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Laplanche, J. (2007). Gender, Sex, and the Sexual. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 8(2):201-219.

(2007). Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 8(2):201-219

Gender, Sex, and the Sexual

Jean Laplanche, Ph.D.

Translated by:
Susan Fairfield

Laplanche distinguishes the sexual [le sexuel] and the sexuated [le sexué]. He goes on to ask whether the current tendency to speak of gender identity merely a lexical change or something more profound. If it is a change, is it positive or the sign of a repression? If the latter, where is the repression to be found? There follows an outline of how the triad, gender/sex/sexual, functions in the human being's early history. Four hypotheses serve as conclusion: (1) The precedence of gender over sex, which overturns the habits of thought that place the “biological” before the “social.” (2) The precedence of assignment over symbolization. (3) Primary identification, which, far from being a primary identification “with” (the adult) is a primary identification “by” (the adult). (4) The contingent, perceptual, illusory nature of the anatomical difference of sex, the true destiny of modern civilization.

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