By Kevin L. Nadal, PhD (Associate Professor of Psychology, John Jay
College of Criminal Justice – City University of New York)
When I was a little kid, I used to hear my brothers, cousins, and friends say things like “That’s so gay!” on a pretty regular basis. I would usually laugh along, hoping with all my might that they didn’t know my secret. My parents and other adults in my life would tell me things like “Boys don’t cry” or “Be a man!” which essentially was their way of telling me that being emotional was forbidden or a sign of weakness.
When I was a teenager, there were a few boys at my high school who ridiculed me, almost everyday. When I walked by them in the halls, they called me a “faggot” or screamed my name in a flamboyant tone. I learned to walk by without showing any reaction; I could not let them know that it bothered me, or else I would be proving to them that I was indeed gay. I didn’t tell anyone about the bullying (not my parents, teachers, or anyone) because admitting that I was being teased for being gay would mean that I was admitting to being gay. I had never felt so alone in my life.
In college, it got a little better. While I was no longer harassed about my closeted sexual orientation, I didn’t have any friends that were openly gay and most of my friends didn’t have any either. Some of my friends and family members still made occasional homophobic jokes in front of me. While many loved ones later told me that they suspected that I was gay, no one gave me any reason to believe that they were gay-friendly. So I just remained in the closet a few more years until I couldn’t take it any more.
In retrospect, I had a very difficult time accepting my gay identity, because of the microaggressions that I experienced throughout my life. Microaggressions are the everyday encounters of subtle discrimination that people of various marginalized groups experience throughout their lives (Sue et al., 2007). Some microaggressions are unconscious (i.e., the perpetrator doesn’t even know they did something) while some microaggressions may be unintentional (i.e., the perpetrator may be aware of their actions, but may not realize the negative impact they may have on people).
One of the reasons why it was important for me to study microaggressions against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) people was because I knew that this type of discrimination existed and because I hypothesized that they had a significant impact on the lives of LGBTQ people, particularly on their mental health and identity development. I collaborated with two fellow psychologist colleagues, Dr. David Rivera and Dr. Melissa Corpus, and we theorized the various types of microaggressions that affect LGBTQ people (see Nadal et al., 2010). For the past several years, my research team and I interviewed all kinds of LGBTQ people and they all reported that microaggressions are very common in their lives.
Here are a few examples:
1) Use of heterosexist or transphobic terminology:
These types of microaggressions occur when someone uses disparaging heterosexist or transphobic language towards, or about, LGBTQ persons. For me, it is anytime someone says “That’s so gay” and “No homo” in my presence; for my transgender friends, it could be anytime someone says “tranny”, “she-male”, or other derogatory terms. In hip hop, it is common for rappers to unapologetically use the word “faggot”, which then gives permission for kids to use the term unapologetically in everyday life. Maybe this is why 9 out of 10 LGBTQ high school students report experiencing harassment at school and why 2/3 of them say they feel unsafe (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, 2010).
2) Endorsement of heteronormative culture and behaviors:
These kinds of microaggressions take place when an LGBTQ person is assumed to be heterosexual, or when they are encouraged to act in gender-conforming ways. I know that I’ve been told that I shouldn’t be so flamboyant or that I should act “more masculine”. As a child, my family forced me to play sports, yet sighed when I played with Barbie. As a young adult, when someone asked me “if I had a girlfriend” or “a wife or kids”, they were essentially telling me that they expected me to be heterosexual. Heterosexuals don’t realize that it is common for them to assume someone is straight, unless proven otherwise.
3) Assumption of universal LGBTQ experience:
These sorts of microaggressions transpire when heterosexual people assume that all LGBTQ persons are the same. For instance, sometimes, people tell me I’m not “a typical gay guy” because of some stereotype I don’t fulfill; other times, people assume that I would automatically get along with another gay guy simply because we are attracted to the same gender. Lesbian women have reported that people presume that they should all be masculine, while bisexual people have reported that they are often stereotyped as being “confused” (Nadal, Issa, et al., 2011). Many transgender women have reported being arrested and falsely accused of being sex workers (Nadal et al., 2012), demonstrating that these biases and microaggressions could even have legal implications.
4) Discomfort or disapproval of LGBTQ experience:
These types of microaggressions include instances when LGBTQ people are treated with awkwardness, condemnation, or both. This takes place any time a couple looks at my fiancée and me in disgust as we hold hands in public. It also occurs when people proclaim that my sexual orientation is “an abomination” or that a transgender person’s gender identity is “unnatural.” One recent example of this in the media is the story of a transgender scientist who was outed and ridiculed for her gender identity by a journalist. While the article was supposed to focus on one of her inventions, the writer chose to instead focus the article on her gender identity. While instances like this may occur for many LGBTQ people, this story is especially tragic because the transgender woman who was targeted eventually committed suicide.
5) Assumption of sexual pathology or abnormality:
These microaggressions come about when heterosexual people consider LGBTQ people to be sexual deviants or overly sexual. One example of this on a systemic level is the federal ban for any man who has had sex with another man to donate blood. So even if a man is HIV-negative and has been in a monogamous relationship all of his life, he is considered to be at risk and therefore an ineligible donor. In the media, an example includes one time when Paris Hilton said that gay men are “disgusting” and “probably have AIDS” or recently when The Bachelor said that gay people were “more ‘pervert’ in a sense.’” In everyday life, a common occurrence is when people assume that LGBTQ people would be child molesters and are wary about LGBTQ teachers or babysitters. Anytime that any straight man assumes that I would hit on them, not only are they mistakenly flattering themselves, they are communicating that they think that all gay men can’t keep their hands to themselves.
6) Denial of bodily privacy:
These kinds of microaggressions occur toward transgender people primarily and include interactions in which others feel entitled or comfortable to objectify transgender bodies. For instance, when Katie Couric recently asked Carmen Carrera about her genitals, she inappropriately and invasively asked a question that would never been asked toward a cisgender person (i.e., a person whose gender identity matches their birth sex). How would you feel if someone asked you about your genitalia on national television?
Why does this matter?
All of these microaggressions have a significant impact on people’s lives. While some of these experiences may seem brief and harmless, many studies have found that the more that people experience microaggressions, the more likely they are to report symptoms of depression, psychological distress, and even physical health issues. For instance, I recently published a study that found that the more racial microaggressions that people of color experience, the more likely they are to also report depressive symptoms and a negative view of the world (Nadal et al., 2014). In another study, LGBTQ participants described that when they experienced microaggressions, they felt depressed, anxious, and even traumatized (Nadal, Wong, et al., 2011). Furthermore, given that LGBTQ youth are known to have a higher prevalence of substance abuse, homelessness, and suicide (see Nadal, 2013 for a review), it is even more important for us to try to minimize microaggressions and make the world a better place for them.
So what can you do?
Well, first of all, let’s get everyone to stop saying things like “That’s so gay!” or “That’s so queer!” If something is weird, say it’s “weird”! Why do you have to bring LGBTQ people into it? Correct others when they use homophobic/ transphobic language or endorse LGBTQ stereotypes. Let’s teach our kids to love people, instead of hating them. We have the power to transform this next generation of young people to be open-minded and awesome. Let’s do this together.
Second, let’s admit when we commit microaggressions, learn from the wrongdoing, and apologize. We all make mistakes, consciously and not, and we need to own up to them when we do. Listen to what they are trying to tell you and try not to be defensive. The worst thing that we can do is to deny that someone is hurt or offended by something we said or did; in fact, invalidating their experience could be considered a microaggression itself.
For example, when Piers Morgan interviewed transgender author Janet Mock on his show this past week, an onscreen description of Ms. Mock read “was a boy until age 18.” Meanwhile, during the show, his Twitter account read: “How would you feel if you found out the woman you are dating was formerly a man?” Ms. Mock, along with many transgender supporters and cisgender allies, replied to Mr. Morgan via Twitter, calling him out on his bias. Instead of recognizing that he may have offended people, Mr. Morgan reacted with tweets like:
Very disappointed in @janetmock ‘s tweets tonight. Deliberately, and falsely, fuelling some sense of me being ‘transphobic’. Unpleasant.
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) February 5, 2014
As for all the enraged transgender supporters, look at how STUPID you’re being. I’m on your side, you dimwits. @janetmock
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) February 5, 2014
While I don’t believe that Mr. Morgan was intentionally trying to be hurtful (in fact, he likely views himself as a transgender ally), his focus on Ms. Mock’s birth sex and the sensationalizing of her transition is a common microaggression that transgender people experience. Perhaps if he could fully empathize with transgender people and the dehumanization they experience daily, he would have not gotten so defensive. In fact, he might have been able to apologize and have demonstrated a true teachable moment.
And, finally, for my LGBTQ brothers and sisters, I leave you with a couple of things. First, the next time you experience a microaggression, know that you are not alone. Sadly, these are common experiences of our lives, but I hope you find some comfort in knowing there are millions of people who can relate to you. Second, let’s try not to commit microaggressions against each other either. Our community has been through a lot and we really need to work together.
Dr. Kevin Nadal is an Associate Professor of Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice – City University of New York, the Vice President of the Asian American Psychological Association, and the author of “That’s So Gay!” Microaggressions and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community. He also has a new talk show – “Out Talk with Kevin Nadal“.
Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (2010). The 2009 National School Climate Survey: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth in our Nation’s Schools. New York: GLSEN.
Nadal, K. L. (2013). That’s So Gay! Microaggressions and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community. Washington DC: American Psychological Association.
Nadal, K. L., Griffin, K. E., Wong, Y., Hamit, S., & Rasmus, M. (2014). Racial microaggressions and mental health: Counseling clients of color. Journal of Counseling and Development. 92(1), 57-66.
Nadal, K. L. Issa, M., Leon, J., Meterko, V., Wideman, M., & Wong, Y. (2011). Sexual orientation microaggressions: “Death by a thousand cuts” for lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth. Journal of LGBT Youth, 8(3), 1-26.
Nadal, K. L., Rivera, D. P., & Corpus, M. J. H. (2010) Sexual orientation and transgender microaggressions in everyday life: Experiences of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender individuals. In D. W. Sue (Ed.), Microaggressions and Marginality: Manifestation, Dynamics, and Impact (pp. 217-240). New York: Wiley.
Nadal, K. L., Skolnik, A., & Wong, Y. (2012). Interpersonal and systemic microaggressions: Psychological impacts on transgender individuals and communities. Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, 6(1), 55-82.
Nadal, K. L., Wong, Y., Issa, M., Meterko, V., Leon, J., & Wideman, M. (2011). Sexual orientation microaggressions: Processes and coping mechanisms for lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals. Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, 5(1), 21-46.
Sue, D. W., Capodilupo, C. M., Torino, G. C., Bucceri, J. M., Holder, A. M., Nadal, K. L., & Esquilin, M. E. (2007). Racial microaggressions in everyday life: Implications for counseling. The American Psychologist, 62(4), 271-286.
You may also be interested in:
Answers to Your Questions for a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality
Answers to Your Questions about Transgender People, Gender Identity and Gender Expression
Just the Facts about Sexual Orientation and Youth
APA’s Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns
Dr. Nadal is also featured on Buzzfeed: 19 LGBT Microaggressions You Hear on a Daily Basis
Micro aggressions – Really? What’s Next… Microscopic Aggressions??
LikeLiked by 1 person
Wow, did you even understand what the article was about?
LikeLiked by 1 person
Read The Most Recent Book (APA Publishing)… And Survived The 1980’s- What’s Your Point?!
David Johnson- It’s funny that you’re treating this as if it’s a new concept. There have literally been at least 100 microaggression studies or articles or paper presentations in the past 5 years.
It’s As Old As Time And Difference(s) In Human Beings… What’s Your Point?
This is where I think hypersensitivity needs to have a common sense check.
What about when people say, “He/she is so straight laced?”
“Straight” being stiff, boring, in line, and could even be construed towards a sexual context if someone wished. Or what about, “Don’t be a dick,” or, “You pussy?” Oops, now we’re disparaging sexual organs.
Or what about the word “fabulous?” That word has effectively been hijacked by the LBGT community in their flamboyant expressionism tactics, and therefore whenever it’s said, there’s automatically a LBGT association derived, intentional or not. So now as a straight guy I can’t use the word fabulous without that association coming along for the ride. I’m offended…not really. 😉
I’m sure there are plenty of sayings all across the spectrum that could be questionable to any particular group of people. Are we really going to go so far as to call into question everything we say at all times just to appease the emotional sensitivity of this group or that group?
How far does it go? How far down the rabbit hole do we drop? This transcends sexuality as well, so I’m not pigeon holing just this topic. This is a broad issue that can involve race, culture and more. At some point, people need to lighten up and not let every little thing offend them.
As the comedian Steve Hughes once eluded too, it’s not like people get leprosy for being offended. Nothing really happens. And before anyone goes off as if comedians can’t have relevant social commentary, I’ll cite Bill Hicks, George Carlin and Lewis Black as prime examples of people who are more who are perfectly adept at making valid social points within a comedic frame.
Being offended is all internal in ones mind, and that is something we directly control. You can choose to not be offended by flippant comments. Direct aggression is one thing, and it’s wrong on all levels, but this micro (is nano next?) stuff is going to an extreme that will…
A: Never work anyway as you’re trying to tell people what cultural memes they can and can’t say, whereas such memes organically shift over time naturally.
B: Cripple what little common sense we have left in this world, which isn’t much.
Instead of trying to be the word police, people need to spend more time not giving a shit about what others say, especially in a world that’s becoming more and more accepting of LBGT in general, even if we have some cultural neanderthals floating around.
LikeLiked by 4 people
Not really. You see, the reason this is so damaging is because this is the everyday language that causes people in this community to feel unsafe or harassed. People kill themselves over these everyday occurrences – they add up. Saying someone is “straight laced” is not going to make a straight person sit there and think “Wow, it’s such a bad thing to be straight. That’s the fifth time someone said that today. I wonder if they even know I’m straight… Would they hurt me if they did? They seem to think it’s such a bad thing…” We don’t have to go through that thought process as straight or cis people, so the analogy doesn’t really work here. Same goes for calling someone a pussy – it’s a “bad” thing to be equated to female genitalia, therefore, it’s bad to be a woman. “You throw like a girl.” “Don’t be such a bitch/pussy.” “Don’t be such a girl about it!” Reverse the gender, and it’s not nearly as bad. However, this conversation isn’t about sexism, it’s about homo- and transphobia
This isn’t being oversensitive with wording, it’s being aware that it’s damaging and DANGEROUS for people. People can take this to heart and they do kill themselves over it – LGBTQ+ youth have some of the highest rates of mental illness and suicide in he US. That isn’t just because they’re outwardly harassed or kicked out of their homes. They constantly hear about how their gender identity or sexual orientation (or both) are wrong or gross, or conversations regularly become centralized around their gender or orientation. That’s beyond offensive and frustrating to HUMAN BEINGS who simply want to be treated that way – not as some kind of anomaly that people forsake in their everyday language.
They’re not being over-sensitive – the nature of their very being is essentially being shit all over by ignorance. That’s not sensitivity, it’s basic humanity to acknowledge that your words can (and do!) adversely affect others.
LikeLiked by 2 people
But there are phrases such as “you look for things like a man”, “you multitask like a man”, “you clean like a man” etc. I’m never offended when someone says that; I laugh and carry on doing whatever I’m doing. As controversial as it will sound on a psychology blog, I think Doug made many relevant points.
A transgender friend of mine wrote a poem about not being ‘a real man’. He goes on to say that he is better than a real man and disrespects men who like football, getting drunk and going to the gym. There wasn’t a single person (straight or LGBT) offended in the crowd.
Most of the time, it is not ignorance. It is simply that some of these ‘ideas’ are very complex for some people to deal with. For instance, a trans-friend of a friend introduced himself to me and requested that I refer to him as “they”. It absolutely blew my mind – in an instant he was requesting that I rewrite every grammatical rule I’d ever learned for him.
I definitely agree with Douglas’ point about choosing to be offended. I thought as this is a psychology blog, that would be a valid point?
this is ridiculous people kill themselves because someone says thats so gay?
I find it odd that readers on a psychology-related website/post are so completely insensitive when it comes to the topic of microaggressions.
LikeLiked by 2 people
I used to ask my students whether it would make sense if we all started reacting to jokes and stories with “That’s so straight”? Or did they think their homosexual (or bisexual) peers enjoyed having their sexuality touted as the punch line of every joke? It was hard work, and required consistent reminders but I stopped hearing “that’s so gay” in my classes. Thankfully!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Great to hear a teacher taking this to heart, your students will have learnt so much from this and some might say what difference can one person make, well you helped all your students and they will probably pass it on to others and their family and own children one day, one stone can ripple across a lake. Well done!!!!!
In my classroom I also discourage use of “That’s gay” – often I say something like “you mean that piece of work is sexually attracted to other pieces of work of the same sex? Seems unlikely… what do you actually mean?”
Reblogged this on … from the bungalow.
Thank you, Kevin. Even if some of your readers wonder what rock I’ve been under, I had not heard the term “microaggression”… and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I think what you had to say was important. You are an expert communicator.
Building bridges — not walls,
Reblogged this on Thekynegro29's Blog and commented:
This is helpful. Language is important
As a bisexual college student, I’ve been lucky not to experience too many of these, and when I do I’m quick to correct the people who commit them (except anti-gay protestors out in front of the library. I just avoid those losers). Anyway, I’ll make sure to keep an eye out for these and correct them when I see them. Thanks for the eye-opening lesson.
Reblogged this on dearthurbanister.
I completely agree with this article and love how it was expressed. Thanks for the cool post and congratulations on being on freshly pressed! 🙂
I must say, as much as this group of people accuse straight people of being ignorant, they’re being ignorant to how it can be quite a complex idea to get our heads around. A friend told me he was transgender a few months ago, and wanted to be referred to as “they” rather than “him” or “she”.
Sometimes people find it a complex idea to understand.
Yes. And while we’re at it, how about retiring the addendum “and ugly” that always seems to follow “fat.” As a matter of fact, let’s just get rid of “ugly” altogether, shall we? Eye of the beholder, baby, eye of the beholder.
I’m pretty passionate about discouraging everyday microaggressions like those used against the LGBQT community. In fact, in high school I gave a speech in my public speaking class about how exactly terminology like “That’s so gay” and “What a retard” are actually incredibly ignorant, vulgar, and offensive.
The English language has MILLIONS of words in its arsenal. There are hundreds of words that are more precise than the ones listed above. If I can’t convince people with morality, then I try the precision approach. Nobody wants to sound ill-educated.
I’ve got a question and I’m not meaning to cause any offence.. I’m just curious.. You talk about transgender as a gender identity.. But I always thought you’re gender identity was either male or female.. My question is really have I misunderstood or is transgender somehow a separate gender identity? I would always assume that if their is a man who used to be a woman, his gender identity would be male not transgender and vice versa.. Is this wrong?
For Transgender folks, they use terms like Trans Man or Trans Woman or FTM or MTF. It really depends on the person and how they identify. Gender identity is no longer a binary system. So even if a person identifies as female but is physically a male, their identity is not female or male. They are Transgender.
Reblogged this on theoremcraft.
Reblogged this on The Modern Day Fairy Godmother and commented:
Couldn’t agree more
I’m sick & tired of being expected to put up with all the self.serving self.aggrandizing special interest groups’ telling me how they’ve decided I’m expected to live my life, speak, behave, etc. Mind your own business.
Reblogged this on The World's Chronicle.
Reblogged this on thewanderingsort.
I’m not sure how ‘tranny’ or she-male’ is derogatory. I have several friends and family identifying who freely use those terms and are unphased when they are used by others. I’ve also heard the term used on television by those who identify with the terms.
I can understand Katie’s question. To my knowledge, Carmen was on the show to discuss transitioning and it seems a natural progression of discussion to ask about it. Now, if she were on there to discuss a new movie, book or otherwise non-sexual issue it would be a wildly inappropriate question. As it is, Carmen should expect a sexual question on a sexual subject.
I’m baffled about how Mr. Morgan’s comment was hurtful and dehumanizing. Janet Mock was born male, Charles Mock, and lived as one until her transition into a woman. Just because she always identified with female doesn’t take away the fact at some point in her life she was a male.
What I learned from reading this article – Some people, regardless of gender, are a little overly-sensitive at times. We need to ‘pick our battles’ and not get offended over every little word that comes out of a person’s mouth. Micro-this, Micro-that… all I hear is “We are becoming a society of wimps who can’t tolerate anything other than what we agree with. Someone else speaks in a manner we disagree with then we are hurt and and cry “Discrimination” “Derogatory” “Offensive” and require them to change their way of speaking to ‘our’ way.
Requiring people to stop using words you find offensive and speak in ‘your’ way, is also a discrimination.
Congratulations you are the problem with society.
Reblogged this on Split Splat And All That and commented:
Food for thought.
Reblogged this on The Fluffy Mango.
This is great! As a newly out bisexual woman I too have experienced most of these. *Fist-bump of solidarity.* I actually recently wrote a post about things one shouldn’t say to bi girls.
I’m not sure I agree with this post…. I get the idea…. But I also feel like you’re simply trying to blame others for your own insecurities. You did not trust that those around you would be supportive….. Or rather you assumed that they wouldn’t be so you shelled up. I always find it interesting… People would rather hide in a shell of shame rather than embrace who they are. I guarantee that if you accepted yourself first(because it is clear that you did not) others would have accepted you as well. Would that have been universal? No. But nothing, related to humans, is universal.
Reblogged this on acronym04.
I think the biggest problem is making your sexuality define your identity. It’s not who you are, it’s just an attribute. When we single out sexual orientation instead bullying in general it grow to such a large issue that it becomes uncomfortable to talk about. You are magnifying something that is supposed to be private issue.
Everyone needs confidence in who they are and understanding they have value no matter what their attributes, whether religion, race, sexuality or handicap. One shouldn’t be offended if you are mistaken for a heterosexual or asking if you have a girlfriend. Reminds me of saying “Merry Christmas” at Christmas time before knowing the person’s religion. Don’t get offended, feel honored that someone is taking an interest in you and your personal life and then just gently correct them.
And I must mention this as a pastor, as far as homosexuality being an abomination, so is lying according to Proverbs 6:17. That pretty much levels the playing ground for anyone who wants to find fault with you. Christianity is about knowing and trusting Jesus as savior, not self-righteousness.
As a Pastor also when I was a young person I did not even know what the word homosexual meant. Now they are Gay or happy people. I do not and I have tried to conceive this gay issue.
This was a very well written article and I can see what you’re trying to say, but on the other hand have you ever stopped to consider that you may just be way too over sensitive?
Seriously it’s like you are choosing to be offended at something so innocuous so you can write a blog post about it.
I’m sure you yourself have uttered phrases which someone, somewhere could find offensive, and you will continue to do it as long as you live. I have a problem with the whole concept of ‘being offended, I just don’t buy it. Either everything is available for satire/comedy or nothing is.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Reblogged this on Chronicles Of John Doe.
Reblogged this on Rantings of A Law Student and commented:
So true! If society is to be truely equal in regards to sexuality, being “gay,” cannot be associated with something being wrong.
An interesting article. Just one tiny detail. The word queer was around centuries before it was associated with homosexuality, and used in it’s correct context is not offensive.
Reblogged this on OVMportin and commented:
I wish I’d found this post and the commentary long before there were 40+ posts in retaliation to the original…
What seems to have happened in recent years is the view that to offend is not OK.
As a child, I was a slim, boyish, immature, red-head with freckles. Other boys tried to bully me…(I went to an all boys school) I let them go so far before retaliating. On a couple of occasions we fought, as necessary. As a teenager, I was also picked on for being different.
Kids are trying to deal with so much these days, and like any animal pack, there is a pecking order. And all kids will find their place in it, either by their own or other’s choice. As the child becomes an adult, their own decisions become more into play.
Being Gay, Bi, Lesbian or having to re-assign your physical identity to the one you perceive you to be, are ALL the result of bio-chemical processes in the Brain during gestation – (i.e. in the womb)
My mother had a lesbian relationship which perhaps because of societal values was kept under wraps for most of the time, though I also suffered the ignominy of being asked by a neighbour’s child, “Was my Mum queer?”.
Being “Normal”, is being straight. Being Gay is being normal for a Gay, and the same goes for all the others.
The problem for society is that the bio-chemical processes that occur in the Brain of the foetus, that determine their sexual and gender identity, are not the same ones that determine their physical identity (Read: “Sex and the Brain” by Jo Durden-Smith, and Diane de-Simone – 1983 I think)
Sexual stamping is a gradual process induced by the washing of the feotus by masculine or feminine hormones,(Testosterone/Eostrogen) which masculinize or feminize the brain under the control of the MOTHER’S adrenal gland, and this can be affected by the release of cortizone into the blood-stream. STRESS in the mother induces the production of cortisol, which affects the absorption of these hormones on the foetus le the child may absorb less of the hormone, at a critical time. (typically 12-13weeks, and 24-26weeks)
A foetus with XX chromosones being biologically female, may have too little oestrogen, and thus the foetus gets masculinised and grows up to be Lesbian. (and Vice Versa for biological men who grow to be gay but with XY chromosones)
In some this disruption is so pronounced, they feel the need to re-assign themselves to their perceived gender identity – i.e. their brain.sexual identity.
I’ve not re-read the book for a few years now (but did 4+ times over 20 of the last 30years ).
In this increasingly fast-paced uncertain world, disruption of the bio-chemical processes is happening more and more because of the uncertainty of the economy, job changes, societal changes which affect people’s attitudes to relationships and marriage breakdowns.
A woman needs certainty of income to feel secure whilst pregnant, and men particularly in the west are more insecure as jobs in the traditional manufacturing base have headed east.
The problem can only get worse in my humble opinion, as the next phase of the industrial revolution gets under way. The mainstream media haven’t mentioned it yet, but 3-D printing is happening right now, and when that gets to the critical point, – i.e. within the next 18months – so many new businesses will spring up, and old ones with nice stable incomes will be hit and even disappear.
Why would you buy from China when you can build it yourself, in half the time, and at a tenth of the cost?
War may yet be the result, and the last WW, was VERY instrumental in the rise of the Gay and Lesbian population, in the late 60’s, and subsequent Gay/Lesbian rights movements 20+ years later.
STRESS is the number one enemy of humans and feotal development. and Stress in the economy is the most widely felt. But death of a close family member, (say the husband of a pregnant woman) or even the woman’s mother/father or other close family member, can all trigger this stress response.
Society may have evolved, but men and women haven’t. We’re still at heart the beings we were ten thousand years’ ago.
And if I’ve picqued your interest in 3D-printing and other economic matters then see my blog at: http://moneymatterstoo.wordpress.com. might inform you.
If you read the book previously mentioned, and “Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars ” and the seven or so others by the same author, you can’t help but see that our biology determines our thinking (i.e. brain organisation, size of Corpus Callosum, which parts of the brain get used for what thought patterns etc), and this affects our potential and which tasks we excel at, we can just about begin to accept that we should NOT be striving for X% of the gender to be in a particular occupation or other, we HAVE to accept that personal preference, and biology plays a major part in your thinking, and therefore your strengths and capabilities.
And the girls might just have to accept that they are, in the main risk averse, and men more the risk takers – The very skills that make them entrepreneurs.
And one of my mates from my youth has been a “Male-Nurse” for almost 40years, so have viewed this subject from many perspectives.
(before you all criticise me)
Here here! We should all strive to speak a language of respect!
I’m a high school teacher, and my room has always been and will always be a Safe Zone. I refuse to allow students to disrespect each other for any reason, and will not tolerate at all if a student says “that’s gay.” I immediately make them apologize and find a way to express their “true” thoughts (i.e. “This is frustrating and I don’t like it.”).
Additionally, I have gay family members, and feel extremely protective of them, and their children. It’s not just about tolerance anymore, it’s about respect for human beings as human beings.
Thank you for writing this. We have a research paper coming up and I might make Human Rights one of the topic choices, and include your work as an introduction.
Reblogged this on kandelrc.
I think the nub of the article comes down to :
Let’s teach our kids to love people, instead of hating them. (quote from your post)
Most of the probllems we have created for ourselves across the millenia come down to the easy and unthinking way we castigate ‘other’ for not being the same as US. Instead of recognising that the wonderful complexity and variety of life, and evolutionary development itself, really escalated and got rich when sexual reproduction began. This began diversity rather than clonial cellular division. And yet, at times, it seems as if all we want is for everyone to be a clone of some perceived norm. Like biology itself, cultures, across time and geography are also diverse. Yet we are willing to go to war (repeatedly) and on a small local level commit little acts of aggression against the other – purely because they are not ‘US’
LikeLiked by 1 person
I think that saying “that’s so gay” is fine to say. But as long as your not putting down the real gay people that’s fine. There’s different words that mean different things. I don’t know why people are taking offense to saying something’s lame in a different term when they’re not effecting someone else? There’s boundaries and a time and place to say things like this. But I don’t know why this is a problem. It shouldn’t be.
But using the term “gay” to mean something is odd, strange, dumb, annoying, or “lame” means one is saying that “gay” is synonymous with all of those things. It used to be that gay meant happy. When being a homosexual became known as “being gay” the term took on a modern definition. By redefining gay as lame, you are agreeing that being homosexual is lame/odd/not normal (if A=B and B=C, then A=C). Is that the stance you are taking? If you so, then that is your opinion. But one cannot support LGBTQ rights and then turn around and say “That’s so gay” is an acceptable phrase – unless of course it is a throw-back to “happy”.
Reblogged this on Everymodelmag Blog and commented:
Excellent article. Some questions for you: If there had been a club on-campus that advertised a safe place for discussion on topics like LGBTQ issues would you have attended? Do you think you would have been able to open up if others did? If there had been an openly Gay or Lesbian teacher at your school would you have considered going to talk privately to him or her? Do you get to witness changes at all in the younger generation of today with any hope that these microaggressions could be SLOWLY becoming a thing of the past?
Again, thanks so much for this post! I plan on setting it aside to discuss in an upcoming meeting with my students (in a club like the one mentioned above).
I think you’re too sensitive. All genders can be offended for a variety of reasons. I still hear, ‘you cry like a girl’, ‘it’s just like a man’, ‘don’t be a pussy’, ‘don’t be such a cracker’, ‘you’re a retard’, ‘don’t be a psycho’… Basically, you’re no different than any other person on this planet. If someone offends you, don’t associate with them. Also, be sure that you are not offending anyone yourself!
@Midwestern Plant Girl: Well, I think the overall point of the post is to encourage people to be more aware of what they say in ANY situation. Sure, the author uses specific examples that pertain directly to being gay because those are his experiences. But one can translate this post into all different categories of humanity and realize that if we were all more aware of what we said and how words can effect people in certain ways, then perhaps we’d find ourselves evolving in a way we haven’t yet been able to evolve.
I’ve seen other comments arguing that people shouldn’t have to worry constantly about hurting everyone’s feelings or that people just need to toughen up. But what is so wrong with self-editing to, not only sound more educated, but avoid making others uncomfortable? What’s the downside to changing “You throw like a girl” to “What a weak throw, man!” When we ALL (male, female, gay, straight, old, young, novice or veteran) start to recognize that we are doing ourselves a disservice by ignoring these microaggressions, we can grow. By ignoring the power of words, we’re just stuck in reverse.
As someone who identifies as queer, and is very open about that fact, I’m constantly faced with microaggressions, in the workplace, with my family, hanging out at the bar…
I’m female, and because of that I think men sometimes don’t realize that when they refer to a man as a “faggot” or say “that’s so gay” that it hurts me, personally, because they don’t realize that being LGBTQ is the same, whether you’re male, female, or somewhere in-between. I’m never sure how to deal with this situation, not wanting to make enemies in the workplace/home over what they would deem to be a “small” issue, so I generally try to just ignore it, but that hurts, every time, and I feel guilty for not standing up for myself, and for my fellow LGBTQ people.
Part of me wants to respond to all of the people who are homophobic and defending their right to verbally abuse you as if you are telling them how to behave. You are NOT over sensitive or hypersensitive. They are. Your request for respectful language is valid. That anybody thinks you are forcing them to, or have an expectation that they will comply, is foolish. You are simply indicating what hurts, how it can effect people, and what you would like to see change. When they fail to understand this, they are not worth your time. They should recognize this. You are giving them an opportunity to become compassionate. Politically correct is besides the point for all the sticklers that would holler “censorship” at you. That’s for insincere people and they’d openly prefer to be abusive. They are suggesting emotional verbal abuse is normal so stop complaining. Well, it’s not “normal” it’s “common” and it’s a form of illness. Don’t let the bastards get you down. Silence equals death.
I hate to say this, but I agree somewhat that we need to STOP being so hyper-sensitive… I did.
I learned to smile at those who criticized or bullied me, like in Madagascar: “Just smile and wave boys, Smile and Wave”
Until EVERYONE, the world over, fully understands that people don’t CHOOSE to be gay, or whatever, and until the backward looking religions from all over the world, stop their mis-believing, and we all know which ones are the worst for that – It’s not charitable to treat people like they do, JUST because they are different.
BUT, that also means, that making it part of the curriculum, is a MUST, and that means ALL schools, irrespective of affiliation – religious or otherwise, and as some teachers do – we need to educate kids to think differently.
BUT, you can’t criticise people for 10,000 years of language learning, we can’t unlearn that in a decade… It will take a couple of generations, and even then you can’t expect 100% compliance…
There are still quite a number of people who believe the Earth is flat…
Or that we were visited by some mythical being in our dim and distant past, and that MAN was the annointed one to lead us from all our earthly misdemeanours… :¬/
Still for the most part they’re harmless, until they start shooting or blowing people up for believing otherwise, then I’m afraid, they deserve all they get.
Hello Wa1marktng…On an individual level, I agree with the place you’ve gotten with “smile and wave boys” and with the reality of sociological-historical-language mindsets that can’t be changed for a collective compliance. But I would argue where “hypersensitivity” is pointed out by the bigots and homophobic, there is an oppressor that hopes you just smile and wave. The cumulative effects of a non supportive community, of intolerance, and of generally accepted insults have caused a lot of people to “stay in the closet” which leads to repression, depression, and often suicide. While no one can expect recognition, appreciation, or understanding– it’s worth a shot. The article deconstructs language in order to test truth(s). As evidenced by many unenlightened reader/comments, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.”
What people don’t seem to understand is that the hate speech doesn’t just stay confined to words. It is a forerunner to violence.
I am not a “politically correct” advocate. I am an advocate for education. And I miss Harvey Milk.
It’s bad enough we have such *STIGMA* around those, ( myself included ) peoples in Recovery from addictions, those who suffer Mental & emotional disorders, and like me, those who suffered childhood sex abuse. Now we have to deal with STIGMA around Gay, Trans Gender and more!
It makes me ADVOCATE harder to give those who feel they don’t have a Voice to be heard. I have a nephew who is gay, and many gay and trans gender friends. And YES, PLEASE STOP SAYING, “That’s So Gay,” it really is hurtful to others. Great Post! I’m now following your blog.
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
More http://about.me/AuthorCatherineLyon 🙂