Freshman, The Theatre School
Majors: Theatre Arts, Psychology
Honors Course: HON 100: Rhetoric and Critical Inquiry
Faculty: Michael Raleigh, Department of Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse
Abstract: Essentialist arguments have been used to promote civil rights in different areas, such as LGBTQ+ rights. However, essentialism fails to account for fluidity of sexual orientation and gender identity on a personal level and changes in the way these characteristics are defined over time and across cultures. The social constructionist argument—the differences between cisheterosexual and LGBTQ+ individuals do not justify unequal treatment—is more accurate and less limiting than essentialist arguments. In this essay, several Supreme Court cases concerning LGBTQ+ rights are examined to show the strength of social constructionist arguments when compared to essentialist arguments.