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York University
SOCI 1010
Deborah Davidson

Sexuality: Chapter 10 Community Engagement o Guest Presenter: Rees Nam o ple/about o Centre for Women and Trans People, York University o The Centre for Women and Trans People ("the Centre") is a student-funded, collectively run, volunteer-driven organization at York University. We are a progressive, pro-choice, anti-racist, queer-positive, trans-positive, feminist organization committed to: … o ple/about Video Recommendation from Ameera o o Canadian documentary about a boy (David Reimer) who had his genitalia severely damaged during the circumcision process in infancy, and as a result of this his parents decided to remove his remaining genitalia and raise/socialize him as a 'girl'. The documentary touches on difficulties during childhood in terms of his gender identity and later on becoming aware of the fact that he was born a male. It also discusses his choice to make the transition back to 'male' and the hardships he had faced as a result of this decision. The ending is quite tragic, but I found it to be very relevant to what was covered in last lecture. o Who was Miss G? The Story of Miss G o!about-the-project/vstc4=the- story-of-miss-g o The Miss G Project o!about-the-project o Further Off the Straight and Narrow o New Gay Visibility on Television, 1998-2006 Introduction o Canadians spend a considerable amount of time thinking about sex. o A key-word Internet search of ‘Sex—Canada’ came up with more than 129 million results. o Sociology has done much less thinking about sexuality until relatively recently. o There is general agreement that only in the 1960s did sociology begin to study sexuality. o Important sociological theorizing decades ago built the foundation for current thinking on the subject. o When sociologists write about‘sex’, they are conventionally* referring to the biological facts associated with being born male or female (anatomical facts, hormonal facts, etc.). [*Recall our discussion last class.] o People generally tend to differentiate people as male or female despite the knowledge that these categories are not mutually exclusive. o Some people are born with ambiguous genitalia. o Those who are intersexed possess bodies that do not fit with our traditional discourses of sexual difference. o Intersexed people comprise approximately 2 to 4 per cent of children. o Our society has little tolerance for ambiguity. o When children possess ambiguous genitalia, we typically reconstruct it to fit into existing notions of male and female. o Sexuality is, therefore, a political and social issue. o Because our society dichotomizes sex, we also tend to dichotomize sexuality, sexual identity, and sexual orientation. o Many aspects of our lives are built on the assumption that ‘normal’ people are heterosexual. This is known as heteronormativity. o According to the World Health Organization, sexuality includes sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy, and reproduction. o It is experienced in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviours, roles, and relationships. o The World Health Organization (WHO) also adds that sexuality is influenced by the interaction of biological, psychological, social, economic, political, cultural, ethical, legal, historical, religious, and spiritual factors. o Packaging people into boxes leads to sexism and homophobia. o Sexism refers to the subordination of one sex by another. o Homophobia refers to the irrational fear and/or hatred of homosexuals and homosexuality. o Essentialism is the idea that people have cores or essences that are natural, normal, and inevitable. o Many believe that masculinity and femininity are essences that all people possess. Sex and Spirituality o Sex and sexuality have been closely linked among some cultures and belief systems. o Most religions have had something to say about sexual, procreative‘nature’. o Many cultures have had sacred male and/or female prostitutes. o Many North American Aboriginal societies had transgendered or two- spirited shamans or healers who possessed spiritual qualities. o Five sexes, Revisited by Anne Fausto-Sterling o o In China, sex was seen as a form of worship that led to immortality. o In India between the third and fifth centuries CE, the Kama Sutra was written. It equated spirituality with spontaneity in sex. Sociology of Sex o Sociologists frequently stress the social and cultural relativity of norms surrounding sexual identity and roles. o Sociologists understand sexuality as connected to cultural, political, legal, moral, and ethical phenomena. o Irvine has identified five broad themes in the sociology of sexuality. o The denaturalization of sexuality (a shift away from biological
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