sexual system

The acknowledgment that concepts of gender, sexuality, and performativity are generally different to per specific regions and/or cultures. It is important to note, especially historically, given that the dominant sexual system as it is now throughout the the United State (and worldwide) was not always as it was.

  • a great example of this are the myriad of sexual systems prevalent throughout the many Native American tribes that thrived pre-colonization. A good deal of these systems were destroyed (literally) and replaced with more Euro-centric sexual and social systems. (Margolin, The Ohlone Way)


Seen as the assimilation of homosexual (and overall Queer) culture into heteronormative standards and ideals. For example:

  • masculine/feminine binary in Queer relationships
    • butch/femme, top/bottom
  • marriage as the ultimate barrier to equality

Also, it can be seen as the privilege of homosexuality (particularly white, male homosexuality) over other Queer identities. (Stryker)



The idea that sexual attraction to one sexual or gender identity (heterosexuality, or homosexuality) is somehow superior to that of sexual identities that apply attraction to more than one sexual or gender identity (bisexuality, pansexuality). (Serano, 4)

gender role

social expectations associated with gender.

A typical heteronormative gender role is the idea that men should have a job outside of the home and a women should stay at home with their children. This gender role is slightly outdated but still affects ideas about gender today in the United States. “Gender roles tell us that if we don’t perform the prescribed expectations, we are failing to be proper women or men,”  (Stryker, 12).