Sex and Gender Fluidity versus ‘Born This Way’
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Published in: July-August 2018 issue.


THE “BORN THIS WAY” narrative of sexual orientation and gender identity suggests that these traits are innate and immutable. However, many in the LGBT community do not identify with that narrative and experience gender and sexuality as fluid and contextual identities. Awareness of these ideas has increased greatly over the past few years, with many celebrities claiming fluid and non-binary identities (such as actress Ruby Rose and rapper Angel Haze). These experiences combat the dominant narrative that sexual orientation and gender identity are innate and rigidly fixed.

            To better understand these diverse experiences and their place within the contemporary legal landscape, I interviewed Lisa Diamond, professor of psychology and gender studies at the University of Utah, and Jessica Clarke, associate professor of law at the University of Minnesota Law School.

            Sexual fluidity entered the spotlight in 2008 when Lisa Diamond published her book, Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women’s Love and Desire, where she presents the results of a study in which she tracked women’s desires and identity labels over the course of a decade.

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Nicholas Adjami, a Boston-based writer, works in nonprofit fundraising.