Date of Award

Spring 5-2024

Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Melissa Dittberner

Second Advisor

Cindy Struckman-Johnson

Third Advisor

Harry Freeman


Homophobia, Healthcare, Medicine, Discrimination, Policy, Legislation, Transphobia, Health Disparities

Subject Categories

Bioethics and Medical Ethics | Civil Rights and Discrimination | Ethics in Religion | Health Policy | Health Services Administration | Human Rights Law | Law and Politics | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Medical Humanities | Other Education | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Other Mental and Social Health | Patient Safety | Policy History, Theory, and Methods | Political History | Queer Studies | Sexuality and the Law | Supreme Court of the United States


Are there specific roots that influence the introduction and incorporation of discriminatory medical policies? What are the sources of such stigma, discrimination, and prejudice, in what forms does such discrimination take place, and what negative impacts does such hatred have on health outcomes, quality of care, and health disparities? Through a review of existing literature on this topic, intertwining the examination of the evolution of discriminatory policies and other explanatory literature in the United States, this thesis aims to answer the questions above, and explain the roots of such homophobic discrimination and its prevalence in the United States. Through the examination of changing medical and legislative policies over time, this review aims to dissect the evolution of the pro and anti-LGBTQ+ movements, political targeting of identity in recent legislation, and the challenges faced by SGM individuals across the country. From the Stonewall Riots to recent anti-LGBTQ+ policies, the LGBTQ+ community is historically and continuously discriminated against, erased, and ignored at all levels of education, still plaguing the community today. These issues not only affect health outcomes in the medical world, but also social development and performance in schools for LGBTQ+ youth, depicting an imperative need for inclusive education, safe spaces, and LGBTQ+ protections for youth and adults.


Homophobic discrimination is a common phenomenon in the United States, and can be found in numerous aspects of society, from education and state legislature to public encounters and even medical practices, with far reaching consequences.



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