Discrimination surrounding people within the LGBTQ community is an ongoing issue in today’s society. Heterosexism, the idea that heterosexuality is the only acceptable form of romantic relationship, is still a view that many people have engrained in their mind. This heterosexist attitude causes many problems for people who have a sexual orientation that varies from the norm.
The topic I have chosen to focus on is the article that discusses a doctor’s refusal of treatment for a baby born to same-sex parents. The parents of the child are a lesbian couple, who sought out to find an accepting doctor who would be able to provide quality care for their baby. The couple thought they had found exactly the doctor who they were looking for, and were told to book an appointment when the baby was born. After their beautiful baby girl was born, the couple went in to see their doctor as they were instructed. Instead of seeing the familiar face they had trusted to provide the necessary care for their new baby, they were greeted with unsettling news. The doctor had decided she could no longer be able to care for a baby that was born to a homosexual couple.
The decision to refuse treatment is said to have come from a place of religious values, although this cannot be concluded for this, or any case of homophobia. Homophobia is fear or hatred of people who stray from societal norms in regards to sexual orientation, and it often leads to discrimination, such as what is seen in the article. Religion seems to play a leading role when it comes to what people see as acceptable, and this can cause many cases of sexual discrimination.
While watching the video embedded in the article, it is evident that the doctor and the couple are of different race. The intersectionality of race and gender is well known to cause discrimination, but is it possible that an intersection of race and sexual orientation can also lead to similar problems? Or even gender and sexual orientation? It is clear that in North America (where the couple in the article is from), the ‘standard’ story is that which involves a white man and a white woman together, reproducing and creating white male and white female babies, who will grow up and continue the cycle. Although it seems unlikely that racial differences played a large part in the situation discussed in the article, it would be interesting to see what would have happened if roles had been reversed. If the doctor was white, and the same sex couple was of a different racial background, could race have had a significant influence alongside sexual orientation? What if they had been from the same racial and religious background? Would the doctor be willing to refuse treatment of a child who comes from the same background as she did?
It would also be interesting to see what may have happened if, for example, the couple was a same-sex male couple, and the doctor was a female, because gender is another significant factor in regards to how people are treated within their society. Men are often more valued or seen as superior to women, so I wonder if the situation may have played out differently if the couple had both been male rather than female.
Power structures also seem to have somewhat of an influence the extent of discrimination. A doctor clearly has more power over a same sex couple in a society where there are not many laws in place to protect people of the LGBTQ community. Despite the article referencing that there is a law stating a doctor cannot refuse treatment based on sexual orientation, there are loopholes to this since doctors are allowed to refuse treatment if it goes against religious views. Therefore, if a doctor has a problem with the sexual orientation of a prospective patient, no one can stop them from refusing to treat them if they just say there is a religious aspect involved in the conflict. Since doctors have more power than their patients, there is not much that can be done when something like what happened to the couple in the article takes place.
Discrimination against anyone, no matter what their gender, race, or sexual orientation may be, is detrimental not only to the victims, but also to society as a whole. When an act of discrimination takes place, its effects can be harmful to people associated to the victims. Just like in the article, an individual may discriminate against someone, but the harm caused by this could more greatly affect someone else. The baby in the article was not the individual who the doctor was discriminating against, she was just an innocent baby who was thrown in the middle of the issue that the doctor had with her parents’ sexual orientation. Everyone deserves the chance to live freely and be happy, but in order for this to happen, discrimination in any form needs to be eradicated. Justice is said to be a public form of love; if this is true, it is time for justice to be presented for victims of discrimination so that everyone knows they are loved.
Reference: MyFOXDetroit.com Staff. “Doctor Refuses Treatment of Same-sex Couple’s Baby.” – Fox 2 News Headlines. My Fox Detroit, 18 Feb. 2015. Web. 10 Mar. 2015. <http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/28142401/doctor-refuses-treatment-of-same-sex-couples-baby>.