Heterosexism in Everyday Life

Let’s look at two examples of heterosexism in everyday life. Heterosexism is the presumption that being heterosexual is natural and normal. Women are also presumed to be passive in their sexuality, while men are active. Hetetosexism is an exclusionary and dangerous way to view the world, by erasing, questioning or punishing LGBTQIA people, and by normalising men’s dominance over other groups.


This is a lovely restaurant, unfortunately the menu is heterosexist – meaning it presumes everyone is heterosexual. The text reads: “Banquet menu. A royal treat for a King and his Queen.

Don’t do this – it excludes LGBTQIA people for no good reason, even if people don’t consciously mean to. First, it presumes that people in couples will dine with the opposite gender. Second, women are subordinate to men (the Queen belongs to the King). This is the first of two examples of heterosexism I saw in one day.

Let’s stop this. Inclusion starts with small acts of thoughtfulness every day and is ensured by structural changes – such as marriage equality in the law.


[Entrance to Christmas arts and craft shop with a sign outside as above, “Your husband….”.]

This handwritten sign says: “Your husband just rang and said you can buy whatever you like.” On the one hand, this demonstrates that women are controlled by men (husbands give women permission to spend money). This is sexist and promotes men as “breadwinners” whom women rely on. This does not reflect Australian couples and families, which have a high proportion of women contributing directly to household income through paid work (and through unpaid domestic labour).

On the other hand, while gender isn’t mentioned (maybe anyone can be a husband in this meaning), husbands dictate “your” autonomy.