Heterosexuality Is Not The “Norm”

I believe that straight people do not hold the vast majority they think they have. I recently made this, mostly innocent, statement on tumblr and found out quickly that was a mistake. My little throwaway post somehow made it to Reddit’s r/tumblrinaction and I caught heat from a lot of anti-social justice people. I was called everything from delusional to a r*tard. One charming anonymous person said they’d be happy to read of my suicide in the obituaries. The one that really made me snap was the person who, in the tags of one post, decided to compare me, a Black bisexual woman, to Ronald Reagan.

That was insulting on a number of fronts. For one, Ronald Reagan sat back and watched the AIDS epidemic tear through the gay community and stood silent. He refused to speak the word for years. Then there’s the plethora of things he did to the Black community. The one thing that immediately pops into mind is his and his wife’s part in the war on drugs. As both a Black woman and a bisexual person, it is both insulting and hurtful to be compared to that man.

Getting back to my original point, there are three main reasons I believe straight people don’t hold as big a majority as they think they do. For one, straight people have instituted themselves as the “norm” and anything that deviates from them as “abnormal” and therefore undesirable.

Second, they have made it dangerous and, at times, lethal for anyone in the LGBTQ+ community to come out. Think about the harassment and abuse we suffer from daily. Think about how many people have been killed for being something other than heterosexual. The case of Matthew Shepard comes to mind immediately, but there have been many, many others. It only makes sense that many LGBTQ+ individuals would stay deep in the closet for their whole lives out of fear of losing their life. It also makes sense that many others would just avoid exploring their sexuality at all, which leads me to my third point.

Many people refuse to even consider that they may not be as straight as they think they are, many others deny what they know to be truth (that they definitely aren’t straight), and many others still live their truth privately (and anonymously online) but publicly present as straight and would deny it outright. Once again, because of the way straight people have set up the power structure, it only makes sense that many people would deny their sexuality or refuse to explore it. Choosing not to disclose doesn’t make them straight or invisible. They’re out there. They exist, and I suspect they exist in greater numbers than originally thought.

After posting my original statement, I was accused of “undermining” LGBTQ+ accomplishments for “easy notes on tumblr”. I took special offence to that. It’s simply not true. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t like it when too much attention is drawn to myself. I’m self-conscious about everything I do and my follower counts on social media both baffle me and make me break out in a cold sweat. I also really don’t care about making popular posts on tumblr. Anyone who has followed me for more than a few weeks can tell you I don’t care about popular posts. As a matter of fact, I don’t like it because of the controversy and negative attention it draws.

I posted this because it’s a little thought that had been bouncing around my head for months now and I just wanted to get it out. Some people agreed with me and started a little dialogue, but unfortunately some unsavory characters got hold of it, and we see the results of that.

In any case, I still hold firm to the belief that straightness is not the “norm”. It’s only perceived as such due to a combination of factors which deter people from fully exploring their sexuality. I believe that, were these factors eliminated, we would see the LGBTQ+ community grow seemingly by leaps and bounds as more people became accepting of the fact that sexuality is not an “either or” type of deal and more of a fluid spectrum. If that’s a controversial statement, then so be it.

Originally published at theangryfangirl.com on June 9, 2017.