May 24, 2009

sexual orientation


Sexual orientation means actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or gender expression or identity. As used in this definition, “gender expression or identity” means having or being perceived as having a self-image, appearance, or behavior different from that traditionally associated with the sex assigned to that person at birth.

Also from From CWA.org Sexual Orientation and American Culture 7/10/2002 By Robert Knight

THE PROBLEM: In the hands of liberal judges, “sexual orientation” takes on a life of its own. FOR THOSE WHO ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE LEGAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE DEFINITION OF “SEXUAL ORIENTATION”

Appendix 1: “Sexual Orientations”

Warning: some of the descriptions may be offensive to readers’ sensibilities.

Mr. Knight’s warning was very thoughtful.I did find my sensibilities offended by the context of the descriptions that he chose to include in this list of “Paraphilias.” It’s worth noting that the definitions are pulled from a medical manual almost a decade old, in addition to the fact that the majority of the paraphilias listed have absolutely nothing to do with the proposed ordinance to add “sexual orientation” and “veteran status” to Anchorage’s anti-discrimination laws. However, if you wanted to know the medical term for a person sexually aroused by urine, Mr. Knight and Sexual Orientation Summarized feel that it’s relevant to their argument. Let’s take a look at what other definitions included have nothing to do with the ordinance:

1. Heterosexuality: the universal norm: sexual interaction with the opposite sex.

2. Homosexuality or “Gay”: sexual interaction with persons of the same sex.

3. Bisexuality: sexual interaction with both males and females.

The APA actually defines bisexuality as “having emotional, romantic, or sexual attractions to both men and women.” People who are bisexual can have monogamous relationships, just like heterosexual people.

4. Transgenderism: an umbrella term referring to and/or covering transvestitism, drag queen/kings, and transsexualism.

Here is the actual definition of transgenderism from the APA:

Transgender is an umbrella term used to describe people whose gender identity (sense of themselves as male or female) or gender expression differs from that usually associated with their birth sex. Many transgender people live part-time or full-time as members of the other gender. Broadly speaking, anyone whose identity, appearance, or behavior falls outside of conventional gender norms can be described as transgender. However, not everyone whose appearance or behavior is gender-atypical will identify as a transgender person.”

At least SOSAnchorage.org got the “umbrella” part right.

5. Pedophilia: “sexual activity with a prepubescent child (generally age 13 years or younger). The individual with Pedophilia must be age 16 years or older and at least 5 years older than the child. For individuals in late adolescence with Pedophilia, no precise age difference is specified, and clinical judgment must be used; both the sexual maturity of the child and the age difference must be taken into account.” (p.571)

The proposed ordinance does not mention, nor does it give specific protections to pedophiles. For an APA statement on how it defines pedophilia, click here

6. Transsexuality: the condition in which a person’s “gender” identity is different from his or her anatomical sex.

The APA actually has a really helpful section on answering questions about what transgender means, and what the difference is between transgender and transexual people. They explain transexuality this way:

“Sexual orientation refers to one’s sexual attraction to men, women, both,or neither, whereas gender identity refers to one’s sense of oneself as male, female, or transgender. Usually people who are attracted to women prior to transition continue to be attracted to women after transition, and people who are attracted to men prior to transition continue to be attracted to men after transition.”

To read more about this subject, click here.

7. Transvestitism: the condition in which a person is sexually stimulated or gratified by wearing the clothes of the other sex.

The article mentioned above also touches on what transvestitism means:

“Cross-dressers or transvestites comprise the most numerous transgender group. Cross-dressers wear the clothing of the other sex. They vary in how completely they dress (from one article of clothing to fully cross-dressing) as well as in their motives for doing so. Some cross-dress to express cross-gender feelings or identities; others crossdress for fun, for emotional comfort, or for sexual arousal. The great majority of cross-dressers are biological males, most of whom are sexually attracted to women.

Drag queens and drag kings are, respectively, biological males and females who present part-time as members of the other sex primarily to perform or entertain. Their performances may include singing, lip-syncing, or dancing. Drag performers may or may not identify as transgender. Many drag queens and kings identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.”

The point is that tranvestites are not simply people who are sexually aroused by wearing clothing articles normally assigned to the opposite gender. That is a definition with a goal of making the reader attach a mental link between transvestites and sexual perversion. For many, there isn’t any more of a sexual thrill to what they’re doing than a woman wearing a pair of shoes that make her feel more attractive.

8. Transvestic fetishism: for males, “intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving cross-dressing.” (p. 575)

This has nothing to do with the proposed ordinance.

9. Autogynephilia: the sexual arousal of a man by his own perception of himself as a woman or dressed as a woman. (p. 574)

This has nothing to do with the proposed ordinance. At all.

10. Voyeurism: “obtaining sexual arousal through the act of observing unsuspecting individuals, usually strangers, who are naked, in the process of disrobing, or engaging in sexual activity.” (p. 575)

This has nothing to do with the proposed ordinance.  Sigh.

11. Exhibitionism: “recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving the exposure of one’s genitals to an unsuspecting stranger.” (p. 569)

This has nothing to do with the proposed ordinance, either.

12. Fetishism or Sexual Fetishism: “intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving the use of nonliving objects (e.g. female undergarments).” (p. 570)

This has nothing to do with the proposed ordinance.

13. Zoophilia: becoming excited by and/or engaging in sexual activity with animals. (p. 576)

This has nothing to do with the proposed ordinance.

14. Sexual Sadism: “recurrent, intense, sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving acts (real, not simulated) in which the psychological or physical suffering (including humiliation) of the victim is sexually exciting to the person.” (p. 574)

This has nothing to do with the proposed ordinance.

15. Sexual Masochism: “recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving the act (real, not simulated) of being humiliated, beaten, bound, or otherwise made to suffer.” (p. 573)

This has nothing to do with the proposed ordinance.

16. Necrophilia: sexual arousal and/or activity with a corpse. (p. 576)

As the proposed ordinance clearly states, Necrophilia…oh wait, it doesn’t say anything about necrophilia, does it?

17. Klismaphilia: erotic pleasure derived from enemas. (p. 576)

Umm…were they bored writing about the ordinance, and just decided to start looking up random sexual fixations?

18. Telephone Scatalogia: the compulsion to utter obscene topics over the phone. (p. 576)

Yet again, this has nothing to do with the proposed ordinance.

19. Urophilia: sexual arousal associated with urine. (p. 576)

See, they finally got to that one! Now you know.

20. Coprophilia: sexual arousal associated with feces. (p. 576)

This has nothing to do with the proposed ordinance.

21. Partialism: “sexual arousal obtained through exclusive focus on part of the body.”(p. 576)

This has nothing to do with the proposed ordinance.

22. Gender Identity Disorder: “a strong and persistent cross-gender identification, which is the desire to be, or the insistence that one is, of the other sex,” along with “persistent discomfort about one’s assigned sex or a sense of the inappropriateness in the gender role of that sex.” (p. 576)

Finally, something that loosely touches on something related to the ordinance. Except, this definition isn’t right, either. The APA states that in relation to transgenderism, “A psychological condition is considered a mental disorder only if it causes distress or disability.

Many transgender people do not experience their transgender feelings and traits to be distressing or disabling, which implies that being transgender does not constitute a mental disorder per se. For these people, the significant problem is finding the resources, such as hormone treatment, surgery, and the social support they need, in order to express their gender identity and minimize discrimination. However, some transgender people do find their transgender feelings to be distressing or disabling.

This is particularly true of transsexuals, who experience their gender identity as incongruent with their birth sex or with the gender role associated with that sex. This distressing feeling of incongruity is called gender dysphoria.

According to the diagnostic standards of American psychiatry, as set forth in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, people who experience intense, persistent gender dysphoria can be given the diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder.

This diagnosis is highly controversial among some mental health professionals and transgender people. Some contend that the diagnosis inappropriately pathologizes gender variance and should be eliminated. Others argue that, because the health care system in the United States requires a diagnosis to justify medical or psychological treatment, it is essential to retain the diagnosis to ensure access to care.”

23. Frotteurism: “touching and rubbing against a nonconsenting person.” (p. 570)

And we’re back to trivia that has nothing to do with the ordinance.

The point being made here is that while the Sexual Orientation Summarized site indicates that they are trying to explain why adding “sexual orientation” to Anchorage’s anti-discrimination laws would be dangerous, their argument consists of some outdated definitions of sexual orientation and transgenderism. And because they didn’t have much information to back up their argument with, they created a really long list of sexual fixations aimed at making the reader uncomfortable.

Fortunately, we’re adults, and can recognize ridiculousness when it presents itself.



  1. I don’t know if you’re aware of it, but I wrote a post a few days ago called Prevo’s red herrings which takes a look at a letter Prevo sent to “community leaders” on May 15 which follows most of the same arguments that the ABTers are using in their SOS site. In particular, I looked at what his red herring letter said about the definition of sexual orientation. Relevant here:

    Rev. Prevo goes on in a lengthy appendix to summarize a number of sexual practices described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition — also known as DSM-IV, the diagnostic “bible” of the American Psychiatric Association — thus implying that somehow the ordinance, if passed, would provide “legal special rights” to all the practices described in DSM-IV — including pedophilia (sex with children), necrophilia (sex with corpses), and zoophilia (sex with animals, also known as bestiality). [Ref. 6]

    Never mind that DMS-IV is a diagnostic manual, not a manual of legal terminology.

    Never mind that many of the practices — and certainly pedophilia (sexual abuse of minors) and necrophilia — are prohibited by Alaska statute and federal law, which no municipal ordinance is going to trump. (Sexual abuse of minors is a crime at four different degrees under Alaska Statutes ranging from felony to Class A misdemeanor level. [Refs. 7–10] Necrophilia is a Class A misdemeanor under AS 11.61.130, “Misconduct involving a corpse.” [Ref. 11] Zoophilia, not explicitly forbidden in Alaska law, does not appear to be covered by existing animal cruelty statutes. House Bill 6, under consideration in the Alaska Legislature, would explicitly make sexual conduct with animals a Class A misdemeanor. It’s already passed the Alaska House. [Refs. 12–14])

  2. Hey guys,

    Thanks for coming this evening. Would you toss me an email so we have your email address? Pastor would like to thank you for your kindness this evening.


  3. Hey there! It’s just past Thanksgiving 2010 & I stumbled across these posts, while researching purely legalistic (not medical, psychological, and certainly not philosophical) definitions of L G B and T, as currently configured (with an eye to Federal jurisdiction and precedent). Still vague & up for grabs, of course, a real Babel of overwrought babble, sophistry, and good old (Law School) college tries. Major bees in my bonnet: (1) what do you have to do, feel, or think to be gay (etc.)? If you really admire a person & have warm fuzzy feeling for them, are you different under law? (2) If gay (etc.) is behavior-based, which ones? How far do you have to go? Handshake? Toss of the hair? Kiss? Wet dream? (3) Why does gender even enter into law at all — are not men & women equal? What is a man or a woman? Intersexed and other inquiring minds want to know! (4) Why have LGBT rights advocates not employed freedom of religion arguments, since opposition to them is based largely on religious bias? This puzzles me. (5) Are LGBTI-etc. people even human, let alone citizens? I am not joking: please refer to certain 18th & 19th century pro-slavery arguments. This is not an academic, scholarly excercise. Comments appreciated. My famous slogan paraphrases a 1980s TV ad campaign for a discount clothing store chain: “Save Money — Lose the Fancy Labels!” I.e., I would be considered LGBT, but it surely doesn’t define me. Justice is not blind — it’s eyes wide open.

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