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ODU Safe Space Committee


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Heterosexual Privilege

What is it?

One of the most painful parts of becoming an ally is realizing the privileges and power that one receives, accepts, and experiences as a heterosexual person. Coming to terms with the fact that as a heterosexual, you don't experience the world in the same way that LGBTQ people do is an important step in becoming an ally.


We invite you to complete this exercise. Check yes or no to the statements below to assess how heterosexual privilege is manifested in your own life.








I can talk freely, without fear of judgment, about my family life and important relationships to colleagues at work, people at my church, classmates, etc.




My partner and I can go shopping together, pretty well assured we will not be harassed.




I can kiss my partner farewell at the airport, confident that onlookers will either ignore us or smile understandingly.




I can be pretty sure that our neighbors where we live will be friendly or at least neutral.




Our families and faith community are delighted to celebrate with us the gift of our love and commitment.




I can walk into any bookstore, sure that I will find books there that reflect my relational experiences.




When my partner is seriously ill, I know I will be admitted to the intensive care unit to visit her or him.




If I am unemployed, I know that I have access to health care coverage through my partner’s insurance.




The books that my children read in school contain stories and pictures of families much like ours.




The organizations I belong to need not feel threatened by my membership.




I can find appropriate cards for my partner, to celebrate special occasions like anniversaries and holidays.




I grew up feeling that my loves and friendships were healthy and normal.




I can hold hands with my partner while walking down the street without fear of being harassed because of it.




My partner and I can travel and choose public accommodations when we are traveling without having to worry whether we will be considered a couple/family at hotels, camping grounds, theme parks, etc.




When one of us dies, the other can be confident of the support and understanding of family, colleagues, church community, friends, etc., and our relationship will be openly acknowledged in obituaries, funeral services, etc.




I have always known that there are other people like me in the world.


(From Northern Illinois University Safe Zone Program Ally Handbook)