"'Is Andy Gay When He Sleeps With Men?': Reframing Students' Understanding of Sexual Orientation."


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"I recently heard a young woman complain that a friend of hers “couldn’t make up her mind about whether or not she was a lesbian” because she alternated between dating men and dating other women. This oversimplified, binary view of sexual orientation is prevalent in society at large, as well as in undergraduate classrooms, where anything less than unswerving “heterosexuality” or “homosexuality” may be framed as the result of confusion, cowardice, or self-deception. Of course, scholars of sexuality understand that sexual orientation is neither monolithic nor static. And professors and teaching assistants are strategically positioned to destabilize students’ limited conceptions about sexuality and promote a more nuanced understanding. The following exercise seeks to complicate these issues by illustrating that sexual orientation consists of multiple components (behavior, identity, desire, fantasy, etc.) which may or may not align in ways that are seen as internally consistent. It also illustrates the fluidity of sexuality, as well the way sexual orientation is linked to gender."


Resource Type(s):
Class Activity 
Tracy Royce, University of California-Santa Barbara 
Date Published:
Subject Area:
Small Groups 
Class Level:
College 300 
Class Size:

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