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Marginalization is the process of moving groups and the individuals that belong to them to the fringes of society. This social phenomenon typically sees minorities displaced by majority groups. When this occurs, minorities, and by extension the things they need and want, are seen as less important than majorities and their needs and wants.
Many minority groups are marginalized in society, including members of the LGBTQIA community, certain racial groups, people living in poverty, and people with some diseases such as HIV and AIDS. Marginalization impacts these groups, because they do not enjoy the same resources and support that non-marginalized people do. These resources and support may include access to family, medical services, justice services, and education. Minorities may also face harassment and abuse, which can impact their physical and emotional well-being. They often feel like they have no voice, which also takes its toll.
While marginalization is most damaging to marginalized individuals, it impacts the entire community. Marginalization undermines social goals, such as equality and unity. It can cause tension in communities which can lead to violence and other social problems.
People may be marginalized in some locations but not others. For example, in the Western world, cisgender women do not usually feel as marginalized because of their gender as they may in other parts of the world, such as the Middle East. While members of the LGBTQIA community often fall under the common banner of “queer,” some say that certain parts of this community are more marginalized than others. While gay and lesbian people enjoy greater acceptance with recent strides including marriage equality, transgender people often feel very marginalized. People may feel more marginalized if they fit into several minority groups.
Education is one of the most effective weapons against marginalization. When people understand the groups they marginalize better, they learn to see the similarities between people in their community, rather than their differences.