Research: Overview

Empirical research on gender and gender-related topics (e.g., gender identity, sexual orientation, gender expression) has a long and contentious history, particularly within psychology. Deeply shaped by social, political, and historic contexts, scientific inquiry on gender has been situated within—and has often reproduced and legitimated—racial and (dis)ability hierarchies, religious and moral paradigms, hetero- and cisnormativity, and deceptively simple gender categories and binaries. Psychologists have produced both powerful examples of research for gender justice and liberation and scientific “cover stories” that have been used to legitimate social oppression and exclusion throughout the history of research on gender. Depending on by whom, why, how, and toward what end the projects are undertaken, empirical research on sex, gender, and sexuality has been liberatory, historic, surprising, essentialist, and/or pathologizing.

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