WBEZ | discrimination http://www.wbez.org/tags/discrimination Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Tackling the stigma of bisexuality http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-10/tackling-stigma-bisexuality-108978 <p><p><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/bisexual%20pride%20flag.jpg" title="(WIkipedia/Commons)" /></p><div><p dir="ltr">October is <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/01/october-1-lgbt-history-month_n_4013850.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices">LGBTQ History Month</a> &ndash; a time to honor gay rights pioneers of the past and celebrate the monumental progress that has been made. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">But prejudice against the &quot;B&quot; in LGBTQ, bisexuality, still holds a tremendous amount of power, as its legitimacy continues to be called into question in straight and queer communities alike.</p><p dir="ltr">People who identify as bisexual &ndash; that is, having an attraction to both genders, although not always simultaneously or equally &ndash; are often called liars, branded as promiscuous, or shamed into invisibility by those who don&#39;t understand how bisexuality could be anything more than a &quot;phase&quot; or a &quot;coverup.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">A <a href="http://chicago.gopride.com/news/article.cfm/articleid/47341876">groundbreaking report</a> from the San Francisco Human Rights Commission has defined the bisexual &ldquo;erasure&rdquo; problem this way:</p><p dir="ltr">&quot;Bisexuals experience high rates of being ignored, discriminated against, demonized, or rendered invisible by both the heterosexual world and the lesbian and gay communities. Often, the entire sexual orientation is branded as invalid, immoral, or irrelevant. Despite years of activism, the needs of bisexuals still go unaddressed and their very existence is still called into question. This erasure has serious consequences on bisexuals&#39; health, economic well-being, and funding for bi organizations and programs.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">Ultimately, bisexuality myths only serve to amplify stereotypes about people who don&#39;t settle at one end of the homo/hetero binary, while also perpetuating stigmas that keep &quot;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biphobia">biphobia</a>&quot; alive and well.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Myth 1: You&#39;re either gay, straight, or lying. </strong><strong>Bisexuality does not exist. </strong></p><p dir="ltr">In addition to being rude and presumptuous, this oft-used maxim is just flat out <a href="http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/09/21/1134808/-I-m-not-Gay-Straight-OR-Lying">wrong</a> in dismissing all bisexual people as wolves in sheep&#39;s clothing.</p><p dir="ltr">Granted, many bisexual individuals hold a preference. For example, I identify as bisexual, and while I hold a sexual attraction to both genders, I tend to be more romantically attracted to men. This is why I choose the term &ldquo;heteroromantic bisexual.&quot; Others may prefer another descriptor under the <a href="http://bidyke.tumblr.com/post/36276376222/new-bisexual-umbrella-d-i-needed-to-make-this">bisexual umbrella</a>, or choose not to label themselves at all.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Myth 2: Bisexuality is just one stage in the coming out process for gays and lesbians.</strong></p><p dir="ltr">Of course, some people do come out as bisexual before eventually coming out as gay or lesbian to their friends and family. But to stereotype all bisexuals as being in some phase of transition, or just &ldquo;experimenting&rdquo; before finally accepting themselves as exclusively gay or straight, is not only an unfair and prejudicial assumption, but a scientifically inaccurate one as well.</p><p dir="ltr">A number of studies, including those conducted by renowned sexologist Alfred Kinsey, have shown that sexuality is <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_orientation">fluid</a> and exists on a spectrum. In 1948, Kinsey&#39;s work &quot;Sexual Behavior in the Human Male&quot; found that &quot;46 percent of the male population had engaged in both heterosexual and homosexual activities, or &#39;reacted to&#39; persons of both sexes, in the course of their adult lives,&quot; which is just one example to make up the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinsey_scale">vast middle</a> that many of us occupy, but often feel too afraid to admit even to ourselves.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Myth 3: Bisexuality is okay for women, but not for men.</strong></p><p dir="ltr">This bias is deeply rooted in patriarchy, and the corresponding myth that women only pretend to be bisexual to attract men. The idea that bisexuality is more acceptable in women may also stem from the overwhelming visibility of woman-on-woman sexuality in comparison to men, especially in pornographic films, mainstream movies, and onstage at MTV award shows.</p><p dir="ltr">For example, Katy Perry&#39;s hit song &quot;I Kissed A Girl (And I Liked It)&quot; is a little racy, but hardly shocking enough to turn off a mainstream audience. However, would a man singing &ldquo;I Kissed A Boy (And I Liked It)&rdquo; in a similarly bisexual context be greeted with the same enthusiasm? &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Countless men both in and out of the public eye have proudly affirmed their bisexuality (and &quot;<a href="http://www.towleroad.com/2013/10/morrissey-im-not-gay-i-am-humansexual.html">humansexuality</a>,&quot; in Morrissey&#39;s case) over the years. Here are just a few:&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.bowiegoldenyears.com/articles/7609-playboy.html">David Bowie</a>, in a 1976 interview with Playboy:</p><p dir="ltr">&quot;It&#39;s true &ndash; I am a bisexual. But I can&#39;t deny that I&#39;ve used that fact very well. It&#39;s the best thing that ever happened to me.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/todayilearned/comments/1f52wp/til_billy_joe_armstrong_came_out_as_bisexual_in/">Billie Joe Armstrong</a>, in a 1995 interview with The Advocate:</p><p dir="ltr">&quot;I think I&#39;ve always been bisexual. I mean, it&#39;s something that I&#39;ve always been interested in. I think everybody kind of fantasizes about the same sex. I think people are born bisexual, and it&#39;s just that our parents and society kind of veer us off into this feeling of &#39;Oh, I can&#39;t.&#39; They say it&#39;s taboo. It&#39;s ingrained in our heads that it&#39;s bad, when it&#39;s not bad at all. It&#39;s a very beautiful thing.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/clive-davis-comes-out-in-new-memoir-20130219">Clive Davis</a>, in his 2013 memoir &quot;The Soundtrack of My Life&quot;:</p><p>&quot;After my second marriage failed, I met a man who was also grounded in music. Having only had loving relationships and sexual intimacy with women, I opened myself up to the possibility that I could have that with a male, and found that I could ...You don&#39;t only have to be one thing or the other. For me, it&#39;s the person.&quot;</p><p>Finally, to all who have been ostracized, invalidated, or shamed into silence because of your sexual orientation, especially those who have been told to &quot;pick a side&quot; or &quot;you can&#39;t have it both ways,&quot; know this: you&#39;re okay just the way you are. I promise.</p></div><p><em>Leah Pickett writes about popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">@leahkpickett</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 25 Oct 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-10/tackling-stigma-bisexuality-108978 Local Indian Catholics allege discrimination within their own church http://www.wbez.org/local-indian-catholics-allege-discrimination-within-their-own-church-108652 <p><p>A small group of Indian Catholics is petitioning the Vatican to stop what they claim are discriminatory practices in their U.S. churches. The Knanaya, a small sect estimated at 400,000 worldwide, have concentrated in the Chicago area over the last five decades. Now a rift over whether they should continue their ancient observance of endogamy, where members only marry within their ethnic group, has spilled into public view.</p><p>&ldquo;The Knanaya are essentially a 1700-year old Christian caste,&rdquo; explained Ligy Pullappally, an attorney and Knanite who lives in suburban Chicago. &ldquo;You cannot marry into a Knanaya community and become a Knanaya, you cannot convert to it, because it is a biological-based tradition.&rdquo;</p><p>Pullappally is one of a small, but growing, group of American Knanites who have filed a canonical lawsuit within the Catholic Church&rsquo;s legal system. She and the others have married outside the Knanaya church, an act that they claim has led to discriminatory treatment. In Pullappally&rsquo;s case, her husband is Protestant, and so she says her family is being denied certain rights.</p><p>&ldquo;[T]he right to conduct your wedding at that church, the right to baptize your child at that church,&rdquo; said Pullappally.</p><p>A fellow complainant, Lukose Paret, produced several letters he attempted to send to a priest at one of the two Chicago-area churches, along with receipts showing they were declined and sent back unopened. He and others say they are barred from joining church committees, their homes are shunned during Christmas caroling events, and their children are not welcome to participate in youth activities.</p><p>&ldquo;Basically the Knanaya church is walking a tightrope between maintenance of these age-old endogamous traditions, and knowledge that America is a new land where inclusivity is the rule,&rdquo; said Pullappally.</p><p>The disagreement within the church spilled onto the streets in March, however, when several hundred Knanaya rallied outside their bishop&rsquo;s house in Elmhurst. The protest was in response to a letter issued by Bishop Jacob Angadiath, who oversees the St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago. Angadiath had ordered churches in the diocese to be more inclusive of mixed-Knanaya families, or families where only one spouse is a full-blooded Knanaya. Angadiath did not respond to multiple requests for interview.</p><p>&ldquo;It is totally against our principle,&rdquo; said Tomy Myalkarapuram, president of the Knanaya Catholic Congress of North America, a laypeople organization that claims 20,000 members. &ldquo;We have every right to remain as (an) ethnic group and as (an) endogamous group,&rdquo; he added.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20Shot%202013-09-11%20at%209.26.42%20AM.png" style="height: 224px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Sacred Heart Knanaya Catholic Parish in Maywood, IL, is one of two Knanaya churches in the greater Chicago area. The Knanaya Catholic church in the U.S. has recently reached new levels of conflict over whether to preserve their ancient tradition of endogamy." /></div><p>Myalkarapuram said endogamy is the essence of the Knanaya community, and that the larger Catholic Church should not ask the Knanaya to sacrifice a defining characteristic of their identity. In fact, since the Knanaya church was folded into the Catholic Church several centuries ago, the concept of endogamy has never sat well with Rome.</p><p>&ldquo;It sounds as if you are excluding people from the church if you have your own separate endogamous church,&rdquo; said Richard Swiderski, an anthropologist who studied Knanaya endogamy in India.</p><p>Swiderski said the Catholic Church held its nose and allowed the Knanaya in India to continue the practice, but that it did not intend for the tradition to be carried over to other countries. However, he noted that any forced change would run afoul of long-held beliefs.</p><p>&ldquo;The practice of endogamy is this very idea that (the Knanaya) represent the pure doctrine, (that) they are hereditary representatives of the pure doctrine,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;The only way they could maintain that was to continue marrying only among themselves.&rdquo;</p><p>Swiderski said the Knanaya believe they descended from Middle Easterners who settled in southern India in 345 AD., making them racially distinct from other Indians. He said ever since then, they have tried to preserve their spiritual distinction, a belief that they represent a version of Christianity untainted by outside cultures, through endogamy.</p><p>The controversy may ultimately be resolved by people within the community: a younger generation of Knanites who debate whether endogamy makes sense in an American context.</p><p>In the meantime, Pullappally says the church has already lost one of its youngest members -- her son. Days before he was baptized, she explained her decision not to have it done in a Knanaya church.</p><p>&ldquo;He&rsquo;s going to be baptized in a Roman Catholic Church, but not the Knanaya church,&rdquo; said Pullappally.&nbsp; &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t want the occasion of something joyful, like a baptism, to be marred by hostility.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 11 Sep 2013 09:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/local-indian-catholics-allege-discrimination-within-their-own-church-108652 Hospital responds to immigrant transplant protest http://www.wbez.org/news/hospital-responds-immigrant-transplant-protest-108300 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP071116021222.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A Chicago hospital says its organ transplant decisions aren&#39;t based on whether a patient is a U.S. citizen or in this country illegally.</p><p>Northwestern Memorial Hospital issued a response to protesters and hunger strikers who say local hospitals are discriminating against immigrants in this country illegally.</p><p>The hospital says all transplant decisions are based on several factors including the patient&#39;s home life, social environment and ability to pay for costly treatment.</p><p>The protesters met Monday with a Northwestern representative and say the hospital has agreed to participate in an ongoing dialogue about the issue.</p><p>They are now focusing their protest on another area hospital, Christ Advocate in Oak Lawn.</p></p> Tue, 06 Aug 2013 11:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/hospital-responds-immigrant-transplant-protest-108300 Supreme Court blocks sex-discrimination suit against Wal-Mart http://www.wbez.org/story/supreme-court-blocks-sex-discrimination-suit-against-wal-mart-88067 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-20/walmart.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>WASHINGTON -- A Supreme Court decision blocking a massive sex-discrimination lawsuit against Wal-Mart may have a far-reaching effect.</p><p>It's expected to make it harder to mount large-scale bias claims against the nation's biggest companies.</p><p>The justices all agreed that the lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores on behalf of female employees cannot proceed as a class action in its current form. But the high court split 5-4 over whether the plaintiffs should get another chance to make their case.</p><p>Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the court's conservative majority, said there were no common elements tying the women's complaints together.</p><p>But Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the court's four liberal justices, said there was more than enough uniting the claims.</p></p> Mon, 20 Jun 2011 16:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/supreme-court-blocks-sex-discrimination-suit-against-wal-mart-88067 Illinois school district sued for religious discrimination http://www.wbez.org/story/berkeley/illinois-school-district-sued-religious-discrimination <p><div>Federal prosecutors have filed a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/Berkeley_Complaint%20(2).pdf">complaint</a> against <a href="http://www.berkeley87.org/">Berkeley School District 87</a>, claiming it violated the Civil Rights Act when it denied a Muslim teacher time off for an Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca. <a href="http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/titlevii.cfm">Title VII</a> of the act prohibits employment discrimination based on religion, among other things. The suit asserts that the district failed to provide Safoorah Khan &ldquo;reasonable accommodation of her religious observance, practice, and/or belief.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Khan was a Math Lab teacher at McArthur Middle School, in west-suburban Berkeley, IL. Less than a year after starting that job in 2007, Khan asked for nearly three weeks of unpaid leave in 2008 to perform hajj, the annual Islamic pilgrimage to the holy city in Saudi Arabia. Hajj is considered a religious duty that able-bodied and financially-capable Muslims must fulfill at least once. When the district rejected Khan&rsquo;s request, Khan resigned and filed a complaint with the <a href="http://www.eeoc.gov/">Equal Employment Opportunity Commission</a>. The EEOC attempted to mediate a resolution with the district, but could not. It referred the case to the <a href="http://www.justice.gov/">Department of Justice</a>.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In the complaint the DOJ asserts that Khan was forced to choose between work and her religion. The department wants to see the school district reinstate Khan with backpay. It also wants the school district to change its policies to accommodate such religious requests.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The school board did not immediately return calls.</div> <p>The DOJ is touting this lawsuit as the first under a new pilot project where the department works closely with the EEOC to &ldquo;ensure vigorous enforcement of Title VII against state and local governmental employers&hellip;&rdquo; But it&rsquo;s not the first time the DOJ has brought a lawsuit against such employers for alleged religious discrimination.</p><p>In an email, DOJ spokesperson Xochitl Hinojosa said, &ldquo;The Employment Litigation Section has brought several other lawsuits alleging religious discrimination under Title VII on behalf of employees of other religions, including Christian, Jewish and Muslim employees.&rdquo;&nbsp;Many of them, wrote Hinojosa, resulted in consent decrees.&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 14 Dec 2010 22:45:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/berkeley/illinois-school-district-sued-religious-discrimination