scientia sexualis

scientia sexualis shapes truth through knowledge and power (Foucault, 1978, 57-58).

Foucault states that our civilization is based on this scientia sexualis production of discourse that incorporates confession into the rules of science (Foucault, 1978, 67). This truth of sex operates as it articulates the language of power and transforms sex into discourse, causing the rituals of confession to function within the norms of science, constituted within scientific terminology.



used to designate a particular community or group of people as something “different” or “less than” what is considered to be socially and legally acceptable for citizenship.

“Othering” is exercised through systematic oppression and is often used to maintain hierarchical notions of white supremacy. Of course, this is not strictly used in the United States and has been employed globally to create status for the hierarchical elite. According to Bronski, “othering” has had two major effect towards minorities and those within the LGBT community. First, beginning with slavery, “othering” was used to help constructed a legal system that guides the perimeters for citizenship and non citizenship, leading the placement of second-class citizenship (Bronski, 23). Later on this legal system was applied to any marginalized group outside the assumed white heteronormative majority, including immigrants, LGBT, and the like. Second, the acceptance of legalized slavery helped reinforce the mainstream ideas about what is morally and sexually normal amongst society (Bronski, 23). This created many boundaries and consequences through binary language that promoted socially accepted normalcy and frowned upon deviant sexual inferiority. Therefore, “othering” was a way of presuming what was considered to be “less than” human according to Christian theology. 


the ability for speech to be used not only to communicate but to fulfill an action and grant a binding power from that action.

An example of performative speech is the act of a couple saying “I do” at their wedding. Another example is a judge declaring a verdict. “The power of discourse to produce that which it names is thus essentially linked with the question of performitivity. The perfomative is thus one domain in which power acts as a discourse,” (Critically Queer, Butler).



written or spoken communication in the form of words, ideas, and/or concepts that shape who we are and our identities.

Social construction happens through discourse. Discourse shapes our actions and desires.We cannot escape discourse, we are born into it. People with power can modify discourse (Critically Queer, Butler). “Discourse is not life; it’s time is not yours,” (Foucalt in Butler, 17).



  • Throughout historical time, “queer” has changed its meaning, yet always have referred to people, places, or things that are considered to be the opposite of the societal norm. Originally “queer” was used to describe something as “odd,” “strange,” or “quaint.” In the early 18th century, the term “queer” meant something was “bad” or worthless (Bronski, xvii).
  • Later on in the 1920’s, “queer” was negatively used as an expression for homosexuals. Today, some LGBTQIAPK communities have politically reclaimed “queer” to challenge the heteronormative mainstream culture (Bronski, xvii). 
  • Queer is an umbrella term that includes all sexual and gender identities within the LGBTQIAPK (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, Pansexual, Kink) community (Serrano, 3).