Vu Pride

VU Pride Event in January 2020

Panel Debate: Researching the rainbow. Essential self-discovery or scary science?Panel Debate: Researching the rainbow. Essential self-discovery or scary science?

Date: January 16, 2020
Time: 16.30-20.00
Location: 3D room in the Sciences Building, adjacent to the SPAR Supermarket
Entrance = free

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Panel members
Michel Nivard, VU researcher, Genetics of Sexual Behaviour
Afiah Vijlbrief, sociologist,Movisie
Reubs Walsh, Phd Student, Vrije Universiteit
Alex Harleman, Student VUmc
Moderator: dr. Maaike Muntinga, chair VU Pride.

Is there such a thing as a gay gene? Are non-cisgender identities localized in the brain? What biological processes dictate your love life? Cool questions, right? But what happens if we can actually answer them?

Everyone who has ever felt different because of their gender identity or sexual orientation has asked themselves at some point: why me? We all want to know who we are, because the answer can give us insight in some fundamental questions we have about ourselves. What can explain my attractions, my sense of self, my choices?

Scientists have been trying to explain sexual and gender diversity for centuries. Not so long ago, this included the search for sexual deviance, a search underpinned by the ideology that non-cisgender, non-heterosexual identities and behaviors were a mistake (from God, or nature), inherently pathological, and thus should be corrected by the church, state, or modern science (in particular medicine). Our sex drives and gender role were innate, determined by nature, was what many scientist believed, and therefore so must be sexual deviance. There was a natural order, and to restore this order it was important to localize the origin of the deviance. Modern scientific methods and technology increasingly facilitated this scientific exploration. Still to this day, scientists are curious as to what it is exactly that makes us feel male, female or other, or why we desire what we desire. The search or the material foundation of our sexual and gender identities has slowly but steadily continued. Scientists have developed biological models of sexual and gender identity to explain why we are what we are.

The claim that nature has decided for us and we are ‘born this way’ has been used to convince others of our entitlement to basic human rights. Nothing wrong with a little diggin’, right? Or are we overlooking something? If our sexuality and gender are innate, stored in our very cells, should we try to find it?


VU Pride is het LGTBQ-netwerk binnen de VU voor iedereen die wil bijdragen aan een studeer- en werkomgeving waarin ieders geaardheid en gender wordt geaccepteerd. Houd deze pagina in de gaten voor meer informatie.
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