Literature Review: Inequality Based on Sexual Orientation

Literature Review: Inequality Based on Sexual Orientation

Throughout the world, it is impossible to ignore the fact that many people currently face serious cases of discrimination based on what they beilive in, for instance, sexual orientation. Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transsexuals (LGBT), often face acute discrimination in most parts of the world. Studies have been conducted in sociological realms to look into this problem. This review assesses how such sociological studies tackle social problems such as LGBT discrimination. Additionally, it seeks to formulate a research question from the analysis to inform the final research essay, coming up at the tail end the course.


In the article by Cronin & King (2010), the primary focus is on exploring the applicability of diversity and ‘intersectionality’ theories to mature LGB Adults. Apparently, existing theories of diversity explain the challenges and advantages that derive from being an older LGB adult. Unfortunately, they fail to illuminate intra-LGB disparities. Thus, the ‘intersectionality’ theory is a possible solution to a clear understanding of these intra-LGB disparities, with new implications for research and policy.

According to Guiffre, Dellinger, and Williams (2008), the leading topic of concern is the inequality experienced by gay and lesbians in their workplaces. Notable progress is, in their view, observable at ‘gay-friendly’ workplaces, but much still needs to be done to make this social group feel at home. Even well-known ‘gay-friendly’ workplaces still exhibit elements of stereotyping, discrimination, and harassment. This has significant implications for scholars of inequality in organizations.

David (2007) makes compelling arguments about fighting and eradicating discrimination based on sexuality in this article. Apparently, approximately all lesbian and gay people experience constant discrimination all through the country and are forced to fight for equal protection through the law that allows for the protection of LGB rights. Based on firsthand experience, the author is aware that same-sex couples face widespread discrimination. This, in his view, should be discouraged because allowing discrimination of any form, anywhere threatens the overall liberty of all.   


The three journal articles have commonalities in their content. They all address sexually oriented discrimination against the LGBT community across its various age groups and different spheres of life. Some researchers argue that ‘‘human sexualities are always organized through economic, religious, political, familial, and social conditions’’ (Plummer, 2003, pp. 515-516 in Giuffre et al., 2008). David (2007, pp. 31) appears to agree when he observes that the LBGT community faces acute discrimination in “…housing, employment, parenting, schools and recognition of relationships….” The Supreme Court has had to flex its muscles a couple of times to limit the extent of this discrimination. And although many states seem to have enacted laws that seek to ease life for this group, employers can still fire or refuse to employ LGBTs. These sentiments are echoed in Cronin and King (2010) who argue that although some gains have been made towards appreciating the rights and liberties of LGBTs, for example, the emergence of ‘gay-friendly organizations,’ even within those organizations, LGBTs still face notable cases of discrimination based on their sexual orientation.

The message these authors are putting across is that despite the recent developments, which seem to create the impression that things are looking brighter LGBTs, discrimination against this group is real. The level of discrimination against them is higher than anyone cares to admit and this is a problem. When states seem to accommodate LGBTs simply because federal laws have muscled them into doing so, these people cannot claim to be enjoying their rights and liberties. This state of affairs logically leads to this critical question; how can stakeholders facilitate the full acceptability and non-discrimination towards the LGBT community?


The LGBT community is suffering and in dire need of measures to guarantee it the full enjoyment of its constitutional rights and liberties. If the current state of affairs remains, the group will continue to suffer for far too long. Thus, the question above appears to be a good area to explore in order to find a conclusive solution to the plight of this group.  


Alphonso, D. (2007). Fighting discrimination based on Sexual Discrimination. Litigation, 34(1), 31-35.

Cronin, A., & King, A., (2010). Power, inequality, and identification: Exploring diversity and intersectionality among older LGB adults. Sociology, 44(5), 876-892.

Guiffre, P., Dellinger, K., & Williams, C. L. (2008).No retribution for being gay? Inequality in ‘gay-friendly’ workplaces. Sociological Spectrum, 28, 254–277.

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