Heterosexism is the belief that everyone is heterosexual, and that heterosexuality is preferable to homosexuality and bisexuality. Heterosexism favors individuals based on their sexual identity, resulting in homophobia, another type of oppression (Gale, 2008). Homophobia is described as bigotry against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, queers, transgenders, and intersex people, according to Gale (2008). It, like racism, contributes to the formation of a stratified culture in which the LGBTQQI community seeks to alter society’s perceptions while also reducing increased marginalization.
Due to their challenges in conforming to society’s expectations, this community tends to form an association to fight for their rights. This paper will focus heavily on one of the outlined group’s history, language, and labels associated with the chosen group. The group to be focused will be the gay community and most importantly the current issues and challenges they encounter.
The Gay Community
The gay community is not the current emergence of the social group in the society; the group has quite an intensive past associated with different terminology. Popular terminology emerged in the 1030s through to 1950s by the black American slang, thus the gain popularity of gay and faggot. However faggot is a bit older as it dates back to the 1914 and it referred to men or boys who exploited sex for profit (Norton, 2015). Also, faggot originated from the word baggage in the sixteenth-century slang meaning harlot. On the other hand, gay meant merry or exuberantly joyful and is dated back to medieval French gai and was popular in the eighteenth century (Norton, 2015).
Due to increased marginalization of the then subcultural group, in the late 1950s, the gay community had started to develop the organization in reverend for cover. Intrinsically, activists emerged and thus the birth of the gay liberation movement. Also by the 1960s campaigns for homosexual had been seen in pursuit of equality (Norton, 2015). The campaigns were embraced positively in some states in the US, and by the end of 1973, there were more than a thousand gay organizations especially in Chicago, San Francisco, and New York.
To hibernate their communication from the rest of the community, they occasionally use gesture or hidden language that only known to members of the crew. Some of the basic terms by the gay community include basket shopping meaning checking someone out, chicken to mean young male seeking older men and cottaging for hooking up in public restrooms.
The gay community uses descriptive languages to identify and label other crews within the wider gay communal. Some of the known labels include like jock, otter, bear, cub, and wolf among others (Holywood, 2016). Due to esteem and other community-related issues gay community fail to popularize some of the labels and therefore they assert to “gay” as their label. They stick to such labels as it helps them help each other in conforming to the perceived odds by the society. Labels are also important in making connections and strengthening their movements (Tristacarr, 2013).
Current Issues Faced By the Gay Community
One of the most disturbing challenges by the individual community is social exclusion and marginalization which have an impact on their social life. Some of the impacts of this discrimination include leaving home and family, dropping out of school, the problem in acquiring a regular job and also unable to access various community-based programs. Also, they are ignored by the community and therefore their mobility to different areas is restricted. Due to this rejection, they run to drug and other substance in such of self-acceptance (Subhrajit, 2014).
Heterosexism is a notion that seems dip in the society and its impact is a major challenge to the gay community. The gay organization and activism have proven to work in pursuit of equality which has reduced the intensity of discriminative behaviors.
Gale, T. (2008). Heterosexism and Homophobia. Retrieved May 19, 2017, from encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/heterosexism-and-homophobia
Holywood, J. (2016, august 22). Gay Men: Are You a Jock, Otter, Bear or Wolf? Retrieved May 20, 2017, from pairedlife.com: https://pairedlife.com/dating/Gay-Men-Are-you-a-Jock-Otter-Bear-or-Wolf
Norton, R. (2015). The History of the Word ‘Gay’ and other Queerwords. Retrieved May 20, 2017, from rictornorton.co.uk: http://rictornorton.co.uk/though23.htm
Subhrajit, C. (2014). Problems Faced by LGBT People in the Mainstream Society: Some Recommendations. International Journal of Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Studies, 317-331.
Tristacarr. (2013, February 13). What it REALLY means to be gay and other identity labels: Part 2. Retrieved May 20, 2017, from drtrisstacarr.wordpress.com: https://drtristacarr.wordpress.com/2013/02/13/what-it-really-means-to-be-gay-part-2/