Explain the assumption that everyone is heterosexual

The term heterosexism is used to describe the belief that heterosexuality is the norm or superior. Heterosexual privilege gives unearned and unchallenged advantages and rewards to heterosexuals because of their sexual orientation. These same benefits are not automatically granted to lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

Heterosexism is manifested in both personal behavior and social institutions. Unlikehomophobia (i.e. the irrational fear of homosexuals), the prevalence of heterosexism in social institutions can result in the denial of services, resources and civil rights.

The following are the components of heterosexism:

1. The assumption that everyone is heterosexual.

2. Heterosexuality is the only normal sexual orientation.

3. Heterosexism is apparent in social institutions, laws, and public policies that exclude the acknowledgment of other sexual orientations, or that deny the extension of rights to lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals.

Please answer the following questions and post in the forum

1. Take a look at the handout Examples of Heterosexual Privilege (listed under Learning Resources in Week 5 Content).

2. Respond to the following questions:

a. What do you find particularly surprising, interesting and/or disturbing about this list?

b. Identify at least 2 ways that you have, or someone you know has, been awarded or denied heterosexual privilege?

c. Did this information contribute to your diversity understanding? Please explain

d. How will you use this understanding?

e. If you know someone who is not heterosexual and feel comfortable sharing the list with them, share their responses here in the forum.

3. Be sure and use in-text citations and references from the course materials, websites and/or other materials to support your response.

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