Research Mentor(s)

Anne Lobeck

Affiliated Department

Linguistics

Sort Order

30

Start Date

19-5-2016 12:00 PM

End Date

19-5-2016 3:00 PM

Keywords

Linguistics, Language, Medical, Gender, Feminism, Asexuality, Intersex, Transgender, Culture, LGBT, Sexuality, Society, Identity

Document Type

Event

Abstract

This project is about how asexual, intersex and transgender identities challenge normative ideas about what it means to be human. Our research primarily focused on how language used in the medical community influences societal perceptions of non-normative identities. Western culture is pervasively heteronormative, meaning that there is a narrow idea of what constitutes a “normal” human being, which is typically heterosexual and limited to a binary gender system. While society is making strides with accepting non-hetero sexual identities, there persists the notion that humans are inherently sexual beings. Asexuality, an orientation characterized by a lack of sexual attraction, challenges this sexual normative ideal. Gender within Western culture is strictly binary and is mapped onto physical sex. Intersex individuals are people who have some combination of both male and female characteristics or are neither male nor female. This challenges the notion that human beings are naturally categorized as either male or female. Transgender peoples, who are characterized by not having a gender identity that matches their gender assigned at birth, challenge the notion that physical sex and gender are one and the same. Through our work we have found that there is a startling and disappointing lack of research on these identities, rendering these people invisible. What research there is, shows a trend in the medical community of pathologizing and erasing the identities of people who are asexual, intersex or transgender.

Comments

Outstanding Poster Award Recipient

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May 19th, 12:00 PM May 19th, 3:00 PM

The Language of Non-normative Sexuality and Genders

Linguistics

This project is about how asexual, intersex and transgender identities challenge normative ideas about what it means to be human. Our research primarily focused on how language used in the medical community influences societal perceptions of non-normative identities. Western culture is pervasively heteronormative, meaning that there is a narrow idea of what constitutes a “normal” human being, which is typically heterosexual and limited to a binary gender system. While society is making strides with accepting non-hetero sexual identities, there persists the notion that humans are inherently sexual beings. Asexuality, an orientation characterized by a lack of sexual attraction, challenges this sexual normative ideal. Gender within Western culture is strictly binary and is mapped onto physical sex. Intersex individuals are people who have some combination of both male and female characteristics or are neither male nor female. This challenges the notion that human beings are naturally categorized as either male or female. Transgender peoples, who are characterized by not having a gender identity that matches their gender assigned at birth, challenge the notion that physical sex and gender are one and the same. Through our work we have found that there is a startling and disappointing lack of research on these identities, rendering these people invisible. What research there is, shows a trend in the medical community of pathologizing and erasing the identities of people who are asexual, intersex or transgender.

 

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