What’s important about ‘coming out’? Why do we wear business suits or Star Trek pins? Part of the answer, we think, has to do with what we call agential identity. Social metaphysics has given us tools for understanding what it is to be socially positioned as a member of a particular group and what it means to self-identify with a group. But there is little exploration of the general relationship between self-identity and social position. We take up this exploration, developing (...) an account of agential identity—the self-identities we make available to others. Agential identities are the bridge between what we take ourselves to be and what others take us to be. Understanding agential identity not only fills an important gap in the literature, but also helps us explain politically important phenomena concerning discrimination, malicious identities, passing, and code-switching. These phenomena, we argue, cannot be understood solely in terms of self-identity or social position. (shrink)
The American Psychological Association's (APA's) as well as other professional organizations' (e.g., American Psychiatric Association) removal of homosexuality as a mental disorder represented a paradigmatic shift in thinking about exual orientation. Since then, APA (2000) disseminated guidelines for working with lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) clients, and a variety of scholars and researchers alike have advocated affirmative therapeutic interventions with LGB individuals. Despite these efforts, the controversy over treating individuals with LGB orientations using nonaffirmative techniques continues. In this discussion, the (...) limited evidence regarding the efficacy and effects of conversion therapy is surveyed, particularly in the context of empirically supported treatment criteria summarized by Division 12 (clinical psychology) of the APA. Authors then consider the resulting ethical considerations in performing conversion therapy and propose alternative uses of affirmative therapy on the basis of ethical standards defined by APA. Finally, options for treating LGB individuals who are coming to terms with their sexual orientations are discussed. (shrink)
This paper argues that participating exclusively or predominantly in heterosexual romantic or sexual relationships is prima facie morally impermissible. It holds that this conclusion follows from three premises: (1) gender norms are on-balance harmful; (2) conforming to harmful social norms is prima facie morally impermissible; and (3) participating exclusively or predominantly in heterosexual romantic or sexual relationships is a way of conforming to gender norms.
For a balanced discussion of the main social, medical, and philosophical aspects of homosexuality, here is the ideal book. Written by philosophers of science, each comprehensive chapter takes a critical look at research on the etiology of homosexuality. Read Philosophy and Homosexuality and examine the evidence for both the sociobiological and hormonal explanations of homosexuality and study the definitions of sexual orientation and how they have affected research.