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Author Topic: Gays a minority status?  (Read 6775 times)

NathanB

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Re: Gays a minority status?
« Reply #40 on: July 30, 2005, 01:12:46 AM »
I contended that homosexuality wasn't grounds for minority status. Another poster opposite my point of view said that homosexuality was biological - I said that whether or not it was biological was irrelevant. Hence the post you referenced.

Being a minority has nothing to do(intrinsically) with being oppressed. All it means is being some how socially separated and outnumbered. I'm convinced that gay people face bigotry. I'm not convinced that it renders them in the same train of thought as African Americans, Latinos, women, Irish immigrants in the 19th century(although this seems all but gone, just mentioning), and so on. At the very least, I'm not convinced that they should receive the same policies.

then, as a minority group, what distinguishes gay people from "African Americans, Latinos, women, Irish immigrants in the 19th century"?  (beyond the obvious, of course.)


I think it really just comes down to an issue of the argument/story you make to the adcomm...

When it comes to groups being historically and continually discriminated upon in this country, racial minority groups are the one of the largest to face this type of adversity (aside from women). This is not to say that GLBT folks are not excluded from discrimination - many experience unfair intolerance in many forms similar as well as unique to those experienced by racial minorities.

The difference is that a Latino, black, or Asian person doesn't even have to speak, and they can face discrimination simply from being judged upon by their biologically set appearance. A gay person does not just walk into a room with "Hi, I'm Gay" tattooed all over their skin. Yes, people are going to try and debate this by being able to say "well you can just tell", for example by talking to Carson from Queer Eye or if you were to perhaps meet RuPaul. But that's not necessarily true, considering that you could meet Portia de Rossi or Karamo (from The Real World - Phili) and never have "known" they were gay unless a) they told you or b) you have stellar gay-dar. The point is that being gay isn't going to outright classify you as a minority, since it's not a VISIBLE biological feature upon which one may experience discrimination.

If you are gay, and show how that has affected your life, and any limitations you have faced and perhaps how this has shaped your interest in studying law or wanting to serve as a legal advocate for the GLBT community, I think you could classify yourself as a minority...not only are you showing the effects of your sexual orientation, but you would be able to show that you are someone who offers diversity of thought and life experience, and this is important as adcomms organize the composition of the classroom. But just the same way for ethnic minorities, it's not going to be a box you simply check off for brownie points- you're going to have to show how this "status" is significant to you as an applicant.

HTH....

My problem with your logic, pop_tort, is that you're basically saying that someone has to know that you are gay for you to feel discrimination or to feel harassment.  That simply isn't the case.  I grew up in a place where though perhaps tolerated, homosexuals were quite literally loathed.  I have heard people describe how they would "shot any fag" they met.

Further, even in general social settings, I have felt very uncomfortable as "conservative christians" described how they hated homosexuals.

In my current job, I don't feel that I can be openly gay without risking the possibility of serious problems.

Living in Dallas, in a very conservative state, I don't feel that I can be affectionate with a man in public, for fear that some red neck idiot might see a quick kiss and shot me dead where I stand with a gun that he has a permit to carry.

All this to say that while yes, I can hide my homosexuality when convenient, as I am masculine, it DOES NOT mean that I don't experience discrimination, or suffer ill effects for my sexual orientation.  As a result, I contend that homosexuals have suffered in many ways just as much as any other group.  We have had to hide, to lie, to change who we are in order to make society happy.  In essence, the single worst thing that one human can do to another has been committed against gay people all around the world.  We have been made afraid, ashamed, and have been forced into hiding.

I respect your opinion, and as I said, I realize that I do have the benefit of not being black in the south around 1850.  However, I don't think that being "easily identifiable" as black, gay, or an indian chief is the only way to measure discrimination and bigotry.

NathanB

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Re: Gays a minority status?
« Reply #41 on: July 30, 2005, 01:13:45 AM »
K, InVinoVeritas, you beat me to part of my argument.  I'm too long winded.

ThePerfectSoldier

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Re: Gays a minority status?
« Reply #42 on: July 30, 2005, 01:44:13 AM »
PerfectSoldier, I have asked this a couple of times.  I'm not trying to be rude, I'd just like to know what your definition of a minority is...  I can't figure out from what you have said if anyone qualifies as a minority.

I more or less defined in in my last post before your own.  I believe gays are a minority group, but not that they should get minority status (an AA type of deal).  I was unclear, and for that I apologize.  Unfortunately, pop_tort made the argument that I was preparing to make - I have to think about it before I can make another argument post.

pop_tort

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Re: Gays a minority status?
« Reply #43 on: July 30, 2005, 02:16:10 AM »
I contended that homosexuality wasn't grounds for minority status. Another poster opposite my point of view said that homosexuality was biological - I said that whether or not it was biological was irrelevant. Hence the post you referenced.

Being a minority has nothing to do(intrinsically) with being oppressed. All it means is being some how socially separated and outnumbered. I'm convinced that gay people face bigotry. I'm not convinced that it renders them in the same train of thought as African Americans, Latinos, women, Irish immigrants in the 19th century(although this seems all but gone, just mentioning), and so on. At the very least, I'm not convinced that they should receive the same policies.

then, as a minority group, what distinguishes gay people from "African Americans, Latinos, women, Irish immigrants in the 19th century"?  (beyond the obvious, of course.)


I think it really just comes down to an issue of the argument/story you make to the adcomm...

When it comes to groups being historically and continually discriminated upon in this country, racial minority groups are the one of the largest to face this type of adversity (aside from women). This is not to say that GLBT folks are not excluded from discrimination - many experience unfair intolerance in many forms similar as well as unique to those experienced by racial minorities.

The difference is that a Latino, black, or Asian person doesn't even have to speak, and they can face discrimination simply from being judged upon by their biologically set appearance. A gay person does not just walk into a room with "Hi, I'm Gay" tattooed all over their skin. Yes, people are going to try and debate this by being able to say "well you can just tell", for example by talking to Carson from Queer Eye or if you were to perhaps meet RuPaul. But that's not necessarily true, considering that you could meet Portia de Rossi or Karamo (from The Real World - Phili) and never have "known" they were gay unless a) they told you or b) you have stellar gay-dar. The point is that being gay isn't going to outright classify you as a minority, since it's not a VISIBLE biological feature upon which one may experience discrimination.

If you are gay, and show how that has affected your life, and any limitations you have faced and perhaps how this has shaped your interest in studying law or wanting to serve as a legal advocate for the GLBT community, I think you could classify yourself as a minority...not only are you showing the effects of your sexual orientation, but you would be able to show that you are someone who offers diversity of thought and life experience, and this is important as adcomms organize the composition of the classroom. But just the same way for ethnic minorities, it's not going to be a box you simply check off for brownie points- you're going to have to show how this "status" is significant to you as an applicant.

HTH....

My problem with your logic, pop_tort, is that you're basically saying that someone has to know that you are gay for you to feel discrimination or to feel harassment.  That simply isn't the case.  I grew up in a place where though perhaps tolerated, homosexuals were quite literally loathed.  I have heard people describe how they would "shot any fag" they met.

Further, even in general social settings, I have felt very uncomfortable as "conservative christians" described how they hated homosexuals.

In my current job, I don't feel that I can be openly gay without risking the possibility of serious problems.

Living in Dallas, in a very conservative state, I don't feel that I can be affectionate with a man in public, for fear that some red neck idiot might see a quick kiss and shot me dead where I stand with a gun that he has a permit to carry.

All this to say that while yes, I can hide my homosexuality when convenient, as I am masculine, it DOES NOT mean that I don't experience discrimination, or suffer ill effects for my sexual orientation.  As a result, I contend that homosexuals have suffered in many ways just as much as any other group.  We have had to hide, to lie, to change who we are in order to make society happy.  In essence, the single worst thing that one human can do to another has been committed against gay people all around the world.  We have been made afraid, ashamed, and have been forced into hiding.

I respect your opinion, and as I said, I realize that I do have the benefit of not being black in the south around 1850.  However, I don't think that being "easily identifiable" as black, gay, or an indian chief is the only way to measure discrimination and bigotry.

Right, so in a case like yours, an applicant could very well discuss how intolerance or homophobic culture has shaped who they are as a person an how it has affected them. Completely fair game, especially if the statement is showing how this has infulenced one's desire to study law, etc.

I'm not saying that someone has to "know you are gay for you to feel discrimination or to feel harassed." Yes, gays do experience discrimnation - I'm not doubting that in any way. But the case still remains that if a white gay male walks in for a job interview or even into a liquor store, they are much less likely to get the same level of pre-judgement or discrimination slapped on them the way a black straght (or gay) male would. That's why it seems that adcomms do not give as much attention to sexual orientation (I have as of yet to see an app that asks folks to check a box on that one....heh...) as compared to racial/ethnic minorities. A gay person still has the ability to "blend" in and keep their status to themself. If they don't talk about your partner at work, no one "knows" and therefore won't have anything to hold against them. If them don't kiss a man in public, no one can jump out to "kill that f*g." In some ways, the gay experience is in a way similar to a light complected black person who can "pass" for white, and as long as no one knows, there won't be any discrimination palced against them. But that same black person has to sit there while friends and coworkers make all kinds of comments about black people, yet that person can say nothing for fear jerpordizing the position which they hold. Nevertheless the circumstances are different for racial minorities... when you're black, Asian, or Latino, everyone knows, and that person doesn't have the privelege to keep that fact to themselves.

Race isn't the only way to determine how discrimination takes place.... people get discriminated for all kinds of reasons...being obese, handicapped, or even mentally challenged. In the US, racial and gender discrimination are the two big ticket issues in this area, and adcomms seem to be in sync with the limitations that such applicants have faced over the years. But it certainly shouldn't hinder a gay applicant from making a compelling case about how their sexual orientation has had a significant impact on their life experiences.

Jet

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Re: Gays a minority status?
« Reply #44 on: July 30, 2005, 11:16:42 AM »
Re: the "appearance" issue ... if that is how you choose distinguish race as a minority from sexual orientation ... how would you justify the poster here from last cycle who is biologically white but got URM status because he was adopted by a latino family?

pop_tort

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Re: Gays a minority status?
« Reply #45 on: July 30, 2005, 12:16:45 PM »
Well I'm sure he was able to make a compelling case as to how his upbringing and cultural experiences shaped him as a person and had an influence on him. Could he still walk in and face better prospects for a job than perhaps one of his Latino siblings? Quite possible. But he's not sitting there saying "I'm white, but I'm going to check Latino" - he was most likely able to show how his life experiences are unique, and how that definitely sets him apart from another white male applicant, who say has never seen a Latino person in real life (I'm only using that as an example because I have a white friend from upstate NY who had never SEEN an Asian person until he moved to CA. Scary, but true!!)

Anyways, that person's case is unique....



Jet

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Re: Gays a minority status?
« Reply #46 on: August 12, 2005, 08:07:57 AM »
Well I'm sure he was able to make a compelling case as to how his upbringing and cultural experiences shaped him as a person and had an influence on him. Could he still walk in and face better prospects for a job than perhaps one of his Latino siblings? Quite possible. But he's not sitting there saying "I'm white, but I'm going to check Latino" - he was most likely able to show how his life experiences are unique, and how that definitely sets him apart from another white male applicant, who say has never seen a Latino person in real life (I'm only using that as an example because I have a white friend from upstate NY who had never SEEN an Asian person until he moved to CA. Scary, but true!!)

Anyways, that person's case is unique....




but none of that has to do with his "appearance," which is supposed to distinguish race from sexual orientation in terms of minority status, so you didnt answer my question.  if he identifies as latino and wants to hide that fact, it would be rather easy to do so since he is biologically white.

using the criteria you just described, many gays can be unique applicants, too.  and i bet there are many LS applicants who have never met an open homosexual.

pop_tort

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Re: Gays a minority status?
« Reply #47 on: August 13, 2005, 02:51:44 PM »
Well I'm sure he was able to make a compelling case as to how his upbringing and cultural experiences shaped him as a person and had an influence on him. Could he still walk in and face better prospects for a job than perhaps one of his Latino siblings? Quite possible. But he's not sitting there saying "I'm white, but I'm going to check Latino" - he was most likely able to show how his life experiences are unique, and how that definitely sets him apart from another white male applicant, who say has never seen a Latino person in real life (I'm only using that as an example because I have a white friend from upstate NY who had never SEEN an Asian person until he moved to CA. Scary, but true!!)

Anyways, that person's case is unique....




but none of that has to do with his "appearance," which is supposed to distinguish race from sexual orientation in terms of minority status, so you didnt answer my question.  if he identifies as latino and wants to hide that fact, it would be rather easy to do so since he is biologically white.

using the criteria you just described, many gays can be unique applicants, too.  and i bet there are many LS applicants who have never met an open homosexual.

I never said that gays are not unique applicants. Having the gay experience and perspective represented in the classroom and the legal field is important. My point is that racial discrimination is one of the most profound forms of discrimination in this country, and while a gay person can *chose* to not tell anyone about their orientaion, a black or asian person doesn't have that privilege. Take for example the actor Rock Hudson -  a MAJOR Hollywood actor in the 1950s & 06's who the studios portrayed as a womanizer, ladies man, etc. Little did everyone know that he was actually gay- and he never confirmed the gossip until the 1980s (when he announced that he was unfortunately dying of AIDS). Up till that point, he had a VERY successful movie career, and while he had to surpress this secret for decades, he had the *privilege* to do so because no one could look at him and tell that he was gay (only that he was a white male), where as minorites were hardly involved in film projects at that time (with exception to a token few) because one could easily look at a person and see what race they were, and people of color were certainly not welcome in the film world in the 50's and 60's. (And while things have somewhat improved in the past few decade, racial discrimination in film has certainly not disappeared....but another time, another thread I suppose).


Yes, gays still experience discrimination in many ways, especially when someone tries to exercise their right to be open about their life. But I think the foucus on disadvantages faced by people (aside from economic disadvantages) is directed more towards people who have no such privilege, AND they suffered some type of hardship as a result of this (i.e. lack of access to better educational opportunites, parents access to jobs which in turn affected their families economic situation, etc etc.)

In the case of the white guy from a latino family, hey, there may have been schools that didn't give him URM status, while others may have followed his line of reasoning and placed him in that category. As I said before, if he was given URM status, there was clearly more to his family's story (i.e. economic hardship, discriminaiton faced by his adoptive parents that in turn affected him, etc.). His story certainly wouldn't have made him a Latino applicant; if anything, it just shed a lot of light on his multi-cultural upbrining and how his experiences shaped him and made him unique. It's kind of similar to a white gal who grew up with two deaf parents -I met this girl who faced these cirumstances in my LSAT class. Did that make her handicapped, or pull her directly into URM status? No. But she was much more aware of issues faced by
handicapped people, having had direct experiences during her entire life. Did she face disadvantages through the expreiences of her parents? In many ways, yes, considering that the world doesn't always offer a perfect sitation for the deaf, and she had to act as a translator/interpreter for her parents on many occasions, among other things. I bet there are many law school applicants who have never met someone who grew up with TWO deaf parents (I had not until I met t his girl), and I know she would have made a uniquew contribution to a law school class. It still doesn't make her a URM just as the white/latino guy is not a URM, but if you can share about your experiences and make a compelling case, some schools will follow the story that you share.