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The legalese of sex and gender

The terms sex and gender have not always been differentiated in the English language. It was not until the 1950s that U.S. and British psychologists and other professionals working with intersex and transsexual patients formally began distinguishing between sex and gender. Since then, psychological and physiological professionals have increasingly used the term gender (Moi 2005). By the end of the twenty-first century, expanding the proper usage of the term gender to everyday language became more challenging—particularly where legal language is concerned. In an effort to clarify usage of the terms sex and gender , U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in a 1994 briefing, “The word gender has acquired the new and useful connotation of cultural or attitudinal characteristics (as opposed to physical characteristics) distinctive to the sexes. That is to say, gender is to sex as feminine is to female and masculine is to male” ( J.E.B. v. Alabama , 144 S. Ct. 1436 [1994]). Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a different take, however. Viewing the words as synonymous, she freely swapped them in her briefings so as to avoid having the word “sex” pop up too often. It is thought that her secretary supported this practice by suggestions to Ginsberg that “those nine men” (the other Supreme Court justices), “hear that word and their first association is not the way you want them to be thinking” (Case 1995). This anecdote reveals that both sex and gender are actually socially defined variables whose definitions change over time.

Sexual orientation

A person’s sexual orientation    is his or her physical, mental, emotional, and sexual attraction to a particular sex (male or female). Sexual orientation is typically divided into four categories: heterosexuality , the attraction to individuals of the other sex; homosexuality , the attraction to individuals of the same sex; bisexuality , the attraction to individuals of either sex; and asexuality , no attraction to either sex. Heterosexuals and homosexuals may also be referred to informally as “straight” and “gay,” respectively. The United States is a heteronormative society , meaning it assumes sexual orientation is biologically determined and unambiguous. Consider that homosexuals are often asked, “When did you know you were gay?” but heterosexuals are rarely asked, “When did you know that you were straight?” (Ryle 2011).

According to current scientific understanding, individuals are usually aware of their sexual orientation between middle childhood and early adolescence (American Psychological Association 2008). They do not have to participate in sexual activity to be aware of these emotional, romantic, and physical attractions; people can be celibate and still recognize their sexual orientation. Homosexual women (also referred to as lesbians), homosexual men (also referred to as gays), and bisexuals of both genders may have very different experiences of discovering and accepting their sexual orientation. At the point of puberty, some may be able to announce their sexual orientations, while others may be unready or unwilling to make their homosexuality or bisexuality known since it goes against U.S. society’s historical norms (APA 2008).

Questions & Answers

The development of applied anthropology and social impact assessment are working for the
Mame Reply
sociology definition
Gunjan Reply
scientific and systematic study of society comprising of social Institutions, norms, values, structures and individuals.
SHIVAM
what is society
rascal Reply
society is a group of people who live in a particular territory, are subject to a common system of political authority & share a common culture.
Godson
simply society is a group of who share terrirory and common culture
Mohamed
society is aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered communities.
Khuzaifa
society is a group of people with common territory,interaction and culture.
Khuzaifa
What is motion
Fiko Reply
imagining sociologically, describe the current global pandemic?
Yasir Reply
I really want to know about what is " राज्य- राष्ट्र" ...please don't take it as nation state ।t is state- nation... could anyone explain this
Ritu Reply
imagining sociologically describe the current global pandemic
Yasir
what is state- nation not nation- state ... I have learned about nation state and I know very well but about "state-nation" I have learned a name only and there is no definition or clearfication about this in Google or other websites
Ritu
oh sorry I ask a question to you that imagining sociologically describe the current global pandemic?
Yasir
yet I've no enough idea about your question in which I can explain ....
Ritu
who coined the term sociology?
Chano Reply
discuss about the Marxian approaches of development.
Chano
how sociology bring development?
Mwita
i need the answers please
Mwita
auguste com't he who coined the term sociology
AMINU
Development sociology is the study of the causes and consequences of economic change in society. ... Economic sociology consistently turns to economic development as the natural setting for tests of its theories. Development Sociology investigates the practices and processes of social change.
AMINU
The emergence of sociology traces back to the eighteenth century up to present day. Johnson (1998) suggests that in summary, the rise and development of sociology is based on political, economic, demographic, social and scientific changes
AMINU
theories of development in sociology The main objective of this document is to synthesize the main aspects of the four major theories of development: modernization, dependency, world- systems and globalization. These are the principal theoretical explanations to interpret development efforts carried
AMINU
theories of development in sociology The main objective of this document is to synthesize the main aspects of the four major theories of development: modernization, dependency, world- systems and globalization. These are the principal theoretical explanations to interpret development efforts carried
AMINU
basic tenants of islam
Raksha Reply
what are forms of governments
Nyiko Reply
if you kill someone in self defense is it a crime
Clara Reply
no its a self defence if u kill someone in self defense by mistake its a self defense but if you kill someone in self defense and you defense your self then if u kill him its a murdered ..... and murder is a crime... 😊
Hassan
4. Explain in detail the various factors those may affect rural development under local cultural settings. any buddy know this answer plz sent mein
Hassan Reply
hi, is this to get help with exam questions?
Bri Reply
Yap
Mustafa
what is basic structure of culture
Yasir Reply
(1) group of people (2) similar historical experiences (3) consensus on values, rewards and punishments (4) identification of their group as distinct from others
Sourabh
1
Nyiko
The structure of culture follows that of human life in its evolution, activities, and interests. ... It would seem that the forms of communication dictate the structure of culture, language being naturally the most privileged but not exclusive means by which the communication process can work.
Ritu
the social sciences, social structure  is the patterned social arrangements in society that are both emergent  from and determinant of the actions of society .Likewise, society is believed to be grouped into structurally-related groups or sets of role, with different function, meaning and purpose.
Sonam
Through which sociological perspective we can analyze the pakistani society
Salman Reply
It is used within a paper to clarify or expand on a point made, or to give credit to the sources used to support that point. A. Notes B. Thesis C. Article D. None of these what is the answer.?
Sikandar
Article
sayan
agree , people often think of street crime
Anastasia Reply
absolutely right
Ritu
may be they think only what they want to think or see..
Ritu
4. Explain in detail the various factors those may affect rural development under local cultural settings. any buddy know this answer
Hassan

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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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