In 2017, let’s all stop assuming herosexuality is the “normal” or “default” sexuality. While we all understand that heterosexuality is the largest claimed sexuality, there are over 9 million people who identify as LGBTQA+ in the united states. That is roughly the population of the large New Jersey. LGBTQA+ people, in particular queer youth, must be tired. They are always having to come out, explain their sexual/romantic choices to strangers/friends/family, and educate people on a daily basis about LGBTQA+ culture, simply because others cannot stop assuming that everyone is straight until stated or proven otherwise.
Assuming heterosexuality is the the default sexuality forces LGBTQA+ people (especially the youth) to have an extreme amount of pressure thrown onto them about “coming out” and making it known they’re not heterosexual. Many people have dramatic coming out stories, including crying while explaining they’re not straight to friends/family or having to make a huge social media post to everyone they know about their sexuality. All these things are the norm because so many put an intense amount of pressure onto something (someone’s sexuality) that in reality, should not be that big of a deal. Yes, being LGBTQA+ is a big part of someone’s life, but it is only one aspect of who they are as an overall human being.
Another dangerous thing about assuming heterosexuality is the “default” is that it furthers the narrative that LGBTQA+ relationships are somehow “inappropriate” for young people, and that they must be shielded from them (when they are never shielded from extreme displays of heterosexual affection). Considering heterosexuality to be the “norm” makes it seem as if LGBTQA+ kids are different, wrong, weird or messed up in some way that they are not. Using only heterosexuality “because it is the normal sexuality” as the basis for sexual education is another huge danger. Not only does this give zero or inadequate education on sex, health, relationships and other critical things for LGBTQA+ youth, it puts them at an even higher risk for STDS, mental illness, and abusive relationships than their heterosexual or cisgendered students.
Considering heterosexuality to be the “norm” makes it seem as if LGBTQA+ kids are different, weird, wrong or messed up in some way that they are not.
Think about it this way; how odd would it be if someone announced their heterosexuality? If heterosexual people had to come out in the same way that LGBTQA+ people are forced to, then it would have already stopped, because it is simply an awkward experience for all involved.
We all need to stop assuming that everyone is straight until otherwise proven or stated. Go through your life with an open mind, and never assume that you know someone’s sexuality or gender identity unless you ask them or they tell you. LGBTQA+ people should not have to constantly prove themselves or live a life of eternal coming out. Maybe this year will be the year that opens people’s mind to the concept that many, many people in the world are queer. Hopefully, in the near future, young LGBTQA+ youth in particular will feel less pressure to come out unless they truly want to. In the end, you should be proud of who you are and who you love, and not allow anyone to tell you it’s wrong to love anybody.