Who wrote this LGTBQ theory?
September 4, 2012 4:24 PM   Subscribe

Help me figure out who wrote this LGTBQ theory?

In a human civil rights course I took last spring, we read an LGTBQ theory piece that said it was incorrect to consider homosexuality a choice. I believe the author felt this way because of something to do with politics. Does this ring a bell to anyone? Or can anyone suggest a way I could google that effectively?

We didn't have a syllabus, and the readings were all in course packets that I recycled. I emailed the professor, but she never got back to me.

posted by obviousresistance to Religion & Philosophy (11 answers total)
Do you remember anything else? Because "incorrect to consider homosexuality a choice" isn't exactly a rare or remarkable position outside socially conservative, and usually religious, thinking.
posted by Tomorrowful at 4:46 PM on September 4, 2012 [4 favorites]

Are you looking for a specific article/theory (in which case, I suspect we need more information: "something to do with politics"?) or just for general arguments that {homo|any}sexuality is not a choice? The google search [is homosexuality a choice] might be a decent starting point (though there may be some conservative SEO driving those top-ranked results) or even just the statement of the American Psychological Association.
posted by xueexueg at 4:48 PM on September 4, 2012

The people who publish the course packets probably have records.
posted by endless_forms at 5:12 PM on September 4, 2012

Response by poster: Sorry, the author was not religious or a social conservative. I'm pretty sure the author was a gay man (and thought I'd included that above...sorry).

I don't think it's very google-able because whenever I do, I come up with social conservative/religious websites, so I figured I'd see if it just rang a bell to anyone else. It was a specific article that mentioned it, but it was an overall theory. I don't need the article itself, just something better than I've got now.

The people who publish our course packets don't keep records.
posted by obviousresistance at 5:56 PM on September 4, 2012

I think the problem that you're having is that there are hundreds of articles across dozens of disciplines written by gay men that assert that homosexuality is not a choice, and have some kind of political bent. You'll need to come up with more details in order to google it or for us to help.
posted by insectosaurus at 6:36 PM on September 4, 2012

"Homosexuality is not a choice" is the dominant opinion within legitimate scholarly circles. It's not really a named "theory" (a la the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle), nor is it associated with any one scholar or any one academic movement/school/circle/what-have-you, aside from "every non-crackpot since about 1970."

What about tracking down another student from your class, or someone who is currently taking the same course? Surely someone else other than you and the professor have access to what course materials were used.

Another idea -- what about dropping by the college bookstore? Chances are if it was in the course packet last year, it'll be there again this year.
posted by Sara C. at 8:02 PM on September 4, 2012

Oh, I thought of another idea.

Surely, the course you took has a title, and is in a department. It's not just "a class about stuff".

This should give you some hints about what kinds of authors would have been included in that course packet and possibly the beginnings of a search term trail.

For example, let's say you encountered this material in a history course called "Sexual Revolutions In The Modern West". You'd probably start by googling something like "historian homosexuality choice" this would probably give you a lot of different results, but you could then narrow it down based on your memories about the author or the specific text (for example the author of "Coming Out As A Political Act" is probably more likely to be your guy than the author of "A Study of Homoerotic Relationships in 14th Century Venice").

You might turn up more and better information using an academic search engine, too.
posted by Sara C. at 8:09 PM on September 4, 2012

This position has been strongly argued since the 1920s. Magnus Hirschfeld was an influential early proponent of the idea that sexual orientation was an innate quality.

It's now such a bedrock given of LGBTQI studies that you're asking us to find a needle in a haystack. Is there anything else distinctive you remember about the piece?
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:26 PM on September 4, 2012

Call the department that offered the course. Ask to speak to the department secretary or whoever is in charge of keeping track of instructor materials for the department's courses. She or he will probably have a copy of any materials given out in the course. That is the case in my department - there is one part-time staff in charge of keeping track of all that stuff.

If they don't have a copy in the department, then mention nicely that you emailed the professor, but haven't heard back yet, but you know it's the beginning of the semester and the professor is no doubt extremely busy, but if the secretary wouldn't mind mentioning it the next time they run into the professor at the coffee maker, you would be EVER so grateful, and thank you SO much for your time, Extremely Busy But So Accommodating Secretary You're The BEST!

Sucking up to secretaries can get you a lot of stuff. Just be gracious enough to back off if they don't seem inclined to help.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 3:38 PM on September 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Well, I have some options for you:

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has a great section on civil rights vis a vis agency of sexual orientation.

A lot of queer theory — which is different from LGBT theory, generally — is predicated upon social construction of desire and deconstructing markers of sexual identity.

Of particular note: Amy Goodloe's radical critique of the causes of homosexuality, Tony Camilerre's radical bisexuality, David A. Munsey's discussion of the law, sexual orientation and choice, and also related: The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's report on "ex-gay" conversion efforts (PDF) which tie in choice with rights and politics in a more concrete way.
posted by klangklangston at 6:56 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you! Seriously, I'm really excited now.
The way our professor introduced the idea made it seem as if it were associated with one person. XP
posted by obviousresistance at 1:57 PM on September 10, 2012

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