We should pay attention to how people actually define themselvesby Julian Baggini / January 1, 2018 / Leave a comment
Not so long ago, received opinion was that men were from Mars, women from Venus, boys would be boys and girls would be girls. It’s a simple message that proved resistant to protests that gender is largely a social construct. In recent decades, gender essentialism even became intellectually respectable again, boosted by dubious interpretations of findings from neuroscience and evolutionary psychology. There was to be no arguing with the scientific discovery of the “male brain.”
Now, it is increasingly accepted that binary distinctions are out and we are all not only on a spectrum, but free to wander up and down it as we please. This is even more evident with sexuality than it is with gender. It is now widely believed that you don’t have to choose between being heterosexual or homosexual. We’re all more complicated than that.
A 2015 YouGov survey showed that half of young people aged 16-24 did not identify as 100 per cent heterosexual. Only 27 per cent of the population insisted that “there is no middle ground—you are either heterosexual or you are not.