Monday, December 9, 2013

Human Rights vs. Society

By Katie Shaw

          Same-sex interracial couples who publicly display their relationship are at risk for experiencing violence. Due to the long history of violence that interracial couples have experienced in the US, both heterosexual and same-sex interracial couples are forced to navigate “a difficult social environment,” (Steinbugler). If same-sex interracial couples engage in behavior that is deemed only for monoracial heterosexuals, they risk public scrutiny. Same-sex interracial couples want to be recognized and validated in their relationships, but this too raises concern for the couple. Because there is an opportunity for violence when a same-sex couple exhibits affection for one another in the social scene, many couples choose to refrain unless they are in a gay-friendly environment. Due to the possible violence couples may experience, they are forced to self-police and self-regulate themselves even with the most innocent displays of affection. The legitimacy of same-sex interracial relationships is constantly questioned by society, and at times, couples may have to pass as heterosexual friends instead of same-sex partners. This is similar to what we've seen all semester in regards to passing, only this time it's specific to sexuality rather than race. 

To exemplify this lack of recognition as a same-sex interracial couple, Showtime's "The L Word," creates a scene between Bette, a bi-racial woman, and Tina, a white woman, who have decided to start a family together. The scene shows Bette and Tina at Dinner with Bette's father, and his reaction to this news: 

This clip shows how Bette’s father completely disregards Bette and Tina’s relationship even after they’ve made it completely clear. They’ve been together for seven years and have decided to start a family together. His remark about a lesbian couple starting a family being biologically impossible goes to show how heteronormativity dominates society. His statements scream how traditional his views are—a family must consist of one man and one woman. He completely insults them numerous times by referring to their relationship as a friendship.

Works Cited
Steinbugler, Amy C. "Visibility as Privilege and Danger: Heterosexual and Same-Sex Intimacy in the 
21st-Century. "

Bette and Tina at Dinner with Bette's Father.

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