Monday, May 2, 2011

My Big Gay Project

So, for one of my other social work classes I was assigned to a group that is putting together and presenting a presentation on same-sex marriage inequality in the United States. During the process of looking for sources and research and theory that address homophobia, heterosexism and same-sex marriage, I stumbled upon more interesting tid bits than I thought I would.

Due to my insomnia and the various other factors that tend to keep me awake at night (mass amounts of homework, dogs, neighbors, kids, you name it), I often find myself just surfing around the internet for lack of anything else to do. This was the case a few days ago when I started searching for different terms relating to the same sex marriage debate. I was surprised to see how many recent (2009-2011) scientific peer reviewed research studies have been done on different subjects and issues included in the pro and anti- same-sex marriage debate.

Since I like to share, here's a sample of some of the things I learned during that little midnight hunt. Disclaimer- full sources not cited here.....but just Google it, that's part of the fun.

- It has now been scientifically shown that legal recognition is an important macro-environmental factor that may affect the psychological health and well-being of same-sex couple members. The study found that even after controlling for other factors, same-sex partnered participants in committed relationships reported significantly more psychological distress and less meaning than those in legally recognized relationships. (Riggle, Rostosky, Horne, 2010)

-Same-sex and heterosexual relationships do not differ in their essential psychosocial dimensions (Kilian, 2010).

- As a result of much lower rates of employer-provided coverage, partnered lesbians and gay men are more than twice as likely to be uninsured as married heterosexuals (Ponce, Cochran, Pizer, and Mays, 2010).

- Homophobia was the best predictor of attitudes toward gay male and lesbian marriage, and this was equally true for both heterosexual men and women (Moskowitz, 2010).

- The public support for same-sex marriage has increased dramatically since 1988 and every religious group marked a signi´Čücant liberalization in beliefs about same-sex marriage between 1988 and 2008 (Skerat, 2010).

- A survey of married same-sex couples in Massachusetts found that as a result of marrying, over 72% of individuals expressed that they felt more committed to their partners and almost 70% felt more accepted by their communities. Of those couples with children, nearly all respondents (93%) agreed or somewhat agreed that their children are happier and better off as a result of their marriage (Ramos, Goldberg, Badgett, 2009).

So, my questions after taking in all of this new knowledge is: Where the hell is the publicity for it? Why did I have to search late at night to find this information?

I think it's interesting how the media will cover the fact that there are now 9 million + people who identify as LGBT but they won't cover the information that could help further the rights for those people.

As the semester wraps up and we are all looking forward to summer, this project has reminded me why I decided to become a social worker and even why I decided to join Peers for Pride.........BECAUSE THERE IS STILL JUST SO MUCH STUFF WRONG THAT NEEDS FIXIN.

I know I can't fix it all, I get a headache even thinking about all the different areas of social inequality and injustice. But this semester has made me more determined than ever to push through the fog and continue the midnight searches for truth. I hope the next cohort of Peers for Pride is just as determined to do the same.

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