Thursday, November 13, 2014

H is for Homosexuality

Today H is for homosexuality.  I have written about the relationship between homosexuality and intersex before, but it is complicated, so a refresher is in order.  If you believe sexual orientation is dependent on biological sex (it’s not) then by definition you would have to believe all intersex people are bisexual (they aren’t).

Society lumps intersex together with the LGBT community all the time.  This is sometimes done by straight cisgender people (the few who know about intersex) who don’t recognize the differences and nuanced varieties of sex and gender.  Other times this lumping is done by LGBT activists who see us as having a common interest in fighting for sex and gender variance.  This automatic lumping, though usually well intended, is somewhat ignorant.  Many intersex people consider themselves to be straight, and live in seemingly heterosexual relationships.  They often do not want to be associated with the LGBT movement or sexual politics.
That being said, gays and intersex people have a lot in common.  We both face discrimination based on sexual and gender norms.  Homosexuals, transgender people, intersex people, genderqueer or any gender nonconforming people, would do well to band together.  Even if they do not identify as gay, intersex people are still discriminated against and mutilated.  Their issues and concerns overlap with gay and transgender issues to the point they make natural allies.

Sexual orientation and biological sex are separate issues.  Homosexuality depends, by definition, on biological sex categories.  Gay and straight relationships, by definition, require people to identify as men and women, you can’t have a same sex relationship if there are no socially recognized sexes.  The same is true of intersex.  Intersex wouldn’t exist as a social group that deviates from male and female if those groups didn’t exist.  Our social catagories were just made to define us as separate from the mainstream.  Can an intersex person be gay (or straight)?  That depends on their gender identity and sexual orientation, I think they can, but some might disagree with me, it’s all a matter of identity and definition.      

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