9 Lesbian & Gay Sexualities

The Heterosexuality Questionnaire

Try to answer the questions about yourself (if you are heterosexual) or imagine the reaction of heterosexual friends if you asked them these questions.

1. What do you think caused your heterosexuality?

2. When and how did you decide you were a heterosexual?

3. Is it possible that your heterosexuality is just a phase you may grow out Op

4. Is it possible that your heterosexuality stems from a neurotic fear of others of the same sex?

5. If you have never slept with a person of the same sex, is it possible that all you need is a good gay lover?

6. Do your parents know that you are straight? Do your friends and/ or roommate (s) know? How did they react?

7. Why do you insist on flaunting your heterosexuality? Can’t you just be who you are and keep it quiet?

8. Why do heterosexuals place so much emphasis on sex?

9. Why do heterosexuals feel compelled to seduce others into their lifestyles?

10. A disproportionate majority of child molesters are heterosexual. Do you consider it safe to expose children to heterosexual teachers?

11. just what do men and women do in bed together? How can they truly know how to please each other, being so anatomically different?

12. With all the societal support marriage receives, the divorce rate is spiraling. Why are there so few stable relationships among heterosexuals?

13. Statistics show that lesbians have the lowest incidence of sexually transmitted diseases. Is it really safe for a woman to maintain a heterosexual lifestyle and run the risk of disease and pregnancy?

14. How can you become a whole person if you limit yourself to compulsive, exclusive heterosexuality?

15. Considering the menace of overpopulation, how could the human race survive if everyone were heterosexual?

16. Could you trust a heterosexual therapist to be objective? Don’t you feel s/he might be inclined to influence you in the direction of her/his own leanings?

17. There seem to be very few happy heterosexuals. Techniques have been developed that might enable you to change if you really want to. Have you considered trying aversion therapy?

18. Would you want your child to be heterosexual, knowing the problems that s/he would face?

19. What were your first reactions upon reading this questionnaire?

Source: Rochlin, M. (2003). The heterosexual questionnaire. In M. S. Kimmel & A. L. Ferber (Eda.) Privilege: A reader. pp.75-76. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

 

Homoworld

Another very useful training tool along these lines is Catherine Butler’s ‘homoworld’ day-in-the-life story of a heterosexual living in a world where most people are lesbian and gay. This is available in written form in:

Butler, C., O’Donovan, A. & Shaw, E. (2010). Sex, sexuality and therapeutic practice. London: Routledge.

There is also a film version of homoworld:

 

There is a similar US film here:

 

Straight Privilege

Following Peggy McIntosh’s excellent ‘white privilege’ checklist, several further checklists have been written to exemplify the privileges of being in various dominant groups in society (including ‘male privilege’, ‘able-bodied privilege’ and ‘cisgender privilege’).

For this chapter it is worth checking out the ‘straight privilege’ checklist. Perhaps you might consider what items would be on this checklist before looking at it, after looking at the original white privilege checklist. The ‘straight privilege’ checklist is available here. All checklists should be easy to find through a search engine if their sites have moved.

 

Experiencing Homophobia and Heteronormativity

Dominic Davies, the founder of Pink Therapy, suggests that heterosexual therapists do the following ‘homowork’ to experience – albeit briefly – what it is like being LGB.

  • Buy an LGB magazine and read it in public
  • Go for a drink in an LGB club or bar
  • Wear an LGB T-shirt or badge
  • Hold hands with a ‘same-gender’ person in public
  • Keep your heterosexuality in the closet for a week by ensuring that you don’t give it away in conversation (e.g. don’t mention a partner’s gender when talking about what you did at the weekend or when talking on the phone with a tradesperson)

Adapted from: Butler, C., O’Donovan, A. & Shaw, E. (2010). Sex, sexuality and therapeutic practice. p.106. London: Routledge.

 

The Language of Sexualities

Come up with all the terms you can think of which are associated with each of the labels given here. What do these lists tell us about the way lesbian, gay, bisexual and heterosexual sexualities are understood in our culture? What impact might this have on people in each of these categories

Lesbian

Gay man

Bisexual

Heterosexual

   

 

 

 

Source: Peel, E. (2002). Lesbian and gay awareness training: Challenging homophobia, liberalism and managing stereotypes. In A. Coyle and C. Kitzinger (Eds.) Lesbian and Gay Psychology: New Perspectives. Pp. 255-274. Oxford: BPS Blackwell.

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