Even in today's society, gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals experience multiple pressures and constraints related to their lifestyles, in addition to the stresses of everyday life. This dual tension can result in psychopathology among gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals. Preventing Heterosexism and Homophobia examines the gay and lesbian experience in light of their tension and points toward a future free of heterosexism. The stress of “coming out,” the uncertainty of parenting their children, and the difficulties facing ethnic minority lesbians and bisexuals cannot be adequately addressed without confronting the heterosexual bias in society. The contributors to this informative volume propose methods geared toward eliminating heterosexual bias in various settings–health care, therapy, communities, corporate America, and education. Ultimately, this book examines both the risks and joys of being gay, lesbian, and bisexual, and how to prevent heterosexism and its effects on the lives of all people, including those of heterosexuals. Students and professionals in interpersonal communication and interpersonal relations, clinical psychology, and public health will benefit greatly from the original perspectives this book has to offer.
Chapter 14: Individual Action and Political Strategies: Creating a Future Free of Heterosexism
Individual Action and Political Strategies: Creating a Future Free of Heterosexism
Heterosexism is the system of institutions that supports heterosexuality as the norm and treats any other sexual identity as either nonexistent or abnormal. Heterosexism is intimately linked with sexism—they are two systems of oppression that rely on one another.
Sexism is the belief system that supports patriarchy: the rule of men over women. Sexism asserts that men are more valuable and more important than women and, therefore, men should rule over women. Included in and crucial to men's right to rule over women is control of women's sexuality. Indeed, patriarchy depends on compulsory heterosexuality to ensure that men maintain power over women.
The Future without Heterosexism