Is Heterophobia Real?


In same-sex relationships, couples are often asked: “Who wears the pants in the relationship?” or “Who’s the man in the pairing?” Thus, we had two guys dressed in the traditional wedding dress for the woman and suit for the man. The purpose of this photo is to subvert these gender roles and heteronormative standards.

Laurenz Quinto, Reporter

“Why are there gay-only bars, but no straight-only bars?”


Go ahead and pat yourself in the back for such progressive thinking. Because you are absolutely right! Why should we, in the year two thousand and nineteen, continue to relegate ourselves to divided labels and identities when we all bleed the same blood? How do we continue the legacy of our forefathers who have fought hard to ensure us the freedom of existing in integrated sectors rather than let our distinctiveness define who we are?


Why are there gay-only bars, but no straight-only bars?


Then I implore you to probe deeper into your subconscious about other lingering thoughts regarding a community you (presumably) know nor (presumably) bother to know anything about.


Why is there gay pride, but no straight pride? Why is there a more accepting atmosphere on being proud of one’s non-straight sexual orientation over being heterosexual? Why is there a whole month dedicated to being an LGBTQ member, but no month for being straight?


Is heterophobia real?


No, it is not.


Heterosexual people have always been the most privileged of all sexual orientations. Of course, sexuality cannot be proven simply by looking at an individual. (We should not be assuming anyone’s sexualities period.) Still, you cannot deny that straight people stand to benefit more from our society than any member in the LGBTQ+ community.


Who are in the LGBTQ+ community? The acronym is a shorter form of LGBTTTQQIAA, wherein queer people–the word “queer,” which has been claimed back by the gay community, is the umbrella term for anyone who finds themselves under the acronym–can define themselves. It stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Two-Spirit, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Ally, + Pansexual, + Agender, +Genderqueer, +Bigender, +Gender Variant, +Pangender.


Straight is the default. That is the basis of their privilege. That is the foundation in which all straights benefit from. Being straight is the universally-accepted truth; therefore, everything else that contradicts it is considered to be outside the societal norm.

For the longest time, being gay was a cultural taboo. It existed, yes; it did not exist the way it does now. The treatment of the LGBTQ+ community has improved over time, and it does seem to be existing in the masses in the modern age, but it still does not take away from the point that gay men and women are treated worse than straight men and women.


Same-sex intimacy is criminalized throughout history. Beginning in the Book of Genesis, a book from the Old Testament, being gay was considered to be the downfall of man. In the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, God had had enough of the sinful activities occurring in these two towns. Homosexual intercourse was mentioned here and many people have interpreted that as the reason for God’s decision to destroy them.


Homosexuality was deconstructed as the true reason for God’s decision, with many theologists citing the inhospitality of the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah to the visiting angels as the reason for God to invoke his hand. Nevertheless, Christians have come to believe that being gay was abominable and against the word of God.


The Book of Leviticus warned against following the actions of Egyptians and Canaanites. What did they do? Men married men and women married women. While the story of Sodom and Gomorrah was a reach in justifying homophobia, this one said it more explicitly:


“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22).


Being gay meant committing a sin. Committing a sin meant going to hell.


Christian doctrine came to influence society’s mindset and laws. Still to this day, several nations have outlawed gay marriage. Even Switzerland, one of the most known progressive countries in terms of same-sex laws and protection have not made gay marriage legal. The first nation to do so was the Netherlands in 2001. The United States made same-sex marriage legal in 2015, Australia in 2017.


Put that into perspective in the historical timeline. The beginning of civilization is accredited to Mesopotamia in the fourth millennium BCE. The year is 2019. It has been over 6000 years and internationally the majority of same-sex couples are still not allowed to legally marry


It was, however, not always like this. Several people would mention Classical Greece as the exception in this case. In Greek myth, Zeus inadvertently created soulmates after physically-splitting up human bodies for growing too strong. The result was a doubling in the population, but also incomplete souls who longed for their other half. This popular story included same-sex relationships, which could explain why Greeks tolerated homosexuality.


Though the biggest contributor to the discourse was the Sacred Band of Thebes. This is the famed 150 pairs of male lovers because the bond of a lover would protect and defend them through each battle. Homosexuality was encouraged to boost morale in militaries in Ancient Greece. This was especially true in Sparta, where wives of soldiers had to dress up as men so their husbands could easily transition from gay to straight love.


There is a difference that people seem to forget though. While Ancient Greece is portrayed to be this gay haven, in many other regions, gay relationships were tolerated, not accepted. Tolerating seems more like resignation than full acceptance. You can tolerate something while still hating it.


Yes, Sappho of Lesbos–whose name is where lesbian is literally derived from because she was, in fact, a lesbian, and she wrote poems about loving women–is from Greece and created her own haven. But Ancient Greece is not the model society our modern era should strive for for the LGBTQ+ community.


Everyone has to conform to heteronormative standards. These standards are incredibly damaging to children, yet our society continues to perpetuate it.


In media, straight couples get the most stories. And when gay couples do get stories, they are mostly of the tragic and hypersexualized kind. For instance, “Call Me By Your Name” and “Blue Is The Warmest Color,” respectively. There exists the “bury-your-gays” trope in which television writers conveniently kill the only LGBT+ character on the show–whether that character is a main or recurring one. The most recent of this act of killing is one of the main characters in The Magicians after he came out as bisexual and shown to be pining after another character on the show.


“Love, Simon” is the film to hopefully end that. It depicted Simon as someone who was struggling with his sexuality. He was used to the belittlement of his sexuality, even though he himself was not “out of the closet.” But in the end, when he was forced to come out, he found the love of his life. The movie was light-hearted and portrayed an innocent relationship. It was a comedy, a romantic comedy about a gay high school boy.


Growing up, male children, whenever they play around with female children, are told often by adults that he likes her. Gay people have been accused of enforcing the gay agenda on their own kids, but straight people do not realize the hypocrisy between their words and their true actions. Children should not be told, in the first place, who to love.


The result is internalized homophobia. This is where heteronormative standards are damaging even to gay children. Because they are bombarded with photos of straight couples as the “normal” one and expected to marry someone of the opposite gender, they grow up to be homophobic.


Homophobia encourages a situation in which there is an us versus them. Separating people based on who they love is morally wrong but is socially acceptable. Discriminating against who other people love or marry increases the distance that the Gay Liberation Movement has been wanting to bridge. It is continuing a cycle of hatred and violence for reasons that being gay is just plain wrong and being straight is plain right.


Children who grew up not desiring the opposite sex believe themselves to be insane or mentally unhealthy because it is not the narrative they have been taught from the beginning. It has been ingrained in them the notion that heterosexuality is the only valid form of being human. They end up hating themselves. They end up hating other members of the LGBTQ+ community. They never learned that love is love.


Heterophobia does not exist. Merriam Webster defines heterophobia as the “irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against heterosexual people.” But discriminating against straight people is impossible because “heterophobes” do not stand to benefit from the privileges homophobes do.


Being a heterophobe–being gay–gets you killed.


So, why are there gay-only bars, but no straight-only bars? It is because our society has denied them a space in which gay people can truly feel safe in. It is because members of the LGBTQ+ community have been forced to conform to heteronormative standards. It is because they have been told to hate themselves for being non-straight. It is because society has enforced the notion that being anything but straight is not normal, even abominable. It is the history of our world to treat gay people as less than human, that because of their sexual orientations, they are to be denied their basic human rights.


It is because they cannot love who they want to love.