If two women walk into a cake tasting or a flower shop and the person who greets them says, "Welcome! Now, which one of you is the bride?" - that is an example of heterosexism.
Or if two guys walk into a a cake tasting or a flower shop and the person who greets them says, "Welcome! Now, where's the bride?" - that is also heterosexist.
Heterosexism (also known as heteronormative) is the assumption that everyone is straight.
This ends up being a pretty big problem in our industry. In fact, last week I received the following email: After 11 years together, Laura and I are finally tying the knot. We're looking for a wedding planner in Los Angeles, but it's been disappointing. Most planners and even most vendors are hetero-normative. It doesn't look like you do CA weddings, but can you recommend anyone?
If someone is heterosexist, it doesn't make them a bad person. It doesn't mean that they hate gay people. It just means that they probably don't know very many gay people and gay things (like gay weddings) simply aren't on their radar.
These types of conversations during gay wedding planning are awkward for the couple, awkward for the vendor and don't start the meeting on the right foot.
Most people are unconsciously heterosexist. And that's OK. It's my job to help with that.
Are you accidentally, unconsciously heterosexist? What you have you done to change some of your assumptions?
(note: a modified version of this post first appeared August 2010)