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"British Social Policies Promote The Heterosexual And Family Way Of Life"
British Social Policies Promote The Heterosexual And Family Way Of Life
Author:
Tricia F. Doyle
The past two decades have seen fierce battles, still continuing over such issues as gender equality in the workplace; family policy; the crisis of marriage; divorce; abortion; contraceptive and reproductive rights; gay and lesbian sexuality; rape and sexual abuse; sex education, AIDS and issues of sexual health. Through it all, the state and its institutions, police, judiciary, education system, legislature, have all intervened actively seeking to define the limits of what David Evans (1993) calls 'Sexual Citizenship' (Dunphy; 2000:5).


It is in this context that the essay will first give a brief overview to the social construction of homosexuality by considering the work of Foucault. From this it can then explore some aspects of state regulation with regards to sexual behaviour, and examine how state policy has sought to encourage and promote certain forms of behaviour, and discourage, penalise and repress others. The essay will discuss how the heterosexist state has, in recent decades, sought to promote discrimination and cast non-heterosexuals in the role of second-class citizens. The essay will conclude by evaluating some of New Labour's policies to show that at present state policies still promote the heterosexual and family way of life.


According to Foucault, sexuality was shaped by a certain way of thinking, discourses and binary oppositions such as the forbidden/allowed, normal/abnormal, acceptable/unacceptable (1984:90,159 & 184). Normal sexuality was reproductive and other forms were abnormal and perversions. These discourses constructed the norms of modern Western sexuality, what was acceptable and what was not (1984:53). In this view then it is not surprising that up until 1967 the relationships of homosexual men were completely criminalized (Bamforth; 1997:31), and gay and lesbians faced fierce discrimination within society and the state.


In light of this then perhaps an obvious place to begin any discussion of the role of the British state in promoting...

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07/18/2009
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