Master of Arts in Liberal Arts (MALA)


Liberal Arts

Document Type



In this thesis, entitled “The False Idealization of Heteronormativity and the Repression of Queerness,” I examine heteronormativity as a social structure that is idealized over, and against, queerness. In the first chapter, I define heteronormativity and queerness. “Heteronormativity,” here, is simply a set of standards that dictate what one must do with their gender and sexuality, such as having sexual relations with the opposite sex, getting married, or having children. Heteronormativity is visible, validated, and normalized in society. Conversely, “queerness” refers to the social structures that dictate what one must not do with their gender and sexuality. Thus, queerness is condemned, threatened, and prohibited. Furthermore, I argue that all of us have transgressed the social structure of heteronormativity since no one can consistently maintain all that heteronormativity implies. Therefore, we all have embodied queerness in one way or another. However, we have also been systematically taught to repress queerness within ourselves and others in an attempt to reduce our fear of it. Moreover, the widespread repression and fear of queerness in society supports and justifies a hierarchical capitalistic system. Since queerness is devalued and considered inappropriate, those who hold power over us, such as in the workplace, have the right to control and regulate our gender and sexual expression. In the second chapter of my thesis, I turn my attention to Hegel’s ethical family where parents are obligated to repress their children’s queerness through the use of discipline. In the third and final chapter, I offer a solution to the problem of the repression of queerness. I argue that, if we can recognize that all of us embody queerness in one way or another and if we can allow ourselves the chance to try to understand each other’s queerness without the impulse to repress it, we can achieve queer solidarity. We will see that our struggle with gender and sexuality under a heteronormative social structure that is enforced all around us is a collective struggle. Therefore, the recognition of each other’s queerness without the impulse to condemn it can act as a bridge to help us recognize that we are integrally connected to one another.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Rocha, James