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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

what is sociology?
Tapos Reply
Sociology, is the study of Man and his Environment.
MUBARAK
define the term socialisation
rose Reply
it is the process of learning. in which person learn the norms, value ,attitude from society, family , institutions from his birth to death...
Abhishek
sociology derive from where and called what
Gabby Reply
what is sociology
Favour Reply
sociology is simply the scientific study of human behavior and society
Shamar
facts
Kervens
sociology is the systematic investigation of man ,his environment and time in a particular society.
David
Describe the characteristics of society
Aman Reply
Why Socialization Occurs?
Hitman Reply
I think humans are social creatures because our cooperation allowed us to flousrish in the wild, when all kind of meanece lurked in the bushes, this Is why we need to teach other how reality is, so they can integrate what we consider as escential to communicate, understand and share some basic value
JV
since man is considered an "animal"he lacked a lot by imaging in the society and needed to be internalize in the society in order to attain his personal personality by working with the norms, values and culture of that society.
David
since man is considered an animal'
David
what is socity
Midhun Reply
Society is people who form the community to live together in one place for achieving the same vision or mission.
MUHAMMAD
give and explain 4 forms of alienation by Karl Marx
Timothy
zoological are birth, age, gender species economic - class, business, occupation socio-culture are culture, religion, caste base power based are elite, status,
manisha Reply
what are the determinants of social stratification
Saidi Reply
what is the gender ?
Susanta Reply
gender is the social -cultural different between women and men
France
what are the causes of crime ?
manisha Reply
Poverty Lust for Power Lack of Sensitization
Amos
who is doing criminology under masters
manisha Reply
systematic study of group and group interaction, society and societal interaction by implication of different theories, paradigm and research methods
manisha Reply
systematic scientific study of human relations and interaction.
manisha Reply
what is the Basic term of sociology ?
Muhammed Reply
the study of society. patterns of social relationship, culture etc. sociology is to always question the obvious.
David

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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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