Discrimination and its impact on mental wellbeing
Discrimination means the unfair treatment of someone because of personal qualities like their age, race, gender and sexuality.
Hetero-cisnormativity and Hetero-cissexism
Why do the LGBTIQA+ community experience discrimination?
‘Heteronormativity’ is a word that means the way being straight is assumed to be the norm in society. People with heteronormative attitudes and beliefs think that people should always be straight and have opposite sex relationships.
‘Cisnormativity’ is a word that describes the way that identifying with a male or female gender is assumed to be the norm in society. People with cisnormative attitudes and beliefs think that a person’s assigned sex should always be male or female.
Because of this, hetero- and cisnormativity are thought to lead to discrimination like: heterosexism, cissexism, homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia.
People with these attitudes and beliefs see the LGBTIQA+ community as less important, which can lead to discrimination of their rights and opportunities they can have.
‘Heterosexism’ is a type of discrimination that sees being straight as normal and superior to not being straight. ‘Cissexism’ is a type of discrimination that sees having a male or female gender identity as normal and superior to any other gender identity.
There are, and have been, lots of examples of heterosexism and cissexism in Australia, like: not allowing same-sex people to marry; not allowing people to list non-binary gender identities on their identification; and; stereotyping LGBTIQA+ people in the media.
What is Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia?
There are several common words to describe the fear, hatred, discomfort or mistrust people have towards the LGBTIQA+ community...
Homophobia: Means discrimination towards people who identify as Gay, Lesbian or Homoromantic Asexual.
Biphobia: Means discrimination towards people who identify as Bisexual or Pansexual.
Transphobia: Means discrimination towards people who are transgender, genderqueer or don’t follow traditional gender norms.
Homo/bi/transphobia can be a complex issue.
- All kinds of people can be homo/bi/transphobic - even queer and non-binary people. These attitudes and beliefs are usually because of irrational fears and misunderstandings about LGBTIQA+ community that are learned in families, communities, cultures or religions with similar views.
- People who are attracted to others of the same-sex or who do not follow binary gender roles can sometimes experience ‘internalised’ homo/bi/transphobia. This means that they start to believe these negative attitudes and beliefs about themselves and may feel uncomfortable or disapproving of their own sexuality or gender identity.
- Homo/bi/transphobia is a big issue for LGBTIQA+ people. Fortunately, this community and their allies have taken big steps towards fighting for equality in areas like marriage, employment, housing, health and protection from abuse.
Discrimination towards LGBTIQA+ people can be overt or subtle. Here are some examples:
Discrimination that is 'overt' is intentional and directed towards a person's sexual or gender identity, like:
Discrimination that is 'subtle' may be unintentional or hard to spot, but makes people feel just as hurt, unwanted or unimportant because of their sexuality or gender identity, like:
How can I help stop homo/bi/transphobia?
Everyone has the right to feel safe and be free from discrimination. Here are some things you can do to help stop homo/bi/transphobia:
If you're experiencing homo/bi/transphobia, you don't have to deal with it alone.
It's important to get support from people you trust in the LGBTIQA+ community or their allies.
Talking helps! We’re here for you.
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