chapter  10
Who Put the ‘Hetero’ in Sexuality?
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This chapter is based on my Ph.D. research which explores how transgender identity is constructed and discursively produced in Western societies in the early twenty-fi rst century; and also draws from my experiences in teaching Sexualities and Genders courses to postgraduate counselling and psychotherapy students. My teaching and research has led to my interest in examining the wider cultural conditions that shape and regulate our understandings of sex, gender and desire. In this chapter, I focus on one of these conditions; namely how heterosexuality has become an organising principle for understanding and experiencing sexual and gendered identities. By challenging the presumed naturalness of heterosexuality and the largely unquestioning acceptance of this category, I illustrate the limited conceptual space of heterosexual discourse that depends on binary sexed and gender categories for exploring and understanding erotic relationships.