Arts and Entertainment
Hanne Blank’s Straight: The Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality
Published: September 19, 2012
Beacon Press, beacon.org
Dear marriage-equality haters and general homophobic reactionaries: The idea of heterosexual being the “normal” (read: right and natural) sexual orientation for humans is a relatively novel idea, dating only from the mid-19th century. How psychiatry and social Darwinism supported that notion is the subject of independent historian/intellectual powerhouse Hanne Blank’s Straight, a scholarly rigorous and fascinatingly readable foray into the short history of heterosexuality being socially understood to be normative behavior. Though Blank moved to Massachusetts over the summer, Straight came out in January, when she still called Baltimore home, and we wanted to celebrate the author who reminded us that the Greek root “hetero” means different, other, irregular—in other words, abnormal.