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Queering the Sex Offender Identity: What Does it Mean to be a Sex Offender?
Transcript of Queering the Sex Offender Identity: What Does it Mean to be a Sex Offender?
OFFENDER Why is it deviant? Where do we draw the line on "sex offense"? In other words, what "bad" sex becomes a sex offense, and what does not? Case Study:
Louisiana's conflation of the "prostitute," non-normative sex acts, and the "sex offender" Under Louisiana Law, when the "prostitute" accepts payment for anal or oral sex there is potential for being labeled a sex offender. Public indecency What is “Public”?
What is “Indecency”? Voyeurism INDECENT ACTS What is a "Peep"? Caught on Tape: Misdemeanor to Class D Felony A person who knowingly or intentionally, in a public place:
• Engages in sexual intercourse
• Engages in deviate sexual conduct
• Appears in a state of nudity with intent to arouse the sexual desires of the person or another person
• Fondles the person’s genitals or the genitals of another person
• A person at least eighteen (18) years of age who knowingly or intentionally, in a public place, appears in a state of nudity with the intent to be seen by a child less than sixteen (16) years of age commits public indecency, a Class A misdemeanor
• A person who knowingly or intentionally appears in a public place in a state of nudity with the intent to be seen by another
• A person who knowingly or intentionally appears in a state of nudity: in or on school grounds, in a public park, or with the intent to arouse the sexual desires of the person or another person, in a department of natural resources owned or managed property;commits a Class A misdemeanor. Person(s) who goes upon the land of another with the intent to peep; into an occupied dwelling of another person; or who peeps into an area where an occupant of the area reasonably can be expected to disrobe, including: restrooms, baths, showers, dressing rooms without the consent of the other person is a Class B misdemeanor If peeping is committed by means of a camera, a video camera, or any other type of video recording device it is a Class D Felony "Almost 40 percent of registered sex offenders in Orleans Parish are on the registry as a result of [the Crime Against Nature Bill]. 76 percent of these individuals are women, and 80 percent of them are African American." - Center for Constitutional Rights THEORETICAL
FRAMEWORKS PROSTITUTION THEORY AND HISTORY
OF THE SEX OFFENDER Public nudity Prohibited in all 50 states and D.C. (Harvard Law Review, Jun. 2006)
Why should the State regulate private sexual behavior between consenting adults? - Lawrence v. Texas
Rubin: public supports laws on basis of protecting children from dangerous sexual predators within their family
“Contrary to popular mythology, the incest statues have little to do with protecting children from rape by close relatives. The incest statutes themselves prohibit marriage or sexual intercourse between adults who are closely related” (Rubin 31). Incest: victim of bad timing? Halberstam: Heterosexuality based on reproductive time being normative
Incest challenges reproductive time
Oedipal relationship, for example, not between peers
Both partners do not reach reproductive peak at same time
Stability of family unit threatned - care of other children
SEXUAL MISCONDUCT WITH A MINOR INDECENT ACTS PEDOPHILIA CONSENSUAL ADULT INCEST Michel Foucault Foucault theorizes power as multi-directional in the creation of identities
The social subject (the sex offender) participates in the construction of the very subjectivity through Sex Offender Registries
In some states offenders required to introduce themselves to their neighbors
Foucault imagines the confessional played a similar role in creating sexual subjectivities "One had to speak of it [sex] as a thing to be not simply condemned or tolerated but managed" (Foucault 24). Mona Lynch "Sex pervert" as identity category by end of 19th century
Medical treatments including sterilization and lifetime confinement
Between late 1950's and 70's, greater awareness that people of color in particular were being unfairly and unproprotionally designated sex offenders "Those who had a proclivity toward sex acts that did not lead to procreation ran the risk of being labeled a pervert, a label that was meant to the whole of the person, rather than the specific non-normative behaviors” (Lynch 533-534). Louis Althusser Interpellate - "a quasi legal term that combines the senses of "summons" and "hail"; soliciting the person into a specific social subjectivity
ISAs and RSAs
What is the history of the "Sex Offender" as a social subjectivity? In seeking to queer the adult who sexually abuses children, one will discover the multi-faceted layers of power at play both in the moment of the sexual contact and in the time after. Numerous studies have linked childhood maltreatment to risky sexual behavior later in life ... findings from a prospective cohort design study revealed that individuals with documented cases of childhood physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect, compared to matched controls, were at increased risk for prostitution and early sexual initiation assessed in young adulthood. (Wilson, Widom) For those found to be perpetrators, the stigma of a sex offender is more than a life-long social disability, it is one which exists in addition to those who are given a prison sentence, which surprisingly, is only 28.7% of child sexual abusers (Patrick, Marsh) The "sex offender" is a social construct applied to a broad range of sexual acts. As a criminal category, the "sex offender" can be denaturalized and destabilized by showing its historic variability and the harmless or nearly harmless nature of many of the acts that constitute sexual offense. THESIS