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Addressing Homonegativity

Homonegativity, sometimes also referred to as homoprejudice, refers to negative biases, assumptions, beliefs, and behaviors toward individuals who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or otherwise in same-sex relationships. Homonegativity may be internal (i.e., when a person directs it toward him- or herself as a result of negative feelings about his or her sexuality) or external (i.e., when it is displayed by others—either individuals or institutions). Furthermore, homonegativity may be either covert or subtle (e.g., passing over a qualified employee for a promotion or failing to demonstrate basic kindness) or it may be overt and direct (e.g., negative comments, bullying, and discriminatory policies).

There are at least four levels at which partners in same-sex couples may experience homonegativity. First, the individuals within the partnership may experience homonegativity. Second, partners may experience homonegativity within their relationship interactions and dynamics. Third, partners may face homonegativity from their extended family members. Finally, social norms, policies, and institutions may demonstrate homonegativity toward same-sex couples. In this week's Assignment, you consider how same-sex couples may be influenced by homonegativity at each level and strategies that counselors might use to address homonegativity.

Explain how same-sex couples might be influenced by homonegativity on different levels: individually, in a relationship, within their families, and socially.

Describe strategies a counselor might use to address homonegativity and support couples at one of the four levels.

Explain why each strategy would be appropriate.

Solution Preview

On an individual level same-sex couples might be influenced by homonegativity due to the fact that these individuals may experience internal feelings of loathing and self-doubt due to the external negativity that they experience from individuals within the community, as well as within their families. Due to these factors, these individuals may have problems in communicating their feelings effectively with their partners, as well as reduce their ability to be able to empathize with what their partner may be going through in the relationship as well. Due to these factors, individually these same-sex partners may become highly frustrated and even neurotic due to the constant external pressure. In a relationship, same-sex couples might be influenced by homonegativity due to the fact that constant outside ostracism as well as insults may cause these individuals to take their frustrations out on one another, and thereby greatly reduce the strength of their relationship. In addition, the ...

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