Science of Sex and Sexuality

The author of a New York Times article entitled “On Being Male, Female, neither or both” concluded her comments with the following statement: “The definition of sex was (and is) still up for grabs.” In our post-modern world, we have become accustomed to the malleability of gender identity and sexuality. We are also aware that individuals undergo sex reassignment surgeries but by large we assume that transgender people are transitioning from one discrete category to another. Queer activists certainly challenge this assumption, preferring to envision sex, gender, and sexuality on a continuum, but these days even scientists don’t concur about a definitive definition of sex. Should sex be defined chiefly by anatomy? Chromosomes? The body’s ability to produce and respond to hormones? If the boundaries of biological categories can be contested, what are the implications for culturally constructed ideas about gender identity and sexuality.

TR 12-1:30


  • HSOC/STSC-242

Copyright © 2011. All Rights Reserved.

The Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania

The Alice Paul Center for Research on Gender, Sexuality and Women

3810 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 | (215) 898-8740

Penn Web Login | Site Design by Lucid Digital Designs