University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Moving Beyond Heterosexism? Interrogating Others’ Reactions to Important Life Events (Conference abstract)

Peel, Elizabeth (2013) Moving Beyond Heterosexism? Interrogating Others’ Reactions to Important Life Events (Conference abstract). Psychology, Community & Health, 2 (2). p. 138. ISSN 2182-438X

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Introduction: In recent years the psychology of sexualities has diversified. There has been increased engagement with queer theory and a heightened focus on sexual practices, alongside continued interrogation of heteronormativity via analyses of talk-in-interaction.
Aims: I offer an argument for juxtaposing the incongruent in order to further interrogate manifestations of heterosexism in lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) people’s lives. In this case, accounts of others’ reactions to a happy event and to a sad experience.
Methods: I draw on two contrasting data corpuses – 124 people planning or in a civil partnership and 60 women who had experienced pregnancy loss. These data were collected from LGBT participants in the UK, the USA, Canada and Australia (2005-2009) via interviews and questionnaires.
Results: I explore the ways that the issues of muted reactions and displays of heteronormativity are manifest in these data. In considering these issues with respect to accounts of these two very different forms of experience (civil partnership and pregnancy loss) I demonstrate how both a sense of being treated differently is produced as problematic. But also, in the case of pregnancy loss, being treated the same (as the implied heterosexual norm) is similarly produced as troublesome. I argue that it is in the nuances of the presentation of o/Other’s reactions that we can see the continued operation of heteronormativity.
Conclusions: I suggest that, despite significant legal and structural gains for LGBTQ communities in a number of Western countries in recent years, and lively internal debates within the psychology of sexualities field, critical examination of manifestations of heterosexism should remain a central focus. I also argue that there is increased potential for understanding variation in ‘normative’ and/or heteronormative interpretations of LGBTQ lives when data-sets on disparate topics are interrogated.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: psychology, heterosexism, sexualtiy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > School of Psychology
Related URLs:
Copyright Info: Open Access Journal
Depositing User: Elizabeth Peel
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2014 14:16
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:05

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