Saturday, November 7, 2009

Where the psychological rubber hits the political road: Reflecting on Referendum 71

by Stacey Prince

“What do psychology and politics have to do with one another, anyway?” This question comes up fairly often when I talk with some of my psychologist colleagues about my involvement with various political issues, particularly LGBTQ rights legislation. At this moment it looks like Washington state’s Referendum 71 has been approved. I will use it as an example of the profound ways that psychology and politics are interconnected, and the ways in which psychologists can be involved in supporting social change.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your perspective. I, too, am frustrated that this could even come to a vote. In the early hours of the election returns, when the margin was slimmer, I was getting geared up to write a letter to the editor about a small minority of the voting adults in the state(maybe less than 20%)taking away a right that was finally granted by our duly elected legislature simply because it didn't suit their personal moral views.
    There is certainly a lot to ponder regarding the fact of heterosexism, particularly as we internalize it. I keep rediscovering my own internalized homophobia every time I feel "validated" by seeing two women kiss in a mainstream movie, hearing of out gay men and women elected to public office, and, now, having this referendum approved by (a small number of) the people of Washington state. But I also think our state's referendum process, a process that would allow a small number of well organized individuals to overturn any legislation, is a significant part of the problem. This IS a personal issue for me but it also points out some serious flaws in our political system that will always allow the powerful to oppress those with less power.