Despite the ongoing debate over the origins of human sexual orientation — whether it is biological, genetic, environmental, or even chosen — we are comfortable in our understanding of what sexual orientation is. Sexual orientation is an individual’s sexual, emotional, and romantic attraction to a particular gender or genders (e.g., cis- and transwomen, cis- and transmen). Unlike the role of gender in our sexual orientation and desire, we are less clear in our understanding of the role of other social characteristics, including race, ethnicity, social class, body shape, age, etc.
An important perspective that many social scientists use in their research is an understanding of the way that various systems of inequality intersect and mutually reinforce one another. This perspective, known as intersectionality, helps us to see how people are simultaneously privileged or disadvantaged along the lines of race, ethnicity, gender, social class, age, nationality and immigrant status, and ability. Read More >>