Heteronormativity, the combination of cultural or religious values, social laws, and privileges that insinuates heterosexual attraction is the only natural sexuality, is how society understands sexual orientation and gender (Kitzinger, 2005). Heteronormativity does not represent what is “normal” in a clinical sense where being abnormal is something negative, rather it categorizes behaviors as normative, done by the majority, and nonnormative, done by a minority (Oswald, Blume & Marks, 2005). Generally, males who violate gender norms are negatively labeled as LGBT while females who violated gender norms are viewed as being less feminine, but not necessarily a lesbian (Nielsen, Walden, & Kunkel, 2000). Heteronormativity in and of itself is not derogatory, but can cause an LGBT individual to fear they will not be accepted as normal.
Kitzinger, C. (2005). Heteronormativity in Action: Reproducing the Heterosexual Nuclear Family in After-hours Medical Calls. Social Problems, 52(4), 477–498.
Oswald, R. F., Blume, L. B., & Marks, S. R. Decentering Heteronormativity: A Model for Family Studies. Sourcebook of Family Theory and Research, 143–165.
Seal, M. (2019). Heteronormativity in Higher Education: Terminology, Context and Empirical Work. The Interruption of Heteronormativity in Higher Education, 23–48.