be treated fairly with dignity. The group has been persecuted, oppressed and killed due to prejudice, intolerance and indifference (Wilcox, 2006). Over the recent years, the LGBT community has made huge movement. This is especially with the US Supreme Court decision legalising the gay marriage in all 50 states. Despite this, it is easy to forget that there are places in the world where there is cultural, religious and even legal intolerance to homosexuality.

The victory by US Supreme Court was a major step for LGBT community.

prepare an idea for a television documentary on an organisation behaviour topic.

In some parts of the world today, gay people are arrested, incarcerated and even put to death. In some countries, homosexuality is not criminalised but they are subjected to bias and violence. The existence of intolerance and discrimination for the LGBT communities is real (Wolf, 2009). Some of the countries have severe laws on homosexuality which includes corporal punishment and death such as Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia punishment for gays is very harsh. In Iran, being a transgender can be legal if one has undergone a sex change (Mills, 2006). This implies that the LGBT community is still under discrimination despite the steps made. In most parts of Africa, homosexuality is a crime which has a severe punishment (Englander, 2011). Countries such as Uganda passed the anti-homosexual act in 2014 where one can be imprisoned.

The widespread of discrimination of homosexuals globally is shown by red in following world map.

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This is not surprising. The movement for LGBT is still making progress worldwide which is commendable. The US president stated in 2013 that

“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law,”

In other countries, the development has been favorable to the gay rights. Same sex marriages are legal in wales, France and England. Despite this, 2013 has witnessed the rise of the anti-gay legislations in several countries. It is clear that gay rights are expanding in some countries while becoming constricted in others. Gay rights in countries such as Russia and Uganda are floundering. This can be expressed by the photo shown below from Uganda.

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When we talk of gay rights, issues of religion and wealth arise. It is evident that the more affluent a country is the higher likelihood of accepting the gay rights. The poorer nations have strong religion ties and hence repress homosexuality (White, 2012). In non-democracies, gay rights are nonexistent. It is not surprising that gay rights are enjoyed in countries with political freedom and civil societies. Where authoritarian governments are on rise, gay rights are diminished. This can be seen in cases of Russia and some African countries (McLean, 2011). It is clear that LGBT community is oppressed, criminalized, discriminated and denied their rights. Who will stand with the LGBT community? What can be done to ensure justice for LGBT community globally? And should we ignore the plight of the LGBT?

Looking back at history, gender and sexuality debates on LGBT was a major issue. Germany Scientific Humanitarian Committee which was based in berlin is thought to be the first world gay movement in founded in 1897. This was shut down by the NAZI in 1933. The group was in the front line to champion for the equal rights for homosexuals (McLean, 2011). In the 1950, US had the first viable gay and lesbian movements known as Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis respectfully. The first mention of the English law to punish homosexuality was in 1290. In 1300, the Britton treatise prescribed that homosexuals should be burned alive in England. The Buggery act was enacted and passed in 1533 where buggery was made punishable through hanging this was later abolished in 1861 (D’Emilio, 2012).

The illustration bellows explains buggery act of 1533.

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The use of word homosexuality was first published by a Germany campaigner in 1869. In the 1870, there was the first attempt to publish a gay periodical in Germany (D’Emilio, 2012). In 1885 England made homosexual acts illegal even in private and Oscar Wilde was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment with hard labour (Frost, 2010). The photo of Oscar Wilde is below.

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In Germany, Nazi made strong anti-gay rules and it was made a criminal offence. Thousands of homosexuals were sent into concentration camps and worked to death. Pink triangles were used to distinguish homosexuals in the concentration camps. The research done in the 1948 and 1953 by Alfred Kinsey played a role in recognition of the homosexuals (McLean, 2011). The launch pad for the modern gay movements can be traced back to the New York 1969 stonewall riots (D’Emilio, 2012). This was riots between the police and ordinary gays and lesbians. The riots occurred after the police raided a bar located in the Manhattan Westside. This led to formation of gay liberation front. The GLF criticized the restrictive mainstream values and prejudices which were faced by the gay and lesbian people. In other countries, the movement for the gay rights were brought by struggle for international human rights. It was a major development for the human rights (McCormack and Anderson, 2010).

In 1974, there was the launch of London Gay Switchboard. The first international gay rights conference was also held. This was strengthened by formation of the Lesbian Gay Christian Movement. In UK, the bill to determine the gay consent age was debated in the House of Lords. The age of consent was reduced to 18 years and during the same year, Gay News faced a prosecution by Mary Whitehouse for blasphemy (Ayoub and Paternotte, 2014).

The photo below shows supporters for the Gay News.

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From 1980s, there has been positive progress in the gay rights. Scotland decriminalised homosexuality and the first black lesbian and gay group was formed. Other countries followed the suit of Scotland to decriminalise homosexuality were Northern Ireland (d’Emilio, 1997). There was also rise of awareness of HIV and Aids during the same period. Promotion of homosexually was debated and section 28 was came into force (D’Emilio, 2012).

In 1997, British general election had 2 open gay men elected and Angela Eagle became the first British MP to come out as a lesbian. Angela Eagle has been played a role in recognition of LGBT in political arena.

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The consent for gay men was set at 16 in 1998 by the House of Commons. In 1999, the German government honoured the lesbian and gay Nazi victims which were a step towards legitimacy of gay unions. The lift of gay ban in the UK military occurred in 2000. Through the equal rights act, lesbian and gay couples were granted equal rights for adoption. The first conservative MP to come out as gay was Alan Duncan in 2002. These steps have made the LGBT movement stronger than ever (McLemee, 2009). In 2003, section 28 was repealed where discrimination at work on grounds of sexual orientation was made illegal. This ensured there was a level ground in employment for all. The LGBT group had been suffering due to lack of laws to ensure they are not discriminated at their place of work (Keck, 2009). In UK, the sexual offences act helped a lot in eliminating the Victorian laws which had been discriminating the gay people. The assault of gay people is now recognised as a hate crime (D’Emilio, 2012). Same sex marriages are now possible in most countries globally. This gives the LGBT same legal status as heterosexual couples in marriages.

Since the mid-2000s, diversity in gender and sexual orientation has been embraced. The representation of the LGBT communities is on the rise (Bronski, 2011). With the gay rights well developed in the western countries, it is natural for western nations to abridge the global divide based on homosexuality (McCormack and Anderson, 2010). Countries have already started suspending foreign aid to African countries which oppress gay people such as Uganda. Most of the western countries have announced their intention of using gay rights in their foreign policy. It is common to hear the phrase gay rights are human rights. The western nations acknowledge that gay rights face a tough task ahead (Stanley, 2009). Most of the African countries are yet to accept homosexuality and decriminalise it. Most of those against homosexuality still refer to it as “foreign values”. For the LGBT community, there is still a lot to do to end discrimination of their members (Mills, 2006). The fight is far from over for the LGBT community.

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Gay pride flag


At the moment, LGBT community is still facing challenges in most parts of the world. Every achievement made by the LGBT community contributes to their rights and freedoms. The movements have played a major part in the acceptance of homosexuality in the society (McCormack and Anderson, 2010). They are expected to continue championing for the end of discrimination and intolerance for the gay people worldwide. This will involve cooperating with the western governments to ensure that gay agenda is put on foreign policies. There are poor health outcomes due to prejudice against the gay people who are denied equal access to care, employment and discriminated against. The stereotypes against the LGBT are everywhere and those in the group are acutely aware of them. The activism for the gay people continue growing stronger despite the challenges they face and opposition. It is important to look at sexuality as a construct of nature rather than a given of nature. This will help in understanding homosexuality as a product of social forces. The right to marry and engage in healthy relationships can lead to better health outcomes for the partners (McLemee, 2009). There are high chances for opportunities that can be used to protect and promote health and well-being for the LGBT communities. The challenge is to schools, medical services providers, employees and general public to acknowledge that LGBT exists in our communities and hence come up with better ways to help them (Makadon, 2011). Despite this, anti-gay propaganda and criticism based on fear and lack of understanding hampers acceptance for the LGBT group. As the number of those coming out increases, there is need for championing for the welfare of the LGBT. Despite the numerous steps made by the LGBT community, the fight for equality is far from over.

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Battle, J.J. and Bennett, N.D., 2005. Striving for Place: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) People. A companion to African American history, p.412.

Bronski, M., 2011. A queer history of the United States (Vol. 1). beacon Press.

D’Emilio, J., 2012. Chicago Whispers: A History of LGBT Chicago Before Stonewall. University of Wisconsin Pres.

D’Emilio, J., 1997. 11 Capitalism and Gay Identity. The Gender/Sexuality Reader: Culture, History, Political Economy.

Drucker, P., 2011. The fracturing of LGBT identities under neoliberal capitalism. Historical Materialism, 19(4), pp.3-32.

Englander, D., 2011. Protecting the Human Rights of LGBT People in Uganda in the Wake of Uganda’s’ Anti Homosexuality Bill, 2009′. Emory International Law Review, 25(3).

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Gay Centre, 2015, The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, Retrieved 11th January 2016 from, https://gaycenter.org/

Keck, T.M., 2009. Beyond backlash: Assessing the impact of judicial decisions on LGBT rights. Law & Society Review, 43(1), pp.151-186.

Makadon, H.J., 2011. Ending LGBT invisibility in health care: The first step in ensuring equitable care. Cleveland Clinic journal of medicine, 78(4), pp.220-224.

McCormack, M. and Anderson, E., 2010. ‘It’s just not acceptable any more’: The erosion of homophobia and the softening of masculinity at an English sixth form. Sociology, 44(5), pp.843-859.

McLean, L., 2011. ALMS 2011: Preserving the collective history of the LGBT community. UCLA Center for the Study of Women.

McLemee, S., 2009. Fifty years after stonewall. Inside Higher Ed, 25.

Mills, R., 2006, September. Queer is here? Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender histories and public culture. In History Workshop Journal (Vol. 62, No. 1, pp. 253-263). Oxford University Press.

Smith, C., 2013. Sex, Lies & Politics: Gay Politicians in the Press. Contemporary British History, 27(3), pp.374-375.

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Waters, R.D., 2013. Coming out of the closet: Exploring LGBT issues in strategic communication with theory and research. Peter Lang.

White, H., 2012. Re-Occupy Tradition: The History of Faith and LGBT Rights. Huffington Post, January, 6, p.2012.

Wilcox, M.M., 2006. Outlaws or in-laws? Queer theory, LGBT studies, and religious studies. Journal of Homosexuality, 52(1-2), pp.73-100.

Wilson, K., 2014. The Road to Equality: The Struggle of Gay Men and Lesbians to Achieve Equal Rights before the Law. British Journal of Community Justice, 12(3), p.81.

Wolf, S., 2009. Sexuality and socialism: History, politics, and theory of LGBT liberation. Haymarket Books.