Toxic Heteronormativity

Toxic Heteronormativity

It hurts everyone more than you realize
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What is 'heteronormativity? According to the Meriam-Webster dictionary its "of, relating to, or based on the attitude that heterosexuality is the only normal and natural expression of sexuality" But we live in a complex world where this assumption that someone must be heterosexual can be wrong, demeaning or harmful. The reinforcement of heteronormativity and heteronormativity virtually erases the entire LGBT+ community. Here are just a few reasons why heteronormativity is so harmful, and if you reinforce these ideas SPOILER ALERT: You're a bad ally.

1. It reinforces Gender Binary.

With heteronormative ideas comes the belief (whether you believe it is implied, subtle or blatantly stated), that only two genders exist. It paints the issue as very black and white-that someone is either male or female. But this is not the case. Reinforcing the gender binary is incredibly transphobic to say the least. It completely denies the fact that gender (like sexuality!) is a fluid and dynamic spectrum. If you want to learn more about the massive spectrum of gender check out a great resource here. It has various non-binary terms and identities with their definitions.

2. In sex Ed its DANGEROUS

LGBT+ populations are virtually excluded from all forms of sex education in schools. This doesn't even account for sex ed programs where information is outdated, wrong or programs that are abstinence only


3. It tells entire groups they don't exist.

In a heteronormative society this is all people think exists: male attracted to female. female attracted to male. There is so much more to the world that heterosexuality. For a really cool and informative graphic on explaining the spectrum of sexuality, check out this great info-graphic here.



4. If you aren't heterosexual, it makes people assume you "became" something else.

Which obviously you didn't. You were always what you were. Maybe you became more open to sharing with people or decided to be who you want to be not what others do, but it was never a conscious decision to be something else.

5.Heternormativity assumes that only one sexuality actually exists (heterosexuality).

Anything different is lumped together, and this "other" category leaves out so much because it is "everything else." This otherness explicitly excludes people from feeling loved and accepted by society, when in actuality the only thing wrong with this scenario is the assumption that there is something "wrong" with being different.


6. It assume anyone who identifies as something besides heterosexual had to "come out"--and that everyone reacts badly.

I know so many people, who the first question they get after telling someone their sexuality is "how did your parents take it?" While its obviously great when parents accept their children no matter how they identify, the concern should not be placed on them. It assumes that people expect parents to disown or abandon their children because they aren't heterosexual.


7. LGBT+ representation in pop culture is virtually non-existent.

And if it does, TV shows and movies often play to stereotypes. Yet they will say "not all heterosexual people are the same." Then why assume all LGBT+ people are the same?


8. It justifies and reinforces dangerous ideologies and practices.

Up until 1961, homosexuality was a criminal offense on a national level in the United States. Following this, Illinois became the first state to decriminalize homosexuality. It took until 2003 for homosexuality to be decriminalized at the federal level. Up until 1973, homosexuality was even considered a "mental disorder" by the American Psychiatric Association. Unfortunately, practices like "Straight conversion therapy" still exist, although many states are working to pass laws outlawing it. Hopefully it takes less than 42 years for it to become illegal on a national level.



We do not live in a black and white society, why should we be governed like we are?



Cover Image Credit: https://www.buzzfeed.com/jonmichaelpoff/pride-signs-that-will-make-you-laugh?utm_term=.pjqX30pPA#.fyWGmrXD9

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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​'When They See Us' Is The Tough Show Nobody Wants To Watch But Everyone Needs To

Justice was not served.

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Netflix just released a limited series called "When They See Us." The series is based on the Central Park Five. The Central Park Five were five young boys who were convicted of raping a woman jogging in Central Park on April 19, 1989. These young boys did not commit the crime they were convicted of though, they were set up by the prosecutor on the case, Linda Fairstein, along with her fellow detectives.

On April 19, 1989, a huge group of boys went out to Central Park one night "wilding." Cops came and arrested a bunch of the boys who were out. Linda Fairstein came to the scene where the rape happened, with the women attacked hanging on for her life. When Fairstein got to the precinct, immediately she said the boys in the park were the perpetrators. She had the police go out into the neighborhoods and find every young, black/Hispanic male who fit a description they drew up and brought them in for questioning.

What the detectives then did was extremely illegal.

They questioned these 14, 15 and 16-year-old boys without their parents. These boys were minors. These detectives took these boys in the rooms for questioning and started to plot a story in their head, making them say they committed the horrific crime. The boys were saying it wasn't them but the detectives would not let down. They started beating the kids until they "admitted" to this act of rape. One of the boys, Antron McCray, was with his mom and dad when they started to question him. Kevin Richardson was questioned without his mom until his sister came and was basically forced to sign the statement the detectives wrote for him so he could go home.

Yusef Salaam's mother came and got her son just before he signed his Miranda rights away. Raymond Santana was coerced by detectives for hours and hours, along with the others. Korey Wise, who was not in the police's interest at first, was taken and beaten by a detective until he agreed to the story they drew up. These boys didn't even know each other, except Yusef and Korey, and were pinning the crimes on one another because they were forced.

Donald Trump was even supportive of bringing back the death penalty for this case. He wanted the death penalty for five teenage boys. Teenagers. The boys were barely in high school and were being attacked with the death penalty.

At the trial, the lead prosecutor, Elizabeth Lederer, called in the victim of the attack, Trisha Meili. Meili had no recollection of the night after being in a coma for several days. The DNA evidence that was presented at trial did not match any of the defendants. There were no eyewitnesses. They showed the recordings of the interviews of the boys, but they were forced into telling false stories, which none of were merely similar. The case had no supporting evidence whatsoever. But the jury still convicted all five boys, who had to serve out their sentences.

The charges were exonerated in 2002 after the real rapist confessed. But exoneration does not make up for what these young boys had to go through. They were tried as adults at the ages of 14, 15 and 16. Korey Wise was in a maximum security prison at the age of 16. These boys went through something they should have never gone through at such a young age. There was no justice served for the boys or the victim. The detectives pinned a crime on five innocent young boys. These boys had been at the wrong place at the wrong time. Instead of actually working to find the real rapist, Linda Fairstein pinned it on five boys and did not do anything by the book while the boys were in question.

The show has brought back outcries about the case, even causing Linda Fairstein to step down from her charity boards. Our justice system still isn't what it should be today, and this show helps with showing us that.

The Netflix series shines a light on the racism of these detectives and the injustice that was served. Ava DuVernay did a tremendous job with this show. It is moving. The four episodes are very hard to watch, but it is so important that you do.

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