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Heteronormativity refers to the establishment of heterosexuality and traditional gender roles as the norm in society. In other words, it assumes that "normal" people are by default straight and everyone else is willfully deviant[note 1] or in self-denial. This can lead to the marginalization of and prejudice against those in the LGBTQIA+ community, kinky folk, or anyone else who does not identify with traditional sexual identities or gender expression. The term was coined by social critic Michael Warner in 1991.[1]

Criticism of heteronormativity is itself criticized by people who think "normal" was a much better label than "straight," and who may go on to say that tolerance is much easier when you don't have to think about it.

A related term is cisnormativity, which assumes that everyone is cisgender in the natural order.

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  1. Just like how white people aren't white, they're normal, right?