The social stigma surrounding the transitioning family structure

Social norms are an ever-changing notion in society, especially those norms surrounding family structures and minority social groups. When people in careers are given the opportunity to opt out of helping marginalized people they are in fact just dehumanizing them. This dehumanization involves not just homophobia but all cases of discrimination. However, when this is tied to family structures, it usually has to do with a disconnect from the “traditional family” views. Oppression and privilege can arguably be the two biggest factors in these cases, as they show how the views surrounding family structures cannot change until everyone equally receives privilege.

When the same–sex couple Krista and Jami Conteras welcomed a beautiful baby in to the world they were denied the access of the doctor originally scheduled for the 6-day old infant, based off their sexuality. The happy couple had met with Dr. Roi before their baby was born, who was a hundred percent supportive to be the babies doctor. However on the morning of the appointment they were greeted by another doctor and told that Dr. Roi would no longer see them due to religious beliefs. There is nothing stopping doctors from refusing patients if it coincides with their beliefs as “the American Medical Association says physicians cannot refuse to care for patients based on sexual orientation, but doctors can refuse treatment if it’s incompatible with their personal, religious or moral beliefs.”(FOX)

It is important to be aware of the social structures such as health care and education as they can often be the most prone to discrimination. Even though doctors can turn down patients who are part of the queer community due to personal, religious, or moral beliefs, it is seen as an arbitrary act of discrimination or dehumanization. Homophobia however, is apparent to be the main issue in cases involving the failure to treat same-sex couples the same as heterosexual couples. These acts of homophobia cause families of same-sex couples to be denied essential human rights, and cause greater struggles for their maturing children. Access to health care is an essential need for people, especially young children and babies as they are at a higher risk of catching illness. Doctor Roi took away the privilege of the six-day-old Bay and put Bay at risk because of the sexual orientation of the parents.

Without laws or privileges protecting same-sex couples they are being forced into oppression. Same-sex couples are not receiving the same advantages as heterosexual couples since they are not being granted this heterosexual privilege. As the one mother said “When we started calling other pediatricians my first thing on the phone was, we’re lesbian moms – is this okay with you,” Krista said. (FOX). Oppression is not just forcing this couple but many other people out there to face criticism because of their sexual preference. A Heterosexual couple in our society would never have to tell a doctor of their sexual preference just to see if they could be tended for. In a similar comparison an abled-bodied person would never have to face the levels of discrimination as a disabled person. In the article “Disability Beyond Stigma: Social Interaction, Discrimination, and Activism” we see a similarity to that of which the couple faced. In this reading it explains how disabilities affect people, and cause them to be treated with discrimination. Disabled people suffer from mobility, access, jobs, independency, and other basic life needs that abled body people have complete privilege of having. These stigmas can cause social problems, marginality, and discrimination amongst many other issues. This conception of society however can be viewed threw similar lenses. People of disability tend to get placed on a lower social hierarchy then able-bodied people, causing them to get less needed attention and more unnecessary, unhelpful attention. Like in the case with the lesbian couple they received the kind of attention they did not want from their doctor, which was hateful, and placed them as a lower social status then that of straight people.

Another circumstance can be seen in society when looking at the article “It’s all in the Family: Intersections of Gender, Race, and Nation” the family values can be seen to naturalize U.S hierarchies of sexuality, gender, and age. In the traditional family “Predicted on assumptions of heterosexism, the invisibility of gay, lesbian, and bisexual sexualities in the traditional family ideal obscures these sexualities and keeps them hidden” (Collins). This ideal figure of the traditional family does not conform to social minorities in the United States, as it is a naturalized hierarchy of gender and age. By looking at this Binary thinking of heterosexual and homosexual, society needs to help push the family structure away from this idealized traditional family and let the ideals of family become more fluid.

By being socially aware of the changing family dynamics on society, people will become more accepting of same-sex couple families as they are not uncommon in society. However to put an end to these serious conditions of oppression amongst families and individuals of minorities, they must enact laws that protect them just as much as it protects the minorities.

– Thatguy1214

Word Count: 858

References

myFoxDetroit.com staff.”Doctor refuses treatment of same-sex couple’s baby.” February 18, 2015. myFoxDetroit.8 March 2015.<http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/28142401/doctor-refuses-treatment-of-same-sex-couples-baby&gt;

Fine, Michelle and Adrienne Asch. “Disability Beyond Stigma: Social Interaction, Discrimination, and Activism” 1988. PDF. 10 March 2015 <https://ereserves.library.queensu.ca/ares/ares.dll?SessionID=W103152420G&Action=10&Type=10&Value=13664&gt;

Collins, Patricia Hill. “It’s All in the Family: Intersections of Gender, Race, and Nation” 1998. PDF. 10 March 2015. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/3810699?seq=4#page_scan_tab_contents&gt;

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4 thoughts on “The social stigma surrounding the transitioning family structure

  1. I really enjoyed your blog post, I think you brought up some great points on how important societies influence is on these topic. The thing that breaks my heart the most is that this couple has to announce their sexual orientation before anything else just to make sure that they can be treated. No one should have to live like that. You sexual orientation, race or disability shouldn’t define you as a person. You’re right in saying that society has to change and perpetuate a different world view in order to change circumstances for many people. Although we have law against discrimination in medical, do you believe that those laws need to be updated or adjusted in order to protect couples and people who are being discriminated against based on gender, sexual orientation, or disability?

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  2. Great job on connecting discrimination against same-sex couples with the changing structure of family. It was interesting to see how there is a loop hole in the law that allows discrimination. However, I still do think that the doctors have the right to refuse treatment for patients if they are not comfortable. I just don’t see what religion has to do with it because I can’t think of a religious reason for a doctor to refuse treatments for the patient. I think the doctor in the article was using religion as an excuse for her personal thoughts on same-sex couples. Moving on, I liked that you also brought up privileges of having able bodies. It’s something not many people often think about but I would have liked to see how you would connect disability to the changing family structure. What does a family with disability look like? How would the privileged, people with able bodies, treat them?

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  3. I enjoyed reading your blog post, especially since I did not get the chance to read that article myself. I agree with your thoughts on social hierarchies. At the end of the day I truly believe it comes down to how we are socialized. We are socialized to believe in this mythical norm, that for a family to be successful it must mirror the image of the nuclear family drilled into us by the media. Thinking of the concept of essentialism discussed in tutorial, it is clear that it is essentialist thinking that is used to argue that a homosexual couple cannot serve as a family because it is not behaviour that is believed to be innate to our human race. This is deeply saddening. Coming from a single parent family I too hear that having only my mother raising me must be problematic. Just as a last question, do you think more about inclusivity of all family types and individuals should be written into Hippocratic Oaths as a way to ameliorate the current state of discrimination in medical institutions of our society?
    -srhs

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  4. Very Strong blog post you definitely have a lot of facts connected to the issue! I also agree with your thoughts and I feel it is quite sad these things are still happening within recent memory. On a personal preference it would’ve been great if you could’ve included a date on when the incidents had taken place (just to orient myself time-wise without looking up the source). Privilege is very prominent in a lot of the decisions we make as individuals and also has a lot to do with the oppression in society. Do you have any methods for overcoming the privilege that so often blocks the potential for society to move forward? Thoughts?

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