Heterosexism. Noun. A system of attitudes, bias and discrimination in favor of opposite-sex sexuality and relationships.
As a West Shore student, I find it important to support fund-raisers across the school. However, when I paid my two dollars for the junior class’s “Matchomatics” fundraiser and discovered my results I was extremely disappointed. Printed on the yellow background of the sheet are kissing faces, hearts and a yin-yang symbol. Printed on the sheet is a list of 16 boys who I am to consider to be potential partners. Printed on the sheet is a list of six girls who I am to consider to be potential compatible friends.
As a heterosexual female, I personally have no problem with this. I am interested in boys and practically all my friends are girls. Yet this fund-raiser grossly overlooked the students at our school who identify as homosexual, and by offering a list of boys for girls and a list of girls for boys, it perpetuates the traditional, heteronormative standard that a male loving a female is OK, but if a male or a female loves someone of their own sex, that is not. And as someone who feels that it is important to be inclusive of all and as someone who believes in equal rights for all, I was extremely offended. Offended for my friends who are homosexual, and offended for those who are struggling to accept their identity in a world that constantly strives to indoctrinate people with the idea that heterosexuality is better. And it rubs salt in the wound to know that this could have been prevented by one simple question on the quiz that determined the matches in the first place: “Do you identify as heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual?”
Yes, the fund-raiser was most likely meant to be taken in jest. But that still does not change the fact that the message it sent to the homosexual students at West Shore was that “heterosexual people are the standard and therefore better,” and that is absolutely unacceptable especially at a time when self-confidence and self-worth is at its most unstable. Especially at a time when many, many people will struggle to accept who they really are.
A friend of mine said this, “as a homosexual I have a right to be offended.” And she does. We all have a right to be offended and we all should be.
By Molly Minta