In the late 1980s, early 1990s, queer theory evolved from cultural movements and studies including feminism, gay and lesbian studies, activism, and sexual subcultures. It explores and challenges existing traditional ideas about identity, sexuality, and gender (labels). Particularly, heteronormativity: the belief heterosexuality is the normal and natural expression of sexuality.
For queer theorists, heteronormativity exists throughout society, reinforcing heterosexuality as “the norm” and underpinned by institutions like the Church and Government (as instruments of power and control). Queer theory studies what society believes is “normal”, why these assumptions exist in the first place, and seeks to understand who benefits and who is separated or isolated by these constructs.
By way of simple examples of heteronormativity: babies are dressed in blue for boys and pink for girls, toys for boys are (traditionally) trucks and soldiers while toys for girls include dolls and playing house. When we grow up: men will be builders, scientists and firemen while women will be homemakers, secretaries and nurses. There is an expectation that children will marry a person of the opposite sex and have children and we see this ‘acted out’ as we grow up through our parents and on mainstream TV, for example.
Queer theory | Wikipedia
Introducing Queer Theory in International Relations | E-International Relations | 7 Jan 2017
Queer Theory: Resources | University of Illinois
Queer Theory Books | Good Reads
Queer Theory Reading List | Brown University | USA