Discussion group challenges current LGBT stereotypes

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From noon to 1 p.m. today, a Women’sResource Center discussionwill focus on what acceptance reallymeans.Lisa Diamond, U associate professorfor the psychology and genderstudies departments, will lead the discussion.She said she hopes to showthat everyone, not just the lesbian,gay, bisexual, transgender community,faces acceptance issues.”Everyone is touched by diversity.It applies to issues of race…class, anydomain of experience” that differsfrom society’s norms, Diamond said.She said the discussion will addressthese general issues of diversity, butwill focus on homosexual acceptance.In particular, the conversation will examinesociety’s stereotypes of homosexualsand the image the gay communitywishes to portray.”One big change in the LGBT communityis that we’re much more awareof the breadth of individuals,” Diamondsaid.Until recently, she said society hada much more restrictive image of theLGBT community.”For one thing, there was no ‘B’ or’T’,” she said.Diamond said that only recently hassociety begun to acknowledge thatthere is more to being gay than justsame-sex attraction. There are manyshades of gray between being purelyheterosexual and purely homosexual.Some men may enjoy wearing women’sclothes, but are not gay. Someheterosexuals may have a same-sexexperience, but not identify themselvesas homosexual or bisexual.”We are so many things. We are asdiverse as the heterosexual community.One person’s queerexperience may be differentfrom another’sand still be completelyvalid,” she said.Today’s discussionalso will address thedebunking of stereotypes.One the one hand,some LGBT people mayfeel they are “shamingthe community” if theyare congruent withcommon stereotypes,Diamond said.On the other hand,”it’s safer to say, ‘Lookhow acceptable weare,'” she said. Somepeople in the LGBTcommunity may strivefor the “dream image”conceived by mainstreamsociety, thinkingthat decent treatmentand acceptanceare sure to follow.”Some of us reallyare like Jack on [the TV show]’Willand Grace,’ but some of us aren’t,” shesaid.The discussion is part of the center’sFood for Thought Lunchtime Series, aprogram that presents a new topic foropen discussion every Tuesday fromnoon to 1 [email protected]