For a very long time, issues of sexuality and gender remained outside the boundaries of what was considered important legal scholarship. Indeed, the very presence in the legal academy of the concepts of sexuality and gender was viewed as barely legitimate, certainly not respectable, and, in intellectual terms, at best facetious-or, to let Justice White rest in peace, at best frivolous.
One result of this now dying worldview was a series of categorical exclusions and erasures-exemplified by the exclusion of sexual speech from the First Amendment, the exclusion of nonreproductive kinship networks from the definition of family, the exclusion of gender performance from the category of protected expression, and the erasure of culturally legible same-sex desire through the mechanism of criminalization. Although instances of erasure and exclusion continue today, the period of a hegemonic paradigm of occlusion has ended.
Today, few voices would contest that sexuality and gender law is intellectually both mature and sophisticated. Moreover, the themes and tensions that have emerged about and within the field increasingly dominate broad swaths of public law.
57 UCLA L. Rev. 1129-1133
Scholarly Commons Citation
Hunter, Nan D., "Introduction to the Symposium Issue Sexuality and Gender Law: The Difference a Field Makes" (2010). Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works. Paper 1729.