Heteronormativity

The dawning realization that themes of homophobia and heterosexism may be read in almost any document of our culture means that we are only beginning to have an idea of how widespread those institutions and accounts are.

—Michael Warner[1]

Heteronormativity is so prevalent that an artist will alter the basic structure of the human body itself in order to prevent a relationship from being perceived as homosexual.

Heteronormativity is the collection of social norms and misplaced assumptions about how every person should be and is heterosexual.

Details

One way of analysing the system that favours non-heterosexual people.

The term was coined by social critic Michael Warner in 1991:

Part of the difficulty lies in the apparent separation - made practical and enforceable by family ideology - between alternative sexualities and social reproduction. Indeed, in Anglo-American culture the colloquial term by which many queer people define the enemy is not "straights" but, bitterly, "breeders." The folk usage of this term illustrates the involvement of sexual identities with a wide range of cultural norms; it also illustrates the difficulty in clarifying what is at stake in those contested norms. The folk theory of breeder-identity attempts to demystify what could be called reprosexuality - the interweaving of heterosexuality, biological reproduction, cultural reproduction, and personal identity. The point is not necessarily to forego childbearing, still less to manage population technocratically. Anti-breeder rhetoric represents a politically developed suspicion about a traditionalized self-understanding and about the way the premises of a growth economy govern the sexual order. Because those premises shape everything from gender norms to understandings of history and fantasies of self-transcendence, they are difficult to bring into focus. Reprosexuality involves more than reproducing, more even than compulsory heterosexuality; it involves a relation to self that finds its proper temporality and fulfillment in generational transmission. Queers often find themselves in transgression not simply of a commandment to be fruitful and multiply, but more insidiously of the self-relationthat goes with it.[1]

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