Homophobic discrimination through humor: naturalization and heteronormativity maintenance in the organizational context

Abstract This research is part of the studies on sexual diversity in organizations, focusing on the theme of homophobic humor. The aim was to investigate whether homophobic humor is present in the workplace and in what way. In theoretical terms, guided by an interpretativist approach, the article is based on studies on discrimination by means of homophobia and humor, as well as research on heteronormativity in organizations. In order to fulfill the objective, a content analysis was carried out to analyze the interviews carried out with homosexual, bisexual and heterosexual employees of a company. A case study was conducted in a company interviewing employees, regardless their sexual orientation. The interviews were analyzed using Bardin’s content analysis method. The presence of the following was observed: frequent homophobic humor; naturalized homophobic humor; homophobic jokes as speech to maintain heteronormativity. There is a scenario in which it is necessary to take actions that promote diversity, especially in relation to the issue of humor, as well as regarding the lack of understanding on the part of workers that jokes containing homophobic humor are linked to oppression. This article contributes to the deepening of national studies on discrimination based on sexual orientation, specifically regarding homophobic humor, and also in terms of relating this type of discrimination to the theme of heteronormativity in the organizational context through the concepts of queer theory.