By Juliana Pasker
Heternormativity is the belief or assumption that all people are heterosexual, or that heterosexuality is the default or “normal” state of human being.
It tends to supplement and go with ideas like cisnormativity, sexual orientation binarism, and gender essentialism. A heteronormative society works on the supposition that heterosexuality and particular gender features are the human “default.” These presumptions can be frightful in light of the fact that they are vilifying and minimizing, making individuals who are LGBT+ feel like they are seen as degenerate or unnatural.
Heteronormativity, is a system that works to normalize behaviours and societal expectations that are tied to the presumption of heterosexuality and an adherence to a strict gender binary.
It is the assumption which considers heterosexuality as not only “normal” but rather the “correct” state for human being. Thus a relationship between two men or two women will be considered not only abnormal but also incorrect or wrong. Society propagates the relationship between man and woman with associated gander based roles. The gender binary is vital to the system of heteronomativity. There is a lack in the representation of the LGBTQ+ community in the media. Heteronormative marginalization is similar to marginalization of people of colour in the media thus most programs or films do not include gay characters and present them in an unrealistic and stereotyped way even when they are included.
Heteronormativity ,the priviledge of heterosexuality that results in social pressure to conform to heterosexual roles leads individuals to conceive themselves and their social worlds in a particular way. This creates a stress caused by heteronormative social pressure, prejudice and discrimination targeted at sexual minorities. The stigma and lack of representation created by heteronomativity pushes the sexual minorities further from the society making them outcasts or others. This ignorance creates hatred and intolerance. Homophobia thus becomes a major issue as it more of a dislike and non acceptance of people who are different, rather than fear. Homosexuals are not identified as individuals but only in accordance to their sexual orientations.
Challenging heteronormative assumptions is not the same as challenging heterosexuality: the sexuality of heterosexual people is as valid as that of LGBTQ+ individuals. Rather, people seek to dismantle the belief that heterosexuality is the only natural sexuality and affirm the existence and rights of LGBTQ+ individuals as equally valid.