Homophobia: Heteronormativity’s Little Brat

Those who condemn or reject homosexuality like to say that homosexuality is unnatural. But homosexuality exists in over 450 species-~-homosexual activity in giraffes may be more common than heterosexual activity, and male black swans sometimes mate with females then chase them away so that they and their male partners can raise the cygnets themselves. This leads me to believe that it is not homosexuality that is unnatural, but homophobia…which makes sense when you realize that homophobia, though it is really obnoxious, is sort of like the screaming, tantrum-throwing child of an absolute jerk who you knew would be a bad parent in the first place, and that parent is heteronormativity.

I wish I could make some sort of comic book starring heteronormativity as the enemy. I think this would be the most effective way to demonstrate how absurd a villain heteronormativity is, because it is a socially constructed concept meant to regulate the activities of humans within society for the purposes of creating an in-group and an out-group. It is reinforced by religion and the state management of marriage, which serves to regulate sexuality and sexual behavior. These institutions have succeeded in branding homosexuality as “deviant” and therefore otherizing those who engage in “non-normal” sexual activity. It is an amazingly intimate interference in the way people practice their lives.

What is even more interesting is that the same people who like to attack heterosexuality do so at the risk of undermining the very institutions they claim to be defending. This is particularly true of marriage and family. I want you all to think about this: when we say that gay marriage is a threat to the institution of family, we are saying that the legitimacy of our families is based in the way we have sex.


The truth is that heteronormativity is amazingly ingrained in our society today. We are socialized from a young age to believe that heterosexuality is normal and anything else is odd, and that a gender binary is natural and necessary. This is a lie. When we refuse to talk about LGBTQ issues in school, when teachers fail to call students out for using “gay” as a pejorative, when we place a taboo on this subject, we are accepting heteronormativity and all of its consequences, including intolerance and a false understanding of gender and sexuality.
Just because a majority of a group shares a characteristic does not render all alternatives “abnormal” or “unnatural”: it would be like saying that someone was abnormal simply because they were a different skin color.
Oh wait. We did that in America. And then we realized we were wrong…but somehow, people haven’t quite figured out that if the color of someone’s skin does not make them any less American, then neither does the genitalia of their partner.

Happy LGBTQ History Month, everyone!


~ by Randi Saunders on October 17, 2011.

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