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Jamie Heckert: Towards Consenting Relations. Anarchism and Sexuality

Jamie Heckert: Towards Consenting Relations. Anarchism and Sexuality

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Published by Bloom
Identity has come to dominate the politics of sexuality. The history of lesbian and gay politics stems from resistance that developed after the birth of non-identical identities: heterosexuality and homosexuality (bisexual politics came later). According to historian Jonathan Katz (1996), the word heterosexual was first used in something like its contemporary sense in 1893. Austrian psychiatrist and sexologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing helped change the definition of sexually normal and healthy from one based on conscious efforts towards reproduction to one based on other-sex desire, thus allowing for the possibility of pleasure without reproduction. Heterosexuality did not become a popular identity in the United States until the 1920s when the notion of (male plus female) sex for procreation only began to decline. Until its construction in the late 1800s through medical and juridical discourses, the homosexual was an inconceivable identity. ‘...sodomy was a category of forbidden acts; their perpetrator was nothing more than a juridical subject of them. The 19th century homosexual became a personage, a past, a case history, and a childhood, in addition to being a type of life, a life form’ (Foucault, 1990: 43). People characterised as heterosexual were told, and told each other, that heterosexuality was natural, normal and right (from the 1920s and 30s in the U.S.). Of course, they had to be careful to maintain their heterosexuality through specific and local gendered and sexualised (as well as racialised and classed) practices. At the same time they were told, and told each other, that these practices were natural and unquestionable, so they (mostly) continued to do them. On the other hand, people characterised as homosexual were told, and sometimes even told each other, that homosexuality was unnatural, deviant and immoral. Although people constructed as heterosexual also found their own ways to resist, the construction of homosexuality has resulted in more systematic (or at least better documented) forms of resistance.
Identity has come to dominate the politics of sexuality. The history of lesbian and gay politics stems from resistance that developed after the birth of non-identical identities: heterosexuality and homosexuality (bisexual politics came later). According to historian Jonathan Katz (1996), the word heterosexual was first used in something like its contemporary sense in 1893. Austrian psychiatrist and sexologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing helped change the definition of sexually normal and healthy from one based on conscious efforts towards reproduction to one based on other-sex desire, thus allowing for the possibility of pleasure without reproduction. Heterosexuality did not become a popular identity in the United States until the 1920s when the notion of (male plus female) sex for procreation only began to decline. Until its construction in the late 1800s through medical and juridical discourses, the homosexual was an inconceivable identity. ‘...sodomy was a category of forbidden acts; their perpetrator was nothing more than a juridical subject of them. The 19th century homosexual became a personage, a past, a case history, and a childhood, in addition to being a type of life, a life form’ (Foucault, 1990: 43). People characterised as heterosexual were told, and told each other, that heterosexuality was natural, normal and right (from the 1920s and 30s in the U.S.). Of course, they had to be careful to maintain their heterosexuality through specific and local gendered and sexualised (as well as racialised and classed) practices. At the same time they were told, and told each other, that these practices were natural and unquestionable, so they (mostly) continued to do them. On the other hand, people characterised as homosexual were told, and sometimes even told each other, that homosexuality was unnatural, deviant and immoral. Although people constructed as heterosexual also found their own ways to resist, the construction of homosexuality has resulted in more systematic (or at least better documented) forms of resistance.

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06/01/2013

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Jamie Hecert 
Towards Consenting Relations:Anarism and Sexuality
2005
 
3
[Note to reader: what follows is the theoretical section of the paper. e empirical aspect is still under revision. is is very mu a work in progress. Please do not cite 
without permission.] 
Identity has come to dominate the politics of sexuality. e history of lesbian
and ga
y
po
liti
cs s
t
ems
fr
om
r
es
i
s
t
ance
t
ha
t
de
v
e
l
oped a
e
r t
he b
irt
h o
non
-i
den
ti
ca
l i
den
titi
es
:
he
t
e
r
ose
x
ua
lity
and homose
x
ua
lity (
b
i
se
x
ua
l
po
liti
cs came
l
a
t
e
r).
Acco
r
d
i
ng
t
o h
i
s
t
o
ri
an
ona
t
han Ka
t
z
(1
996
), t
he wo
r
d he
t
e
r
ose
x
ua
l
was
fir
s
t
used
i
n some
t
h
i
ng
li
ke
it
s con
t
empo
r
a
ry
sense
i
n
1
893
.
Aus
tri
an ps
y
ch
i
a
tri
s
t
and sexologist Richard von Kra-Ebing helped change the definition of sexuallyno
r
ma
l
and hea
lt
h
y fr
om one based on consc
i
ous e
ff 
o
rt
s
t
owa
r
ds
r
ep
r
oduc
ti
on
t
oone based on o
t
he
r-
se
x
des
ir
e
, t
hus a
ll
ow
i
ng
o
rt
he poss
i
b
ility
o
p
l
easu
r
e w
it
hou
t
r
ep
r
oduc
ti
on
.
He
t
e
r
ose
x
ua
lity
d
i
d no
t
become a popu
l
a
r i
den
tity i
n
t
he Un
it
edStates until the 1920s when the notion of (male plus female) sex for procreation
on
ly
began
t
o dec
li
ne
.
Un
til it
s cons
tr
uc
ti
on
i
n
t
he
l
a
t
e
1
8
00
s
t
h
r
ough med
i
ca
l
and
 juridical discourses, the homosexual was an inconceivable identity. . . .sodomy
was a ca
t
ego
ry
o
f
o
r
b
i
dden ac
t
s
; t
he
ir
pe
r
pe
tr
a
t
o
r
was no
t
h
i
ng mo
r
e
t
han a
 j
u
ri
d
i
ca
l
sub
 j
ec
t
o
f t
hem
.
e
1
9
th
cen
t
u
ry
homose
x
ua
l
became a pe
r
sonage
,
apas
t,
a case h
i
s
t
o
ry,
and a ch
il
dhood
, i
n add
iti
on
t
o be
i
ng a
ty
pe o
f lif 
e
,
a
lif 
e
o
r
m
’ (
Foucau
lt, 1
99
0: 4
3
).
Peop
l
e cha
r
ac
t
e
ri
sed as he
t
e
r
ose
x
ua
l
we
r
e
t
o
l
d
,
and
t
o
l
d each o
t
he
r, t
ha
t
he
t
e
r
ose
x
ua
lity
was na
t
u
r
a
l,
no
r
ma
l
and
ri
gh
t (fr
om
t
he
1
92
0
s and 3
0
s
i
n
t
he U
.
S
.).
O
cou
r
se
, t
he
y
had
t
o be ca
r
e
u
l t
o ma
i
n
t
a
i
n
t
he
ir
he
t
e
r
ose
x
ua
lity t
h
r
ough spec
ifi
c and
l
oca
l
gende
r
ed and se
x
ua
li
sed
(
as we
ll
as
racialised and classed) practices. At the same time they were told, and told each
o
t
he
r, t
ha
t t
hese p
r
ac
ti
ces we
r
e na
t
u
r
a
l
and unques
ti
onab
l
e
,
so
t
he
y (
mos
tly)
con
ti
nued
t
o do
t
hem
.
On
t
he o
t
he
r
hand
,
peop
l
e cha
r
ac
t
e
ri
sed as homose
x
ua
l
we
r
e
t
o
l
d
,
and some
ti
mes e
v
en
t
o
l
d each o
t
he
r, t
ha
t
homose
x
ua
lity
was unna
t
u
r
a
l,
de
vi
an
t
and
i
mmo
r
a
l.
A
lt
hough peop
l
e cons
tr
uc
t
ed as he
t
e
r
ose
x
ua
l
a
l
so
ound
their own ways to resist, the construction of homosexuality has resulted in more
systematic (or at least beer documented) forms of resistance.
e concep
t
o
a homose
x
ua
l
m
i
no
rity
g
r
oup de
v
e
l
oped du
ri
ng
t
h
i
s
ti
me pe
ri
od
(
Co
ry, 1
9
51
c
it
ed
i
n Eps
t
e
i
n
, 1
998
),
bu
t
d
i
d no
t fl
ou
ri
sh un
til t
he
l
a
t
e
1
9
70
s w
it
h
t
hegrowth of gay subcultures (Epstein, 1998). However, we see the seeds of a future
identity politics in 1950s US homophile organisations. ‘e primary function of 
the homosexual group is psychological in that it provides a social context within
which the homosexual can find acceptance as a homosexual and collect support
o
r
h
i
s de
vi
an
t t
endenc
i
es
’ (L
ezno
ff &
Wes
tl
e
y, 1
998
:5;
m
y
emphas
i
s
). i
s
v
e
r
s
i
on
quickly smothered an alternative approach: ‘gone were the dreams of liberating
soc
i
e
ty
b
y r
e
l
eas
i
ng
“t
he homose
x
ua
l i
n e
v
e
ry
one
.I
ns
t
ead
,
homose
x
ua
l
s con
-
centrated their energies on social advancement as homosexuals’ (Epstein, 1998:

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