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Antigay Bias in Role-Model Occupations
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Antigay Bias in Role-Model Occupations

E. Gary Spitko

288 pages | 6 x 9
Cloth 2016 | ISBN 9780812248708 | $69.95s | Outside the Americas £56.00
Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors
A volume in the series Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights

"E. Gary Spitko makes a unique contribution to the literature regarding equality, law and gay identity. While the public discourse regarding gay rights has mainly been preoccupied with the movement for marriage equality, Spitko helpfully illustrates that marriage equality is not tantamount to full political equality as a citizen. Specifically, discrimination and exclusion from the workplace is a critical space where gay inequality is imposed and curtails gay human rights. The book provides a strong case for how employment discrimination in role model occupations removes gay role models from public visibility with detrimental repercussions across all other equality realms."—Tanya K. Hernandez, author of Racial Subordination in Latin America: The Role of the State, Customary Law, and the New Civil Rights Response

"An important and original contribution. Analyzing how a wide range of professions are affected by discrimination, and how this behavior serves a common purpose in reinforcing antigay norms, E. Gary Spitko makes a case that others will cite, build on, and utilize in their work."—Samuel A. Marcosson, University of Louisville

From the first game of the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs on April 22, 1876, tens of thousands of men have played professional sports in the Big Four—baseball, basketball, football, and hockey—major professional sports leagues in the United States. Until April 29, 2013, however, when National Basketball Association center Jason Collins came out publicly as gay, not one of those tens of thousands of men had ever come out to the public as gay while an active player on a major league roster. Is it because gay men can't jump (or throw, or catch, or skate)? Or is it more likely that the costs of coming out are too high?

In Antigay Bias in Role-Model Occupations, E. Gary Spitko argues that in the case of athletes, and others in role-model occupations, a record of widespread and frequently systematic employment discrimination has been excluding gay people from the public social spaces that identify and teach whom society respects and whom members of society should seek to emulate. Creating a typology of role models—lawyers/judges, soldiers, teachers, politicians, athletes, and clergy—and the positive values and character traits associated with them, Spitko demonstrates how employment discrimination has been used for the purpose of perpetuating the generally accepted notion that gay people are inferior because they do not possess the requisite qualities—integrity, masculinity, morality, representativeness, all-American-ness, and blessedness—associated with employment in these occupations.

Combining the inspirational stories of LGBT trailblazers with analysis of historical data, anecdotal evidence, research, and literature, Antigay Bias in Role-Model Occupations is the first book to explore in a comprehensive fashion the broad effects of sexual orientation discrimination in role-model occupations well beyond its individual victims.

E. Gary Spitko is Presidential Professor of Ethics and the Common Good and Professor of Law at Santa Clara University.

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