The information in these subpages are intended to provide general information to Allies and members of the Texas State community who advocate, support and affirm LGBTQIA+ persons.
History & Current Events in the US
While LGBTQIA+ history extends to ancient history, this section focuses on several notable events of the LGBTQIA+ movement in the United States, beginning with the 1950's.
1950 - The Mattachine Society, the first American homophile group, is founded in New York
1969 - Stonewall Riots
1970 - First gay pride parade in New York City
1973 - The American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its DSM-II Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, based largely on the research and advocacy of Evelyn Hooker
1978 - Rainbow flag first used as a symbol of gay and lesbian pride
1978 - International Lesbian and Gay Association is formed
1979 - First national gay rights march in Washington, D.C.
1980 - The Democratic National Convention becomes the first major political party in America to endorse a gay rights platform plank
1994 - American Medical Association denounces "cure" for homosexuality
2004 - Same-sex marriage in the United States: Massachusetts legalizes same-sex marriage in May while eleven other states ban the practice through public referenda in the November elections
2005 - Same-sex marriage in the United States: California extends some marriage rights to same-sex couples
2006 - Illinois outlaws sexual orientation discrimination
2010 - Don't Ask, Don't Tell is repealing - US Military allows LGBTQIA+ persons to serve openly.
2015 - The Supreme Court of the United States rules in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide and immediately recognizing marriage equality as legal.
Why LGBTQIA+ and not GLBT?
While GLB and GLBT remain commonly used terms, LGBTQIA+ has become the most preferred one. The main difference lies in the reordering of the letters "G" and "L." Doing so gives more attention to the concerns of lesbian women since previous years have often focused on gay men - for instance, the 1980s era when gay men received public attention, often unfavorable, due to the rising incidence rates of HIV/AIDS. The reordering could be construed as a feminist move, but the reality is that many women, not just feminists or lesbians, have been lobbying for equal attention in literary criticism, psychology and other areas of study. In addition, the term "LGBTQIA+" is more inclusive; it includes the "T" which stands for "transgender," the "Q" which can mean "queer" or "questioning" and "I" for Intersex. Sometimes, an additional "Q" represents "questioning" or an "A" will added for agender, aromantic, asexual, or "ally." On our website, the "Q" stands for queer although we are resources for anyone who is questioning.
What is Genderqueer?
Genderqueer is a gender identity. A person who identifies as genderqueer is signifying that they are other than man or woman, are both man and woman, or are some combination of the two. In any case, a person who is genderqueer rejects the idea that there are only two genders, woman and man, in the world. They may believe in three genders with genderqueer being the third besides the traditional two; they may view genderqueer as being one of many different genders outside of man and woman; or they may use the term in order to encompass all gender identities outside of the traditional two.
Since genderqueer people have many different views of gender, they also have many different ways of relating to the idea of gender. Some genderqueer people view genderqueer as being on the continuum between the two traditional roles of woman and man. Other genderqueer people believe that there are as many genders as there are people. Still others view the traditional roles of gender as a social construct and refuse to adhere to that construct in any form. Some genderqueer people may fit into their stereotypical gender role but still identify outside of that role and reject the traditional system of gender. Finally, other genderqueer people perceive gender as being fluid. This means that their gender varies from day to day or year to year.
Because genderqueer people have different understandings of gender, their use of pronouns may differ. For instance, some genderqueer people use the traditional pronouns “he” and “she” while others prefer to use gender-neutral pronouns. These pronouns include: “ze,” “per,” “sie” and “hir,” “zhe,” “hir,” and the singular “they.” Some genderqueer people may prefer that people alternate between “he” and “she” when referring to them, and others will prefer that people only use their name without any pronouns at all. Gender-neutral pronouns are appropriate when speaking of a hypothetical person or when speaking to a person who has not indicated their preference. It is always best to find out what a genderqueer person’s preference is rather than using pronouns with which they may not be comfortable.
Finally, genderqueer can be used in a broader context as an adjective for any person who challenges the traditional roles of gender and gender identity. This term is not used as often anymore since genderqueer now refers to a specific group of people. It is more appropriate to use the terms “gender variant” or “gender non-conforming” when speaking about a wide of range of people who do not fit into rigid, traditional gender roles.
Cycle of Oppression
Cultural oppression can be thought of as a cycle consisting of five components.
These five components are illustrated and explained below.
- Stereotype - a positive or negative oversimplification or generalization about an entire group of people without considering individual differences. Stereotypes form the basis of prejudices.
- Prejudice - a conscious or unconscious negative belief regarding entire groups of people as well as the individual members of a group. Prejudice leads to discrimination when a prejudiced person is in power and can withhold memberships, opportunities and resources.
- Discrimination - occurs when prejudice is accompanied by power. Discrimination can take many forms including racism and sexism. Acts of discrimination often build in severity over time until the relatively less powerful social group is placed in a state of oppression by the more powerful social group.
- Oppression - the systematic subjugation of the less powerful social group. Usually, the stronger social group benefits from oppression and is supported by some social beliefs and practices. The less powerful social group often internalizes these images, resulting in internalized oppression.
- Internalized oppression - accepting and living by the social beliefs and practices of the stronger social group. This occurs when the less powerful social group believes the stereotypes they receive and begins to conform to the stereotypes. As a result, the less powerful social group reinforces stereotypes and perpetuates the cycle of oppression.
You do not have to be a member of or know someone in the LGBTQIA+ community to be adversely affected by homophobia. Although homophobia specifically targets the LGBTQIA+ community and individuals within it, it also affects heterosexuals.
- Homophobia inhibits the ability of heterosexuals to form close, intimate relationships with members of their own sex because they fear being perceived as LGBTQIA+.
- Homophobia imprisons people in rigid gender-based roles that inhibit creativity and self-expression.
- Homophobia often stigmatizes heterosexuals who are perceived or labeled as LGBTQIA+, are children of LGBTQIA+ parents, are parents of LGBTQIA+ children or are friends of a LGBTQIA+ person.
- Homophobia compromises human integrity by pressuring people to mistreat others.
- Homophobia, when combined with sex-phobia, results in the invisibility or erasure of the LGBTQIA+ community and sexuality in school-based sex education discussion, which keeps vital information from students.
- Homophobia is one cause of premature sexual involvement, which increases the chance of teenage pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Young people of all sexual identities are often pressured to become heterosexually active to prove to themselves and others that they are “normal.”
- Homophobia prevents some LGBTQIA+ people from developing an authentic self-identity.
- Homophobia inhibits the appreciation of other types of diversity, making it unsafe for everyone because each person has unique traits not considered mainstream or dominant. We are all diminished when any one of us is demeaned.
Personal Assessment of Homophobia
Homophobia is a generalized, unrealistic fear of LGBTQIA+ people and can be expressed by both LGBTQIA+ people and non-LGBTQIA+ people. The following questions will help you assess any homophobic traits you might have:
- Do you stop yourself from doing or saying certain things because you might be perceived as gay or lesbian? If yes, what things?
- Do you ever intentionally do or say things so that people will thing you are non-gay?
- Do you believe that gays or lesbians can influence others to become homosexual?
- Do you think someone could influence you to change your sexual orientation or affection preference?
- If you are a parent, how would you feel about having a LGBTQIA+ child?
- How do you think you would feel if you discovered one of your parents or parent figures, a brother or sister were LGBTQIA+?
- Do you think LGBTQIA+ people should be barred from entering or holding certain jobs, positions or professions? If yes, why?
- Would you go to a physician whom you knew or believed to be LGBTQIA+ if that person were of a different gender from you? What if they were the same gender as you? If you would not receive their services, why not?
- If someone you care about were to say, “ I think I am gay,” would you recommend that they see a therapist?
- Have you ever been to a LGBTQIA+ bar, social club or march? If not, why not?
- Would you wear a button that asks, “How dare you presume I’m heterosexual?” If not, why not?
- Can you think of three positive aspects of being LGBTQIA+? Can you think of three negative aspects of being heterosexual?
- Have you ever laughed at a “queer” joke?
Effect of Hostile Environments on Health
In the LGBTQIA+ community, certain health concerns are more prevalent. For a more indepth discussion about these concerns, visit the Texas State University's Health Education Resource Center's website. LGBTQIA+ students, faculty and staff also should find a medical provider with whom they can share their concerns.
Effect of Hostile Environments
- Incidents of hate, intolerance and violence
- Lack of visible support or protection
Possible psycho-social responses
- Chronic stress or anxiety
- Shame, low self-respect and -esteem
- Lack of hope
- No self-efficacy
- Belief that safety and self-interest are best served by silence and nondisclosure
Consequences for LGBTQIA+ student behavior
Students are less likely to:
- Be open and honest
- See one's long-term health as a priority
- Seek heathcare
- Seek heathcare
- Seek information
- Find and connect with healthy role models who are "Out"
- Be honest with their medical provider about sexual orientation or risky behavior
Students are more likely to:
- Seek immediate comfort or affirmation through drugs, sex, food, etc.
- Seek connection through secretive, risky means
- Have sex in ways that do not respect the whole person
- Seek the next sensation or thrill
- Engage in extreme efforts to gain an immediate sense of control through disordered eating, self-harm, etc.
Creating a Non-Homophobic Campus
Effecting change requires time, effort and perseverance, but change can occur. The suggestions listed below are meant to help you as an Ally who is attempting to encourage tolerance. They are also meant to help anyone desiring to impact the campus community.
Object to and eliminate jokes and humor that mock or portray lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer people in stereotypical ways.
Counter statements about sexual orientation or gender identity that are not relevant to decisions or evaluations being made about faculty, staff or students.
Invite “out” professionals to conduct seminars and provide guest lectures in your classes and offices. Allow them to present information about LGBTQIA+ topics and other topics of interest.
Do not force LGBTQIA+ people out of the closet or come out for them. The process of coming out is an individual one. The process should always be under the individual's control until they consider their sexual identity public knowledge.
Do not include sexual orientation information in letters of reference or answer specific or implied questions without first clarifying how “out” the person is.
Recruit and hire “out” LGBTQIA+ staff and faculty. View sexual orientation as a positive form of diversity. Always question job applicants about their ability to work with LGBTQIA+ faculty, staff and students.
Do not refer all LGBTQA+ issues to LGBTQA+ staff or faculty. Do not assume their expertise is only LGBTQIA+ issues. Check with staff about their willingness to consult on LGBTQIA+ issues.
Be sensitive to issues of oppression. Appreciate the strength and struggle it takes to establish a positive LGBTQIA+ identity. Provide nurturing support to colleagues and students in the phases of building their identity.
Be prepared. If you establish a safe and supportive environment, people will begin to share their personal lives and come out in varying degrees.
View the creation of this environment as a departmental or agency responsibility. Do not wait for LGBTQIA+ people to speak, challenge or act. This only increases the responsibilities of a LGBTQIA+ person who is already confronting oppression on multiple levels.