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Title: Work and sexuality in the Sunbelt : homophobic workplace discrimination in the US South and Southwest, 1970 to the present
Author: Hollands, Joshua
ISNI:       0000 0004 8507 6505
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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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.
Supervisor: Bell, J. ; Witham, N. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available