Gays still face discrimination from 'straight' people, say study

Apr 14, 2018, 16:09 IST | ANI

The researchers interviewed 53 straight people, who live in two Chicago gaybourhoods - Boystown and Andersonville

Gays still face discrimination from straight people say study

Representational picture

Washington D.C.: Gaybourhood, or traditionally gay neighbourhood, still face a subtle form of discrimination from 'straight' people. According to a study conducted by the University of British Columbia, straight people living in such neighbourhoods, say they support gay rights in theory, but many interact with their gay and lesbian next-door fellas on the street in ways that contradict those sentiments.

"There is a mistaken belief that marriage equality means the struggle for gay rights is over," said Amin Ghaziani, the study's senior author. "Prejudice and discrimination still exist- it's just more subtle and difficult to detect."

The researchers interviewed 53 straight people, who live in two Chicago gaybourhoods - Boystown and Andersonville.

They found the majority of residents saying that they support gay people. However, the researchers found their progressive attitudes were misaligned with their actions.

While many residents said they don't care if people are gay or straight, some indicated that they don't like gay people who are "in your face".

When asked about resistance from LGBTQ communities to the widespread trend of straight people moving into gaybourhoods, some of the people interviewed responded with accusations of reverse discrimination and described gay people who challenged them as "segregationist" and "hetero-phobic."

Some said they believed they should have open access to cultural gay spaces, and were surprised that they felt "unwelcome" there.

"That feeling of surprise, however, exemplifies a misguided belief that gay districts are trendy commodities when they are actually safe spaces for sexual minorities¿, added Ghaziani.

When the researchers asked residents if they had done anything to show their support of gay rights, such as marching in the pride parade, donating to an LGBTQ organization, or writing a letter in support of marriage equality to a politician, the majority said they had not.

Many also expected their gay and lesbian neighbours to be happy and welcoming of straight people moving into gaybourhoods, expressing sentiments like, "you wanted equality- this is what equality looks like."

With gay pride celebrations fast approaching around the world, Adriana Brodyn, the study's lead author, said it is important to pause and reflect on the state of LGBTQ equality.

"I hope that our research motivates people against becoming politically complacent or apathetic," she said. "If we do not motivate ourselves to be aware of this subtle form of prejudice, then it will just continue to perpetuate."

The study appears in the journal City and Community.

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