Gay/Lesbian Studies - Discrimination in the Workplace Term Paper

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Gay/Lesbian Studies - Discrimination in the Workplace

An Analysis of Discrimination against Gays and Lesbians in the American Workplace Today

While many people today may not remember a time and place where minorities and women were discriminated against openly in the American workplace, the time was not in fact so long ago. Indeed, it is reasonable to maintain that such discriminatory practices remain firmly in place in some form or another in many regions of the country, but the wholesale practice is no longer the status quo and there are laws on the books designed to prevent it. Notwithstanding the U.S. Army's well-known wink-wink nudge-nudge policy of "Don't ask, don't tell," even fewer people, though, may realize the obstacles and challenges that have historically been confronted by gays and lesbians in the American workplace, and there has not been a groundswell of media attention or well publicized Supreme Court cases to help educate the public in this regard. To this end, then, this paper provides a review of the timely and relevant peer-reviewed and scholarly literature to develop an appropriate background for the issues involved, a discussion of controlling legislation and a description of various types of discrimination that can take place in the workplace, is followed by an assessment of current and future trends and a summary of the research in the conclusion.

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Term Paper on Gay/Lesbian Studies - Discrimination in the Workplace Assignment

The move to reverse the long-standing practices of discriminating against anyone in general and gays and lesbians in particular can be traced to the years immediately following the end of World War II, during the era of the Red Scare. During this scary period in America's duck-and-cover history, it was easy to be fearful of almost anything and everything and homosexuals were no exception. "Although immoral conduct was grounds for dismissing homosexuals from the civil service by Theodore Roosevelt's administration," Lewis (2001) reports, "federal employment of homosexuals did not become a political issue until the Cold War, when heightened American fears about national security led to increased restrictions on all federal employees" (539).

According to Lewis (2001), homosexuals were a special target for restrictions to prevent them from obtaining security clearances. A series of Senate committee reports cited by Lewis suggested that "moral perverts are bad national security risks... because of their susceptibility to blackmail" (539). Likewise, in his essay, "The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government," Bachhofer (2005) reports that the actions of Frank Kameny, a gay political activist who was a former civilian Army employee fired after the discovery of a previous arrest for homosexuality, served to redefine the issues surrounding workplace sexual discrimination in terms of civil rights instead of individual standards of morality. According to Bachhofer, "His [Kameny's] involvement with the Mattachine Society of Washington sparked a new homosexual militancy in the capital, one that relied on the court system for many significant remedies. When the Scott v. Macy decision of 1965 and the Norton decision of 1969 came down, summary dismissals were no longer possible" (257). This author suggests that it is ironic that the very threat Congressional conservatives were seeking to quell during the 1950s, e.g., "an organized, threatening homosexual menace," was facilitated by the success of their polices (Bachhofer 257). These precedential cases were followed, over the years, by a series of fits and starts in terms of enacting legislation that was specifically targeted at outlawing discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation, and these issues are discussed further below.

Controlling Legislation.

According to Horvath and Ryan (2003), discrimination against lesbians and gay men in the workplace may have adverse effects on those individuals through factors such as increased stress and limited advancement opportunities; furthermore, discrimination may also have adverse effects on the organization itself: "Even… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Gay/Lesbian Studies - Discrimination in the Workplace.  (2007, February 13).  Retrieved February 26, 2020, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/gay-lesbian-studies-discrimination/5178416

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"Gay/Lesbian Studies - Discrimination in the Workplace."  13 February 2007.  Web.  26 February 2020. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/gay-lesbian-studies-discrimination/5178416>.

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"Gay/Lesbian Studies - Discrimination in the Workplace."  Essaytown.com.  February 13, 2007.  Accessed February 26, 2020.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/gay-lesbian-studies-discrimination/5178416.