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People who doubt LGBT discrimination less likely to intervene and even blame victims, according to study

A study found that those with greater amnestic heterosexism (AH) beliefs – or those who no longer see that LGBT still experience discrimination related to sexual orientation – often perceive discriminatory situations as less severe/dangerous, feel less personally responsible to intervene, and were more blaming toward the target of bullying.

Those who don’t care, won’t; and they victim-blame too.

A study found that those with greater amnestic heterosexism (AH) beliefs – or those who no longer see that LGBT still experience discrimination related to sexual orientation – often perceive discriminatory situations as less severe/dangerous, feel less personally responsible to intervene, and were more blaming toward the target of bullying.

In “Amnestic Heterosexism and Bystander Responses to Anti-Gay Bullying”, which appeared in the October 2017 issue of the Journal of Homosexuality, J. Katz, D. Federici and T. Ramos-Dries investigated potential associations between individuals’ AH beliefs and their responses to anti-gay bullying. In total, 238 heterosexual undergraduates completed a measure of AH before responding to a scenario in which a man accuses another man of being a “fag.”

“As expected, those with greater AH beliefs perceived the situation as less severe/dangerous, felt less personally responsible to intervene, and were more blaming toward the target of bullying,” the researchers noted. “In multivariate analyses, AH was indirectly associated with intent to confront the perpetrator via a path of reduced personal responsibility.”

For the researchers, the results indicate that “beliefs denying the existence of discrimination based on sexual orientation reduce feelings of personal responsibility to address anti-gay bullying. In turn, low personal responsibility inhibits confrontation of those who perpetrate bullying behaviors.”

Various studies have looked at the prevalence of bullying of LGBT people due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity or expression. The bullying may be verbal, relational, physical bullying, and damage to property. It has already been noted that “bullying undermines the well-being of LGBT people, with implications for risky health behaviors, poor mental health, and poor physical health that may last into adulthood.”

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