Psychological Perspectives on Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Experiences

Psychological Perspectives on Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Experiences

Psychological Perspectives on Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Experiences

Psychological Perspectives on Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Experiences

Synopsis

Designed for both the undergraduate and graduate classroom, this selection of important articles provides a comprehensive overview of current thought about the psychological issues affecting lesbians, bisexuals, and gay men. The editors have revised and updated the introduction and included a new set of articles for the second edition, most of which have been published since the release of the first edition of Psychological Perspectives. The book is divided into eight sections that deal with the meaning of sexual orientation; the psychological dimensions of prejudice, discrimination, and violence; identity development; diversity; relationships and families; adolescence, midlife, and aging; mental health; and the status of practice, research, and public policy bearing on homosexuality and bisexuality in American psychology.

Excerpt

Sexual orientation has become an aspect of the psychological study of human diversity during the last few years. Our basic assumption is that an understanding of sexual orientation will enhance psychological research and practice by reducing heterosexist bias, will increase the perception of similarity and appreciation of difference among those who differ in sexual orientation, and will support efforts to remove the stigma and discrimination against lesbians, gay men, and bisexual people.

Following a brief overview of the social context, we introduce this emerging field from the perspective of four main themes: (a) the definition of sexual orientation and new paradigms to understand it; (b) limitations and caveats of psychological research on sexual orientation; (c) why it is an important variable in the psychological understanding of people; and (d) historical and cultural perspectives.

Overview

In the last decade of the twentieth century, lesbians, bisexuals, and gay men have become much more visible in the fabric of American society. Instead of a focus on the cause of same-sex attraction, the perspective has shifted to dimensions of diversity. As a result, sexual orientation has been reframed from an atypical form of sexual behavior into a manifestation of gender diversity. On the one hand, this has meant that discrimination against lesbians and gay men has been seen as a subset of gender discrimination . . .

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