Over the past few years, there has been an emergence of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people into the public limelight of policy and politics in Canada and elsewhere around the world. ‘Gay rights’ have dominated international and national discourses whenever debates on tolerance and diversity are carried out. This is partly attributed to the level of discrimination that members of this community face on a daily basis (Brennan et al., 2020). As compared to their heterosexual counterparts, Canadian queer persons are more likely to be victims of violent crime. The Canadian government has shown interest in LGBTQ matters in recent years. This paper will provide an in-depth analysis of the story of two newspaper readings and the provided song lyrics and poems based on the sociological theories of conflict, queer, and postmodern perspectives.
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Other than the “Same Love” song lyrics by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis and Glitter in my Wound poem by CA Conrad, two articles in Canada’s leading newspapers have highlighted LGBTQ discrimination as a social problem. Both the Toronto Star and the Toronto Sun have recently detailed how discrimination against this group is systematically conducted in schools. These materials demonstrate the sociological theories of queer, conflict, and postmodern perspectives. The story in the Toronto Star decries the manner in which school board trustees use homophobic and racial comments against gay children under their care in schools. On the other hand, the Toronto Sun reports carry a story that celebrates the calls to end the ban on asking Canadian blood donors about their sexual orientation before being allowed to donate blood (Woolf and Osman 2021). These stories take different perspectives on the LGBT community in Canada.
The sociological perspective of conflict is demonstrated in the Toronto Star story, where the author exposes her readers to the depth of homophobic and racist behaviors committed by school board trustees against gay children. She reports that these trustees lack sufficient codes of conduct and, as such, are not fit to hold their positions (Rushowy 2021). The paper quotes lines in a letter written by a Chief Commissioner to the Ministry of Education that calls for the removal of the trustees from office and terms their actions as a violation of human rights. From this article, readers get to learn that the Toronto Catholic District Board was the main target of the condemnation after one of its trustees compared LGBT rights to pedophilia and bestiality. The tone of this article is testimony to the hatred that Canadian activists have against LGBT rights violators.
The story that appears in the Toronto Sun is an exemplification of a postmodern perspective where actions are revised to reflect the changing times. It is a celebration of a ban imposed on Canadian blood donors to declare their sexual orientations before being allowed to donate blood. At the moment, blood donors are asked about their sexuality and gender on assumptions that male sexual partners are prone to high-risk sexual behaviors, which exposes them to HIV/AIDs. However, according to the new proposal, sexual transmission of HIV is attributed to one’s sexual behavior rather than his or her sexual orientation. The authors assert that “…potential donors could be asked if they have had multiple sexual partners, and about their sexual behavior instead of their sexuality and gender” (Woolf and Osman 2021). This is a clear illustration that the process of screening for blood donation in Canada is one of the ways in which the rights of the LGBTQ are being violated.
Evidently, laws alone cannot change people’s perceptions of gays and homosexuality. Prejudices and stereotyping toward gays are systematic and appear to be implanted into kids in school. The article expresses concern that young people are discriminated against and marginalized in schools through prejudicial treatments such as misgendering and misnaming. Pro-gay activists feel that school children are subjected to acrimonious debates that serve to question their innate identities (Brennan et al., 2020). From these two articles, together with the provided poem and song lyrics, it is not lost on readers that discrimination against the gay community is still rife in many societies despite the various efforts that have been made to reduce them.
Another story written in the first person and published in CBC reflects the emotional condition of transgender people and shows the issue regarding self-esteem. As one of the trans activists from Vancouver, Makayla Cadger, mentioned in the CBC news report, before deciding to become an activist, he/she was self-loathing and rejecting himself/herself (Cadger, 2021). From his story, it could be clearly seen that it is very challenging for trans-genders to live in the current society. This article, in many ways, emphasizes the queer perspective, which is based on the social-equality and activists.
Both the Toronto Star and the Toronto Sun have identified hate as a serious problem afflicting the LGBT community in Canada and other parts of the world. Indeed, history is rife with instances where deadly rage has been directed against members of the LGBT community. For example, on June 12, 2016, one assailant shot dead 49 revelers and left 50 others seriously wounded in a gay nightclub in Orlando. It was during the LGBTQ Pride weekend, which was marked in many towns and cities, including those in Canada (Brennan et al. 2020). It is apparent from such actions that the LGBT community has remained a target of backlash and hate violence across the world.
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Both articles carry stories that revolve around the education and health systems of Canada. They speak to the concept of bullying in schools, which has remained a significant problem over the years, as well as discrimination in blood donation services. Unfortunately, bullying is committed not only by students to fellow learners but also by educators toward innocent children (Rushowy 2021). Teachers are prone to using phrases that are insensitive to gay learners. Undeniably, the concepts of heteronormativity and heterosexism are rampant in educational institutions. Both articles entrench the idea that the issue of LGTBQ remains a serious social problem in Canadian society.
Socialization is one of the critical causes of discrimination against gays by society. From their very tender ages, children are taught their unique expectations as boys and girls. By the time a child starts going to school, he or she is already aware of gender roles, which are culturally entrenched by age five (Brennan et al. 2020). Notably, these gender roles are acquired through socialization, which causes children to conduct themselves in specific ways. For instance, doing domestic chores are typically perceived as feminine activity (Brennan et al. 2020). Therefore, if members of an opposite gender do things that are not within the scope of her gender, gender stereotyping begins. It is from this gender stereotyping that the idea of sexism emerges. This is further inculcated in the sexual orientation of either of the genders.
Homophobia and stigma shown to gay people have serious effects on their social lives. Some of these people are alienated from society, which makes them feel socially unacceptable. This affects their self-confidence and self-esteem. The negative attitudes that the community shows these people make them feel rejected by family and friends. As a result, some of them lose trust in most people and resort to doing things their way without involving others. This can sometimes graduate in a feeling of anxiety, aggression, or stress (Stulberg 2018). A socially discriminated gay person will experience problems in getting or keeping a job. This, in turn, affects their income levels and might sink them into poverty. Prejudices directed against members of this group limit their access to quality health care, which might lead to serious health issues.
They are also prone to poor coping skills and poor mental health as a result of isolation. In most cases, a majority of them resort to risky sexual behaviors, drug abuse, and attempted suicide. Indeed, studies have shown that suicide cases among members of the LGBT are often on the rise, with adolescents being the most affected. Stigmatized gays also experience problems when it comes to having and maintaining long-term sexual partners. This leads them to change partners quite often, a factor that highly contributes to STDs and HIV/AIDS transmission (Conrad n.d). In addition, since this group is highly discriminated against, its members often prefer to keep information pertaining to their sexual orientation to themselves. However, this comes with various negative implications, such as limitation of social support, adverse health effects, and increased stress levels.
In schools or any other social gathering, gays face constant harassment, physical assault, bullying, and teasing from their peers. In addition, since some of them are rejected by their families and friends, they end up on the streets and eventually become homeless. Reports suggest that 40% of all homeless people in Canada are members of the LGBTQ (Rushowy 2021). Being rejected by family is so painful that it makes some people consider suicide a viable option.
From the materials highlighted above, it has emerged that discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community is systematic and embedded within the social fabric of a given community. In the song “Some Love” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, it has emerged that the American culture and society are still not ready to embrace homosexuality (Macklemore 2012). The social problem is to address the fundamental problem through popular culture and religious institutions. The notion that homosexuality is a disease that should be cured can be addressed if religious leaders and pop culture artists unite to explain to people the biological implications behind the condition. The best perspective is the queer perspective because it directly refers to the challenges that the activists, such as transgender or LGBTQ activists, face. It emphasizes social equality, which is the most important to address for solving the social problem of discrimination.
Homosexuality is slowly becoming accepted in some societies across the world. However, members of this group continue to experience various challenges across the board. Fortunately, some actions are being taken, especially in developing countries, to ensure that LGBTQ members are treated equally. Many governments are aware that neglecting this unique group is not a solution to their social issues. This explains why concerted efforts have been put in place to ensure that members of this community are integrated into society. However, public perception is still hindering in enhancing equity. Educational institutions seem to be unsafe places for gay children because of harassment, bullying, and teasing from colleagues. To end this, parents and teachers need to work together to sensitize learners about LGBTQ rights.
Cadgger, M. 2021. “It’s Not Easy Being a Visible Transgender Woman, Especially When Others Refuse to See You as Real”. CBC.
Conrad, C A. n.d. “Glitter in my Wounds.”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and Mary Lambert. 2012. “Same Love”. The Heist. Studio X. Web.
Rushowy, Kristin. 2021. “Human rights commission supports firing school trustees who commit violations.” Toronto Star. Web.
Stulberg, Lisa M. 2018. LGBTQ social movements. Cambridge, UK; Malden, MA: Polity Press.
Woolf, Marie, and Laura Osman. 2021. “Canadian Blood Services to soon recommend an end to ban on gay men donating blood.” Toronto Sun. Web.