Since I've begun working on my dissertation, I've not posted much to this site. But I keep receiving questions about the relationship between theology and contemporary understandings of sexuality and gender.
In response to these requests, I've decided to pull some writing out of my archives and post it. Specifically, in this series I will offer some thoughts that are based on the materials I read in preparation for one of my qualifying exams. Because of the nature of the material, it does not contain footnotes. However, I will at least supply links for the works being referenced for further reading.
Contemporary discourses around sexual identity depend on a couple of elements for their intelligibility. When we speak of homo-, bi-, and heterosexuals, our understandings tend to fall into categories of who a person feels affective attraction for and/or engages in sexual acts with.
However, a second element that is often taken for granted is the idea of biological sexual designation and related ideas of gender. On closer examination, many gender and queer theorists suggest that rather than essential or ontological categories, sexuality and gender expression are culturally dependent.
Perhaps more surprisingly, sexual designation is, for some, also a set of constructed categories.
What follows is a series of brief reflections on several key thinkers in gender and queer theory who explore these ideas.