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Heteronormativity and Forced Dishonesty

Updated on May 16, 2013
Sexuality - LGBT, Straight - All Normal
Sexuality - LGBT, Straight - All Normal

Heteronormative (adjective)

denoting or relating to a world view that promotes heterosexuality as the normal or preferred sexual orientation (Heteronormativity - Noun)

Oxford Dictionary

Honest (Adjective)

free of deceit; truthful and sincere:

Oxford Dictionary

Modern society is changing, slowly but surely, for the better. However there is still a ways to go. Historically for many Western cultures, we existed in a patriarchal society - men were the bread winners, the Head of the Household, and He Who Must Be Obeyed. For many, to think in this way in today's society in Westernised countries is absurd - women's rights equal that of men (aside from salary in several occupations). We have fought for rights of ourselves, and for others - we all remember or know someone who does remember the civil rights movement - ending segregation, legalising inter-racial marriage. Slowly but surely, we are attempting to make the world equal for all of us.

But It's Not Quite There Yet

A Heteronormative society, such as the one we all currently live in, promotes heterosexuality as the normal sexual orientation by the assumption that ALL are heterosexual. Therefore, it is usually assumed that ones partner is of the opposite sex. For many, this is actually correct - as as the picture states - Heterosexuality is common. But for a reasonably sized minority - this is incorrect.

Now, I hear you think "Wouldn't that be safer though?" - In some areas, yes, it would be much safer given the rise in hate crimes against homosexual people or those who are perceived to be such. However, this forces those who are homosexual to lie - by omission, or blatently - for several reasons - to ensure those who assumed do not lose face, or to ensure their own safety in high risk situations. Still it is a FORCED action of dishonesty, due to the heteronormative state of society.


Personal Experience

As a person who can find herself in this situation at least daily, I find this incredibly distressing, disturbing and downright frustrating at times.

As a rule, I strive to be honest at all times. Therefore, if I am asked directly if I am gay - I will answer truthfully - and do so when asked. But it is often assumed that I am straight, in the course of my day - both at my job, and in my personal life (shopping etc). Do I face coming out to every person, or do I omit details to assist the person to not lose face, or keep me safe? Therefore - lying - which is NOT something I wish to make a habit of.

This is not an issue for those around me - the assumptions made of their perceived sexuality are correct. Therefore, they are not required to affirm or deny, to omit or lie.

This is not to say that I, or any of my counterparts, have anything against heterosexuals, as we for the most part do not. It is to say, however, I personally have a problem with ASSUMPTION.

To ASSUME makes an ASS out of U and ME. To assume is to think you know the inner workings of a person, something that only one person will know - the person.

Marriage Equality, I believe, will make assumption of this kind a thing of the past. People will no longer assume one way or the other - it is likely they will merely assume NOTHING. Because once equality has been reached - what does it matter who a person is with?

Unfortunately, it is currently human nature to try and figure out another.

Heteronormativity only makes honesty more difficult for those of us who do not fit the same mold as a majority. Honesty and morality are often mentioned hand in hand - Homosexuals are often called "immoral" for merely being different. Yet, we are being forced to be dishonest about who we are, in many situations - creating a vicious circle - how can we say we are moral, when we are FORCED to be dishonest.

It is with your help that this may be changed - it is only a mindset. Much like that of whites being better than blacks (Civil Rights Movement, Inter-racial Marriage), Aryan being better than Jewish (Hitler), Man being better than Woman (Patriarchal society). We all look back on these previous times and shudder - Let it Never Be This Way Again - we know now those views help NOONE.

So, be on the right side of history - do not force dishonesty on others, because you are uncomfortable with who they may be.


(Note: Will be edited as I have more sleep!)


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    • JMcFarland profile image

      Elizabeth 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      great hub, and some really great points. Voted up.