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Heteronormativity

Did you ever tease your friends in middle school? Paired a guy and a girl together? Ask if your guy best friend had a girlfriend? Assumed that he’ll only have a girlfriend and no other gender for a significant other? If your answer was yes, then you’ve been under the influence of heteronormativity. So, what is heteronormativity? Heteronormativity is the assumption of heterosexuality. Heteronormativity is what makes heterosexuality seem coherent, natural and privileged. It involves the assumption that everyone is ‘naturally’ heterosexual, and that heterosexuality is an ideal. It is rooted in the belief of the binary, both in terms of sexuality (a person is either heterosexual or homosexual) and gender (a person is either a man or a woman), and the perception that these things are fixed and unchanging. You’ll probably find it everywhere- in movies, books, television shows; in your own culture, in your own mind. Now, you’re probably wondering why there’s a whole post dedicated to this. Well, imagine being a gay guy. You’re thirteen years old when you start noticing that you don’t have a crush on the lead cheerleader the way other people do. You think that oh, maybe you’re just not like other guys. But then the reality sets in, you don’t have romantic feelings for any girl at all, but the guy with the dark hair and the square glasses makes your stomach fill with butterflies. There’s a weird nauseousness that suddenly overwhelms you because you can’t be gay! You mean, it’s not like you’re homophobic, but why would you be gay?! You’ve always been normal, There were no signs! Imagine having to go through that. Imagine having to take months, maybe years to come terms with your sexual orientation, just because society says that heterosexuality is natural, heterosexuality is ideal.This is why heteronormativity is wrong. It has ill-effects on the mental health of LGBT+ individuals. It could cause internalised homophobia and in severe cases- anxiety, depression and other conditions. So, how about we start again? You’re thirteen years old when you realise that you don’t find the head cheerleader “hot”, and that’s alright. Some others do find her attractive, and that’s alright as well. There’s no binding rule that everyone has to be straight until proven otherwise. The guy at the corner of the class- the quiet one with the dark hair and the dark glasses- he’s cute. You approach him one day, and as the two of you spend time, he comes out of his shell. A year passes, two years pass. You’re good friends, until one night at the school carnival, you’re alone with him in the Ferris wheel. You’re at the top, the city in view, and you look into his eyes, It’s so silent you could hear a pin drop, and you’re so, so scared that he can hear your racing heart. And then he asks you to kiss him. Who are you to deny him that kiss when you, yourself, are a goner? Now, that’s a better world, isn’t it?

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