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Good link by the way. Though I'm often very concerned when this sort of stuff seems to attack "heteronormative" ideas. Fair enough that we shouldn't enforce them and pressurise people into conforming (this being no different to religious freedom or any other intellectual freedom) but often it comes across that if you're heterosexual and gis-gendered you're automatically Evil And Responsible for All the Ills in the World Ever Because Your Very Existence Is Oppressive. In fact some of the literature really does come across like they're using "heteronormative" with the same spitting venom that you'll hear when "liberal" is used on Fox News.

Scarlet A.pnggnostic14:16, 1 December 2011

That is nothing new at all; both queer-theory and neo-conservatism differ from their common ideological ancestor only in the precise identity of the Born Evil and Oppressive crowd.

Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX16:09, 1 December 2011

Much if not most of feminism would see/has seen all things male as teh Big Bad Evil.

I'm sure most blacks saw all whitey as "the man".

When you are just starting to fight for your rights, the lack of rights are so systematic and endemic it is very literally "all of society" that is against you. Eventually, that changes of course... but it takes a while.

Pink mowse.pngGodotAround, around, around, around, over, and under and through16:27, 1 December 2011

Funny thing about that. When the feminists were just starting to fight, those were the first-wave feminists, who did not blame the Big Nasty Overclass for everything in quite that manner.

I'm sure most blacks saw all whitey as "the man". An attitude that, fortunately for all of us, Martin Luther King, Jr. saw his way around.

Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX16:41, 1 December 2011

Why wouldn't it attack heteronormative ideas? Normative ideas are prescriptive standards, which is the same thing as enforcing and pressuring people into conforming.

Nebuchadnezzar (talk)17:37, 1 December 2011

Because I get this extra connotation that, being heterosexual and cis-gendered myself, it's all my fault. It's a hard one to shake off.

Scarlet A.pngbomination17:42, 1 December 2011

I mean, I should clarify that I really think that those who create prescriptive beliefs and enforce conformity are wrong, it's just... I just plain and simply can't shake off that feeling. I feel I was born on the wrong side of the sexuality dynamic for my opinion to matter. It must be what that "white guilt" thing feels like.

Scarlet A.pngpathetic17:45, 1 December 2011

Er, I'm also het/cis (just not in the "right" way). There's a difference between acting it and holding it up as a standard or ideal. It's not like everyone is out baiting gays, trans people, etc.

Nebuchadnezzar (talk)17:58, 1 December 2011

Yeah, but here's the thing; why do I feel guilty about it? And why do I seem to perceive it as my fault regardless of the fact that I don't actually push heteronormacy?

So you have this group, called "allies". Okay, fair enough. That effectively then transforms LGBT into LGBTIQQAHGOITEAJADOKJHELPIMTRAPPEDINANABSURDITYNVOADVNOAK, or "anyone who isn't a homophobic bigot club". I get it. But the implication seems to be that unless I explicitly identify as "allies" I'm not one. As this system seems set up to say that by default you are indeed a homophobic bigot, because you don't identify as allies by default because you must identify as one. This seems backwards to me, as if it's requesting I identify as something that I don't do. It's the same issue I think I have with being told that I must identify as feminist because I support gender equality.

Scarlet A.pngpathetic18:06, 1 December 2011

The problem, as I see it, is failure to accept those who are not normal as full members of society – not the mere existence of a concept of normality.

Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX18:10, 1 December 2011

I like to solve both problems at the same time by simply not using the word "normal". Specifically, to what percentile are we talking is "normal" here? Exactly, so it doesn't carry much meaning without further clarification.

What meaning "normal" does carry is just the meaning people give to it, which is connotations associated with the word, i.e., "normal is good, not-normal is bad". Hence the need to either a) avoid it entirely or b) use it with more clarity.

Scarlet A.pngsshole18:15, 1 December 2011

"...as if it's requesting I identify as something that I don't do." That's a bit ironic coming from an atheist. But, yeah, the LGBTWTFBBQ umbrella grows bigger all the time (according to Wikipedia, I would be "queer" by some definitions, which is news to me). I think the lesson is not to take all these labels so seriously.

Nebuchadnezzar (talk)18:33, 1 December 2011

I thought the atheist thing would come up. In my defence there I don't really identify as one, not as such. I use it for the sake of convenience, a quick and dirty linguistic category for when I need to convey something like "what religion are you?" - well, I'd probably actually reply "none" to that specific question. But I don't identify as one in a positive sense if pushed for what I actually believe. I certainly don't treat it as a precise category that defines me.

Though you are spot-on with the map and territory stuff. Though labeling itself can be problematic. Even if you do accept that you can't take labels too seriously, the connotations are still there when they're used.

This is where I think others differ, and might take the labels too seriously. What I said there wasn't ironic "for an atheist", but ironic for "someone who identifies as one proudly", you know like someone who would have a red A for... ah shit.

Scarlet A.pngbomination18:53, 1 December 2011

Careful now, you're getting all post-moderny.

Nebuchadnezzar (talk)18:59, 1 December 2011

Isn't that one of the whole cores of things like 'atheism", and in fact (if you ask the right gay people) the lable "gay"; at one and the same time it defines you as something, and defines you against something "better".

Pink mowse.pngGodotAround, around, around, around, over, and under and through19:04, 1 December 2011

Po-mo? No! Francis.gif

Scarlet A.pngsshole20:52, 1 December 2011

Join the forces of darkness. The decor alone is worth it.

Nebuchadnezzar (talk)21:30, 1 December 2011

That is confusing the question of what is normal with some people's opinions about what ought to be normal. Now, as far as sexual orientation goes, if I recall correctly about 97% of the population is straight, so it can safely be concluded that heterosexuality is the norm. By contrast, your fundamentalists who speak the loudest against homosexuality make up a small minority of the population and it can safely be concluded that they are not normal as far as religion goes; yet they believe that they should be normal and others not.

Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX18:58, 1 December 2011

But listner, you will concede that in the world outside of statistics, "norm" and "normal" are not nor are ever the same thing. Normal is necessarily a value judgement, norm is just numbers and can apply to types of crackers as well as sexuality.

Pink mowse.pngGodotAround, around, around, around, over, and under and through19:05, 1 December 2011

In vernacular usage, "normal" can mean either "usual" or "by the rules." However, the people who kick up a dust-storm when one points out that certain traits or behaviors are unusual do not appear to make that distinction.

Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX19:13, 1 December 2011

Yeah, it's also used in the vernacular sense to more-than-imply that "abnormal" people are deficient. Spare me your butthurt over the PC police -- tell me when "straight" is listed as a mental disorder in the DSM and ICD.

Nebuchadnezzar (talk)19:31, 1 December 2011

People who get all offended over factual statements need a good kick in the pants, as do people who define their idea of "immorality" as "mental illness." They are both doing the same thing: not letting the truth get in the way of a good story.

Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX19:41, 1 December 2011

Not all of those 97% are totally "straight", so your "truth" or "fact" changes with different definitions.

Nebuchadnezzar (talk)20:39, 1 December 2011

Kinsey's numbers were dodgy.

Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX20:47, 1 December 2011

Totally missing the forest for the trees -- the specific numbers aren't important, but understanding that gay/straight are not two separate boxes that you can easily cram people into. But, whatever, continue hair splitting.

Nebuchadnezzar (talk)21:17, 1 December 2011

I think that the point is that you couldn't call it "statistically normal", regardless of whether the numbers were 3%, 10% or on a sliding scale. But that word "normal" still has the hidden connotations of "good" and "bad" whether you choose to express them or not. Separating those and stopping people thinking of those connotations is almost impossible no matter what 'definition' you claim to actually be using.

There seems to be a massive confusion over that sort of thing. The part in the article attacking the Pioneer Plaque for being "heteronormative" was ridiculous - wait, so they're saying that instead of sending a potential extra-terrestrial contact some biologically meaningful image of two sexes, we should have sent them everything Judith Butler ever wrote on gender performativity and then some? It seems to be taking the connotations of "normal" being "good" and applying them to, as LX points out, a statistical fact. Therefore it's not just people's attitudes but reality itself that must be coming across as offensively heteronormative. And it's all because no one seems to be using "normal" in the same way.

Scarlet A.pngmoral21:34, 1 December 2011

I don't think the part about the plaque was saying anything about what should be sent, much less Judith Butler. The point is to look at the assumptions behind what image was chosen to represent humanity on the plaque.

Nebuchadnezzar (talk)22:59, 1 December 2011

I always just assumed it was biological and not somehow normative.

Incidentally, what gender is the Ageless-Faceless-Gender-Neutral-Culturally-Ambiguous-Adventure-Person in the Arecibo message? I think what someone's automatic presumptions that that represents is far better than the plaque. Because if it's about anything it's about the automatic assumptions we make when faced with that sort of ambiguity.

Scarlet A.pngpathetic23:05, 1 December 2011

"The element on the left (in the image) indicates the average height of an adult male: 1764 mm."

Nebuchadnezzar (talk)23:16, 1 December 2011

I think not being heteronormative goes further than just a passive acceptance of GLBT people in the community or of legal equality for them.

It also comes down to a more personal level. Someone has children. Do they do anything to show them the reality of GLBT people? Or "oh no, they are too young for that". But they aren't too young to be fed a constant diet of Barbie&Ken heterosexuality. Yeah, so this person could support marriage equality, etc., but they haven't really got heteronormativity either in my book.

Do they tell their children, "when you grow up you could have a boyfriend or a girlfriend, a husband or a wife (or two boyfriends, or two girlfriends, or one of each, to throw a polyamorist angle in there)"? Do they say, "Sometimes people who are born boys feel like they are really girls inside, or people who are born girls feel like they are really boys inside, and if you ever feel like that, that's a perfectly valid way to feel..." Or do they think, "oh, my children will not be like that" (only other people's children are gay/bi/trans). Even if someone's parents aren't actively homophobic, there is a sort of passive homophobia/transphobia which is harmful to GLBT children/adolescents too.

Only when we overcome in raising children the default assumption that everyone is cisheterosexual (and the mainstream media we feed children, storybooks and barbie dolls and Disney Princesses pining after their Prince, assumes everyone is cishet and has almost zero representation of GLBT people), then we still haven't overcome heteronormativity.

(((Zack Martin)))19:35, 1 December 2011