Heteronormativity is the assumption that everyone is straight. It is a view that promotes the normality of being heterosexual & inadvertently, though sometimes deliberately, identifies heterosexual as the preferred sexuality.
Heteronormativity occurs when people ask you if you have a boyfriend if you’re a girl or vice versa. What you like for in a girl (if you’re a boy) or in a boy (if you’re a girl). For many of us it is a bad habit, something we’re used to, given the fact that LGBT rights are relatively recently developing. Most of us don’t even think about it, for the most part heteronormativity is not meant to offend or cause harm, it is simply a slip of the tongue or a reflex at this stage. Often when asking someone if they have a boyfriend/girlfriend it is not an insinuation that being heterosexual is somehow better, merely a question that we’re used to.
Problems arise, however, when interviewing celebrities. The questions always revolve around the opposite sex, often asking for traits they find attractive in the opposite sex, not even allowing a hint that the celebrity might not be straight. Instead celebrities are asked outright what they look for in the opposite sex, because they are straight. End of.
This is becoming a serious problem, because the majority of interviews where this occurs are with young celebrities, or celebrities with young fans. As a result those young fans are conditioned into thinking that heterosexuality is normal, preferred even, whilst homosexuality, or bisexuality, is not. Heteronormativity can be combatted easily by not making such an assumption. The interviewer need not ask flat-out if the celebrity is straight, merely ask what they look for in a partner, if such a question is necessary at all.
It’s not just interviewers, however, that go on this assumption. Management teams are notorious for closeting celebrities, especially young celebrities with younger fan bases. The young woman or man is forced to acknowledge themselves as straight, or at least not openly admit to being gay, or bisexual. The reason is of course to make as much money as possible. If the celebrity is gay then their fan-base may reduce considerably, especially a young male when their fans are mainly young girls with crushes. The closeting of celebrities for maximum fan-base and income is so unbelievably wrong. First, the celebrity will eventually come out, hopefully. They can’t live a lie forever. Second, they are lying to their fans. Third, the psychological damage that must cause the celebrity is unacceptable. Fourth, it sends the message that being gay is not okay. That it is necessary to be straight to succeed.
Lauren Jauregui of Fifth Harmony recently came out as bisexual, following difficulties with management. Markus Feehily of Westlife came out as gay in 2005.
The number of celebrities forced to hide their sexuality is heartbreaking and heteronormativity needs to stop. The general assumption that everyone is straight, not just celebrities, leads to the pressure to conform and adds to the pressure of coming out. When someone is already struggling with their sexuality labelling them as heterosexual without their consent makes it that much harder.
There is no preferred sexuality. Love is love and should be celebrated in all forms. Don’t be afraid to love.
Love Wins Always ❤