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Biology is unique from other science disciplines in that concepts taught in core classes can inform our student’s understanding of sex and gender. A biology major encounters lessons on sex determination, sexual reproduction, and sex characteristics in their courses. The language used in these units matters. It is imperative that educators consider how the language, examples, and content that we use in classrooms drive (or not) inclusivity for gender- and sexuality-diverse (GSD) (aka LGBTQ+) individuals. We chose to analyze four college-level human anatomy/physiology (AP) textbooks for GSD population inclusivity. We adopted a queer theory framework to critically examine how sex, gender, and sexuality are presented in textbooks used by emerging healthcare professionals at the undergraduate level. We conducted a close read of the selected textbooks using similar evaluation criteria to existing textbook analyses grounded in queer theory (Bazzul & Sykes, 2011; Campo-Engelstein & Johnson, 2014). All textbooks we examined showed examples of each of the categories that we originally identified as hindering inclusivity of gender-diverse populations. Out of the four textbooks in our study, Seeley’s Anatomy & Physiology was the most inclusive, had fewer instances in which sex/gender binaries, norms, or domains were perpetuated, and contained the only instances of intersex inclusivity in image and text, but even this book framed material as androcentric and heteronormative. We believe it is necessary to share our findings; hopefully publishers will be more mindful of these discursive acts and be receptive to changing their books to be more inclusive in future editions.

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LGBTQ+, Anatomy & Physiology, Queer Theory, Sex, Gender, Inclusivity


Anatomy | Biology | Curriculum and Instruction | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Medical Anatomy | Medical Physiology | Physiology | Reproductive and Urinary Physiology | Urogenital System

Seen in Science: LGBTQ+ Inclusivity in Anatomy & Physiology Texts