Love, Social Change, and Everyday Heterosexuality
Heterosexuality may seem, in most western societies, to be less securely entrenched than it once was, with the increased visibility of same-sex relationships and advances in citizenship rights for lesbian and gay individuals and couples. It is my contention, however, that heterosexuality remains normative and that heteronormativity continues to impact on the intimate lives of both heterosexuals and non-heterosexuals. In Steven Seidman’s terms, heterosexuality may not be as compulsory as it once was, but it is still institutionalized (Seidman 2010; see also Jackson and Scott 2010a). Love is a key ideological element in this institutionalization and is also central to the ways in which heterosexuality is lived. Recently, however, love has also been used in the legitimation of same-sex partnerships, in justifying claims to rights and protections similar to those accruing to heterosexual couples (see Woo 2007).