Understanding Prejudice
Understanding Prejudice
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Teacher's Corner
Springboards for Discussing Heterosexism

This page contains "springboards" for discussing the Heterosexism section of Understanding Prejudice and Discrimination. Instructors using other textbooks or readings are welcome to edit and adapt these questions as they see fit. Printable versions of this page are also available in Word and pdf formats.

  1. What is the difference between heterosexism and homophobia?

  2. Can homosexuals change their sexual orientation if they want to? And if so, can heterosexuals do the same?

  3. Why do researchers generally recommend using the term "sexual orientation" rather than "sexual preference"?

  4. Should discrimination based on sexual orientation be outlawed to the same extent as discrimination based on race and sex?

  5. Are equal rights possible when homosexual behavior is illegal?

  6. If people believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible, is it prejudiced for them to...

    • regard homosexual behavior as sinful?
    • view homosexuality as an abomination before God?
    • support the death penalty for homosexual behavior?

  7. If a heterosexual person has a homosexual experience, would you describe that person as homosexual? What about two experiences, or three, or four? That is, at what point is someone homosexual?

  8. Should lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults be allowed to marry and/or adopt children?

  9. Is it heterosexist for gynecologists to ask a new patient whether she uses birth control during sex?

  10. Is it okay for people in the gay community to use terms such as "fag," "dyke," and "queen" while at the same time criticizing the use of these terms in the straight community?

  11. How is homophobia psychologically similar to antifat prejudice?

  12. In light of the fact that millions of people are born intersexual, is it prejudiced to behave as though "female" and "male" are the only two sex categories?

  13. If a male-to-female transsexual were to undergo gender reassignment surgery, become female, and later marry a male, would you regard such a marriage as homosexual, heterosexual, or something else?

  14. How have the gay community and gay rights movement improved the life of non-homosexuals?

  15. How have heterosexism and homophobia hurt non-homosexuals?