A guide that gets straight to the point about sex and relationships.

Unpacking Queerphobia and Heteronormativity

Sex, sexuality and gender is more diverse than mainstream culture tends to acknowledge. Because this diversity is often outside of the mainstream, the word โ€˜queerโ€™ is sometimes used as an umbrella term to refer to people within the broader lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and/or asexual (LGBTQIA+) community.

๐Ÿ“– 5 min read

โš ๏ธ **Content Warning!**

On this page, we discuss specific examples of ignorance, discrimination, and prejudice that target LGBTQIA+ people today. If this is something that you are not comfortable reading through, you can read more about how to support LGBTQIA+ people [here] .

Today, LGBTQIA+ people continue to experience ignorance, discrimination and prejudice in society, in the form of heteronormativity and queerphobia. But what do these words mean?

๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ Did you know?

Among Australian secondary students, in 2021:

- Approx. 6 in 10 people (58.1%) identify as heterosexual
- Approx. 1 in 4 identify as bisexual (23.3%)
-Approx. 3 in 50 identify as gay or lesbian (6.0%)
-Approx. 3 in 50 say they are unsure about their sexuality (6.1%)

Source:7th National Survey of Australian Secondary Students and Sexual Health (2021 - 2022), LaTrobe University

What is heteronormativity?

๐Ÿ“— Heteronormativity refers to the ways that most of society establishes straight relationships as the norm, and everything else is either invisible or seen as โ€˜differentโ€™ or โ€˜wrongโ€™ in some way.

The word 'heteronormativity' is made up of two parts: 'hetero-', which refers to heterosexual relationships, and 'normativity', which means 'establishing the norm'.

In heteronormative culture, gender roles for men and women are often meant to be about pursuing and maintaining heterosexual relationships. Some of the ways we experience heteronormativity include:

  • Assuming that every family has a mum and dad
  • A woman taking on her husband's surname in marriage
  • Primarily seeing straight people, couples and relationships on TV
  • Assuming that every person needs to be in a relationship to be happy

Heteronormativity is so strong that equal marriage for same-sex and same-gender couples was only legalised in Australia as recently as 2017.

What is queerphobia?

๐Ÿ“— Queerphobia is an umbrella term to describe the ways that LGBTQIA+ people, or people who are perceived to be LGBTQIA+, are actively discriminated against in society.

Some examples of queerphobia include:

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