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AAMFT 2011 Queer Science: History & Research Implications on Families


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Presented at AAMFT 2011

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AAMFT 2011 Queer Science: History & Research Implications on Families

  1. 1. Queer Science: History & Research Implications on Families Sheila M. Addison, Ph.D., LMFT Capella University Kristen E. Benson, Ph.D., LMFT, CFLE North Dakota State University Annual Meeting of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, September 22-25, 2011, Fort Worth TX
  2. 2. Introductions • What are we doing here? • What are you hoping to get out of today? • Information from today’s presentation will be posted at by the end of the conference
  3. 3. Objectives 1. gain a historical perspective on clinical research about homosexuality, gender variance and families. 2. increase critical thinking skills about the design and application of research to the study of sexuality and gender. 3. explore the implications of LGBT research on clients and families. 4. generate ideas for how to develop research on LGBT individuals and families.
  4. 4. “The Many Faces of Human Sexuality” Source: World Science Festival
  5. 5. Baby, were you born that way? • What have you heard causes a gay, lesbian, or bisexual orientation? • What have you heard causes transgender gender identity?
  6. 6. Nature or nurture?
  7. 7. History of Queer Science
  8. 8. History of Queer Science Source:
  9. 9. History of Queer Science
  10. 10. History of Queer Science Heath (1972) “Pleasure and brain activity in man: Deep and surface electroencephelographs during orgasm.”
  11. 11. History of Queer Science
  12. 12. History of Queer Science
  13. 13. From New York Magazine: “The Science of Gaydar” •
  14. 14. Simon LeVay - Gay Brains
  15. 15. History of Queer Science
  16. 16. History of Queer Science
  17. 17. History of Queer Science QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture. Source: World Science Festival
  18. 18. History of Queer Science • “This is why it has always been dangerous to rest the claim for LGBT equality on the argument that homosexuality is genetic or biological. It may well be, but what if it were proven not to be so? Would that now mean that it would be ethical to discriminate against LGBT folks, simply because it wasn’t something encoded in their biology, and perhaps was something over which they had more “control?” Tim Wise
  19. 19. History of Queer Science Source: “Diagnosing Difference”
  20. 20. Gender Identity & DSM-V
  21. 21. Gender Identity & DSM-V Source: “Diagnosing Difference” QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture.
  22. 22. Ideology: Biology or Culture?
  23. 23. Distorting Research Htttp://
  24. 24. “Research” that distorts
  25. 25. AAMFT speaks From time to time AAMFT receives questions about a practice known as reparative or conversion therapy, which is aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation. As stated in previous AAMFT policy, the association does not consider homosexuality a disorder that requires treatment, and as such, we see no basis for such therapy. AAMFT expects its members to practice based on the best research and clinical evidence available. - Board of Directors, March 2009
  26. 26. Queering the field Addison - unpublished dissertation (2007) - Delphi study of LGBT and QT informed practitioners • “How have these knowledges informed your teaching, research, and practice?” • “What would the field be like if it were similarly informed?” • “What would the field gain or lose?” • “What stands in the way of or facilitates such change?”
  27. 27. Queering the field Trans people and their partners’ perceptions of CFTS: They think they could be helpful, but they just don’t “get it.”
  28. 28. Research can change lives
  29. 29. Research can change lives
  30. 30. What does it all mean for families?
  31. 31. What does it all mean for families?
  32. 32. Where could we go from here? “What is the problem, and for whom? - Butler & Byrne, 2008
  33. 33. Where could we go from here? 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Adults nationally Know someone gay personally Do not know someone gay Support Do not support Q: 1) Do you personally know someone gay? 2) Do you support gay marriage?
  34. 34. Where could we go from here?
  35. 35. Where could we go from here?
  36. 36. Where could we go from here?
  37. 37. Where could we go from here?
  38. 38. Where could we go from here?
  39. 39. Where could we go from here?
  40. 40. Reading research queerly Queer theory: Foucault, Butler, Halberstam, etc. Recommended: “Queer Theory, Gender Theory” - Riki Wilchins “Queer is by definition whatever is at odds with the normal, the legitimate, the dominant. There is nothing in particular to which it necessarily refers. It is an identity without an essence” - David Halperin • Questioning binararies • Interrogating assumptions (“truth statements”) • Exploding categories (making them “slippery”) • Identify, confront, and embrace the anxiety this creates “At the margins, science no longer asks, but tells.” - Wilchins
  41. 41. Reading research queerly What questions can we ask in order to “queer” research that we encounter? How will a “queered” perspective inform our research? How will this perspective inform our clinical work with couples and families?
  42. 42. Questions?