Categories and their Discontents: The trials and tribulations of using the terms 'LGBT' and 'MSM/WSW'

Date :20 February 2013

Time : 12:15 - 14:00

Presenters :Dr Surya Monro

Speaker: Dr Surya Monro, Reader in Sociology and Social Policy, University of Huddersfield, United Kingdom

Do we need the terms ‘Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender’? How useful are the categories of ‘Men who have Sex with Men’ and ‘Women who have Sex with Women?’

In what ways do these labels construct, contain and constrain us? Do we need them, as a basis for forging identities, as a foundation for activism, for research, for policy making and practice?  This seminar explores the ways in which sexual and gender categories structure the forms of identity that we consider possible, looking at the absences that occur when ‘shorthand’ style categories are used, at attempts to dismantle or move beyond categories, and at the politically strategic use of sexual/gender categories. The talk draws on a number of original empirical studies including a study about transgender in the UK in the 1990s, a large research project about LGBT equalities in local government (2007-2010) and a project about bisexuality (current).

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This seminar may be attended via video conference in Pretoria, Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal. Details are indicated below.  

Cape Town : HSRC, 12th Floor, Plein Park Building (Opposite Revenue Office), Plein Street, Cape Town. Contact Jean Witten, Tel (021) 4668004, Fax (021) 461 0299, or JWitten@hsrc.ac.za

Durban :  First floor HSRC board room, 750 Francois Road, Ntuthuko Junction, Pods 5 and 6, Cato Manor, Contact Ridhwaan Khan, Tel (031) 242 5400, cell: 083 788 2786 or RKhan@hsrc.ac.za

Pretoria : HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Arlene Grossberg, Tel: (012) 302 2811, e-mail: acgrossberg@hsrc.ac.za