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REGISTERED NURSES’ ATTITUDES TOWARD THE PROTECTION OF GAYS AND - page 15 / 161

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pathological and resulted from dysfunctional parent-child relationships (Morrow, 2001) Using this social construction of homosexuality as anomalous, many lesbians and gays living in the first half of the twentieth century were afraid to disclose their sexual orientation, known as “come out” (Human Rights Campaign, 2004) , out of a fear of being institutionalized as mentally ill (Morrow, 2001). Popular literature such as Time, Look, and Life depicted gay males (usually ignoring lesbians entirely) in a negative perspective. The House UnAmerican Activities Committee (in-conjunction with McCarthy) targeted lesbians and gays—labeling them as threats to the stability of the country (Morrow, 2001). And after World War II, the United States military began discharging gays and lesbians and prevented them from serving. Lesbians and gays involuntarily released from military services were branded with “undesirable” discharges which precluded their receiving of future military benefits and tarnished their reputations for seeking civilian employment. The military infused mandatory lectures on the pathology of homosexuality in the training of new military troops (Morrow, 2001).

While these practices are pre-Stonewall, some are still present today in some form or another. Although altered through the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue” Policy of the United States Military (the 1994 National Defense Authorization Act), homosexuals cannot openly serve in the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, or Coast Guard (Belkin, 2003).

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