Coming out to others
Heteronormativity is how heterosexuality (or being 'straight') is seen as the norm or, in some cases, the superior. It is the bias expressed by a society that can be obvious but which is often subtle and pervasive, whereby individuals are conditioned to expect others to live and behave as if everyone were heterosexual.
Like sexism, heteronormativity is firmly entrenched in the prevailing customs, traditions and institutions of society and often leads to the neglect of issues facing gay men and lesbians. Heterosexuality also leads to the dilemma of whether to hide the fact you are gay or decide to come out, with all that this entails.
Homophobia feeds on heteronormativity, and both can be equally damaging. When services are heteronormative, they can, at best, prevent the needs of our community from being met and, at worst, cause someone to become disenfranchised or isolated. Examples could include our presumptions about family life ("You met that special woman yet?") or prevent access to core services we all need ("What do you mean you were raped?").
Heteronormativity and homophobia within society create an atmosphere where LGBT+ people are less valued and vulnerable than their heterosexual counterparts. While landmark legislation in recent years now plays an important part in setting out what people can say and do, there remains a mismatch between what the law states and how people actually behave and treat gay men and others within the LGBT+ community.
How the Internet Became Straight | The MIT Reader | 9 Apr 2022
How to create LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace: recognising the role of privilege | LSE | 10 Mar 2022
14 Queer Characters Who Got "Straightwashed" Into Heteronormativity By Hollywood | BuzzFeed | 8 May 2021
Heteronormativity: definition, societal examples and why it’s harmful to LGBT+ community | Pink News | 11 Apr 2019
10 Examples That Prove Straight Privilege Influences Everything | Yes! | 5 Oct 2017
Deafening Silence of Growing up Gay in a Heteronormative Society | Ross Rossouw | TEDx Youth | 6 Jun 2023 | 17m 13s
Gay and Heteronormative | Michael Henry | 11 Jan 2022 | 2m 50s
Alok Vaid-Menon Exists Outside Of Your Heteronormative Gender Binary | StyleLikeU | 22 Feb 2015 | 14m 48s
What Is Heteronormativity? | Childline | 24 Feb 2014 | 4m 43s