Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Some imagine, some are more equal than others - but whom?

The Guardian today carries an article indicating that gay people feel that they are discriminated against because they are gay with the headline “Homophobia rife in British society”, one presumes it is a genuine report and not prompted by the date.

Schools seem to particularly come in for criticism as do the NHS - and the main political parties are mentioned.

All this, not on the basis of any actual quantifiable discrimination, but what homosexual people imagine might happen if they were, for instance apply to run as a Conservative, or New Labour MP. Talk about a story based on nothing but vapours and imaginings. Apparently 61% expected discrimination from the Conservatives and 47% from New Labour – ‘expected’, it says it all. This is based on prejudice alright, prejudice amongst what may be described as the Gay ‘Community’.

One should not forget that people do treat other people badly specifically because of their race, sexuality, etc. and this should not detract from that – but this report is more a problem with how people are imagining they will be treated, not with how they are actually being treated..

One should also keep in mind that someone can dislike someone else who is also male, or female, gay, or straight, black, or white, just because they are objectionable, unpleasant, or difficult, etc.

Apparently there was a perception that gay people might not get as good a service as presumably heterosexual people might when accessing emergency NHS care. I don’t personally recall my sexuality ever being relevant, or even being mentioned on any of the occasions I have needed to use casualty. I don’t understand why anyone else should feel it would.

One thing I have noticed - anecdotal evidence suggests, employees of some public bodies and companies sometimes feel their particular race and sexual orientation can detrimentally impact on their prospects. Male heterosexuals for instance are often concerned they are less likely to succeed in a job application. Gay men suspect they may be correct. None will risk speaking openly about it. Many now refuse details of sexual orientation, or even go so far as to misrepresent them in the ‘equality’ section of job applications. This has the potential to foster resentment.

Perceptions cut both ways.

3 comments:

Crushed said...

Pretend to be bisexual.

Works for me!

I always refuse to answer if asked, which leads to people assuming that I am actually bisexual (pretending to be outright gay wouldn't really convince anyone, I fear...)
Whereas in fact, my actual point, is that it shouldn't be relevant.

Who you like to sleep with, has no bearing on how you the job you are paid to do, as long as it isn't other staff members, and if it, thast it doesn't spill over into the workplace.

MJW said...

I agree with Crushed.

The whole "diversity" agenda these days seems to be about stressing differences rather than preventing prejucice. It's not relevant, there should be solid evidence that people are being discriminated, not expectations of how people might be treated, and certainly not whether something conforms to a socially engineered target profile.

Phil A said...

Good points.

Crushed, Indeed it should not be relevant. It is (in the case of a job for instance) how good you are at your job, your experience, ability, qualifications, skills and only that.

MJW good point. If one is to have any anti discrimination legislation it ought to relate to unreasonable/unjustifiable discriminatory behaviour. These days clearly many including employers seem to feel they have to bend over backwards to prove they are not discriminatory in any way.

As sort of guilty of prejudice until proven innocent.