Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Selling Social Constructionism: Countering the


Sociology Department


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Social and Behavioral Sciences


Lady Gagas song Born This Way, which include lyrics such as No matter gay, straight, or bi, / Lesbian, transgendered life, / I'm on the right track baby, / I was born to survive, has been used both as an anthem and slogan for LGBT Pride events and for anti-bullying and other LGBT rights campaigns to argue that LGBTness should be socially accepted because it comes from biology. However, many sociologists of sexuality argue that instead of being naturally determined, our particular understanding of sex, our practices of gender, and our beliefs about sexuality are socially constructed. However, we are not the only academics doing research on sexuality and some sociologists, as well as many of those in fields like biology and psychology have embraced the born this wayapproach to sexuality. Similarly, many of our students believe in biological explanations of sexualities and look at us like we are either insane or deeply homophobic if we dare to suggest social causes for modern sexual behaviors, desires, and identities. In this proposed paper, I suggest my ideas for countering the born this waynarrative, including ways to detail how sex, gender, and sexuality are socially constructed. I also propose three approaches for arguing that, although it is a highly appealing political strategy, claiming rights based on biological difference is not the best long term strategy for social equality and expanding the number of ways for humans to happily and healthily live our lives.

Conference Name

Crossing Boundries, Workshopping Sexualities

Conference Location

Denver, CO

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