LGBTQ employment research and the degradation of work

Authors: Nathaniel Lewis*, University of Southampton, Suzanne Mills, McMaster University
Topics: Economic Geography, Sexuality, Social Geography
Keywords: sexuality, work, gender, Canada, precarity
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 2:35 PM / 4:15 PM
Room: Washington 6, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Research about work and gender and sexual minorities has often narrowly focused on either workplace-scale experiences - such as the psychological effects of negative microaggressions or human resource management practices - , or on larger scale patterns in employment measures such as wages, labor force participation and unemployment. These studies, however, adopt a liberal frame to the understanding of LGBTQ+ worker issues by focusing on individual experiences or incidents of discrimination and how they can be addressed through enlightened organizational strategies or psychological intervention. We propose that LGBTQ people’s experiences of work and employment are connected to larger political shifts that have simultaneously supported the degradation of work and fostered backlash to the advancement to LGBTQ+ rights, particularly in rural and underdeveloped regions. In this paper, we propose that thinking about LGBTQ+ people as workers who are particularly disadvantaged in the present employment landscape – of rising precarity and declining worker protections - is central rather than incidental to building a broader political project capable of countering rising social conservative populism.

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