Homosexuality By Michel Foucault

1810 Words8 Pages
Homosexuality Michel Foucault (2012) offers a historical view in how we define sexual identity along a homo/hetero axis and its connection to gender norms. The term “homosexuality” did not emerge until the nineteenth century, thus prior to this, there was no word to describe practices of same-sex relations, and behaviours were isolated from gender and sexuality identity (Foucault, 2012). During the Victorian era, homosexuality became criminalised following a royal inquiry of sexual practices of male aristocracy, and it was medicalised as a psychiatric disease (Foucault, 2012). With the invention of homosexuality, the concept of heterosexuality emerged and became enshrined in the law, as something that was medically defined as “natural” and…show more content…
As “we live in a culture that thinks in binary categories” (Ochs, 1996: 224), the existence of other sexual and gender identities are denied and discriminated against, such as “third sex” people. Individuals who are “third sex” have a gender identity that does not fit neatly into the categories of ‘male’ and ‘female’, and may have same-sex relations or both (homosexual or bisexual). People tend to identify that “third sex” individuals have freedom from the gender binary; however, that is not necessarily the case (Ochs, 1996). Some “third sexes” like transgender people are likely to face particular challenges in living out their sexualities. For example, in societies which refuse to recognise their gender identities, with high rates of rape and sexual violence from law enforcement and others, and discrimination by sexual health services, transgender people may struggle to negotiate their own sexual interactions (Ilkkaracan & Jolly, 2007). In addition, transgender people may face labour market discrimination when sex work may be the only means to generate income (Ilkkaracan & Jolly, 2007). More importantly, transgender and like many “third sex” people, can struggle to affirm their sense of self with lovers who see them as they wish to be…show more content…
In many ways, gender is more fluid in Native American cultures. The Navajo culture has four genders that vary in gender identity (Zevallos, 2013). This suggests that Native American cultures do not construct gender as a singular or innate possession of individuals, with Western binaries of gender roles for men and women. Williams et al. (2005) explains that possessing both feminine and masculine qualities is part of Native Americans’ indigenous spirituality. Two Spirit people often undertake the roles as wives and husbands of the opposite gender, and some may have diverse sexual experiences with both men and women (Williams et al, 2005). Moreover, Two Spirits have a sanctioned practice that allows a person to exchange genders at particular points of time (Zevallos, 2013). Therefore, “homosexuality” or “bisexuality” for Two Spirit people is not an expression of sexual desire, nor an expression of gender identity. They express their sexuality in culturally defined terms rather than in a purely individual
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