People with homosexual or bisexual orientations have long been stigmatized. The same is the case for those who are gender non-conforming or who feel their assigned at birth sex or gender does not match their true selves. Heterosexism is a term used to describe the belief that heterosexuality is the norm or superior, while anything else is stigmatized or just unacknowledged. 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, bisexual, queer, transgender, transexual (LGBQTT) people.
The following questionnaire is intended to be a somewhat tongue in cheek, humorous look at our societal assumptions that heterosexuality is the norm and anything else must be questioned and explained.
This Heterosexual Questionnaire reverses the questions that are very often asked of LGBQTT people by straight people. The hope is that by answering these questions, heterosexual people can get some intellectual and emotional insight in to how oppressive and discriminatory heterosexism can be. Curiosity and seeking to understand another is great! But many of these kinds of questions instead feel invalidating and discriminatory (especially when heard over and over).
Enjoy and please feel free to share your thoughts!
(Attributed to Martin Rochlin, PhD, January 1977)
1. What do you think has caused you to be heterosexual?
2. When and how did you first decide you were a heterosexual?
3. Is it possible your heterosexuality stems from a neurotic fear of people of the same sex?
4. If you’ve never slept with a person of the same sex, how do you know you wouldn’t prefer it?
5. Isn’t it possible your heterosexuality is just a phase you may grow out of?
6. Isn’t it possible that all you need is a good gay lover?
7. If heterosexuality is normal, why are a disproportionate number of mental patients heterosexual?
8. To whom have you disclosed your heterosexual tendencies? How did they react?
9. Why do heterosexuals place so much emphasis on sex? Why are they so promiscuous?
10. Do heterosexuals hate and/or distrust others of their own sex? Is that what makes them heterosexual?
11. If you were to have children, would you want them to be heterosexual knowing the problems they’d face?
12. Your heterosexuality doesn’t offend me as long as you don’t try to force it on me. Why do you feel compelled to seduce others into your sexual orientation?
13. The great majority of child molesters are heterosexuals. Do you really consider it safe to expose your children to heterosexual teachers?
14. Why do you insist on being so obvious, and making a public spectacle of your heterosexuality? Can’t you just be who you are and keep it quiet?
15. How can you ever hope to become a whole person if you limit yourself to a compulsive, exclusively heterosexual lifestyle, and remain unwilling to explore and develop your homosexual potential?
16. Heterosexuals are noted for assigning themselves and each other to narrowly restricted, stereotyped sex-roles. Why do you cling to such unhealthy role playing?
17. Even with all the societal support marriage receives, the divorce rate is spiralling. Why are there so few stable relationships among heterosexuals?
18. How could the human race survive if everyone were heterosexual like you, considering the menace of overpopulation?
19. There seem to be very few happy heterosexuals. Techniques have been developed that could help you change if you really wanted to. Have you considered trying psychotherapy or even aversion therapy?
21. Could you really trust a heterosexual therapist/counsellor to be objective and unbiased? Don’t you fear he/she might be inclined to influence you in the direction of his/her own preferences?
22. How can you enjoy a full, satisfying sexual experience or deep emotional rapport with a person of the opposite sex when the differences are so vast? How can a man understand what pleases a woman, or vice-versa?
Dr. Young is a licensed clinical psychologist with over 20 years of experience. She has been in private practice in Chicago, Illinois since 1992. She incorporates aspects of psychodynamic, relational therapy and dialectical behavior therapy into her approach to psychotherapy. Her career focus has been on treating trauma and its aftermath.
She is also an EMDR trained therapist and has completed the Illinois 40-hour Domestic Violence Training. She has coordinated a program dedicated to providing education about and treatment for intimate partner, interpersonal and community violence in the LGBT communities.
Dr. Young received her doctorate in clinical psychology (Psy.D.) from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology in 1990.
Areas of expertise:
• Survivors of childhood abuse
• Intimate partner violence
• Eating disorders
• Post traumatic stress
• Dissociative disorders
• Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender issues
• Gender identity
• Relationship issues
• Personality disorders
• Adult children/partners of alcoholics