In this chapter, we argue that it’s possible to lose your faith in God by the actions of other people. In particular, we argue that spiritually violent religious trauma, where religious texts are used to shame a person into thinking themselves unworthy of God’s love, can cause a person to stop engaging in activities that sustain their faith in God, such as engaging in the worship of God. To do this, we provide an analysis of faith, worship, and love on (...) which to have faith in God is to have an attitude of worship to him; to have such an attitude of worship to God is to love him; and to love God is to desire union with him. We apply this analysis particularly to the case of LGBT Christians and their experience in the church today. (shrink)
Ordinary discourse is filled with discussions about ‘sexual orientation’. This discourse might suggest a common understanding of what sexual orientation is. But even a cursory search turns up vastly differing, conflicting, and sometimes ethically troubling characterizations of sexual orientation. The conceptual jumble surrounding sexual orientation suggests that the topic is overripe for philosophical exploration. This paper lays the groundwork for such an exploration. In it, I offer an account of sexual orientation – called ‘Bidimensional Dispositionalism’ – according to which sexual (...) orientation concerns what sex[es] and gender[s] of persons one is disposed to sexually engage, and makes no reference to one’s own sex and gender. (shrink)
Shedding light on the meaning of 'passing' and 'outing' in relation to identity, Passing/Out constructs a dialogue between the work of scholars whose intellectual careers began prior to the advent of queer theory and those whose work has been more immediately and directly shaped by this approach, with a view to breaking new ground in the field of identity.
Throughout much of the twentieth century, early modern metaphysical literature has been interpreted as an upholder of traditional morals and cosmic unity. By re-examining the early critical reception of these works in connection with current theories of cultural reproduction, we can develop a new understanding of how metaphysicality undermines, in particular, an ideology of "natural" desire and identity. Focussing on desire, metaphysical authors produce a dissident knowledge of the cultural contingencies of normative thought, identity, and behaviour. Taking a philosophical approach (...) to the subject, Edward Herbert reveals the impact of personal desires on the development of mental concepts. Christopher Marlowe, meanwhile, demonstrates the way definitions of natural gender identity inhibit sexual expression between men. Elaborating on women's same-sex desire, John Donne and Andrew Marvell contest heteronormative narratives of growth, while Aemilia Lanyer offers a vision of love between women as a homoerotic state of grace and alternative to men's violence. In his thoughts on martyrdom and political allegiance, Donne denaturalizes absolute authority and carves a space for liberty of conscience, an endeavour that corresponds to the desire for personal freedom that each of the other writers also expresses. (shrink)
This article presents the findings of a study about the history of aversion therapy as a treatment technique in the English mental health system to convert lesbians and bisexual women into heterosexual women. We explored published psychiatric and psychological literature, as well as lesbian, gay, and bisexual archives and anthologies. We identified 10 examples of young women receiving aversion therapy in England in the 1960s and 1970s. We situate our discussion within the context of post-war British and transnational medical history. (...) As a contribution to a significantly under-researched area, this article adds to a broader transnational history of the psychological treatment of marginalised sexualities and genders. As a consequence, it also contributes to LGBTQIA+ history, the history of medicine, and psychiatric survivor history. We also reflect on the ethical implications of the research for current mental health practice. (shrink)
This article explores the significance of feminism in transnational activism around LGBTQ protest events, namely equality marches and associated festivals in Kraków, Poznań and Warsaw in Poland. The arguments advanced in this article are based on a multi-method qualitative research project focusing on transnational cooperation in the planning and realization of LGBTQ protest events in Poland, conducted in the years 2008–2009. The authors highlight the decisively coalitional nature of the activist networks around LGBTQ politics in some of the locations studied. (...) They argue that feminists are core actors in these ‘networked solidarities’ around the oppression and marginalization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and transgender people both in local and transnational contexts. Solidarity is a concept used by many research participants to account for their political actions and to rationalize intra- and intergroup dynamics shaped by complex webs of differences. The authors draw on postcolonial feminist discussions on the limits and potentialities of politics of solidarity as a ‘politics of location’ to account for tensions which some activists reported regarding their experience of ‘coalition work’. Some of these tensions related to gender politics and gender relations, always articulated in the conjunction of wider webs of power relations. (shrink)
Diskriminierung und Menschenrechtsverletzungen gegenüber LSBTI-Personen werden heute international thematisiert und angeprangert – ein vergleichsweise neues Phänomen. Dennoch tragen die herrschenden Normen von Zweigeschlechtlichkeit und Heterosexualität weiterhin zur Diskriminierung bei: So sind gleichgeschlechtliche Partnerschaften in fast allen Staaten schlechter gestellt als heterosexuelle. Transgeschlechtliche Menschen erfahren Gewalt, weil ihr Verhalten und Äußeres nicht geltenden Normen entsprechen.
This autobiography addresses philosophical questions concerning the meaning of life, the possibility of knowledge, ethical challenges of the human condition, and how a person discovers who he or she is or ought to be. I wasted large stretches of my life being things, or trying to be things, that were not really me, such as a revolutionary, a drunk, a tough-guy and a heterosexual. I also spent years trying to hide from myself what I really was. I take myself to (...) have discovered who, or what, I am, though I could have done so more swiftly, and had a much more fulfilling life, if I had taken a more organised and critical approach to self-discovery. -/- The book begins with a crisis of depression, anxiety and bruxism which tore me apart in my late forties. It then recounts my early years, in the slums then a council estate, before tracing my chequered career(s) as student, labourer, barman, petty criminal, paper boy, university teacher, local government officer, management advisor, transvestite prostitute, and management accountant, also pondering the behaviour of the varied characters with whom I came into contact. The course of my social life, or lack of it, sees me develop from loner to headbanger, hedonist, drunkard and politico. For decades, my sexual nature was a conundrum to myself, as I passed from heterosexual to bisexual to homosexual, alternately indulging and disdaining transvestism and sado-masochism. The sexual descriptions are more or less clinical, rather than erotic, but they are often explicit. I make no apology for that. No honest or adequate book about self-discovery could either ignore sex or treat it perfunctorily. -/- This life-story is also in part a philosophy book, in part a self-help book, in part a catalogue of sexual quirks, and in part a collection of slice-of-life anecdotes and incidents. My hope is that people will find it interesting, amusing, instructive, and a source of material for reflection on their own lives that helps them to discover who they are or who they can be. (shrink)
The theme of this book is that the gay community has stereotyped itself and has imposed a conformity upon its members that stifles their development and forces them to suppress aspects of themselves that do not fit the approved model of the gay lifestyle. The review focuses on, and criticises, Peter Tatchell's contribution.
Due to its problematic political and social position between two opposed sexual cultures, bisexuality has often been ignored by feminist and lesbian theorists both as a concept and a realm of experiences. The essay argues that bisexuality, precisely because it transgresses bipolar notions of fixed gendered and sexed identities, is usefully explored by lesbian and feminist theorists, enhancing our effort to devise an ethics of difference and to develop nonoppressive ways of responding to alterity.
In this brief paper, I want to begin to explore the possibility that bi-trans dialogue can challenge those forms of oppression that are grounded in sex, gender, and sexuality. I am particularly interested in pursuing the possibility that bi-trans dialogue might result in additional critiques of the sex-gender-sexuality triad. Despite multiple challenges, and myriad historical transmogri-fications (including, it must be noted, the very late addition of gender), that triad maintains its foundationality and posits deep causal links among its three parts. (...) The effect of this causal chain is to render untenable or incomprehensi-ble the lives of all sorts of actual, living persons—lives that are anything but incomprehensible to those living them, but that are made to be so on a system in which there is still a strong tendency to hold that sex causes gender and sexuality. The resilience of this presumed causal connection contributes to ensuring the continued dominance of a two-sex, two-gender, two-sexuality system. (shrink)
Although gay and lesbian theory may posit homosexuality as an oppositional challenge to heteronormativity, the author argues that homosexuality and heterosexuality share a common structure of desire that is based upon choosing the gender of one’s partner from only one gender in a binary gender framework. For this reason, the author introduces the term ‘monosexual’ to designate any sexual orientation, whether homosexual or heterosexual, which makes a single gender category into an exclusive criterion for selecting partners. As an alternative to (...) these “oppositional” logics, the author argues that bisexuality may be distinguished through its focus on desire regardless of the gender category of one’s partner. This alternative raises questions about logical theories that posit conceptual oppositions as necessary to intelligibility. (shrink)
Professor Austin explores four main areas in this paper. First of all he outlines the physical development of sex differentiation in the embryo. He develops this by describing the clinical manifestations of abnormality which can appear at that stage. Professor Austin points out that there are relatively few people with abnormalities and that those who do show homosexual tendencies are not noticeably different from the norm in terms of their sexual equipment and hormone levels. It is much more likely that (...) their psychological and social development has a greater influence in differentiating them sexually. The last section of the paper is a synopsis of society's reactions to homosexuality or bisexuality which term in Professor Austin's opinion is more accurate and descriptive of the condition. (shrink)
The word 'bisexuality', unknown to the ancients, is used here in two senses to indicate an individual with male and female sex organs or who copulates with people of both sexes. The phenomenon of bisexuality is then analysed with reference to the Greek myth of Hermaphrodite, a 'bisexual' being, born of a nymph's love for a young man of divine descent: in the guise of a fable, the myth recounts the birth of a 'monster', who raises a question-mark over the (...) fundamental rule of the division between the sexes. As regards behaviour, the paper then shows that in both Greece and Rome bisexual behaviour was the rule for men. The concept of 'homosexuality', in contrast to heterosexuality, was not introduced till the Christian era, and then not without difficulty. Condemnation of the practice as 'against nature' began with the emperor Justinian in the 6th century. (shrink)
Hindu texts call into question our own gender conceptions; they tell us that desire for bisexual pleasure and the wish to belong to both sexes at the same time are very real, but unrealizable, except by those with magic gifts. Many myths bear witness to the existential perception of human beings as bisexual and to active bisexual transformations. Some may show the desire to be androgynous and, contrary to the dominant homophobic paradigm, present veiled images of a bisexuality fulfilled in (...) happiness and satisfaction. The episode evoking Chudala as a mistress of initiation and some variants in the magical forests of Shiva and Parvati illustrate this carefree, joyous way of crossing the gender barrier. (shrink)
In this article I discuss the argument/criticism/concerns of bisexuality that arise from within progressive communities which already accept gay and lesbian rights. Issues discussed include trust, heterosexuality and the body, the power dynamics of patriarchal oppression and subjective verification. The moon is evoked as a material metaphor for phases and changes. I argue that conditions of the world preclude political attachment to an excessively fixed standard of many things, including sexual orientation.
Bisexuality challenges familiar assumptions about love, family, and sexual desire that are shared by both heterosexual and homosexual communities. In particular, it challenges the assumption that a person's desire can and should run in only one direction. Furthermore, bisexuality questions the legitimacy, rigidity, and presumed ontological priority of the categories "heterosexual" and "homosexual." Bisexuals are often assumed to be dishonest and unreliable. I suggest that dishonesty and unreliability can be resources for undermining normative sexualities.
This essay examines some stereotypes of bisexuals held by some lesbians. I argue that the decision that a lesbian makes not to become involved with a bisexual woman because she is bisexual can recenter men in lesbian desire, a consequence many lesbians would find deeply problematic. The acceptance of these stereotypes also results in sex becoming the defining characteristic of one's sexual orientation, thus privileging sex over any emotional, affectional, and political commitments to women.
At first sight, homosexuality has little to do with reproduction. Nevertheless, many neo-Darwinian theoreticians think that human homosexuality may have had a procreative value, since it enabled the close kin of homosexuals to have more viable offspring than individuals lacking the support of homosexual siblings. In this article, however, we will defend an alternative hypothesis - originally put forward by Freud in "A phylogenetic phantasy" - namely that homosexuality evolved as a means to strengthen social bonds. Consequently, from an evolutionary (...) point of view, homosexuality and heterosexuality have entirely distinct origins: there is no continuum from heterosexuality to homosexuality. Indeed, the natural history we propose shows that the intensity of the homosexual inclination has little or no predictive value with regard to the intensity of heterosexual tendencies. In fact, this may be a sound Darwinian way to understand sexual ambivalence. But if sexual ambivalence is a biological datum, one has to conclude that psychodynamic mechanisms are often needed in order to explain exclusive heterosexuality or exclusive homosexuality. (shrink)
Was hat der Staat mit sexueller Orientierung zu tun? Eine ganze Menge, meint Gundula Ludwig, denn durch staatliche Macht in Form von „heteronormativer Hegemonie“ würden wir zu Subjekten gemacht – und zwar ‚normalerweise‘ zu männlichen bzw. weiblichen und heterosexuellen. Dabei betont Ludwig die Gegenseitigkeit des Verhältnisses von Staat und Geschlecht: Nicht nur wirke staatliche Macht konstitutiv und vergeschlechtlichend auf Subjekte, sondern der Staat selbst werde im „Prozess der vergeschlechtlichen Subjektkonstitution erst hervorgebracht“. Deshalb seien weder der Staat noch Heterosexualität natürlich gegeben, (...) sondern ihre Konstruktion sei eine Regierungstechnologie, und nicht zu trennen vom ökonomischen (Neo-)Liberalismus. Mit ihrem Buch möchte die Autorin eine Leerstelle in der Forschung füllen: Einerseits sei die Staatstheorie geschlechtsblind, andererseits ließen queer-feministische Arbeiten zur Konstruktion von Geschlecht den Staat aus. Ludwig verspricht eine poststrukturalistisch antiessentialistische Theorie, die beides beobachten kann und so den Zusammenhang von Staat und Geschlecht erklärt. (shrink)
Reprinted in German translation as "Lesbische Perspektiven in bezug auf Women's Studies" in Renate Duelli-Klein, Maresi Nerad & Sigrid Metz-Göckel (eds.), Feministische Wissenschaft und Frauenstudium. Hamburg, Germany: Arbeitsgemeinschaft Hochschuldidaktik. pp. 303-310. (1982).
In this essay, Riggs demonstrates how heterosexism shapes foster-care assessment practices in Australia. Through an examination of lesbian and gay foster-care applicants’ assessment reports and with a focus on the heteronormative assumptions contained within them, Riggs demonstrates that foster-care public policy and research on lesbian and gay parenting both promote the idea that lesbian and gay parents are always already “just like” heterosexual parents. To counter this idea of “sameness,” Riggs proposes an approach to both assessing and researching lesbian and (...) gay parents that privileges the specific experiences of lesbians and gay men and resists the heterosexualization of lesbian and gay families by focusing on some potentially radical differences shaping lesbian and gay lives. (shrink)
Drawing on several feminist and anti-racist theorists, 1 use the trope of the vampire to unravel how whiteness, maleness, and heterosexuality feed on the same set of disavowals—of the body, of the Other, of fluidity, of dependency itself. I then turn tojewelle Gomez's The Gilda Stories for a counternarrative that, along with Donna Harauiay's reading of vampires, retools concepts of kinship and self that undergird racism, sexism, and heterosexism in contemporary U.S. culture.
For many of us, entry into motherhood involves an ambiguous visibility and intelligibility, where our acceptance into mainstream spaces as mothers entails a loss of lesbian difference. Mann explores this loss using the work of two philosophers of lesbian difference, Monique Wittig and Judith Butler. She argues that the figure of the lesbian mother is deployed on a broad cultural scale to reinvigorate and renaturaUze the myth of the happy, natural, heterosexual mother.
Hundreds of thousands of students in introductory human sexuality classes read text-books whose covert ideology reinforces dominant heteronormative narratives of sexual dimorphism, male hegemony, and heteronormativity. As such, the process of scientific discovery that proposes to provide description of existing sexual practices, identities, and physiologies instead succeeds in cultural prescription. This essay provides a feminist, queer content analysis of such textbooks to illuminate their implicit narratives and provide suggestions for writing more feminist, queer-friendly texts.
This paper on Ofelia Schutte's work discusses five main themes: gender oppression in the context of Latin American theories of social liberation; normative heterosexuality in Beauvoir and Irigaray; Schutte's analysis of women and capitalist globalization processes; her work on cultural identities; and the possibility of feminist transnational identities. I conclude with a comment on her postcolonial epistemological method in addressing cultural incommensurability and the possibility of a common agenda for transnational feminism.
In this article I will revisit the question of what I term the continuum of heteronormative sexual interactions, that is, the idea that purportedly ethically acceptable heterosexual interactions are conceptually, ethically, and politically associated with instances of sexual violence. Spurred by recent work by psychologist Nicola , I conclude that some of my earlier critiques of Catharine MacKinnon's theoretical linkages between sexual violence and normative heterosex are wanting. In addition, neither MacKinnon's theory nor my critique of it seem up to (...) the task of providing an ethical account of the examples of “unjust sex” that Gavey has described. I come to the conclusion that an ethical analysis of sexual interactions requires a focus on sexual desire, but that desire cannot take on the by now heavily criticized role of consent. Rather than looking for the presence or absence of sexual desire prior to sexual encounters as a kind of ethical certification of them, we ought instead to focus on the efficacy of that sexual desire, that is, its ability (or lack thereof) to shape an encounter in substantial and meaningful ways. (shrink)
This article raises the question of ‘normality’ today and the fracturing of health ideals along new lines of enablement and function. In particular the study asks if ‘functional’ and ‘dysfunctional’ are displacing ‘normal’ and ‘pathological’ as master biopolitical binarisms, and if so, what distinctions can be drawn between them. The discourse of ‘function’ and ‘dysfunction’ is certainly ubiquitous in two areas of research and practice: gerontology and sexology. In the former case ‘functional health’ is linked to successful aging represented by (...) technical tests around activities of daily living (ADLs) and risk-assessment profiles. In the latter case, sexual function and dysfunction have become all-encompassing markers of heterosexual competence, now largely detached from reproductive imperatives, but refashioned as integral to responsible and successful self-management. Presenting examples from both cases, the article concludes that functionality, circulating under the signs of ‘normal’, ‘natural’ and ‘healthy’, furnishes economic, technological, educational, professional, pharmacological and policy fields with a rich intellectual, practical and regulatory resource. (shrink)
This paper argues that participating exclusively or predominantly in heterosexual romantic or sexual relationships is prima facie morally impermissible. It holds that this conclusion follows from three premises: (1) gender norms are on-balance harmful; (2) conforming to harmful social norms is prima facie morally impermissible; and (3) participating exclusively or predominantly in heterosexual romantic or sexual relationships is a way of conforming to gender norms.
In this address, I outline my “Exotic-Becomes-Erotic" theory of sexual orientation (Bem, 1996) , which provides the same basic account for both opposite-sex and same-sex erotic desire—and for both men and women. It proposes that biological variables do not code for sexual orientation per se but for childhood temperaments that influence a child’s preferences for sextypical or sex-atypical activities. These preferences lead children to feel different from opposite-sex or same-sex peers—to perceive them as “exotic.” This, in turn, produces heightened physiological (...) arousal that subsequently gets eroticized to that same class of peers: Exotic becomes erotic. The theory claims to accommodate both the empirical evidence of the biological essentialists and the cultural relativism of the social constructionists. I also discuss sex differences in sexual orientation and the political implications of trying to explain homosexuality. (shrink)
This article proposes an analysis of the social process of unsilencing in the specific context of heterosexual relationships. Unsilencing is the process in which an individual woman becomes empowered to the extent of voicing what is silenced by structural hierarchies that shape her experiences of the heterosexual relationships she is involved in. I connect the process of unsilencing to the sociological notion of “negotiated order” and a feminist notion of the self as fragmented and continually changing. Unsilencing is conceived as (...) a response to power operating on three levels: emotional connection that empowers a contesting meaning structure; a process of distancing that empowers the individual in overcoming positioning processes; and an increased sense of authenticity in relation to the set of emotional management, language and beliefs embedded in the contesting meaning structure. (shrink)