Queer Erasure And Heteronormativity

Queer Erasure And Heteronormativity

"Let love in."
620
views

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

Popular Right Now

'As A Woman,' I Don't Need To Fit Your Preconceived Political Assumptions About Women

I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

68543
views

It is quite possible to say that the United States has never seen such a time of divisiveness, partisanship, and extreme animosity of those on different sides of the political spectrum. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are saturated with posts of political opinions and are matched with comments that express not only disagreement but too often, words of hatred. Many who cannot understand others' political beliefs rarely even respect them.

As a female, Republican, college student, I feel I receive the most confusion from others regarding my political opinions. Whenever I post or write something supporting a conservative or expressing my right-leaning beliefs and I see a comment has been left, I almost always know what words their comment will begin with. Or in conversation, if I make my beliefs known and someone begins to respond, I can practically hear the words before they leave their mouth.

"As a woman…"

This initial phrase is often followed by a question, generally surrounding how I could publicly support a Republican candidate or maintain conservative beliefs. "As a woman, how can you support Donald Trump?" or "As a woman, how can you support pro-life policies?" and, my personal favorite, "As a woman, how did you not want Hillary for president?"

Although I understand their sentiment, I cannot respect it. Yes, being a woman is a part of who I am, but it in no way determines who I am. My sex has not and will not adjudicate my goals, my passions, or my work. It will not influence the way in which I think or the way in which I express those thoughts. Further, your mention of my sex as the primary logic for condemning such expressions will not change my adherence to defending what I share. Nor should it.

To conduct your questioning of my politics by inferring that my sex should influence my ideology is not only offensive, it's sexist.

It disregards my other qualifications and renders them worthless. It disregards my work as a student of political science. It disregards my hours of research dedicated to writing about politics. It disregards my creativity as an author and my knowledge of the subjects I choose to discuss. It disregards the fundamental human right I possess to form my own opinion and my Constitutional right to express that opinion freely with others. And most notably, it disregards that I am an individual. An individual capable of forming my own opinions and being brave enough to share those with the world at the risk of receiving backlash and criticism. All I ask is for respect of that bravery and respect for my qualifications.

Words are powerful. They can be used to inspire, unite, and revolutionize. Yet, they can be abused, and too comfortably are. Opening a dialogue of political debate by confining me to my gender restricts the productivity of that debate from the start. Those simple but potent words overlook my identity and label me as a stereotype destined to fit into a mold. They indicate that in our debate, you cannot look past my sex. That you will not be receptive to what I have to say if it doesn't fit into what I should be saying, "as a woman."

That is the issue with politics today. The media and our politicians, those who are meant to encourage and protect democracy, divide us into these stereotypes. We are too often told that because we are female, because we are young adults, because we are a minority, because we are middle-aged males without college degrees, that we are meant to vote and to feel one way, and any other way is misguided. Before a conversation has begun, we are divided against our will. Too many of us fail to inform ourselves of the issues and construct opinions that are entirely our own, unencumbered by what the mainstream tells us we are meant to believe.

We, as a people, have become limited to these classifications. Are we not more than a demographic?

As a student of political science, seeking to enter a workforce dominated by men, yes, I am a woman, but foremost I am a scholar, I am a leader, and I am autonomous. I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

18 Things that Every Polish American Will Understand

If you're 100% Polish you know these are all true

57
views

Growing up as a Polish American there are some things that are just so true because we have all experienced them. By not being totally American and not being totally Polish, we get the best of both worlds. From Polish school to Jan Pawel II, these are just some of the identifiers that we grew up with.

1. Saturdays are for Polish school

Giphy

Whether you want to go or not isn't up to you. This made Friday night sleepovers nonexistent for basically your whole childhood and preteenhood. Forget doing anything fun on Fridays because you ALWAYS had to wake up early and finish doing last week's homework.

2. Your friends never understood your parents’ accent

Awkward Smile GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY Giphy

All your non Polish friends are guilty of the smile and nod when being asked anything by your parents.

3. Every summer you went to Poland to visit your family

Giphy

Nothing like flying LOT airlines the day after school ends to see your family. Every year you meet a new aunt or uncle or family friend you never met before (where do they seem to spawn from?!). Everyone is always excited to see you because you're coming from America.

4. You know your mushrooms

upload.wikimedia.org

If you've spent a summer in Poland, chances are you went mushroom picking. You always had that uncle that would tell you that muchomory are poisonous, so just take a picture but do not touch.

5. Babcia taught you how to make pierogi

Giphy

Babcia is always cooking but teaching you to make pierogi is a sacred rite of passage because even though you live in America, you cannot forget you are Polish. After a few hours, you have enough pierogi to feed a small army and dinner to last the next few days.

6. Communism

Giphy

Somehow this is a topic that always comes up during family dinners… or when you want something and get a lecture how your parents didn't have anything during communism.

7. You know your Disco Polo

Giphy

You do not know how people still listen to this but whenever it comes on you sing all the words to it.

8. Babcia will keep feeding you because you are never full in her eyes

Giphy

9. You have your American friends and then you have your Polish friends

Giphy

Not everyone in your school is Polish so naturally you have your American friends that just do not get your Polish parents or why you have to go to Polish school. Regardless, having two groups of friends is awesome because some there are some things that your American friends will just never get if they're not Polish.

10. Krowki are life and you always have a secret stash of them somewhere

upload.wikimedia.org

11. Everyone has a picture of pope John Paul II in their house

Giphy

Are you even Polish if you do not have a picture of the Polish pope in your house?

12. Whenever someone mentions Poland in school or public you immediately begin to pay attention

Giphy

"Yes I'm Polish"

13. Translating things from Polish to English is sometimes challenging

c1.staticflickr.com

Sometimes Polish words do not translate to English the same way. For example, why is stuffed cabbage called pigeon? Why is a chocolate dipped marshmallow called bird's milk? We have so many questions...

14. Just because your Polish everyone assumes you’re a raging alcoholic

Giphy

I mean, they are not entirely wrong because vodka almost sounds the same as the Polish word for water. Coincidence? I think not.

15. Just like Saturdays are for Polish school, Sundays are for church

Giphy

As a Polish American youth, you do not have the luxury of sleeping in on weekends because you either have Polish school or church. And God forbid you are late to either, wstyd.

16. Everyone has the same leather kapcie

Image: KAPCIE GÓRALSKIE SKÓRZANE DAMSKIE LACZKI SKÓRA 38 7304975839 ...

goo.gl

You do not know where they come from or how they make a size for everyone, but you always have to wear them because if you walk barefoot on the floor, you will get pneumonia.

17. You speak Polish whenever you’re in public but want to talk about someone

Giphy

Whether you're at Home Goods with mama and you see someone you used to know and start gossiping about them, or you're with your Polish friends and you're talking about your crush who just happened to walk in, Polish comes in handy.

18. Your mom is always cleaning

Giphy

You are not allowed to be in the room she just cleaned because she literally vacuumed everything including the cat and the picture frames. The living room is for show, not for living!!!!

Regardless of everything, you would not change being Polish for anything.

Cover Image Credit:

me

Related Content

Facebook Comments