1. The term ‘‘intersectional’’ was introduced by Crenshaw (1989), who discussed how
black women’s experience is more than the sum of their race and sex. Collins (1990)
uses similar concepts in discussing the matrix of oppression.
2. Other friendship forms, particularly those between bisexual and heterosexual indi-
viduals and across the spectrum of sexual-orientation categories, could also be ana-
lyzed for the ways they reflect and perhaps shape contemporary social life, but they
are not the focus of this book.
3. Warner’s (1991: 3–17) definition of heteronormativity continues that its coherence
is always provisional, and its privilege can take several (sometimes contradictory)
forms: unmarked as the basic idiom of the personal and the social, marked as a
natural state, or projected as an ideal or moral accomplishment. It consists less of
norms that can be summarized as a body of doctrine than of a sense of rightness
produced in contradictory manifestations—often unconscious, immanent to practice
or to institutions. Contexts that have little visible relation to sex practice, such as life
narrative and generational identity, can be heteronormative in this sense, while in
other contexts, forms of sex between men and women might not be heteronormative.
Heteronormativity is thus a concept distinct from heterosexuality. One of the most
conspicuous di√erences is that it has no parallel, unlike heterosexuality, which orga-
nizes homosexuality as its opposite. Because homosexuality can never have the invis-
ible, tacit, society-founding rightness that heterosexuality has, it would not be pos-
sible to speak of ‘‘homonormativity’’ in the same sense.
4. Throughout the book, I use the terms ‘‘straight’’ and ‘‘heterosexual’’ interchangeably,
but in most cases I use ‘‘gay’’ or ‘‘lesbian’’ instead of ‘‘homosexual’’ because of the
history of mental-health and medical professions’ pathologizing same-sex desire
and identities.
1. As I discuss in the introduction, these assumptions are based on compulsory hetero-
sexuality, or the dominant cultural expectation that women will be innately sexually
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