Reflection: Heteronormativity

One thing that came out of our class discussion on April 10th was the discussion of “coming out”. The question that seems to be asked the most frequently to put this into perspective is; “when did you come out to your parents as straight?” The simple answer is that you didn’t. Being straight is something that is assumed until proven otherwise. This is something that is also termed as “heteronormativity”. The assumption that goes along with this is that if you are born male or female, that is the gender that you identify with.

It has always been “normal” to us to assume heterosexuality and identification with the gender biologically assigned to us at birth. To change this, we have to change what is considered normal in our society. The road to this acceptance and change has already begun in some ways. Some examples include gay marriage now being legal across the United States, or having the option of “Other” when selecting gender on a form for a job application.

While these changes are significant, they aren’t all that needs to be done to change our perception of normal in society. My belief is that the change of societal perception of any topic requires generation shifts. We need to do our best to teach our future generations about the variations of ways to identify in this world, and teach that they are all equally “normal”. Eliminating the fear of discussing these topics will allow us to approach an overarching acceptance.

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