Why is being straight the default? Everything you need to know

Despite increasing acceptance of LGBT in recent years, heterosexuality — that is, straightness —continues to be seen as the default.

This view called “heteronormativity” is so entrenched in public thinking that sometimes even LGBT people may fail to see it when it happens.

But why is being straight considered the default?

The answer to that question is long and complicated. But in western culture, one of the biggest factors is the Christian religion.

Christianity teaches that God made women to be with men and that homosexuality is a sin. One punishable by death, even!

You can check Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 if you want. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is also frequently cited.

Homosexuality is then framed as the creation of the big dad Evil and that one can simply choose to resist temptation. They’re probably one of the top believers that finding yourself is crazy.

This sets the stage for the portrayal of gayness itself as evil and corrupt…an insult to the will of God.

In other words, Christian values are directly opposed to the acceptance of LGBT. Not all religions and cultures hold this perspective, of course.

In India, for example, the Kama Sutra freely mentions and teaches techniques for same-sex relations, as well as relations with the third gender called Hijra.

Hinduism makes allusions to flexible sexualities — one of their gods, Shiva, even merges with his wife to become intersex.

But with colonialism, the western attitude was imposed upon these more open cultures.

In the case of India, the British tried to lower the status of the Hijra and then exterminate them.

In America, the more diverse perspectives the Native Americans had on sexuality were drowned out by what the colonizers brought with them to the new world.

So long as religion continues to influence public thinking and so long as that religion continues to preach against diversity, any attempts to challenge the notion that straightness is the default will be met with resistance.

But if heterosexuality is the norm, then does that mean homosexuality is bad?

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The answer is, of course, no. Hell no!

That also applies to other sexualities as well such as bisexuality and asexuality.

Think about it like this. Let’s say your neighbors and most of your friends all like eating pizza, but hate lasagna.

You and a few others are the only ones you know who actually like eating lasagna.

Does it hurt anyone at all if you decide to meet up with your fellow lasagna-lovers to eat some lasagna together?

Likewise, are you harming other people if you decide to fall in love with someone of the same sex as you?

The only answer is no.

You’re not harming someone else simply because you’re in love with someone of the same sex.

Not unless you are forcing your affections on someone without their consent — but this applies to heterosexual relations, too.

Your sexuality, your choice in who you’re sleeping with is a personal decision and anyone who thinks they have the right to meddle with that needs to go sit in a corner and think about their priorities.

It’s none of their business. Period.

But let’s say they are concerned about you.

There are people who say it’s a mental illness and that people who are not straight are more likely to be depressed, to be alcoholic, or to do drugs than those who are.

People who try to push back against gay rights often claim that gays are sexual predators and that their orientation is unnatural.

You or the person who was sticking their nose in your business might have seen this and decided to “help” you. After all, what if accepting gayness will make you depressed? What if it will turn you into a sexual predator?

But here’s the thing. These are all myths.

LGBT individuals do tend to be more depressed than people who are straight but the reason for this isn’t the fact that they are gay, but because of the many things that work to deny them the rights and respect offered to everyone else.

How can you not be depressed if you are reminded every day that the feelings you have are wrong, abnormal and that you shouldn’t be having them?

How can you not be depressed knowing that every time you go outside or surf the net, you run the risk of meeting someone who will hate you simply for who you are?

Anyone would get depressed if they can’t live an authentic life.

And because of that, people turn to alcohol and drugs to escape the misery of their daily existence.

The whole “gays are more depressed than straight people” might be true, but that depression is because of how our hetero-normative society treats LGBT more than anything else.

And that whole thing about LGBT being sex predators?

Yeah, no.

That’s just nonsense invented by anti-LGBT groups who want to deny same-sex couples from adopting children — which is itself motivated by a fear that same-sex couples would raise more same-sex children or children who are willing to defend same-sex unions.

Basically, the conservatives are just shookt.

Data actually shows that most child predators are straight. So any arguments for the discrimination against same-sex couples on the grounds of them “supposedly” being predatory should actually then be taken the other way around — straight people should not be able to adopt since most child predators are straight!

Trying to prevent same-sex couples from adopting children is senseless.

One of the arguments sometimes made against getting involved in a same-sex relationship is “what about kids”?

There is this assumption that relationships should lead to marriage, which should lead to the couple raising their own flesh and blood children in a home of their own making.

This assumption is supported by the Christian religion, which outright states that we should all go forth and multiply and that sex is a sacred act that exists for the sake of creating new life.

But on the contrary, why should people be forced into relationships they don’t like and marry people they aren’t sexually compatible with simply for the sake of making a new life?

Why tie yourself down into a lifetime of misery just so that you can appease society’s idea of what your relationship should be like?

People aren’t breeding machines

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People are entitled to being with whoever makes them happy. As long as they are consenting adults, of course. This is so basic, isn’t it?

Besides, if you are to look out to nature, adopting and raising abandoned and orphaned children are what wild animals in same-sex relationships do. And yes, there are same-sex couples in nature.

Homosexuality is not unnatural.

The only real “reasons” to deny same-sex couples from adopting are cultural.

Fear that their children would grow up to be like their parents, or be forced to be like them. Fear that their children would be bullied by other children if it’s known that they have two dads or two moms.

And these reasons are not at all valid.

People growing up in all-straight households, even those with rampant hate towards other sexual orientations, can still end up identifying as LGBT anyways.

And when they do, they are often pressured in some way into conforming by their straight family. Often they are told that they are simply going through a phase and that they will go to hell if they succumb to temptation.

It’s ironic.

Often people who spread paranoia about same-sex couples ”forcing” their children to be like them will themselves see nothing wrong with doing the same to any sexually divergent children in their households.

It’s also tragic.

Some people end up breaking under all that pressure and end up as LGBT in denial. They shout louder in their opposition towards divergent sexualities than their straight peers, all to hide their pain and guilt over their own attraction to the same sex.

They tell themselves that they can control it, and therefore others should be able to.

It’s no surprise that often people who preach the hardest against the so-called “gay agenda” end up getting caught engaging in a spot of same-sex fun behind closed doors.

In the end, it is for everyone’s benefit if LGBT individuals and divergent sexualities at large are given greater acceptance and respect not just by individuals, but also by the law.

If people stopped thinking of them as the ‘other’ and offered them the same rights and respect as straight individuals, then perhaps they won’t have to struggle with depression as they currently do.

They won’t have to worry about children they adopt getting bullied over being raised by a same-sex couple, being treated differently at the hospital, being attacked for their sexuality, or being afraid of expressing their love to the people they love.

The fight goes on and the increasing acceptance of LGBT in the west continues to be fought inch by inch.

Some Christian groups have begun reinterpreting their religion to be more inclusive of the LGBT community despite backlash from their more conservative peers.

Even the Pope, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, risked being called a heretic by his own following to voice his support for equality.

And someday, perhaps there will eventually be true equality, a society where one can be free to shout to the rooftops “I am gay!” without being the least bit afraid.

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Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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