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Work and Sexuality in the Sunbelt: Homophobic Workplace Discrimination in the US South and Southwest, 1970 to the present

Hollands, Joshua; (2019) Work and Sexuality in the Sunbelt: Homophobic Workplace Discrimination in the US South and Southwest, 1970 to the present. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

In recent years, following the achievement of marriage equality in federal United States law, employment rights have become a key battleground for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activists. Indeed, most southern states provide no protection for sexual minorities against being fired at work. As such, many workers across the South and Southwest can be married to someone of the same sex on a Sunday but be legally fired on a Monday for being gay. This thesis uses six case studies to understand how this situation of uneven workplace protections came into being. In doing so it focuses upon the Sunbelt, an area that has been economically and politically significant over the past half-century. I am concerned with how LGBT activist strategies for equal protections and workplace rights in the South have diverged from the national trajectory due to the limited power of unions and the ascendency of Christian morality that has reshaped free-market politics in the region. Chapters focused on individual organisations such as Apple Computer, Cracker Barrel, Duke University and ExxonMobil shed light on mainstream LGBT strategies for equality within corporations, as well as the extent to which victories at these companies impacted wider rights for sexual minorities in southern cities. Similarly, case studies on organisations of business elites in Sunbelt cities including Houston and Williamson County, Texas, demonstrate how battles over workplace rights in both the private and public sectors informed conservative rhetoric in opposition to, and in some cases, acceptance of LGBT rights during the closing decades of the twentieth-century. Through examining these case studies my thesis expands our understanding of how sexual minorities reshaped the corporate workplace in the neoliberal era to the extent that most major companies now prohibit discrimination and openly campaign for equality.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Work and Sexuality in the Sunbelt: Homophobic Workplace Discrimination in the US South and Southwest, 1970 to the present
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request. - Some third party copyright material has been removed from this e-thesis.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of the Americas
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10084084
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