In the readings from Week 1 to Week 4, we have explored various aspects of queer or trans identity from the perspective of what we call “social construction.” If you feel like you need to review Jeffrey Weeks’ essay from Week 1, please do so. In particular, pay close attention to those “five crucial areas of concern”—particularly the last four he lists. Using Weeks’ definitions and examples of “social construction” from Week 1, how can we apply these ideas to the LGBTQIA history of the United States in the early twentieth century, particularly in the readings from Weeks 3 and 4?
One way of thinking of “social construction” is that definitions of gender and sexuality—including what constitutes masculinity and femininity, and what is considered “normal” sexual behavior—change over time.
Using at least two of the readings besides Weeks from the readings in Weeks 3 and 4, find a quotation that made you rethink some of your assumptions about what gender and sexual identities or communities mean and how they developed historically. How do we see various communities and identities form in, for example, prisons, bars, newspaper stories, musical expressions, the military, or law enforcement? How can we explain these developments in terms of Jeffrey Weeks’ definition of “social construction” and any of those “five crucial areas” of concern—kinship, but much more importantly social and economic organization, social regulation (including medical, educational, and legal regulation), cultures of resistance, and political interventions?
In your response to this week’s discussion thread, consider one or more of the questions above by writing an original thread. In your original thread, think about what defines queer or trans identities, but also think about how to engage differences around class, race, and/or disability in addition to gender identity and sexuality. Are these definitions and experiences different for immigrants, Black and indigenous people of color (BIPOC), working-class people?
In addition, reply to at least one classmate’s original thread by a) addressing the readings directly with a quote or paraphrase, and b) adding depth or perspective to the original comment. When you reply, don’t just write “I agree,” or “I disagree”—think about how and why you might concur. What examples can you share from the readings—or from your own knowledge experience? It’s perfectly fine in this Discussion Board to share your own experience if you feel safe and comfortable doing so.
Create one original thread of no fewer than 200 words (about half a page). Use a quotation from at least one of the readings in your original thread.
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