Heteronormativity

Heteronormativity is the belief that heterosexuality, predicated on the gender binary, is the norm or default sexual orientation.[1] It assumes that sexual and marital relations are most (or only) fitting between people of opposite sex. A "heteronormative" view therefore involves alignment of biological sex, sexuality, gender identity and gender roles. Heteronormativity is often linked to heterosexism and homophobia.[1][2]

Origin of the term

Michael Warner popularized the term in 1991,[3] in one of the first major works of queer theory. The concept's roots are in Gayle Rubin's notion of the "sex/gender system" and Adrienne Rich's notion of compulsory heterosexuality.[4] From the outset, theories of heteronormativity included a critical look at gender; Warner wrote that "every person who comes to a queer self-understanding knows in one way or another that her stigmatization is intricated with gender. ... Being queer ... means being able, more or less articulately, to challenge the common understanding of what gender difference means."[3]

In a series of articles, Samuel A. Chambers calls for an understanding of heteronormativity as a concept that reveals the expectations, demands, and constraints produced when heterosexuality is taken as normative within a society.[5][6]