I don’t assume you’re straight, and I wish people would stop doing that.
Heteronormativity, for those who are not familiar, is the promotion of being heterosexual as what is “right” or most acceptable.
It’s promoting opposite-sex relationships as the default setting of life. Heteronormativity is when your weird uncle at Thanksgiving reminds the entire family that your younger cousin will be a “lady-killer” someday.
First of all, your weird uncle has to stop in general. He’s the same guy that brought up Benghazi during the Macy’s Parade, and God help us all when he did that.
Moving along, heteronormativity is something we should all try harder to do away with. Not only is it incorrect but it’s also really harmful. When we promote opposite-sex attractions as the only “normal” option, we do a disservice to everybody around us.
Everything about our advertisements, everything we’re taught, and everything our teachers say in class tells us that if you don’t find the opposite sex attractive or if you’ve questioned that — you are weird.
You’re not weird.
Every single person, gay or straight or something in between, has questioned their sexuality whether they admit it or not. They may not have acted on it or be willing to admit it, but the thought crosses everybody’s mind.
The plain fact is that your sexuality is a unique thing. People are not just gay or straight. Sexuality exists on a very large spectrum along which people can fall very differently.
If you’re a man who loves women, that’s really cool. If you’re a woman who loves no certain gender, awesome. Maybe you’re a man who loves both men and women, and that’s wonderful.
The point is you are a really fantastic, unique, amazing person. Promoting one sexuality over any other is unfair and unkind to the people around you.
Instead of asking somebody if they have a girlfriend, you can ask if they are seeing anybody. Instead of treating it as an insult when somebody asks if your sexual identity is anything other than the reality, simply correct them and take no offense.
Simply claiming to be an ally doesn’t help anybody. Change the way you talk about things if you really care. This isn’t about being politically correct.
Heteronormativity fuels homophobia and ignorance. It creates an environment where LGBTQ children grow up thinking of themselves as less than.
Protecting LGBTQ people in the workplace and winning the right to marry will not be enough. Our society has to keep advancing to a place that’s better: a place where kids growing up in our country aren’t killing themselves because of who they want to grow old with.