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J Homosex. 1993;24(3-4):27-39.

Essentialism, which essentialism? Some implications of reproductive and genetic techno-science.

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  • 1Department of Sociology, Lancaster University, England.


New technologies, such as genetic screening, artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, and pre-natal diagnosis, have given new meaning to human reproduction. Such innovations make clear that marriage, procreation, and the biological family are not the sole "natural" means of perpetuating the human race. One would have hoped that these inventions would eventually have raised in public regard the gay/lesbian family to the same level as heterosexuality and the biological family. Franklin shows, however, that the old heterosexual essentialism is preserved by government restricting the use of the new technologies to two-parent families consisting of both mother and father. What should have resulted in the erosion of heterosexual privilege has, instead, led to its reinforcement. Franklin draws a parallel with the AIDS epidemic which could have been the opportunity to spread knowledge and acceptance of varied forms of sexuality but has instead been used to shore up a traditional sexual morality and a renewed vilification of homosexuality.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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