Perceived Discrimination in LGBTIQ Discourse: A Typology of Verbal Discrimination

Sol Rojas Lizana


New within the field of Discourse Analysis, Perceived Discrimination (PD) is the study of discourse that focuses on the perspective of the victims of discrimination. This article explores the experiences of verbal discrimination as reported by eighteen LGBTIQ participants during semi-structured, co-constructed interviews. Data were classified in order to develop a taxonomy of discrimination based on Mellor’s (2003, 2004). This taxonomy foregrounds two types of discrimination: verbal and behavioural. In this paper, I exemplify the forms of verbal discrimination encountered and offer an analysis of the discourse used in the construction of the experiences and of the effects reported. The results show that verbal discrimination is an overt phenomenon and that participants are stressed by the ever present possibility of facing it. Verbal discrimination is mainly triggered by a perceived transgression to the normalised standards of people’s behaviour, movements and look in a heterosexist society. It presents three subtypes: name calling, abuse and remarks. These subtypes are described through the analysis of keywords, effects and expressions (such as faggot, gay, dyke, queer, the pronoun ‘it’, religious comments and other remarks). The type of discrimination used was associated with the level of acquaintance perpetrators have with the experiencers; that is, name calling was used by people unknown to the victims while abuse and remarks by acquaintances and family members. Participants resorted to several discursive strategies to convey their intentions. They used mitigation strategies when wanting to minimize the experience, hedging and repetition were used for emphasis, and to convey urgency and pervasiveness. Metaphorical expressions related to internal or external injuries were also used to express the powerful effect of verbal discrimination on people.

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