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Demandeur.euse.s de protection internationale

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Glossary: LGBTQIA+phobia and discrimination

LGBTQI+migrants may experience a series of discrimination or various forms of harassment from people who fear or feel uncomfortable with them based on their sexual orientation and gender identity as well as their foreign origins.

Discrimination 

Discrimination means interference in terms of rights and opportunities. It is about the unfair treatment of a person because of their gender, sexuality, age, weight, ethnicity, religion, disability, etc. Discrimination can take many different forms, from acts of personal hatred to an institutional denial of privileges normally granted to other groups of individuals.

SomeLGBTQIA+ people experience discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or their sex characteristics. This may be discrimination from religious institutions, companies, or from governments. Examples include same-sex couples not being allowed to marry, getting legally fired just for being LGBTQIA+, or not being allowed into certain housing.  

Invisibility

Director indirect discrimination by which needs, desires, rights, life choices, or the cultural and intellectual production of a minority are ignored, ridiculed, or made inaccessible. Invisibility affects, among other things, sexual and gender minorities.

Heterosexism

Heterosexism is the presumption that everyone is heterosexual, and that heterosexuality is superior to any other sexual orientation; heterosexism contributes to obscuring other sexual orientations.

Heteronormativity

Heteronormativity is the presumption that heterosexuality is the valid norm, and that heterosexual relationships are the standard for determining what is normal(valid) or not.

Cisnormativity

Cisnormativity is the presumption that being cisgender is the valid norm and that the gender binary must serve as a reference for the determination of what is normal(valid) or not.

Xenophobia

Xenophobia is the fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners, whereas racism has a broader meaning that includes a belief that racial differences produce the inherent superiority of a particular race.

Racialization

The process by which meaning is attributed to particular biological features of human beings, thus assigning individuals to different racial categories. Some people are positively racialized and considered as being “the norm” (i.e.people racialized as white) as others are racialized as diverging from that norm in less favorable ways. Usually, when the expression “racialized” is used on its own it refers to Black people and other people of color (including Roma people). In the same way, only Christianism and Atheism are perceived as being inherently European sets of beliefs. This means that signs of practicing other religions have a racializing effect as well.

Racism

Often defined as “discrimination based on race”. However, this definition is simplistic, outdated and incomplete. It ignores decades of critical race studies and actively excludes the perspective of those who actually face racism. Indeed, definitions presented in dictionaries rarely take into account the systemic dimension of oppressions. A more comprehensive definition would be that it is a highly adaptive system of oppression ensuring unequal resources repartition by maintaining hierarchies and systems of domination. In international law, the racism framework generally includes discrimination based on ethnicity and religion. It is however useful to distinguish these three elements as they are not the same thing and as such are not mutually exclusive.Understanding the distinction between these three may help better understand the complexities of the experience of those who live at the intersection of them.

Sexism

Sexism means the division of roles, skills, interests, and acceptable behaviours according to gender. The main effects are discrimination against women and the alienation of all genders.

Slut-shaming

Slut-shaming is the act of insulting and/or pointing fingers at women who have - or who people assume to have - a sexual activity considered as incorrect or an attitude deemed too "provocative." This also sometimes refers to women who resort to abortion. Slut-shaming manifests through insults, harassment, mockery, discrediting, etc. It is also slut-shaming to blame a rape victim by saying that she should not have worn the outfit she was wearing when she was assaulted. There is no male version of slut-shaming, it is a sexist practice.

LGBTQIA+-phobia

LGBTQIA+-phobia encompasses a range of negative attitudes and feelings like fear, hatred and discomfort toward homosexuality or people who are identified or perceived as being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, aromantic and so on. 

Microaggressions

LGBTQIA+-phobic people can take the form of inappropriate jokes, exclusion, dismissing or ignoring people, not learning people’s names, misgendering, stereotyping, etc. Microaggressions are only micro in comparison to overt, intentional, and explicit macroaggressions. Their effects are however as intense and impactful on people who are marginalized as they are much more frequent and repetitive.They may seem neglectable to aggressors, but they could be compared to a wasp sting in their effect. One wasp sting is painful and uncomfortable but being stung by a full colony of wasps can be mortal.

Homophobia

Homophobia groups all the negative attitudes that may lead to discrimination or persecution (harassment, rejection, violence, etc.) against a person or a group of people based on their homo-or bisexuality, actual, or perceived. Homophobia can be broken down into lesbophobia (rejection of lesbians), gayphobia (rejection of gays), or biphobia (rejection of bisexuals). Homophobia can affect anyone whose appearance or behavior does not conform to gender stereotypes.

Lesbophobia

Lesbophobia(sometimes lesbiphobia) comprises various forms of negativity towards lesbians as individuals, as couples, or as a social group. Lesbophobia is different from gay phobia because it attacks lesbians on two fronts: being a lesbian and being a woman. Lesbophobia is, therefore, a combination of homophobia and sexism.

Transphobia

Refers to negative cultural and personal beliefs, opinions, attitudes, and behaviours based on prejudice, disgust, fear and/or hatred of transgender people oragainst variations of gender identity and gender expression. Both gay andstraight people can be transphobic, and people can be transphobic without being homophobic or biphobic.

Transphobia can manifest itself by:

  • Discrimination and intolerance (discrimination in hiring, housing,...)
  • Physical (assaults, rapes, murders, ...), verbal(insults) or psychological violence
  • The refusal to consider a person in the gender that corresponds to their comfort zone.

Misgendering:

To misgender someone is to use, intentionally or not, a pronoun or another gender marker that does not correspond to a person’s gender identity. It is a micro aggression and qualifies as a transphobic act.

Biphobia

The intense hatred, fear, rejection, prejudice or aversion towards bisexuals or bisexuality present among people from all sexual orientations. It includes the frequent negative stereotyping and/or denial of the existence of bisexuals. Both gay and straight people can be biphobic.

Intersexphobia

The range of negative attitudes (emotional disgust, fear, violence, anger, or discomfort) felt or expressed towards people whose sex characteristics do not conform with society’s expectations of how the sex characteristics of a person, understood only as male or female, should look.

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