“Sex: In America is an obsession. In other parts of the world a fact.”
Conflict and debate over human sexuality and gender has infiltrated nearly every area of American life. Definitions differ depending on how societal norms are influenced by cultural, philosophical, scientific, and religious trends. In America, sexual norms are legally constrained by federal and state laws and regulations, which in many ways conflict with several religious beliefs.
An unregulated $4 billion fertility industry has invented methods to create and identify human life at the chromosomal level. Little to no law determines whether or not an individual can claim rights to his/her own reproductive cells, fluids, and DNA. No laws define the rights of an embryo/zygote/fetus, regardless if it’s developed in a test tube. In some countries, including the United States, chromosome gender selection can be purchased; in other countries gendercide is encouraged through sex-selective abortion; and eugenics is advocated in various formal policies and informal societal norms.
Human sexuality extends beyond biology and science, beyond a single cell or individual, to the legal parameters of interpersonal relationships. Laws about human sexuality and gender are influenced and defined by beliefs about birth control, marriage, divorce, adoption, education, healthcare, abortion, prostitution, incest, beastiality, violence, hate crimes, and homicide– which is the leading cause of death of pregnant women.
Despite all these complexities most cannot agree on basic answers to questions about human sexuality and gender.
- When does human life begin?
- Is human life classified solely by male or female chromosomes, by law, or by an individual’s own perception of his/herself?
- What, if any, legal rights does a human life have, when, and for how long?
- When and how can human life legally end and by whom?
- Is sexuality and gender fluid over one’s lifetime, determined by personal feelings?
Human sexuality must be better understood within the context of human flourishing that strengthens society– not on individual feelings. Do societies benefit from killing their children? Do societies become stronger or weaker by promoting relationships that eliminate procreation?