UCL Institute of the Americas


Dr Joshua Hollands

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


PhD Completed in 2019 | > UCL Discovery - open access


Professor Jonathan Bell and Dr Nick Witham

Joshua Hollands
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.

Dr Hollands is currently a member of the academic and teaching staff at UCL Institute of the Americas. See his staff profile here.