When the oppression of sexuality is mentioned, the first term I reach for is homophobia. Regardless, both terms reference the sexual binary, gay versus straight. The sexual binary is rooted within class society. In human societies NOT based on class, this distinction is far more meaningless.
A new term to describe a special oppression that is not new. We all know the terms sexism and racism, each describing the special oppression faced by women and people of color respectively. But what is heterosexism?
How does this language impact our perspective of the concepts they attempt to describe? How do sexism and heterosexism relate to gender & sexuality?
I have no doubt of the importance of recognizing and identifying special oppressions. As an added bonus, fighting against these special oppressions fights against Capitalism overall.
Yet, these special oppressions do not accurately describe gender & sexuality. These divisions we experience under Capitalism today, such as gay versus straight, are social constructions.
In other words, if it weren’t for class society, we wouldn’t necessarily conceive of gender & sexuality the way we do. How do the gender and sexual binaries (as doctrine) benefit the human species to begin with? Is it possible they do the opposite?
Even sex doesn’t fit a binary…intersex people do, in fact, exist.
Perhaps “gender & sexuality” in and of itself is a social construction as well, I have no idea. My point is the conception of gender and sexuality as two distinct binaries serves as a framework for the purpose of analyzing class society.
The gender and sexual binaries DO NOT serve as a framework for the purpose of analyzing human nature. Why would anyone want to identify with a sexual orientation that automatically severs the possibility of romance with half of the human population?
It’s vital to recognize that sexism and heterosexism exist…it’s vital to fight against them. Yet, people take the binaries in which the terms are rooted as doctrine. I think this hurts the cause of fighting against these special oppressions in the first place.
If a person cannot conceive of their identity outside of the gender & sexuality binaries, how are they to fight against their respective special oppressions? How are they to conceive of others as equals despite them identifying with different genders and sexualities?
We cannot know how humans will conceive of gender & sexuality under systems not based on class, yet we cannot take the conceptions class society offer us as doctrine either. We need to acknowledge the artificial nature of the gender & sexuality binaries while also acknowledging the material reality of those same binaries within the class system.
This is my material basis for my conception of gender & sexuality as fluid, as a rhizome. A rhizomatic approach acknowledges the gender & sexuality binaries while simultaneously creating new space for different approaches. It more effectively exposes how ridiculous the divisions we experience under the class system really are.
A Frolicker of Fluidity