Queer theory is a field of critical theory that emerged in the early 1990s out of queer studies (often, formerly, gay and lesbian studies) and women's studies. The term can have various meanings depending upon its usage, but has broadly been associated with the study and theorisation of gender and sexual practices that exist outside of heterosexuality, and which challenge the notion that heterosexual desire is ‘normal’. Following social constructivist developments in sociology, queer theorists are often critical of essentialist views of sexuality and gender. Instead, they study those concepts as social and cultural phenomena, often through an analysis of the categories, binaries, and languages in which they are portrayed.
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