Post-Identity: Rethinking Self, Gender, and Sexuality

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines identity as who someone is: the name of a person. : The qualities, beliefs, etc., that make a particular person or group different from others. Going by the definition, a person’s identity should be their personality, character, in short who they are!

But how do we know, who a person is? The society we live in labels a person either as a man or a woman. Now the question arises what is a man or what is a woman? How did this idea even construct? The real agenda should be what is a human being? Foucault answers this question in his work Les Mots et les chose’s (1996)– human being is

“ a recent invention, a figure which is not two centuries old, a simple fold in our knowledge”.

Few topics are as complex and controversial as human sexual orientation and gender identity. Sexual orientation and gender identity resist explanation by simple theories. There is a large gap between the certainty with which beliefs are held about these matters and what a sober assessment of the science reveals. In the face of this complexity and uncertainty, we need to be humble about what we know and do not know.

Sexuality is a central aspect of being human throughout life. And it encompasses sex, gender identities and roles. Also sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction. Further, sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviors, practices, roles and relationships. While sexuality can include all of these dimensions, not all of them are always experienced or expressed. Sexuality is influenced by the interaction of biological, psychological, social, economic, political, cultural, ethical, legal, historical, religious and spiritual factors.(WHO 2004)



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