Allies & Advocates
Heterosexism is the system of oppression of persons who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual based on homophobia. It includes these three components:
- The assumption that all people are heterosexual.
- Prejudice and discrimination against persons who are LGBT based on the assumption that heterosexuality is the only "normal" sexual orientation and therefore preferable.
- Systemic display of homophobia in societal institutions, laws, and policies by excluding the needs, concerns, and life experiences of persons who are LGBT.
Examples of Heterosexism:
- Assuming that everyone you meet is heterosexual.
- Assuming that everyone has or is interested in having an opposite-sex partner.
- Assuming that all mothers and fathers are heterosexual.
- Assuming all sexually active women use birth control.
- Assuming that all unmarried people are "single," while in reality they may have a same-sex partner.
- Assuming all children live in families with a male-female couple in parental roles.
- Using language that presumes heterosexuality in others, such as husband or wife, instead of gender neutral language such as partner.
- Using official forms which allow only for designation as married or single.
- Denying equal employment benefits to people with same-sex partners (i.e. spousal insurance).
- Omitting any discussion of persons who are LGBT as part of educational curricula.
Source: Safe on Campus resource manual - Duke University
Page last modified December 22, 2010