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Lesbian, gay, transsexual, bisexual movements

Barry D. Adam


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Sexual themes intersect with social movement organizations on various fronts. Women's movements, for example, have had profound influence on the development of sexuality, especially through activism around reproductive rights, gender relations, contraception, and abortion. Conservative and fundamentalist movements seek to confine sexuality to traditional social arrangements, or to restrict it to idealized visions of life as it never really was. But perhaps the central nexus between social movements and sexuality occurs among people who have organized around the implications of sexual difference. Here the focus is primarily on gay and lesbian movements, and the many subsequent related identities (bisexual, transgendered, queer, and so on) that have emerged with them. The development of any social movement presupposes a constituency with a sufficient sense of commonality and shared grievances for mobilization to occur. People need to have social connections with each other, a sense of distinctiveness from those around them, and some degree of shared folklore and mutual communication. In the case of gay and lesbian movements, this requires a willingness to stand up for those one is attracted to, loves (or aspires to love), and prefers to live with, and therein lies a great deal of research, debate, and ongoing contention. From historical and cross-cultural viewpoints, these conditions ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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