Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Heterosexism on Facebook

This morning, I updated my status to ask if anyone needed a ride from my hometown to Toronto for Pride this weekend. An aquantance responded by saying

Seriously? Why would you want to go parade around advertising sex... Heterosexuals don't have a parade... wonder why?!?
At first I was quite mad and thought about just deleting the comment and "unfriending" her. But then I decided to comment back, because it is a sentiment that I have heard so many times. My response is limited to what I could type on my phone, which only allows a certain number of characters, but here it is...
Heterosexuals don't get looks while holding hands. They don't have to make sure they won't be arrested before planning a vacation. They don't have to come out to their families and friends. Have you ever been told that you could be 'cured' if you met the right man? I have. [see here] Do you worry that your daughter will be teased because you are straight? Heterosexuality doesn't have a parade, per se, but it has everything else.
Then, I got the best comment that I have received in a long time... maybe ever. A friend of mine told me that she was too angry to respond to the comment, but that she was proud of what I said and that it made her "even more proud to be out!"

I wish I could say that I was surprised that this line of thinking persisted, but I'm not. We live in a culture where we are striving for tolerance, an aim that I critique in this post. It reminds me of the idea that heterosexuality is invisible... you don't realize that so many things around you are "straight" unless you aren't. When a hetero couple holds hands, nobody notices - it isn't considered sexuality unless it is very explicit, but it is different from non-heteros who are only allowed to express any type of affection behind closed doors, otherwise they are seen as rubbing their sexuality in other people's faces.

I have deleted the people that I wrote about in the past (such as this person) because I want my wall to be a safe space... I need to start coming up with guidelines about who I keep on my facebook for the sake of my own sanity.

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