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REGISTERED NURSES’ ATTITUDES TOWARD THE PROTECTION OF GAYS AND - page 11 / 161

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CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

Gay Discrimination in Public Social Policy and Beginnings of a Gay Civil Rights Movement

The widespread existence of discrimination, hate crimes and violence, oppression, and heterosexist hatred against homosexuals is widely supported in the research literature pertaining to homosexuals (Pierce, 2001; Wetzel, 2001; Conley, Devine, Rabow, & Evett, 2002; Ellis, Kitzinger & Wilkinson, 2002; Herek, 2002; Irwin, 2002). To support an engrained heterosexist discriminatory element in America’s employment culture, a brief introduction of the history of the modern gay civil rights movement along with examples of common problems homosexuals experience in American society will be provided.

The modern gay civil rights movement has on its agenda the

cessation of homosexuals,

practices and cultural norms that inflict harm on

either

directly

or

indirectly.

Direct

forms

of

oppression

include

hate

crimes

aimed

at

inflicting

violence

on

gays and lesbians, denying promotion opportunities in

gays and lesbians the workplace, or

equal employment or the labeling of gay

civil rights as “special rights” to undermine advances. An example of indirect oppression is the lack of opportunity for taxation and healthcare benefits afforded to married heterosexual couples through illegalization of gay marriages (Pierce, 2001).

Many researchers and authors believe the modern gay civil rights movement began in 1969 with the Stonewall riots (Wetzell,

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