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Heterosexual privilege refers to the structural differentiations within our heteronormative society wherein heterosexuals are conferred societal entitlements and advantages that are denied to sexual minorities. Conceptually, heterosexual privilege is theoretically similar to other forms of “epistemic privilege” that accompany membership within dominant or ruling social groups, such as male privilege, White privilege, class privilege, and cisgender privilege. Like all of these forms of societal privilege, heterosexual privilege is not earned, not acquired by merit, and not conferred on heterosexuals because of anything they have done or failed to do. Heterosexuals acquire this privilege simply by being born into a heterosexual sexual orientation.

The Theoretical Inception of Heterosexual Privilege

In 1955, Simone de Beauvoir wrote Privileges, a collection of reflective essays on the privileges associated with class, ...

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