Norah Speaks



Heteronormativity is the belief that heterosexuality,  is the norm or default sexual orientation. It assumes that sexual and marital relations are most fitting between people of opposite sex.

Heteronormativity is hard for people outside of it. Challenging heteronormativity is not about challenging heterosexuality. It is about questioning the idea that heterosexuality is the only normal, natural, or good form of sexuality. Anyone can be heteronormative, including people who are not heterosexual, and many heterosexual people are not heteronormative (i.e. they embrace a diversity of sexualities, forms of sex, and/or gender identities).

The biggest way heteronormativity is spread is through media, especially television and movies, although there is more and more “representation” of LBGTQIA+ couples. What really needs to happen is for this not to be representation, but just a story, like most traditional rom coms featuring straight couples. So, make more movies that aren’t heteronormative, and expand the characters to separate from LGBTQIA+ stereotypes. One example of heteronormative privilege is pinkwashing. This is a country or person exploiting the LGBTQIA+ pride movement for financial gain, usually tourism. Israel is the main example, because this country paints itself as an accepting place for the LGBTQIA+ community, when in reality it is a country that discriminates against Palestinians daily and would not accept Palestinians as part of this community.

There’s a great deal of privilege that comes from fitting into heteronormativity. Take the following questionnaires to assess your own bias:

Heterosexuality Questionnaire 

Straight Privilege Checklist

Cisgender Privilege Checklist

For a detailed explanation of heteronormativity, visit this article on the blog “Rewriting the Rules”.

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