Cis Heteronormative Culture

Content Warning: Discussion of privileges, cultures, mentions of abuse, bullying, rape, violence, trans and homophobia

This essay is a response to an individual who claimed “there is no cis heteronormative culture” in Slack so it takes on a bit of a different tone than my normal post.

You say there’s no such thing as a cis heteronormative culture. So let me tell you about what it is like growing up as someone who suspected they weren’t straight, in a world set up for cis straight people.

You are, I presume from comments all over Rote over time, cisgender, male, and heterosexual. You grew up with action heroes. You grew up with ship’s captains and presidents and congressmen to support you. Teachers catered to you in class. Education catered to you. You have advertising, romance novels and movies, and everywhere you go, you can openly show your affection.

If I showed my affection to another guy in high school, I’d have endured verbal and physical abuse. This is cis heteronormative culture. If someone came out as trans, they would have endured almost unending abuse, and an increased risk of physical violence, rape, and murder. When I grew up, and this still holds true in most media with only a few exceptions, LGBTQ people like myself were the butts of jokes for cishet people. We were told we were defective. We were told we were sinners and should hate ourselves. This is your “fictional” culture you claim doesn’t exist.

We don’t have many heroes in media. We don’t have action stars, superheroes, or dramas about inspirational figures. The ones we typically do get, with VERY few exceptions, amount to inspiration porn for cishet people to look at and pat themselves on the back about how nice they are. We get asked nonstop when we figured out we were gay or trans or lesbian or whatever. You are just assumed to be straight and nobody questions it. Trans people get questioned and interrogated about their gender- for cis people, nobody questions it. Nobody asks “When did you know you were cis.” We get sent to torture camps to force us to be cishet. Nobody does that to cishet people.

I can’t walk in a store without seeing hetero couples kissing, holding hands, in ads, on clothes. If I walk in a store with a boyfriend, I have to endure stares, we don’t see anything catered to us (that’s slowly changing), and we sometimes have to endure verbal assaults. We have people telling us we’re “pushing our agenda” in their faces… But a hetero couple isn’t questioned. This list is by no means complete. I could go on and on and on.

Whether you believe in the culture or not doesn’t matter one iota to me. The fact is, it exists and pervades everything we do in this country. If you want to exist in denial, then do it- but the claim that this culture doesn’t exist is provably false bullshit.