Publication Details

McKinnon, S. & Gorman-Murray, A. (2016). Sexuality. In K. Huppatz, M. Hawkins & A. Matthews (Eds.), Identity and Belonging (pp. 57-70). London, United Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillan.


This chapter investigates sexuality as an individual and collective identity category. The notion of sexual identity is a particularly modern mode of identity and belonging originating in the West in the late nineteenth century and proliferating and transforming over the twentieth century. In this chapter, we explore how sexuality operates as a point of identity and belonging by, firstly, tracing the emergence of sexuality as the basis of personal and collective identities in the West. Once seen as behaviours or acts, sexual desires would gradually be framed in discourse as a critical and innate element of one's being. This discursive framing has seen the emergence of spatially enacted communities of desire in which a sense of belonging is derived from shared sexual identities. We then discuss how globalisation has worked .on and through sexuality as an identity category, noting the possibilities and problems in interactions between the local and the global. We conclude with an examination of the website of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA). By exploring ways in which this site both encourages and embodies a sense .of belonging to a globalised community based on minority sexual and gender identities, we consider the political potential and inherent complexities within such an imagined online community.