Multiple Threats: Accumulated Oppression in Sexually Diverse Youth

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Sexually diverse populations, both as individuals as well as entire sub-groups and communities, have long been the victims of derision, hatred, and discrimination as a result of their sexual orientation. The notion that the only appropriate sexual behavior socially permitted is between a man and a woman and all other forms of sexuality is deviancy, known as heterosexism, has been inflicted upon the LGBT community for eons.


For example, lesbian adolescents of color face a quadruple threat of bias-sexism, ageism, racism, and heterosexism-that extends far beyond a single dimension and, if the individual happens to be poor or of a lower socioeconomic class, yet another significant oppressive dimension is added. An economically disadvantaged, lesbian adolescent of color faces a multiple range of potentially identity-crushing and emotionally destabilizing forces on a daily basis. The impact of this accrued negativism is relevant to social work practice because these young people often fall within the support network of the social system. Whether due to economic, abusive, or other domestic difficulties, the social work practitioner will likely encounter such an individual in a professional setting. The plight of the at-risk individuals must be well understood before it can be affirmatively addressed and attenuated.
The purpose of this research paper is to investigate the key issues, potential emotional and psychological impact, as well as the social practice implications facing adolescents who fall within this vulnerable population at risk ...
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