MSPEN The Resilience of Heternormativity: Queer Marxism and the Liberation of Normal

Alan Sears


Sexual liberation requires the destruction of heteronormativity as the hegemonic organization of gender and sexuality. Heteronormativity establishes the monogamous co-residential heterosexual couple likely to raise children as the standard for all intimate relations. The advance of lgbtq rights has not undermined heteronormativity, but rather has produced homonormativity as its complement, organized around the recognition of same-sex couple relationships and parental rights. The development of a politics of sexual liberation requires strategies to challenge the resilience of these regimes of normality in the spheres of gender and sexuality.

Queer theory advocates seek to challenge this hegemonic sex and gender normativity through transgression, subverting the normative by refusing assimilation. The marxist feminist social reproduction frame offers the basis for a different sexual liberation politics, oriented around transformation rather than transgression. In this view, the resilience of heteronormativity is grounded in capitalist relations of social reproduction based on the separation of social production from private reproduction organized around gendered and racialized divisions of labour in the context of a specific global order.

The liberation of normal requires the dismantling of the hegemonic normative regime in the field of gender and sexuality, which can only be accomplished through a reorganization of social reproduction. Sexuality is formed in relation to the ways people sustain themselves and raise the next generation. Sexual liberation is therefore inseparable from the social organization of paid and unpaid work in the context of nationalized populations and a global imperialist order.

LGBTQ - Social Reproduction - Queer Marxism