Sexual minority

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A sexual minority is a group whose sexual identity, orientation or practices differ from the majority of the surrounding society. It can also refer to transgender,[1] genderqueer (including third gender[2]) or intersex individuals. The term is primarily used to refer to LGBT individuals, particularly gay people.[3]

More recently, the catch-all terms GSM ("Gender and Sexual Minorities"),[4] GSRM ("Gender, Sexual, and Romantic Minorities"), GSD ("Gender and Sexual Diversity"), and GSRD ("Gender, Sexual and Romantic Diversity")[5] have been proposed.[a] While these terms offer a more flexible framework for identification, critics argue that it may be too inclusive, an unnecessary step further than the already relatively ambiguous language of 'sexual minority'.[6]

Origins[edit]

The term was coined most likely in the late 1960s under the influence of Lars Ullerstam's ground breaking book "The Erotic Minorities: A Swedish View" which came strongly in favor of tolerance and empathy to uncommon varieties of sexuality, such as paedophilia and "sex criminals".[7] The term was used as analogous to ethnic minority.[8][9]

Scientists such as Ritch Savin-Williams support using the term in order to accurately describe adolescent youths who may not identify as any common culturally-defined sexual identity label (lesbian, gay, bisexual, et cetera) but who still have attractions towards those of the same anatomical sex as themselves. Savin-Williams also used the term to create a more holistic idea of the sexual minority to dispel stereotypes of sexual minorities as drug abusers and prostitutes.[10]

Controversy[edit]

Some LGBT people object to using the term sexual minorities in relation to them, and prefer the term LGBT. Reasons for these objections may vary. For example, some LGBT people feel that the term sexual minority needlessly reminds them about discrimination and about being a minority. They want to be not a distinct minority but an integral and respectable part of the society. Some other LGBT people dislike the term for being too inclusive, including swingers, polyamorists, BDSM people and other perceived "sexual strangers". These LGBT people want to make a larger distance between these sexual practices and bisexuality/homosexuality/transgender.

Transgender Controversy[edit]

Some transgender people dislike the term sexual minority for yet another reason. They argue that the phenomenon of transsexuality or transgender has nothing to do with sex, sexual practices or sexual orientation, but it relates to the gender, gender dysphoria and gender-variant behavior or feelings. Thus, they feel it is incorrect to classify them as "sexual minority", when, in fact, they are gender-variant minority.

Political Controversy[edit]

Some conservative groups oppose the use of the term sexual minority for completely different reasons. They think or feel that the term inherently implies some degree of legalisation or protection for those engaged in such sexual practices, much like ethnic minorities are protected from being discriminated or persecuted in modern democratic countries.

Some people dislike the term because it includes minority, when the fact is that not all these categories are really about minorities but actually about minorised groups.

Other Controversy[edit]

Others referred to as "sexual minorities" include fetishists and practitioners of BDSM (see section below).[10] The term may also include asexuals[11][12] and people who may be strictly heterosexual and whose choice of actual sex acts may be vanilla, but whose choice of partner or partners is atypical, such as swingers (although this is debated),[13] polyamorists[14] or people in other nonmonogamous relationships, people who strongly prefer sex partners of a disparate age[15] or people who engage in mixed race relationships.

Usually, the term sexual minority is applied only to groups who practice consensual sex: for example, it would be unusual to refer to rapists as a sexual minority, but the term would generally include someone whose sexuality gave a major, fetishized role to consensual playing out of a rape fantasy. Similarly, zoophiles would not typically be considered a sexual minority because animals are unable to provide consent. Also, someone who very occasionally incorporates of consensual kink[14] or same-sex activity into a largely vanilla, heterosexual sex life would not usually be described as a sexual minority.

Discrimination and Associated Health Issues[edit]

Some studies have tried to examine social issues that lead to possible health and psychological issues, especially in youth. It has been found that sexual minorities face increased stress exposure due to stigmas.[16] This stigma-related stress creates elevated coping regulation and social and cognitive processes leading to risk for psychopathology.[16]

Based on studies of adolescents, it is concluded that sexual minorities are similar to heterosexual adolescents in developmental needs and concerns. However, research has suggested that sexual minority youth (more specifically GLBT youth) are more susceptible to psychological and health issues than heterosexual youth.[17] One study looked at victimization, substance abuse, and mental health of homeless GLBT youth. While this study was done in an unusual environment it still shows differences faced between sexual minorities and others. GLBT youth showed much higher levels of victimization, including sexual victimization, since becoming homeless. As far as substance abuse, these youth falling under the category of sexual minority had used illegal substances more frequently for all except marijuana. These differences were most significant in crack and methamphetamines.[17] These homeless GLBT youth also reported higher levels of depressive symptoms. The found differences were thought to be from these youth facing discrimination on top of other issues youth face in homelessness. When gay, lesbian, and bisexual adults reported being discriminated against, forty-two percent credited it to their sexual orientation. This discrimination was positively associated with both harmful effects on quality of life and indicators of psychiatric morbidity.[18] In fact, sexual minority respondents were significantly more likely to have at least one of five psychiatric disorders examined in the research than heterosexual persons.[18] The research on discrimination has built upon prior evidence that discrimination can lead to negative psychological changes. These negative changes are evident in the resulting health issues found in the surveyed adults.

Sexual Minorities in the Media[edit]

Sexual minorities are generally portrayed in the mass media as being ignored, trivialized, or condemned in terms of their representation. The term symbolic annihilation accounts for their lack of characterization due to not fitting into the white, heterosexual, vanilla type lifestyle. [19] Still, some individuals have made their way into the media through television and music. TV shows such as The Ellen DeGeneres Show and ABC’s Modern Family star individuals who are open about their non-heterosexual lifestyles. In music, people like Sam Smith and Sia create songs that express their emotions and sexuality with a number of followers. While sexual minorities do have a place in the media, it is often critiqued that they are still limited in their representations. In shows, if a character is gay, they are often a very shallow character that is only present for comic relief or as a plot twist. Compared to a heteronormative counterpart, the sexual minority is often a mere side-kick. However, since the integration of actors, musicians, and characters of sexual minorities, the idea of non-normativity has become more normalized in society. [20]

Criminal and Non-Consenting Sexual Minorities[edit]

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders identifies 16 types of sexual deviations and abnormal sexual behaviors.[21] Individuals with sexual interests that correlate with mental disorders are also considered sexual minorities, but their interests may constitute criminal behavior. These criminal sexual acts include paraphilia, zoophilia, necrophilia, and pedophilia.[22] Paraphillias are disorders of deviant sexuality; they involve recurrent fantasies, urges or behaviors of a sexual nature that center around children, animals, objects, or harming others or one’s self.[23] Paraphilias are generally acted out with a nonconsenting partner in sexual sadism or pedophilia.[21] Zoophilia or bestiality is sexual attraction to and relationships with animals. Necrophilia is defined as an erotic attraction and desire to perform sexual activities with corpses. Paraphilia is almost never diagnosed in females; for every one female there are 20 male paraphiliacs. Paraphilias such as homosexuality were listed in earlier editions of the DSM, but were removed in 1974 and no longer classified it as a pathological psychiatric condition.[21]

See More

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Definition of Terms - "Sexual Minority"". Gender Equity Resource Center. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  2. ^ Sharma, Gopal (7 January 2015). "Nepal to issue passports with third gender for sexual minorities". Reuters. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  3. ^ Sullivan, Michael K. (2003). Sexual Minorities: Discrimination, Challenges, and Development in America (illustrated ed.). Haworth Social Work Practice Press. ISBN 9780789002358. Retrieved 12 March 2015. SUMMARY. This chapter explores the cultural, religious, and sociological underpinnings of homophobia and intolerance toward homosexuals. 
  4. ^ "Gender and Sexual Minority Students (LGBTIQA)". University of Derby. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Organisation proposes replacing the 'limiting' term LGBT with 'more inclusive' GSD, February 25, 2013
  6. ^ "GSM acronym better than LGBT alphabet soup". Collegiate Times. Retrieved 2016-12-05. 
  7. ^ Lattimer, Julia. "GSM acronym better than LGBT alphabet soup". Collegiate Times. Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  8. ^ DeGagne, Alexa (6 October 2011). "Queering the language of 'sexual minorities' in Canada". University of Alberta. Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  9. ^ Ullerstam, Lars (1967). The Erotic Minorities: A Swedish View. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  10. ^ a b Savin-Williams, Ritch C. "A critique of research on sexual-minority youths." Journal of adolescence 24.1 (2001): 5-13.
  11. ^ Morrison, Todd G.; Morrison, Melanie A.; Carrigan, Mark A.; McDermott, Daragh T., eds. (2012). Sexual Minority Research in the New Millennium (hardcover, illustrated ed.). ISBN 978-1-61209-939-2. 
  12. ^ Robinson, B. A. "Prejudice against the asexual community. Violence against asexual women". Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  13. ^ Rust, Paula C. "The politics of sexual identity: Sexual attraction and behavior among lesbian and bisexual women." Social Problems 39, no. 4 (1992) p.8 "Sexual minorities are not merely people who engage in "deviant" sexual behavior -- for example, fetishists of various types -- or even those that adopt "deviant" (sexual) identities (e.g. "swingers")."
  14. ^ a b Nichols, Margaret, and M. I. C. H. A. E. L. Shernoff. "Therapy with sexual minorities." Principles and practice of sex therapy 4 (2000): 353-367.
  15. ^ Altair, Octaevius (2011). The Violators: No Human Rights for You (Canada). p. 11. ISBN 9781257378012. Retrieved 12 March 2015. The rights of youth must be protected as well as the rights of Atheists and Sexual minorities. As a Homophile who is also a Hebephile. I engage is [sic] recreational sex exclusively with teenagers. 
  16. ^ a b Hatzenbuehler, Mark L. (2009-09-01). "How does sexual minority stigma "get under the skin"? A psychological mediation framework.". Psychological Bulletin. 135 (5): 707–730. doi:10.1037/a0016441. ISSN 1939-1455. PMC 2789474Freely accessible. PMID 19702379. 
  17. ^ a b Cochran, Bryan N.; Stewart, Angela J.; Ginzler, Joshua A.; Cauce, Ana Mari (2002-05-01). "Challenges Faced by Homeless Sexual Minorities: Comparison of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Homeless Adolescents With Their Heterosexual Counterparts". American Journal of Public Health. 92 (5): 773–777. doi:10.2105/AJPH.92.5.773. ISSN 0090-0036. 
  18. ^ a b Mays, Vickie M.; Cochran, Susan D. (2001-11-01). "Mental Health Correlates of Perceived Discrimination Among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Adults in the United States". American Journal of Public Health. 91 (11): 1869–1876. doi:10.2105/AJPH.91.11.1869. ISSN 0090-0036. 
  19. ^ PhD, Paul Venzo; PhD, Kristy Hess (2013-11-01). ""Honk Against Homophobia": Rethinking Relations Between Media and Sexual Minorities". Journal of Homosexuality. 60 (11): 1539–1556. doi:10.1080/00918369.2013.824318. ISSN 0091-8369. PMID 24147586. 
  20. ^ "GLOing Depictions of Sexual Minorities: The Evolution of Gay- and Lesbian-Oriented Digital Media | Technoculture". tcjournal.org. Retrieved 2016-12-05. 
  21. ^ a b c "Paraphilic Disorders: Practice Essentials, Background, Etiology". 2016-06-01. 
  22. ^ "22 Possible So-Called Sexual Orientations". takebackcanada.com. Retrieved 2016-12-05. 
  23. ^ "Sexual Disorders (Paraphilias) Resources And Information". www.mentalhelp.net. Retrieved 2016-12-05.