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Is homophobia still a problem in healthcare today?


Till date homophobia and homosexuality has been considered as a social stigma in many places. Psychotherapists still have negative attitudes towards homosexual people in spite of their presence in the population from time immemorial. Nowadays, the perception of the mental health practitioners towards the homosexuals is gradually improving.  Today the mental health practitioners cannot ignore the homosexual people as they constitute of about 10-15% of the population (Morgan & Nerison, 1993).

Surveys have found that many homosexuals are refused proper treatment as they don’t recognize same sex couples as proper couples. Many homosexuals have to travel interstate as they do not get proper treatment due to discrimination (Morgan & Nerison, 1993)..

Previously according to the Judeo Christian tradition, homosexuality was considered as a sin. This early conceptualization of homosexuality has been carried forward to the present and will still continue its tradition in the near future (Irwin, 2007). Early treatments were also there to cure homosexuality where the concerned patients were subjected to creepy and weird treatments, till it was found that it is not an illness (Rose 1994). Gradually the condition moved from the climate where homosexuality was considered as a sin to sickness, the society finally started to understand the reasons of homosexuality.

The role of Gay and lesbian rights were also crucial in providing status to them. In these movements many individuals shown the courage to step forward and had identified themselves as gay and lesbians (Bowers et al. 2006). After all these political, social turmoil and finally, the establishment of the gay rights did it change the attitudes of the mental health professionals?

Research on mental health professionals’ attitudes towards the homosexuals implies that a large number of professionals still retains negative perceptive about the gay people. Decrenzo (1985) found that the persons who self identified themselves as the hetero sexual were that first to bear a stereotypic belief about the homosexuals. The social workers were found to be more homophobic and the psychologists were found to be more homophobic. According to (Graham et al., 1984), most of the psychologists still believe that the gay and the lesbians need special training to change their life style.

Discrimination still exists against the homosexuals despite of the rising social tolerance and the right induced for them in the 1970s (Irwin, 2007). The different form of discrimination include inconsistent laws regarding, no recognition of the same sex relationship.

The nurses and the other health care workers should consider their professional obligations for the minority groups like the homosexuals. The healthcare professionals need to be more sensitive towards the cultural differences. According to (Bowers et al. 2006) The health care professionals need to me more sensitive while dealing these people , they should try to maintain the confidentiality and should be allowed in the decision making process.

The attitudes towards human homosexuality has evolved over time, be it the change in the perception of homosexuality as a mental illness or considering the oppressions faced by the homosexuals. Sufficient researches and attention are still to be made to the population of the homosexuals in terms of class issues, ethnicity, and emotional, physical and cognitive impairment.



Bowers, R. (2006). How we manage sexual and gender diversity in the public health system: A Research Report. University of New England.

Irwin, L. (2007). Homophobia and heterosexism: implications for nursing and nursing practice. Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, The, 25(1), 70.

Morgan, K. S., & Nerison, R. M. (1993). Homosexuality and psychopolitics: An historical overview. PSYCHOTHERAPY-RIVER EDGE-, 30, 133-133.

Rose, L. (1994). Homophobia among doctors. BMJ: British Medical Journal, 308(6928), 586.


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