Even in today's society, gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals experience multiple pressures and constraints related to their lifestyles, in addition to the stresses of everyday life. This dual tension can result in psychopathology among gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals. Preventing Heterosexism and Homophobia examines the gay and lesbian experience in light of their tension and points toward a future free of heterosexism. The stress of “coming out,” the uncertainty of parenting their children, and the difficulties facing ethnic minority lesbians and bisexuals cannot be adequately addressed without confronting the heterosexual bias in society. The contributors to this informative volume propose methods geared toward eliminating heterosexual bias in various settings–health care, therapy, communities, corporate America, and education. Ultimately, this book examines both the risks and joys of being gay, lesbian, and bisexual, and how to prevent heterosexism and its effects on the lives of all people, including those of heterosexuals. Students and professionals in interpersonal communication and interpersonal relations, clinical psychology, and public health will benefit greatly from the original perspectives this book has to offer.

Homo-Phobia, Homo-Ignorance, Homo-Hate: Heterosexism and AIDS

Homo-Phobia, Homo-Ignorance, Homo-Hate: Heterosexism and AIDS

Homo-phobia, homo-ignorance, homo-hate: Heterosexism and AIDS

[AIDS education should reaffirm] the heterosexual ethic which is the foundation of our civilization.

William E. Dannemeyer (quoted in Bayer, 1989, p. 216)

This is heterosexism.

Congressman Dannemeyer assumes and then asserts as fact that only heterosexuals are involved in the positive forces of civilization, only heterosexuality is recognized as civilized. Other sexualities are, by definition, transgressive and not worthy of the term civilization. Dannemeyer has been perhaps more brazen and more clear in his prejudice than most, but he is hardly alone in his thinking.

This common heterosexism has, of course, consequences. It has had an enormous impact on the way a disease, AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), has been socially understood, scientifically researched, and medically treated. ...

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