You may have heard the word Heteronormative being thrown around and wondering what on earth it means.

Heteronormative : What Does It Mean?

Heteronormative, or heteronormativity is a word used a lot in connection with the LGBT experience. It refers to what is normally (normative) expected from society – which is, by and large, made up of mostly heterosexuals (hetero).

So when you blast those two words together you get one that describes the normal, average way of doing things. Basically the stuff of Hollywood movies: boy meets girl, they fall in love, make children and the cycle continues.

It is also defined as the view that promotes a heterosexual lifestyle as the normal or preferred sexual orientation and that others are wrong or deviant.

It’s the idea that men and women fall into two very neat and distinct genders and sexuality roles.

It is seen, largely, as deeply marginalising by the LGBTI community.

It was coined or at least popularised by Michael Warner in 1991.

Heteronormative behaviour could include:

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  • Getting married (to someone of the opposite sex) in a Church, with bridesmaids, Father of bride and best man speeches…
  • Him climbing up the corporate ladder while she stays at home having kids.
  • Following gender expectations like: He wears trousers, she wears dresses (frilly ones with a lace hem).
  • He earns more, she makes super desserts using Angel Delight.
  • Asking why on earth the gays need a god damned pride and why can’t straights have a pride.
  • Watching a Hollywood movie knowing that the guy saves the day, gets the girl and live happily ever after.
  • Having 2.4 children.
  • That men don’t do nappies.
  • Picket fences and all that…

As you can see, from my not so exhaustive list that basically being heteronormative is like living in the 50s. Fantastic for brand new cookers, fridges, the dawn of the jet age and brand new inventions, not so good for living your life how you’d like to – straight or gay, male or female.

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About the author: Jake Hook
The editor and chief of THEGAYUK. All in a previous life wrote and produced songs on multi-platinum records.