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Despite the public’s focus on addressing and avoiding inequality, discrimination, and injustice in relation to representatives of different social groups, it is still possible to speak about categorical inequalities typical of the US society. The term of durable inequalities and the discussion of four associated aspects were proposed by Charles Tilly in the 1990s. According to Tilly, the critical facets of durable inequalities are exploitation, opportunity hoarding, emulation, and adaptation (Miller & Garran, 2017). While referring to this model, it is important to analyze the experience of representatives of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community in the US. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the phenomenon of durable inequalities with reference to the LGBT community in the US society to understand how four aspects of this concept are reflected in LGBT people’s experiences.
The first feature of durable inequalities is exploitation that can be represented in relation to LGBT people in different forms. In this context, exploitation means controlling less powerful people to receive certain gains (Miller & Garran, 2017). Thus, LGBT people often suffer from such a violent form of exploitation as sexual exploitation. Additionally, LGBT people suffer from exploitation at school, where they can be bullied, and at work, where they can be discriminated against (Lloren & Parini, 2017). Another form of exploiting LGBT Americans is associated with older LGBT people when they are controlled by their relatives, who can offend them and use their resources.
Opportunity hoarding is associated with creating a network including other representatives of a certain community to receive access to resources and control particular areas. Currently, there are no many spheres in American society where LGBT people can realize their opportunity hoarding according to Tilly’s model. Still, it is possible to state that, today, many LGBT people prefer to organize networks in beauty and fashion spheres, as well as art, while becoming more influential in these areas (Peterson & Panfil, 2014). At the current stage, it is possible to observe how LGBT people gain reputation and recognition in these fields.
The idea of emulation is related to using certain social relationship models, as well as beliefs and practices, in different settings and environments. With reference to LGBT people, emulation can be observed as individuals’ reactions to representatives of the LGBT community. Thus, these persons can be easily prejudiced or discriminated in their home and educational settings, in the workplaces, and while visiting certain organizations (Mezey, 2015). The problem is that many LGBT people in the United States suffer from being discriminated against and abused in different settings (Peterson & Panfil, 2014). For example, they can be treated violently by their relatives at home, and they also experience problems when finding a job because of HR managers’ discriminatory treatment.
Adaptation is associated with developing social narratives and practices or procedures that allow for promoting social interactions between representatives of different groups. In the context of the LGBT community, the representation of certain stereotypes connected with these people in media can be viewed as a variant of adaptation (Peterson & Panfil, 2014). The focus is often on accentuating differences of LGBT people but in the form acceptable by the majority.
Although much attention is currently paid to protecting the rights of LGBT Americans, it is still possible to observe the realization of the principle of durable inequalities. Being representatives of a minority group, LGBT people and other individuals develop their social interactions depending on exploitation, opportunity hoarding, emulation, and adaptation. Therefore, more emphasis should be put on accentuating the protection of these people’s rights and interests in US society.
Lloren, A., & Parini, L. (2017). How LGBT-supportive workplace policies shape the experience of lesbian, gay men, and bisexual employees. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 14(3), 289-299.
Mezey, N. J. (2015). LGBT families. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Miller, J., & Garran, A. M. (2017). Racism in the United States: Implications for the helping professions (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.
Peterson, D., & Panfil, V. R. (Eds.). (2014). Handbook of LGBT communities, crime, and justice. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.