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    “Ties that bind”: The continued conflation of sex, sexuality and gender

    Webster, Lexi ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5721-8236 (2021) “Ties that bind”: The continued conflation of sex, sexuality and gender. Journal of Language and Sexuality, 10 (1). pp. 63-70. ISSN 2211-3770

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    Few in the humanities and social sciences will doubt the long-standing historical conflation of sex, sexuality and gender both within and without academia. Despite research and socio-political movements aiming for the contrary, it continues even now. This paper discusses the ongoing conflation between these interrelated but independent social categories in current linguistic research, including how it can serve to reflect and reinforce socio-political antagonism outside of academia. I propose two potential directions of travel: (1) welcoming ideological pluralism between scholars on the primacy of either sex, gender or sexuality; and (2) horizontally disaggregating the three categories. I argue that engaging with both strategies in tandem serves to benefit researchers, participants and the public. The former encourages trust in academic research during a time wherein that trust is waning. The latter enables an analytical distinction between sex, gender, and sexuality in linguistic research, whilst continuing to acknowledge their interrelatedness. Implemented together, they will allow researchers to embed research in the 21st century, which entails pluralistic and competing socio-political activism between equally deserving groups.

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