Are you a Lesbian?: The Reification of Dichotomous Thinking
For all of the talk about sexual expression and deconstructing gender categories, much of the public discussions regarding sexuality continue to reify the very concepts that tend to constrain us. Proponents and members of LGBTQ communities must practice what they preach: to end discrimination and challenge heternormative institutions we have to move beyond hard and fast sexual designations. A recent CNN article (see below) illustrates the pressures faced by bisexual and lesbian women to categorize themselves. But does advocating one strict category of homosexuality defined as female-female or male-male actually pose a challenge to our current social, cultural, and political gender system? The dichotomous categories of male/female, homosexual/heterosexual, masculine/feminine do not undermine power structures simply by placing value on the marginalized side of the coin. In other words, advocating homosexuality as an alternative to heterosexuality simply reinforces the same system of oppression. The logic of such behavior does not follow from the claims and slogans of freedom of expression and queer politics. Like any identity based movement, the goal should focus on both recognition as well as attention to the social system and power structures that support discriminatory practices in any area of identity.
CNN “Bisexual or Lesbian -Please Make up Your Mind”