Approaches and Impacts of Criminalization and Medicalization on LGBT Individuals Across the United States

Published: 2021-06-22 19:14:06
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University/College: 
University of Richmond
Type of paper: 
Dissertation
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Currently, LGBT is one of the widely accepted designations in terms of sexual and gender orientation for the minorities across the United States (Smith, 2008). The majority of the members of the subgroups of LGBT find it difficult to cope with the societal prejudices that are rooted in the beliefs and traditions based sexuality. Members of these subgroups suffer from various socioeconomic and also cultural prejudices. As minority groups, LGBT people lack social recognition. As a result, they are denied the chance to access and enjoy the same rights that the rest of the society enjoys. Most of them are exposed to intolerance, discrimination, harassment and forms of a threat because of their sexual orientation. Literature shows that both healthcare providers and LGBT patients recognize the inadequacy of the current healthcare system in the United States for the transgender patients. This dissertation sought to find out the approaches and impact of criminalization and medicalization on the transgender patients across the United States. The people that identify themselves as heterosexual have always enjoyed the privileges in the society including the socioeconomic and cultural benefits that the LGBT people do not have (Braye & Preston-Shoot, 2016). The transgender groups in prisons have always been exposed to more vulnerabilities including being denied the access to basic needs. The majority of the transgender in prisons are exposed to sexual assault and even rape in the correctional institutions across the United States. Examining the approaches and impacts of criminalization and medicalization on homosexual individuals, including LGBT across the United States is the theme of this dissertation. The qualitative in-depth analysis was conducted on various literature materials to expand on this discussion. Data was collected from the selected literature materials and analyzed. This dissertation concluded that LGBT patients experience socioeconomic and cultural discrimination that expose them to other health risks such as depression. Further, the majority of the transgender patients are discriminated within the healthcare institutions.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Understanding the impacts and approaches of criminalization and medicalization of transgender individuals requires one to first understand the concepts of criminalization of transgender and medicalization of the transgender. The criminalization of homosexual individuals involves the prohibition of homosexuality. On the other hand, the medicalization of the homosexual individuals involves the treatment or providing healthcare services to the people who are not heterosexual. The word homosexual is not used in most cases to define or describe the sexual orientation of a person because the term is associated with the historical criminalization of homosexuality. However, we also need to understand that sexual orientation is quite different with sexual behavior. In most cases, people have always used the terms and concepts of sexual orientation and sexual behavior interchangeably. Sexual orientation refers to the situation where one is attracted emotionally towards a certain sex. However, sexual behavior refers to the way someone behaves sexually (Gross, 2012). Sexual orientation plays a significant role in the development of a person both psychologically, emotionally, and even physically to some extent. The medicalization of the homosexual individuals has been a challenge in the United States because of the heterosexism perception. The homosexual persons form the minority group in the society; therefore, they find it difficult to access things in the society because they are perceived as people who have deviated from the societal norms and values. Most societies do not allow this kind of relationship; thus, the concept of criminalization. According to Mogul, Ritchie, and Whitlock (2011), the heterosexists attitudes and perceptions from healthcare providers towards the homosexuals make it difficult for the LGBT to go for the medical assistance in hospitals. LGBT and transgender patients experience a lot of discrimination and harassment due to their sexual orientation. Various scholars have contributed to this field of study as a way to improve the societal norms and values; at the same time also enhance the respect of individuals rights and freedom. The threat against the homosexuals is emerging from the homophobia. The term homophobia and heterosexism have also been used interchangeably although they mean different things. We need to understand these terms so that we dont use them in the wrong contexts that can cause psychological or emotional harm to others in the society. Homophobia is the irrational fear and dislikes attitudes expressed towards the gay, lesbians, transgender, and bisexual individuals (Shay & Strader, 2012, p. 178). On the other hand, heterosexism is a kind of discrimination against the homosexual in which the heterosexists believe that they are superior compared to other sexualities. As a result, the non-heterosexuals are marginalized and perceived as inferior. The human sexuality is diversely experienced in the United States and even across the borders. As the homosexuals struggle to find the societal acceptance, we need to understand the kinds of struggles that they go through since most people who are heterosexual do not understand. Most of the countries including the United States have not established proper laws that provide legal protection to the homosexual and bisexual persons. This, however, has resulted in increased discrimination and harassment of these people socioeconomically and culturally. The society does not accept them because they are viewed as nonconformists. Various studies on this topic or related issues; however, little research has focused on the approaches and impacts of criminalization and medicalization of the minority subgroups, LGBT. This study will be guided by the following research questions; 1) what are the approaches of criminalization and medicalization of non-heterosexual persons in the United States 2) what are the impacts of the approaches of criminalization and medicalization of non-heterosexual individuals across the United States. Therefore, this study will expand on the topic and in the field of sociology as a whole by examining the impacts and approaches of medicalization and criminalization of the LGBT individuals across the United States.

Chapter 2: Methodology

Sociology is a wide field of study that has many scholars that have also contributed significantly towards the research studies. My topic is one of the refined areas on social factors in the society and how it impacts the people in it. I refined my topic and narrowed it down to the approaches and impacts of criminalization and medicalization of LGBT individuals because little research has been carried out on this area. In this study, I have chosen to carry out a qualitative study on the selected literature materials. Since my method is literature-based, I searched for the peer-reviewed literature materials on the topic that acted as my source of information and data. The literature materials were obtained from the Google Scholar where I searched for the headwords such as approaches, impact, criminalization, medicalization, homosexual, LGBT, United States. I selected the articles that I found related to the topic. I selected 80 articles that contained either two or more of the headwords highlighted above. The inclusion criteria for the study materials include; 1) the articles must be peer reviewed, 2) the articles must have been published in the last 20 years old so as to give updated and current information and also get the historical context of the topic 3) Articles must be based on the work that was undertaken in the United States. I chose the qualitative literature-based research method because it fits the requirement of my topic. The primary emphasis of a qualitative study includes the policies and institutions that are examined using single or more theories (Kitchenham et al., 2009). Understanding the topic of sexuality requires us to understand the historical contexts and the changes that have occurred which can only be obtained from the literature materials from the previous research studies. Therefore, the literature review method provides the historical understanding, the changes that have taken place, the theoretical frameworks for understanding human sexuality, political responses, and gender-based ideologies. The historical and developmental concepts that have contributed to the changes in the perception and policies regarding the non-heterosexuals will help us create the basis of the analysis towards finding the answers to the research questions. The gathered data were analyzed systematically with the aim of establishing the approaches and impacts of criminalization and medicalization of the homosexuals and other people with a different sexual orientation other than heterosexism. I chose the literature-based method because it is easy and simple to follow. One only needs to critically evaluate and analyze the already done studies. As a result, I was able to obtain the limitations of the previous studies and use them to improve my paper. The information gathered from the 80 materials collected provided a foundation for thinking about the topic.

I also considered the ethical aspects of study; for example, I ensured that the identity of the persons or organizations discussed in the literature review was protected. Protecting the confidentiality is one of key ethical issues that researcher should consider when carrying out the study. Although, there was no permission to ask when obtaining the articles since I just searched the articles online, but it was important for me to report accurate information. Therefore, I chose the peer reviewed articles that reports accurate information and that also conforms to the academic standards. This study was not biased towards any side of the sexual orientation. This was achieved by ensuring that I only used the words that do not appear to discriminate against another person. I used many articles, 80 to be precise to enhance the reliability of this study.

In reviewing the literature, I concluded that major issues were conceptually similar in most of the materials that I used, although they were perhaps examined in different point of views. Indeed, I was able to analyze the major approaches and impacts of criminalization and medicalization of people with non-heterosexual orientation. Therefore, the simplicity of the exposition, I focused on the key themes such as the legislation changes regarding sexual orientat...

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