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date: 23 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explains the sociological basis to identity categories of sexuality and their hierarchical organization that leads to oppression. It begins with some assumptions of “progress” that underpin contemporary LGBT politics, identifying that this idea of progress is based on assumptions that ignore the ways in which sexualities reflect the gender organization in specific societies and ignore the differences between the Western societies where LGBT rights have been institutionalized and other cultures. It describes the sociological analyses of heteronormativity, which entails both hierarchical gender and sexual organization and results in the oppression of non-conforming genders and sexualities. The chapter goes on to discuss how this structure emerged in the specific sociohistorical context of Western colonialist capitalism and thus how the politics of LGBT liberation are also grounded in this social context. It concludes by arguing that LGBT politics need to take account of these sociological insights to avoid an unreflective adoption of Western identity categories and equality claims and to better understand that any LGBT politics is a profoundly radical challenge to the institutionalization of patriarchal heteronormativity in any culture.

Keywords: binary, gender, heteronormativity, LGBT, politics

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