Foucault: Homosexuality Is A Social Construct

In his Histoire de la Sexualité, Michel Foucault argues that homosexuality is a social construct, and one constructed terribly recently at that. “As defined by the ancient civil or canonical codes,” he writes, “sodomy was a category of forbidden acts; their perpetrator was nothing more than the juridical subject of them.” The late-nineteenth century saw this classical view displaced, however, when the sodomite was set up as the bearer of a distinct and pervasive psychological persuasion. “Homosexuality appears as one of the forms of sexuality,” Foucault writes, “when it was transposed from the practice of sodomy onto a kind of interior androgyny, a hermaphroditism of the soul.”

—Michael W. Hannon, “Sexual Disorientation: The Trouble with Talking about ‘Gayness’”

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