Gender & Sexuality For Beginners

Gender & Sexuality For Beginners

by Jaimee Garbacik and Jeffrey LEwis

We should not need to "prove" our experiences, defend our realities, or negotiate basic human rights. But we do everyday. Gender and Sexuality For Beginners examines the evolution of gender roles and definitions of sexual orientation in American society, illuminating how neither is as objective or "natural" as we are often led to believe.

What does sexual orientation mean if the very categories of gender are in question? How do we measure equality when our society's definitions of "male" and "female" leave out much of the population? There is no consensus on what a "real" man or woman is, where one's sex begins and ends, or what purpose the categories of masculine and feminine traits serve. While significant strides have been made in recent years on behalf of women's, gay and lesbian rights, there is still a large division between the law and day-to-day reality for LGBTQIA and female-identified individuals in American society. The practices, media outlets, and institutions that privilege heterosexuality and traditional gender roles as "natural" need a closer examination.

Gender and Sexuality For Beginners considers the uses and limitations of biology in defining gender. Questioning gender and sex as both categories and forms of compulsory identification, it critically examines the issues in the historical and contemporary construction, meaning, and perpetuation of gender roles. Gender and Sexuality For Beginners interweaves neurobiology, psychology, feminist, queer, and trans theory, as well as historical gay and lesbian activism to offer new perspectives on gender inequality, ultimately pointing to the clear inadequacy of gender categories and the ways in which the sex-gender system oppresses us all.