Queer Erasure And Heteronormativity

Queer Erasure And Heteronormativity

"Let love in."
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What is heteronormativity? Heteronormativity is, according to Wikipedia, "the belief that people fall into distinct and complementary genders (man and woman) with natural roles in life. It assumes that heterosexuality is the... norm." In layman's terms, it's the assumption that everyone is straight and cisgendered (the gender they were assigned at birth), and that you can only be one or the other, straight or gay. One might assume that the queer (LGBTQ+) community wouldn't have issues such as this, but we truly do, although it's somewhat different than the way it is in the rest of the world.

Within the queer community, it is erasure. I identify as bisexual, and I've had people tell me to my face that those who identify as bisexual are just doing it for attention. People assume that bisexual people are just "curious" or "experimenting," and this isn't only people who identify as straight. I've had gay people tell me that identifying as bisexual is just a phase, that you can only be straight or gay. The term for this is "bisexual erasure," but also applies to identities such as pansexual. It's incredibly frustrating to be told that your identity isn't true, that you're a "curious heterosexual."

I've also noticed that my asexual or aromantic friends have similar issues with erasure. It's assumed that people who identify as such (asexual meaning not interested in sex, and aromantic meaning not interested in a relationship) aren't valid. They are told that they "haven't met the right person," and it's heavily implied that they'll end up in a heterosexual relationship. This sort of rhetoric implies that relationships with heterosexual sex and marriage are the only good thing in the world. It's harmful, and it isn't something heard only from non-LGBTQ people. It's heard from queer communities, telling ace-spectrum people that their feelings aren't valid. Invalidating feelings are never okay.

It's truly frustrating to deal with heteronormativity from anyone, yet it is a different kind of hurt when dealing with it from people who are a part of the community that you identify with. It hurts in a different way. It's one thing to not be accepted by people you knew might not accept you, and a complete other thing to not be accepted by people in a community you consider yourself to be a part of. So please, if you're reading this, no matter who you are-- Accept love in your life. Accept the people in your life. Accept that you can't stop them from loving who they love, and that it isn't your place to. Let love in to your life, and stop trying to stop people from loving.

Cover Image Credit: Font Folly

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Things To Know Before Dating A Firefighter

You'll learn how to tell the difference between different kinds of sirens.
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There are just certain things you are going to want to know before dating a fireman. In my experience, I had to learn along the way. But at the end of all the calls, constantly smelling his gear in the car and sometimes even cancelled plans, I sure do love my firefighter!

SEE ALSO: 10 Reasons To Date A Country Boy

You were promised a list, so here it is:

1. If they are even within 20 minutes of the station, they will always leave you to go on a call.

No matter the circumstances, if you have a fireman on your hands, he will jet to the car and be on his way.

SEE ALSO: What It's Like To Date A Police Officer

2. Meeting nights are not something you try and fight with them about. They are going to leave and you do not have to like it because it wasn't up to you anyway.

I have learned that these nights are not optional. Yes, other people miss them, but not my firefighter.

3. No matter where you are or what you're doing the minute they hear a firetrucks horn, they're looking for it and hoping they're not missing anything good.

You will learn the lingo. Structures, fully involved (the good stuff) smoke alarms, cat in a tree (ehh I mean they are fireman...soooo still good stuff).

4. They know the exact difference between an ambulance, cop, and, of course, a fire truck siren.

Which means that you will have to learn, too.

5. You’ll have to accept that when he has to do hall rental cleanup, you're going with to help.

You fold the chairs and he stacks them. And Im talking at like 12 a.m.,1 a.m.

6. When you come around the firehouse, there will be jokes made and they'll mess with him about you or even you about him.

Honestly it's a giant bromance going on and they prey on this kinda stuff.

7. At first, you won't really have a name to the fire guys. Until you're around long enough.

You'll just be Boyfriend's name's girlfriend.

8. The fire pager goes where he goes.

Next to the bed, in the car, next to your bed, your living room, EVERYWHERE. And even if it's not the real pager, it's the dog app that I can never remember the name of so dog app it is. (Say that really fast to get the full effect).

9. They will probably wear their station shirt/apparel at least 4-5 days a week.

AT LEAST.

10. If you've got a good one, you're always put first. The list will always go "You, the firehouse, me, everyone else."

But secretly they always want to put the firehouse first.

11. You will learn and know more stations, trucks, members, and chiefs than you will ever want to admit.

Unbelievably true.

12. When you're driving and you see a fire station, you'll have to look at it.

If its an amazing building, you'll have to remember the name. And then you'll have to tell him about it. And then you've just proved number 11 correct. Add it to your list.

13. Never make plans while he's on a call. You can never know when he'll be back.

Even if the calls are short, they could stay at least another hour washing the trucks and being boys, of course.

14. In case you didn't understand the severity of the first one, if you are on the phone and you hear the pager go off in the background, just tell him you love him and hang up.

Because if you don't, he will. "Got a call, Love you, bye." Mid-sentence is always what you want to hear.

15. You'll never want to watch "Ladder 49" again.

You will cry like a baby and then want to make him quit.

16. Outside of the stations, fireman tend to forget that fire isn't a toy and it's pretty damn hot.

*Playing with the lighter fluid or burning things on the stove*
"No it's alright, I'm a firefighter."

17. You will start your own station shirt collection.

From NYFD memorial shirts, a station from where you're vacationing even acquired old shirts of his, you will have started your own pile of station shirts.

18. You can't get angry or upset when he is unavailable because he's going to go to the firehouse for the fifth time that week, or if there's another fire prevention thing to do.

You can't be mad because he's doing what he loves and also because a man in a uniform isn't too shabby.

There are a lot more things to know before dating a fireman, but the rest you'll just have to learn along the way.

SEE ALSO: 5 Things To Know Before Dating Someone With Anxiety

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Our Sexuality Is A Moving Spectrum, So Moving Around On It Is Totally Normal

Understanding that labels aren't one size fits all

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Human sexuality is a large topic that is often never completely discussed. Human sexuality is divided into four parts: Sex, Attraction, Identity, and Expression. Each four of those categories are all on a spectrum, there's no simple clear-cut definition of gender identity, gender expression, biological sex and who you are sexually and or romantically attracted to. Labels have become a huge thing in society but what's so problematic about labels is they are never one size fits all.

When I came out I thought it was easiest, at that time, to label myself as bisexual…I wasn't sure everything that I felt, I didn't want to "shock" anyone, and didn't feel that the label lesbian fit. There have been growing pains since then and I settled into the label of gay. I didn't find myself being attracted to men or actively pursuing relationships with men but I hated the label lesbian, so I choose gay. As I've been becoming more and more self-aware and self-confident though, I find myself transitioning into the label of queer.

Queer could be seen as derogatory by some, but I personally believe it's the most empowering label. I find it the most inclusive word. Wikipedia defines queer as "an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities who are not heterosexual or cisgender". To me, that means I am most definitely falling under the vast category of LGBTQ, and I am open to love within that community. I do not actively pursue relationships with men and do not consider myself as bisexual, but in the same breath, I wouldn't say that I'd completely rule out a relationship with a man. Does this make me pansexual? Honestly, I don't personally identify with any label right now besides Queer.

I think we all need to realize that sexuality is a spectrum. Everyone seems to completely grasp and understand that other things have spectrums, such as autism. Yet when it comes to sexuality: sex, attraction, identity and expression, everyone's much more comfortable if we have clear label markers. Well, society, wake up. It's the end of 2018, and we've come a long way, we've fought for tolerance and acceptance, and it's time to start opening our minds a little more. Why do we all need clear definers for things? Why can't we just…..be? I was having a great conversation with someone the other day and we agreed that if two people are happy and partners understand the ins and outs of their personal relationship, why does anyone else need to question how it works?

I took a human sexuality class in college and it was the most interesting and best class I've taken to date. One day we had a speaker come in who was a transgender straight man and was married to a woman who identified as a lesbian. They both have their own identities, stand by them, and they love each other for exactly who they are. Many of you might be scratching your heads and think how does that happen… and honestly, why do we need to question it? I think it's absolutely incredible and beautiful when two people find pure joy and love in one another.

Do not ever feel pressured to put a label on yourself for ANY reason in your life. And if you choose to, don't at all feel obligated to stick to that label. People grow, and learn more about themselves, their wants and needs. Nothing is more attractive then someone who's able to say you know what…that fit me then, but right now that doesn't feel right and I've found what better fits me. Coming out isn't always a one-time thing, its okay to change your identifier. There was a beautiful piece, written by a friend, about this topic that you can check out here.

Educating yourself about things you don't fully understand is honestly the most LGBTQ friendly thing you could do. Don't ever be afraid to ask appropriate questions and say things like "hey I think that's super awesome, I support you, would you mind sharing more with me so I can better understand you?" Learn about yourself, don't be afraid to question anything, don't feel the need to label yourself, or scared to take off a label that no longer suits you. Be confident and trust your heart and your intuition, they're never wrong.

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