Recent philosophical work on sexuality has focused primarily on sexual orientation. Yet, there’s another normatively significant phenomenon in the neighborhood: sexual identity. Here, I develop a cultural theory of queer and straight sexual identity. In particular, I argue that sexual identity is a matter of inclusion/exclusion in relation to queer and straight cultures, which are differentiated in terms of characteristic practices involving kinship and political resistance.
Here, I examine the epistemic relation between beliefs about the nature of sexual orientation (e.g., beliefs concerning whether orientation is dispositional) and beliefs about the taxonomy of orientation categories (e.g., beliefs concerning whether polyamorous is an orientation category). Current philosophical research gives epistemic priority to the former class of beliefs, such that beliefs about the taxonomy of orientation categories tend to be jettisoned or revised in cases of conflict with beliefs about the nature of sexual orientation. Yet, considering the influence (...) of ideology on beliefs about socially significant phenomena, I argue for an epistemic reversal. (shrink)
Discussions of “privilege” have become increasingly common, but it’s often unclear what exactly people mean by “privilege.” Even well-known writings about privilege rarely take the time to define the word and explain what it means. The confusion this creates is one reason why debates about privilege are often contentious and unproductive. This essay aims to demystify privilege, presupposing no prior knowledge of philosophy. With a clear definition, it is easier to discuss some of the main debates about privilege: Is there (...) such a thing as “white privilege”? What about “male privilege”? And what’s the point of talking about privilege, anyway? (shrink)
C’è bisogno di una nuova sintesi. Inter- e intradisciplinare, con una visione d’insieme coerente, scientifica, senza pregiudizi, al servizio di una Chiesa che – con papa Francesco – è alla ricerca di nuove analisi e di proposte pratiche innovative. Necessaria è la prospettiva della piena integralità umana delle persone omosessuali, che interroghi il loro amore in tutta la sua complessità. La psicoanalisi, per prima, può contribuire a elaborare una visione dell’affettività omosessuale complessiva, integrale e positiva. La teologia può ascoltarne le (...) conclusioni, senza rinunciare alle sue categorie etiche, ma aggiornando la propria posizione, proponendo una visione pienamente cattolica della persona e della sua sessualità. Visione che si traduce in indicazioni pastorali in grado di aiutare una persona omosessuale a vivere in serena pienezza la propria situazione, la propria affettività e spiritualità cristiana. (shrink)
This paper draws on findings from qualitative interviews with queer and trans patients and with physicians providing care to queer and trans patients in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, to explore how routine practices of health care can perpetuate or challenge the marginalization of queers. One of the most common “measures” of improved cultural competence in health care practice is self-reported increases in confidence and comfort, though it seems unlikely that an increase in physician comfort levels with queer and trans patients (...) will necessarily mean better health care for queers. More attention to current felt discomfort in patient–provider encounters is required. Policies and practices that avoid discomfort at all costs are not always helpful for care, and experiences of shared discomfort in queer health contexts are not always harmful. (shrink)
Polygamy is a hotly contested practice and open to widespread misunderstandings. This practice is defined as a relationship between either one husband and multiple wives or one wife and multiple husbands. Today, “polygamy” almost exclusively takes the form of one husband with multiple wives. In this article, my focus will center on limited defenses of polygamy offered recently by Chesire Calhoun and Martha Nussbaum. I will argue that these defenses are unconvincing. The problem with polygamy is primarily that it is (...) a structurally inegalitarian practice in both theory and fact. Polygamy should be opposed for this reason. (shrink)
: The coloniality of power is understood by Anibal Quijano as at the constituting crux of the global capitalist system of power. What is characteristic of global, Eurocentered, capitalist power is that it is organized around two axes that Quijano terms "the coloniality of power" and "modernity." The coloniality of power introduces the basic and universal social classification of the population of the planet in terms of the idea of race, a replacing of relations of superiority and inferiority established through (...) domination with naturalized understandings of inferiority and superiority. In this essay, Lugones introduces a systemic understanding of gender constituted by colonial/modernity in terms of multiple relations of power. This gender system has a light and a dark side that depict relations, and beings in relation as deeply different and thus as calling for very different patterns of violent abuse. Lugones argues that gender itself is a colonial introduction, a violent introduction consistently and contemporarily used to destroy peoples, cosmologies, and communities as the building ground of the "civilized" West. (shrink)
: Hundreds of thousands of students in introductory human sexuality classes read textbooks 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.
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)
Violence is a spectacle. Not because it is simply something that we observe but, more fundamentally, because it is a mechanism through which we observe and define other things. Violence has the capacity to shape the ways that we see, and thereby come to know, these things. In other words, violence is more than a practice that acts upon the bodies of individual subjects to inflict harm and injury. It is, metaphorically speaking, also a way of looking at these subjects.
: In this paper, I argue that stories about difference do not promote critical self and social understanding; rather, on the contrary, it is the way we understand ourselves that makes some stories relevantly different. I discuss the uncritical reception of a story about homosexuality in Cuba, urging attention to generalizations explaining judgments of importance. I suggest that some stories from the South will never be relevant to discussions about human flourishing until we critically examine ideas about freedom and democracy, (...) and their role in national identity, explaining the significance we give, or not, to such stories. (shrink)
: The paper shows that three heterogeneities in Freud and Kristeva (unconscious/conscious, semiotic/symbolic, and imaginary/symbolic) expose the historical emergence, significance, and demise of psychic structures that present obstacles to our progressive political thinking. The oedipal and narcissistic structures of subjectivity represent the persistence of two past, bad forms of authority: paternal law and maternal authority. Contemporary psychoanalysis reveals a humankind going through the loss of this past in a process that opens up a different future of sexual difference in Western (...) cultures. (shrink)
This study is an analysis of 186 psychologists' attitudes on what constitutes ethical practice when counseling clients who present with a range of concerns related to their experience of same-sex attraction and behavior. Three different groups of psychologists were surveyed: generalists, specialists in gay and lesbian issues, and religiously affiliated psychologists. Participants also rated the effectiveness of several professional experiences in providing education, direction, sanctions, or support to regulate the practice of counseling nonheterosexual clients. Significant group differences were found regarding (...) what is considered best, acceptable, and unacceptable practice with clients presenting with same-sex attraction issues. Significant differences were also found among the three groups in what respondents rated as effective elements of their clinical experience. Keywords: gay, lesbian, religion, survey. (shrink)
The Unfinished Revolution compares the post-Second World War histories of the American and British gay and lesbian movements with an eye toward understanding how distinct political institutional environments affect the development, strategies, goals, and outcomes of a social movement. Stephen M. Engel utilizes an electic mix of source materials ranging from the theories of Mancur Olson and Michel Foucault to Supreme Court rulings and film and television dialogue. The two case study chapters function as brief historical sketches to elucidate further (...) the conclusions on theory and whilst being politically-oriented, they also examine gay influence and expansion into mainstream popular culture. The book also includes an appendix that surveys and assesses the analytical potential of five critical understandings of social movements: the classical approach, rational choice, resource mobilization, new social movement theories, and political opportunity structures. It will be of value to academics and students of sociology, political science, and history. (shrink)
We show through analysis of personal advertisements that age preferences for a homosexual or lesbian partner are similar to differences found between men and women in age preferences for a opposite-sex partner. Such data call into question the claim by Kenrick & Keefe (1992) that the sex differences in age selectivity in mate selection are governed by reproductive strategies.
Reports about possible genetic bases of homoerotic sexual orientation in adults have received a kind of schizophrenic social reception. On the one hand, these reports have been welcomed by some gay men and lesbians as biological confirmation of the commonly held view that sexual orientation is an involuntary trait, that sexual orientation is not in any meaningful sense chosen. Simon LeVay has received mail from thankful correspondents who welcomed his 1991 report about the possible neuroanatomical basis for male homoerotic sexual (...) orientation, and some legal analysts see important implications of biological studies for the ways in which civil rights are recognized, especially those that depend on an immutable characteristic like race or gender. (shrink)
Discover the truth about sex in the city (and the country). Mapping Desire explores the places and spaces of sexuality from body to community, from the "cottage" to the Barrio, from Boston to Jakarta, from home to cyberspace. Mapping Desire is the first book to explore sexualities from a geographical perspective. The nature of place and notions of space are of increasing centrality to cultural and social theory. Mapping Desires presents the rich and diverse world of contemporary sexuality, exploring how (...) the heterosexed body has been appropriated and resisted on the individual, community and city scales. Editors David Bell and Gill Valentine have brought together contributors with a wealth of approaches to ways in which the spaces of sex and the sexes of space are being mapped out across contemporary culture. Among the many sexual geographies covered are: Lesbians at home and on the streets; gay men on fantasy islands; bisexual identities; The heterosexualization of the workplace; bachelor farmers and spinsters; surveillance and sexuality; prostitution; queer politics; sexual citizenship, and the transformation of intimacy. The book is divided into four sections: cartographies/identities; sexualized spaces: global/local; sexualized spaces: local/global; sites of resistance. Each section is separately introduced. Beyond the bibliography, an annotated guide to further reading is also provided to help the reader map their own way through the literature. Mapping Desire will be a valuable and accessible travelogue of information for anyone interested in social, cultural and political geography, lesbian and gay studies, cultural studies, or simply those who want to find out more about the sexual landscape of contemporary society. Contents: Part I: Cartographies/Identities; Resolving Riddles: The Sexed Body, Julia Cream ; Locating Bisexual Identities: Discourses of Bisexuality and Contemporary Feminist Theory, Clare Hemmings; Of Moffies, Kaffiers and Perverts: Male Homosexuality and the Discourse of Moral Order in the Apartheid State, Glen Elder; Femme on the Streets, Butch in the Sheets (a Play on Whores), Alison Murray; Body Work: The Performance of Gendered and (Hetero)Sexualized Identities in City Workplaces, Linda McDowell; Part II: Sexualized Spaces: Global/Local; Whenever I Lay My Girlfriend That's My Home: The Performance and Surveillance of Lesbian Identities in Domestic Environments, Lynda Johnston and Gill Valentine; The Lesbian Flaneur, Sally Munt; Fantasy Islands: Popular Topographies of Marooned Masculinities, Gregory Woods; Sexuality and Urban Space: A Framework for Analysis, Lawrence Knopp; Part III: Sexualized Spaces: Local/Global; "And She Told Two Friends...": Lesbians Creating Urban Social Space, Tamar Rothenberg; Trading Places: Consumption, Sexuality and the Production of Queer Space, Jon Binnie; Bachelor Farmers and Spinsters: Gay and Lesbian Identities and Communities in Rural North Dakota, Jerry Lee Kramer; (Re)Constructing a Spanish Redlight District: Prostitution, Space and Power, Angie Hart; Part IV: Sites of Resistance; "Surveilliant Gays": HIV, Space and the Construction of Identities, David Woodhead; Sex, Scale and the "New Urban Politics": HIV-Prevention Strategies from Yaletown, Vancouver, Michael Brown; "Boom, Bye, Bye": Jamaican Ragga and Gay Resistance, Tracey Skelton; The Diversity of Queer Politics and the Redefinition of Sexual Identity and Community in Urban Space, Tim Davis; Perverse Dynamics, Sexual Citizenship and the Transformation of Intimacy, David Bell; Guide to Further Reading; Bibliography. (shrink)
This paper considers the question of whether the explanation of homosexual orientation offered by Sigmund Freud qualifies as a genuine explanation, judged by the criteria of the social sciences. It is argued that the explanation, namely that homosexual orientation is a function of atypical parental influences, is indeed an explanation of the kind found in the social sciences. Nevertheless, it is concluded that to date Freud's hypotheses about homosexuality are no more than unproven speculations. Also considered is the question of (...) whether the very topic of homosexuality falls or ought to fall within the domain of medical inquiry. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
The Sydney gay and lesbian Mardi Gras parade is one of the largest public celebrations of queer sexuality in the world today. This article seeks to understand the attraction of the Mardi Gras parade for heterosexual spectators who feel ambivalent or negative towards homosexuality. Drawing upon the concepts of ‘the stranger’ and ‘the tourist’ we suggest that the parade has several liminoid features that enable these spectators to momentarily suspend sexual norms that would otherwise inhibit them from attending. In this (...) way, the parade provides an almost ideal opportunity for the ambivalent sexual tourist to experience the pleasure of the strange. (shrink)