LGBTQs and LAWS Violence Within a Heteronormative Landscape
This article was influenced by an assignment during my PGCAP. We were asked to develop ideas for a pseudo research proposal in order to demonstrate learning on the module.
As an out gay man and a course leader for the level 4 Deconstructing Deviance and level 5 Risk and Vulnerabilities modules at Leeds Beckett, I was interested in the welfare of LGBT students, so naturally, my search for information on this topic formed the basis of my literature review. Thereafter I became immersed in learning about the situation of LGBT students within HE institutions.
As you will see in the article, some of the literature raised concerns for the health and welfare of LGBTs. In turning this information into an article, I was keen to make links and try to figure out why homophobia remains an issue in society today, ascertain what factors might influence or sustain it, and assess what protections there are for LGBTs against discrimination. This led me to review UK law and how LGBTs might be protected from discrimination.
The search brought two issues to my attention. One was the Bert and Ernie cake incident in Northern Ireland where a baker refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding in 2015. The other was the protest at a school in Birmingham during the summer of 2019.
As I had completed my PhD 'Irish Travellers and the Criminal Justice systems across the island of Ireland' at Ulster University, I was already aware that Northern Ireland implemented equality legislation before the rest of the UK (as a direct consequence/influence of The Troubles/Good Friday Agreement) and that I needed to scrutinise both this and the similar Act in Britain. Doing so led me to ascertain that in some instances, due to exemptions within both of these Equality Acts, it remains legal for religious organisations to discriminate against LGBTs.
This encouraged reflection on the exemptions and exploration as to possible links between these exemptions and discrimination against LGBTs across society in general. Notably, today in the USA the issue of exemptions relative to LGBTs on religious grounds is also evident as similar equality law is being considered there.
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Anthony is a Senior Lecturer in criminology. In 2018 he was awarded a scholarship to attend a Summer School at the CEU in Budapest entitled Romani Identities and Antigypsyism.