Identity or Behavior Part 1
Who one is, a homosexual or what one does, homosexuality. The support is greatest for the latter.
Homosexuality and the ‘homosexual’ have a history. The history of the ‘homosexual’ began during the 1860s in Germany. While homosexuality, same-sex sexual behavior has been part of all most every culture and society throughout history. Many of the quotes are by those advocating for homosexuality or who self-identify as a homosexual. Three exceptions are from Mondimore’s book, The Natural History of Homosexuality, Kronmeyer’s book Overcoming Homosexuality and the article by Byne and Parsons, Human Sexual Orientation.
It is easy to determine homosexuality, homosexual behavior. But who is a homosexual? This is a question that cannot be answered. And there is a simple reason, there is no homosexual as a distinct person, only behaviors and physical sexual acts that a person commits. There are people who during their lifetime often change their sexual behavior, and this makes it impossible to state that a set of behaviors defines a person as a homosexual. Also, there is no one set of sexual desires or self-identification that uniquely defines who a homosexual is. Throughout history sex acts have contained directional qualities and they are divided into active and passive roles. Even in cultures and societies today the individual who takes the active role in sexual acts between two members of the same sex is not seen as a homosexual. Also in history, many cultures and societies did not have the modern concept of gender, masculine and feminine, but they did have the concept of sex, male and female. And there were often specific roles according to sex, male and female.
Up until the 1860s the concept of homosexuality was seen as a sin or a crime. Then it began to take on medical and scientific concepts. Within these concepts there rest the premise of biological or organic causes for homosexuality. I want to talk about what one does, homosexuality’ over and above the idea of a homosexual’ who one is. Throughout history in all most every culture and society it was homosexuality, homosexual behavior that may be seen and in some instances, it is was a part of carefully structured roles. The norm has always been marriage, male and female relationships for procreation. There are historically significant events that may be marked in the development of the concept of the modern homosexual’ as a distinct person.
Weeks: Jeffrey Weeks university professor, London South Bank University. He is a historian and sociologist specializing in work on sexuality. Weeks self-identifies as gay is a gay activist.
We tend to think now that the word homosexual’ has an unvarying meaning, beyond time and history. In fact it is itself a product of history, a cultural artifact designed to express a particular concept. (Weeks, Coming Out, p. 3)
The focus of historical inquiry therefore has to be on developing social attitudes, their origins, and their rational, for without these discussions homosexuality becomes virtually incomprehensible. And as a starting-point we have to distinguish between homosexual behavior, which is universal, and a homosexual identity, which is historically specific - and a completely recent phenomenon in Britain. (Weeks, Coming Out, p.3)
Homosexuality has everywhere existed, but it is only in some cultures that it has become structured into a sub-culture. Homosexuality in the pre-modern period was frequent, but only in certain closed communities was it ever institutionalized - perhaps in some monasteries and nunneries, as many of the medieval penitentials suggest; in some of the knightly orders (including the Knights Templars), as the great medieval scandals hint; and in the courts of certain monarchs (such as James I of England, William III). Other homosexual contacts, though recurrent, are likely to have been casual, fleeting, and undefined. (Weeks, Coming Out, p. 35)
The very idea of sexual identity is an ambiguous one. For many in the modern world especially the sexually marginal it is an absolutely fundamental concept, offering a sense of personal unity, social location and even at times a political commitment. (Weeks, Questions of Identity p.31 in The Cultural Construction of Sexuality, Editor Pat Caplan.)
Yet, at the same time, we now know from a proliferating literature that such identities are historically and culturally specific, that they are selected from a host of possible social identities, that they are not necessary attributes of particular sex drives or desires, and they are not, in fact, essential that is naturally pre-given aspects of our personality (Weeks 1985). So there is a real paradox at the heart of the question of sexual identity. We are increasingly aware, theoretically, historically, even politically, that sexuality is about flux and change, so that what we so readily deem as sexual is as much a product of language and culture as of nature. (Weeks, Questions of Identity p. 31 in The Cultural Construction of Sexuality, Editor Pat Caplan.)
Over the past century, in particular, the search for identity has been a major characteristic of those whom our culture has designated as outside the norms, precisely abnormal: male homosexuals, lesbians, and a whole catalogue out of the pages of Krafft-Ebing (paedophiles, transvestites, bisexuals . . . ). The defining categorizations of the sexologists have provided the basis for a multiplicity of self- definitions, self-identifications; sexual identities. (Weeks, Jefffrey. Questions of Identity, p. 32 in The Cultural Construction of Sexuality by Pat Caplan.)
Just as homosexuality was defined as a sexual condition peculiar to some people but not others in this period, so the concept of heterosexuality was invented to describe normality a normality circumscribed by a founding belief in the sharp distinctions between the sexes and the assumption that gender identity (to be a man or a woman) and sexual identity were necessarily linked through the naturalness of heterosexual object choice. All else fell into the vaguely written powerful catalogue of perversity. (Weeks, Questions of Identity p. 35 in The Cultural Construction of Sexuality, Editor Pat Caplan.)
From the latter it becomes clear that while erotic activity between men and men and women and women has existed in all times and all cultures, only in a few societies does a distinctive homosexual identity emerge. (Weeks, Questions of Identity, p. 40 in The Cultural Construction of Sexuality by Pat Caplan)
Among men there probably did exist a growing sense of difference, with the early eighteenth century a key moment of differentiation, and there certainly existed an expanding subcultural network of meeting places and styles. Yet it is difficult to see clear signs of a distinctive homosexual life style and identity until the latter part of the nineteenth century (Weeks 1977; Bray 1982). Given this, the sexological ’discovery’ of the homosexual during that period is obviously of crucial importance. It gives a name, an aetiology, and potentially the elements of an identity, marking off a special homosexual type of person, with distinctive desires, aptitudes, and even physiognomy. Inspired by the recognition of this sexological moment some historians have sought to argue that it was the categorizations that made ’the homosexual’ and ’the lesbian’ possible. Until sexology gave them the name there was only the half life of an amorphous sense of self. Thereafter, the homosexual belonged to a species (Foucault 1979). (Weeks, Questions of Identity, p. 40 in The Cultural Construction of Sexuality by Pat Caplan)
Homosexual identities have been established within the parameters set by sexological definition. But they have been established by living and breathing men and women. What sexology did was indeed to set up restrictive definitions, and to be regularly complicit with the controlling ambitions of a variety of social practices. At the same time it also put into language a host of definitions and meanings which could be played with, challenged, negated, and used. Sexology, usually against its intentions, contributed through its definitions to the self-definition of those it sought to identify. (Weeks, Questions of Identity, p. 41 in The Cultural Construction of Sexuality by Pat Caplan)
The resulting preoccupation with identity among the sexually marginal cannot be explained as an effect of a peculiar personal obsession with sex. It has to be seen, more accurately, as a powerful resistance to the organizing principle of traditional sexual attitudes. It has been the sexual radicals who have most insistently politicized the question of sexual identity. But the agenda has been largely shaped by the importance assigned by our culture to ’correct’ sexual behaviour.
But politicized sexual identities are not automatic responses to negative definitions. For their emergence, they need complex social and political conditions in order to produce a sense of community experience which makes for collective endeavour. Barry Adam has suggested that five conditions are necessary for this: the existence of large numbers in the same situation; geographical concentration; identifiable targets of opposition; sudden events or changes in social position; and an intellectual leadership with readily understood goals (Adam 1978:123). Each of these has been present in the emergence of the most spectacularly successful of politicized sexual identities, the lesbian and gay identities, over the past twenty years. The growth of urban subcultures since World War II especially in North America, but also in Europe, the emergence of general currents of hostility, from McCarthyism to moral panics around the impact of ’permissiveness’ and the sexual revolution, the growth of riew social movements with radical sexual agendas, such as feminism and the lesbian and gay movements, not to mention the movements of the ’sexual fringe’ following in their wake - each of these has helped to make for the emergence of ’the modern homosexual’, now not so much a curiosity in the fading pages of sexology textbooks but the bearer of a fully blown social and human identity (D’Emilio 1983; Plummer 1981). (Weeks, Questions of Identity, p. 42 in The Cultural Construction of Sexuality by Pat Caplan)
These processes in turn depend on the person’s environment and wider community. Many people, it has been argued, ’drift’ into identity, battered by contingency rather than guided by will. Four characteristic stages have been identified by Plummer: ’sensitization’, when the individual becomes aware of the possibility of being different; ’signification’, when he or she attributes a developing meaning to these differences; ’subculturalization’, the stage of recognizing oneself through involvement with others; and ’stabilization’, the stage of full acceptance of one’s feelings and way of life (Plummer 1975). There is no automatic progression through these stages; each transition is dependent as much on chance as on decision; and there is no necessary acceptance of the final destiny, of an open identity. Some choices are forced on individuals, whether through stigmatization and public obloquy or through political necessity. But the point that needs underlining is that identity is a choice. It is not dictated by internal imperatives. (Weeks, Questions of Identity, p. 43-44 in The Cultural Construction of Sexuality by Pat Caplan.)
The implication of this is that ’desire’ is one thing, while subject position, that is identification with a particular social position and organizing sense of self, is another (Hocquenghem 1978). This means that labels such as ’gay’ and ’lesbian’ increasingly become political choices, and in that process the sexual connotations can all but disappear. (Weeks, Questions of Identity, p. 44 in The Cultural Construction of Sexuality by Pat Caplan.)
Identity is not a destiny but a choice. But in a culture where homosexual desires, female or male, are still execrated and denied, the adoption of lesbian or gay identities inevitably constitutes a political choice. These identities are not expressions of secret essences. They are self-creations, but they are creations on ground not freely chosen but laid out by history. So homosexual identities illustrate the play of constraint and opportunity, necessity and freedom, power and pleasure. Sexual identities seem necessary in the contemporary world as starting-points for a politics around sexuality. But the form they take is not predetermined. In the end, therefore, they are not so much about who we really are, what our sex dictates. (Weeks, Questions of Identity, p. 47 in The Cultural Construction of Sexuality by Pat Caplan.)
Identity may well be a historical fiction, a controlling myth, a limiting burden. But it is at the same time a necessary means of weaving our way through a hazard-strewn world and a complex web of social relations. Without it, it seems, the possibilities of sexual choice are not increased ’ but diminished. (Weeks, Questions of Identity, p. 49 in The Cultural Construction of Sexuality by Pat Caplan.)
The sexological discovery’ of the homosexual in the late nineteen century is therefore obviously a crucial moment. It gave a name, an aetiology, and potentially the embryos of an identity. It marked off a special homosexual type of person, with distinctive physiognomy, tastes and potentialities. Did, therefore, the sexologists create the homosexual? This certainly seems to be the position of some historians. Michel Foucault and Lillian Faderman appear at times to argue, in an unusual alliance, that it was the categorisation of the sexologists that made the homosexual’ and the lesbian’ possible. Building on Ulrichs belief that homosexuals were a third sex, a woman’s soul in a man’s body, Westphal was able to invent the contrary sexual feeling’ Ellis the invert’ defined by a congenital anomaly, and Hirschfeld the intermediate sex’; the sexologists definitions, embodied in medical interventions, created’ the homosexual. Until sexology gave them a label, there was only the half-life of an amorphous sense of self. The homosexual identity as we know it is therefore a production of social categorisation, whose fundamental aim and effect was regulation and control. To name was to imprison. (Weeks, Sexuality and Its Discontents Meanings, Myths and Modern Sexualities, p. 92-93)
We should employ cross-cultural and historical evidence not only to chart changing attitudes but to challenge the very concept of a single trans-historical notion of homosexuality. In different cultures (and at different historical moments or conjunctures within the same culture) very different meanings are given to same-sex activity both by society at large and by the individual participants. The physical acts might be similar, but the social construction of meanings around them are profoundly different. The social integration of forms of pedagogic homosexual relations in ancient Greece have no continuity with contemporary notions of homosexual identity. To put it another way, the various possibilities of what Hocquenghem calls homosexual desire, or what more neutrally might be termed homosexual behaviors, which seem from historical evidence to be a permanent and ineradicable aspect of human sexual possibilities, are variously constructed in different cultures as an aspect of wider gender and sexual regulation. If this is the case, it is pointless discussing questions such as, what are the origins of homosexual oppression, or what is the nature of the homosexual taboo, as if there was a single, causative factor. The crucial question must be: what are the conditions for the emergence of this particular form of regulation of sexual behavior in this particular society? (Weeks, Against nature: essays on history, sexuality and identity, p. 13-14)
Since at least the eighteenth century, and increasingly codified from the nineteenth century (Trumbach 1998, 1999; Sedgwick 1985, 1990), the execrated category of the homosexual has served to define the parameters of what is to be normal that is heterosexual. The fact the boundaries between the two have always been permeable, as countless histories have revealed, and for the long ambiguous category of the bisexual underlined (Garber 1995), made little difference to popular beliefs and prejudices or the legal realities. The divide between homosexuality and heterosexuality seemed rooted in nature, sanctioned by religion and science, and upheld by many penal codes. (Weeks, Heaphy and Donovan, Same Sex Intimacies Families of Choice and Other Life Experiments, p.14)
D’Emilio: John D’Emilio Professor of History and Gender and Women’s Studies Emeritus, University of Illinois Chicago. His field of study and writing was LGBT history and history of sexuality. He self-identifies as gay.
There is another historical myth that enjoys nearly universal acceptance in the gay movement, the myth of the eternal homosexual. The argument runs something like this: Gay men and lesbians always were and always will be. We are everywhere; not just now, but throughout history, in all societies and all periods. This myth served a positive political function in the first years of gay liberation. In the early 1970s, when we battled an ideology that either denied our existence or defined us as psychopathic individuals or freaks of nature, it was empowering to assert that we are everywhere. But in recent years it has confined us as surely as the most homophobic medical theories, and locked our movement in place. Here I wish to challenge this myth. I want to argue that gay men and lesbians have not always existed. Instead they are a product of history, and have come into existence in a specific historical era. Their emergence is associated with the relations of capitalism; it has been the historical development of capitalism-more specifically, its free-labor system-that has allowed a large numbers of men and women in the late twentieth century to call themselves gay, to see themselves as part of a community of similar men and women, to organize politically on the basis of that identity. (D’Emilio, Making Trouble Essays on Gay History, Politics, and the University, p.5)
I have argued that lesbian and gay identity and communities are historically created, as a result of a process of capitalist development that has spanned many generations. A corollary of this argument is that we are not a fixed social minority composed for all time of a certain percentage of the population. There are more of us than one hundred years ago, more of us than forty years ago. And there may very well be more gay men and lesbians in the future. Claims made by gays and nongays that sexual orientation is fixed at an early age, that large numbers of visible gay men and lesbians in society, the media, and the schools will have no influence on the sexual identities of the young are wrong. Capitalism has created the material conditions for homosexual desire to express itself as a central component of some individuals’ lives; now, our political movements are changing consciousness, creating the ideological conditions that make it easier for people to make that choice. (D’Emilio, Making Trouble Essays on Gay History, Politics, and the University, p.12)
Duberman: Martin Bauml Duberman is an American historian, biographer, playwright, and gay rights activist. He is Professor of History Emeritus at the Graduate School of the City University of New York and Lehman College. Duberman self-identifies as gay.
It isn’t at all obvious why a gay rights movement should ever have arisen in the United States in the first place. And it’s profoundly puzzling why that movement should have become far and away the most powerful such political formation in the world. Same gender sexual acts have been commonplace throughout history and across cultures. Today, to speak with surety about a matter for which there is absolutely no statistical evidence, more adolescent male butts are being penetrated in the Arab world, Latin American, North Africa and Southeast Asia then in the west. But the notion of a gay identity rarely accompanies such sexual acts, nor do political movements arise to make demands in the name of that identity. It’s still almost entirely in the Western world that the genders of one’s partner is considered a prime marker of personality, and among Western nations it is the United States - a country otherwise considered a bastion of conservatism - that the strongest political movement has arisen centered around that identity. We’ve only begun to analyze why, and to date can say little more then that certain significant pre-requisites developed in this country, and to some degree everywhere in the western world, that weren’t present, or hadn’t achieved the necessary critical mass, elsewhere. Among such factors were the weakening of the traditional religious link between sexuality and procreation (one which had made non-procreative same gender desire an automatic candidate for denunciation as unnatural). Secondly, the rapid urbanization and industrialization of the United States, and the West in general, in nineteen century weakened the material (and moral) authority of the nuclear family, and allowed mavericks to escape into welcome anonymity of city life, where they could choose a previously unacceptable lifestyle of singleness and nonconformity without constantly worrying about parental or village busybodies pouncing on them. (Duberman, Left Out, p. 414-415.)
It allows us, in short, to imagine there’s a connection between action and identity, to imagine an equal sign between the verb ‘kill’ and the noun killer;
Sexual identity is a new addition to the identity portfolio, and we can see in recent history, and to a large extent even within living memory, the process of its accretion. That’s just plain interesting, I think, like being able to watch a pearl form in front of our eyes. Why not take a look, since we are able to. It can’t help but give us a better, perhaps more profound view of ourselves.
But I’d say it’s most important because sexual identity, like that equal sign between verb and noun, is in the end a house built on sand, the living in which makes us more, through omission rather than commission more anxious, less happy people than we might otherwise be. (Archer, The End of Gay and the Death of Heterosexuality, p.27)
To combat this homophobia, over past 125 years homosexualists have invented a countermadness known as the homosexual or gay identity. Taking its cue from psychiatry, a fictional condition has been transmuted into a person. Although this person is detoxicated, purged of mental pathology (there still is the smelly residue of prenatal physical pathology), the basic premise is the same: the homosexual is a special species of humankind. As in the psychiatric nomenclature, the labels change with the arrival of new exemplars, beginning with Urning and homosexual to today’s lesbian, bull, dyke, gay, queer, fag, fairy, queen, schwule, flikker, mariacon, and recently in Berlin, warme. (De Ceeo, Confusing the Actor With the Act: Muddled Notions About Homosexuality, p. 410)
Several years ago my colleagues and I reported the overwhelming definitional and sampling confusion that pervaded research on homosexuality (Shively et al, 1984). That confusion only deepens the farther research on homosexuality moves away from homosexual acts and continues to engage in the futile task of searching for the causes of a defective condition or a status or a personal identity or an enduring, ineffable emotional inclination revealed in fantasy, none of which is accessible to observation. Once we understand that the biomedical and psychological research is looking for the cause of acts, which are largely circumstantial, then its futility is clear. If we return to the focus on homosexual acts, as in the original Kinsey reports, then we can arrive at some agreements as to what it is that we are attempting to describe or explain - an ancient axiom of historical and scientific research. (De Cecco, Confusing the Actor With the Act: Muddled Notions About Homosexuality, p. 412)
In the late nineteen-century avatar homosexuality was a psychological and medical phenomenon with pathological mental and physical underpinnings. From the turn of the century, Freudian psychology and American psychoanalysis portrayed it as a mental state caused by early childhood trauma, one that led to the individual’s failure to achieve adult genital heterosexuality. With the advent of gay, lesbian and bisexual studies, particularly in the last two decades, homosexuality has been investigated as a historical, political, social, and cultural phenomenon. More recently, as seen in the articles in this collection, it has been revisited as biological state. (De Cecco and Parker, editors. Sex, Cells, and Same-Sex Desire: The Biology of Sexual Preference, p. 19)
Through an examination of certain historical structures of sexual dimorphism, I have come to conclude that identity categories homosexual/heterosexual in the nineteenth century and gay/straight in the twentieth century should be understood not as universal but as suggestions of common themes around the world (Herdt ed. 1994). (Herdt, Same Sex, Different Cultures: Gays and Lesbians Across Cultures, p.xvi)
Anthropology has shown that people who erotically desire the same gender sufficiently to organize their social lives around this desire come in all genders, colors, political and religious creeds, and nationalities. There is no special kind of person who is homosexual; and much as we might expect, there is no single word or construct, including the western idea of homosexuality, that represents them all. To make matters even more complicated, the local term in each culture or community that classifies the homoerotic act or role is not always positive; indeed, in the western tradition it is usually negative. (Herdt, Same Sex, Different Cultures: Gays and Lesbians Across Cultures. p.3)
Only in the twentieth century, through mass media and political rhetoric, has the explicit terminology of homosexuality/heterosexuality been widely applied to people and acts and events, typically to contain and control all sexual behavior. Only as wide-scale sexual liberation movements gained steam in the 1960s did people who desire the same gender begin to call themselves lesbian or gay. Since that time these identity systems have been exported to other cultures, which has created controversies in developing countries that previously lacked these concepts, having neither the history nor the political traditions that bought them about. No wonder it seems strange but also familiar to hear of gays and lesbians from societies that previously denied having homosexuality at all. (Herdt, Same Sex, Different Cultures: Gays and Lesbians Across Cultures, p.7)
In modern western history the category of the homosexual originates primarily from late-nineteenth-century notions, derived from medicine, that defined same-sex desire as the product of disease, degeneracy, and moral inversion. These notions created an imagine of a woman trapped in a man’s body or of a male body with female brain a third sex apart from the rest of humanity. (Herdt, Same Sex, Different Cultures: Gays and Lesbians Across Cultures. p.18)
Thus ‘gay’ has become a sexual orientation (a particular kind of homosexuality), a social identity and a political movement. It should be clear that ‘gay’ is a new form of homosexual practice, which in its fullest sense is unique in human history. The psychosocial condition of being gay today must therefore be understood in their own place and historical time. Being gay or lesbian is a kind of commentary’ on the dualistic tendency of Western society to dichotomize body and mind, masculinity and femininity, homosexual and heterosexual, as noted below. The modern gay movement both reflects and mediates these dualisms, indicating that social and erotic transformation is a part of human potential, as Freud suggested. (Herdt, Cross-cultural issues in the development of bisexuality and homosexuality, p. 54)
In sum, homosexuality is not one but many things, many psychosocial forms which can be viewed as symbolic mediations between psychocultural and historical conditions and human potentials for sexual response across the life course. Societies vary greatly in their attitudes toward same-sex response. Homosexual acts are probably universal in humans but institutionalized forms of homosexual activity are not; and these depend, to a great extent, upon the specific historical problems and outlooks of a culture. (Herdt, Cross-cultural issues in the development of bisexuality and homosexuality, p. 55)
Altman: Dennis Altman is an Australian academic, a professor at La Trobe University in Australia and pioneering gay rights activist. Altman self-identifies as gay.
The greatest single victory of the gay movement over the past decade has been to shift the debate from behavior to identity, thus forcing opponents into a position where they can be seen attacking the civil rights of homosexual citizens rather attacking specific and (and as they see it) antisocial behavior. (Altman, The Homosexualization of America, The Americanization of the Homosexual, p. 9)
The basic distinction between behavior and identity has to be constantly stressed: people are not simply homosexual’; rather, many people engage in homosexual acts- and many, not always the same ones, experience homosexual fantasies- which for a minority becomes a basis for a concept of homosexual (lesbian/gay) identity. As Pateman put it: The self is not completely subsumed in its sexuality, but identity is inseparable from the social construction of the self’ (Pateman 1988, see ch. 7). The distinction between homosexual behavior and identity, first identified in sociological literature by McIntosh at the end of the 1960s (McIntosh 1968), is the basis for the modern idea of the gay community’ (or lesbian/gay community) in which ethnic model of identity became the basis for social, cultural, and political organization around sexual preference (Epstein 1987). (Altman, AIDS and the Discourses of Sexuality, p. 36 in Rethinking Sex: Social Theory and Sexuality Research by Connell and Dowsett)
Jagose: Annamarie Jagose professor at the University of Sydney internationally known as a scholar in feminist studies, lesbian/gay studies, and queer theory.
Homosexuality is commonly and widely understood to describe sexual attraction for those of one’s own sex. There does not seem to be anything problematic or uncertain in such a definition. Nevertheless, the theoretical enterprise of deciding exactly what constitutes homosexuality- or, more pragmatically, who is homosexual-is far from self-evident. While there is a certain population of men and women who may be described more or less unproblematically homosexual, a number of ambiguous circumstances can cast doubt on the precise delimitations of homosexuality as a descriptive category. (Jagose, Queer Theory, p.7)
Although theories concerning the formation of modern homosexuality differ, there is significant agreement that homosexuality, as it is understood today, is not a transhistorical phenomenon. With the exception of Faderman, all theorists discussed so far make crucial the distinction between homosexual behaviour, which is ubiquitous, and homosexual identity, which evolves under specific historical conditions. (Jagose, Queer Theory, p.15)
Phrases such as homosexuality in the ‘modern sense’ or homosexuality as it is understood today’ effectively draw attention to the paradigm shift from sexual acts to sexual identities, and to the problems inherent in assuming continuity between current and historic remote same-sex acts. Unfortunately, however, such phrases imply that modern homosexuality, unlike its predecessors, is coherent, certain, and known. Much is invested culturally in representing homosexuality as definitionally unproblematic, and maintaining heterosexuality and homosexuality as radically and demonstrably distinct from one another. Yet modern knowledges about the categories of sexual identification are far from coherent. (Jagose, Queer Theory, p.18)
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