glbtq: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender & queer culture
home
arts
literature
social sciences
special features
discussion
about glbtq
   search

 
   Encyclopedia
   Discussion
 
 

   member name
  
   password
  
 
   
   Forgot Your Password?  
   
Not a Member Yet?  
   
JOIN TODAY. IT'S FREE!

 
  Advertising Opportunities
  Permissions & Licensing
  Terms of Service
  Privacy Policy
  Copyright

 

 

 

 

 
social sciences

Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

Subjects:  A-E  F-L  M-Z

     
Stigma  
 
page: 1  2  

Stigma and AIDS

HIV and AIDS are a major stigmatizing factor around the world today. Despite the medical knowledge that HIV cannot be transmitted through casual contact, many uninfected individuals are afraid of being near, eating with, or simply touching HIV-positive individuals.

An additional factor is that, at least in advanced cases of AIDS, the disease leaves a visible physical presence on its sufferers, such as lesions. The stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS is not only about contagion, however.

Sponsor Message.

This stigma also carries with it a moral judgment that people living with HIV/AIDS "deserve" their fate because of the risky behavior in which they may have engaged. The moral judgment allows uninfected individuals to avoid feeling guilty about their treatment of people with HIV/AIDS.

Stigmas surrounding HIV/AIDS are also extended to gay and bisexual men more generally, as society sees them as the agents of HIV transmission. Bisexual men in particular bear this stigma because of the belief that bisexual men acquire HIV by engaging in homosexual sex and then transmit it to their "innocent" female sex partners.

The presence of these stigmas may lead some gay and bisexual men to believe that getting infected with HIV will be inevitable, and therefore they should not bother trying to protect themselves. Efforts to avoid stigmatization may also lead people at high risk for contracting HIV to hide their behavior and avoid being tested for the virus, as well as leading people already infected to conceal their status from sex partners.

Ending Stigma

Most stigmatized groups work to change this fact of their lives. While it is difficult to be rid of stigma completely, groups can make changes in the degree to which they are stigmatized. Evidence of these changes in the stigmatization of glbtq people can be seen in the fact that homosexuality is no longer considered a mental disorder, their media presence is slowly expanding, more politicians and cultural figures are being truthful about their glbtq identities, and changes in the legal status of glbtq people have occurred.

Particularly important in ending stigma will be the Supreme Court's decriminalization of sodomy in Lawrence v. Texas (2003), because when was a crime, all sexually active lesbians and gay men were implicated as criminals, the ultimate bearers of stigma. However, legal and cultural changes do not remove the entire stigma that a group experiences. It takes generations for a stigma to completely disappear, as the stigmatized group slowly fades into the mass of normals that comprise society.

Meanwhile, groups and individuals must continue to work to lessen the stigma attached to glbtq identities. Most important, glbtq people must cope with stigma in daily life by maintaining a healthy self-esteem even in the face of social disapproval and disparagement.

Mikaila Mariel Lemonik Arthur

  <previous page   page: 1  2    

    
 interact  
   
Contact Us
 
Join the Discussion
 
 find 
   
Related Entries
 
More Entries by this contributor
 
A Bibliography on this Topic

 
Citation Information
 
More Entries about Social Sciences
 
 


   Related Entries
  
social sciences >> Overview:  Bisexuality

Although until recently rejected by most sexologists as a distinct sexual identity, bisexuality is gradually becoming recognized and studied as such.

social sciences >> Overview:  Hate Crimes

Hate Crimes are crimes towards persons or groups motivated by the victim's race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

social sciences >> Overview:  Homophobia

Homophobia was originally defined as a "dread of being in close quarters with homosexuals," but it is now sometimes used to describe any form of anti-gay bias.

literature >> Overview:  Identity

Although the question of homosexual identity is a complex one, it has polarized activists, theorists, and literary critics into two primary camps, essentialists and constructionists, both of which can contribute usefully to an understanding of the gay and lesbian literary heritage.

social sciences >> Overview:  Passing

Generally defined as seeking or allowing oneself to be identified with a race, class, or other social group to which one does not genuinely belong, passing is a complex and layered issue in queer culture.

social sciences >> Overview:  Stereotypes

Stereotypes usually include inaccurate and negative assumptions about groups, thus contributing to racism, classism, sexism, and homophobia.

social sciences >> Bowers v. Hardwick / Lawrence v. Texas

Two of the most significant Supreme Court decisions regarding constitutional liberty for glbtq people are Bowers v. Hardwick (1986) and Lawrence v. Texas (2003).

social sciences >> Suicide

In addition to the general risk factors for suicide, such as depression and substance abuse, glbtq people also face stressors such as discrimination and harassment, which put them at an increased risk for suicidal behavior.


    Bibliography
   

Goffman, Erving. Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity. Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, 1963.

Heatherton, Todd F. The Social Psychology of Stigma. New York: Guilford Press, 2000.

Herek, Gregory M. "AIDS and Stigma." American Behavioral Scientist 49.7 (1999): 1106-16.

_____, ed. Stigma and Sexual Orientation: Understanding Prejudice against Lesbians, Gay Men, and Bisexuals. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1998.

Plummer, Kenneth. Sexual Stigma: An Interactionist Approach. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1975.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Arthur, Mikaila Mariel Lemonik  
    Entry Title: Stigma  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated December 31, 2004  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/stigma.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  
 

 

This Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.

www.glbtq.com is produced by glbtq, Inc., 1130 West Adams Street, Chicago, IL   60607 glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.