How Each of the Primary Theories (Conflict, Functionalism and Symbolic Interaction) Explains How Gender and Sexual Orientation Are Viewed in the United States
However, sociologists and most other social scientists view sex and gender as conceptually distinct. Sex refers to physical or physiological differences between males and females, including both primary sex characteristics (the reproductive system) and secondary characteristics such as height and muscularity. Gender is a term that refers to social or cultural distinctions associated with being male or female.
Each perspective offers a variety of explanations about the social world and human behavior.
The CDC reports that homosexual youths who experience high levels of social rejection are six times more likely to have high levels of depression and eight times more likely to have attempted suicide (CDC 2011).
From concrete interpretations to sweeping generalizations of society and social behavior, sociologists study everything from specific events (the micro level of analysis of small social patterns) to the “big picture” (the macro level of analysis of large social patterns). The pioneering European sociologists, however, also offered a broad conceptualization of the fundamentals of society and its workings. Their views form the basis for today's theoretical perspectives, or paradigms, which provide sociologists with an orienting framework—a philosophical position—for asking certain kinds of questions about society and its people.
Hines, Sally and Tam Sanger. (2010). Transgender identities: Towards a sociological analysis of gender diversity. New York: Routledge.
Ling, Lisa. (2011). Transgender child: A parent’s difficult choice [Television series episode]. OWN Network-Our America with Lisa Ling, Harpo Productions. Retrieved February 13, 2012, from (http://www.oprah.com/own-our-america-lisa-ling/Transgender-Child-A-Parents-Difficult-Choice).