What is heterosexism? What does heteronormativity mean?

Heteronormativity refers to the assertion of heterosexuality as a social norm or as superior to other sexual orientations. It stems from the heterosexism of cultural, social, legal and institutional practices that deny, ignore, belittle or stigmatize all non-heterosexual forms of behaviour, identity or relationships.

Heteronormativity refers to normative ideologies of gender, sexual orientation and social roles. Heteronormativity presents these dimensions in a system that postulates the binarity of the sexes (male/female), genders (man/woman), social roles (e.g. father/mother) and sexual orientations (heterosexual/homosexual), and the alignment of these dimensions (female/woman/mother/heterosexual; male/man/father/heterosexual). Heteronormativity, therefore, establishes a dominant system in which people who do not meet these norms (such as non-heterosexual, trans, or non-gender stereotypes) are considered inferior.

While heteronormativity dictates the conduct and norms of sex, gender, and sexual orientation, heterosexism ensures that it is maintained by social exclusion, discrimination or invisibilization of individuals who deviate from these norms.


Définitions sur la diversité sexuelle et de genre. (2016) [Online] https://interligne.co/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Definitions-diversite-sexuelle-et-de-genre.pdf

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