It is becoming increasingly important to give a name to the ways in which gender and sexual rights are being resisted. Those opposed to gender and sexual rights no longer employ the spectre of the ‘disgusting’ gay man or heap scorn on ‘fallen women’, as such tactics are barred, both legislatively (including criminalising hate speech) and culturally (Ireland as an egalitarian place is becoming core to national identities).
However, resistances to sexual and gender rights remain and they now take a different form than in the past: they employ a framing we name as ‘heteroactivism’. Heteroactivism operates distinctively in places where ‘unnaturalness’ cannot be linked to the figure of the ‘disgusting homosexual’ because this figure is now generally seen as accepted as part of the nation. Instead, heteroactivists focus on ‘natural’ procreation and genetics, thereby seeking to reassert heterosexuality as the ‘normal’, common sense and unquestioned centre. Heteroactivism relies on a particular form of heterosexuality (married, childrearing couples, composed of normatively gendered men/women), claiming not only that it is ‘best for children’, but that such configurations are the ‘best for society’. Whilst it may seem that the notion of heteroactivism most clearly applies to opposition to same-sex relationships and families (as well as to the very existence of trans people) heteroactivism is also a useful term to understand those who are opposed to abortion/choice. Continue reading “#abortiontravel Kath Browne & Catherine Nash on “Love both?: Naming Heteroactivism””