Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Heterosexism in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Amy D. SmithEmail author
  • Natasha Seiter
  • Kelley Quirk
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_897


Antihomosexual prejudice; Heteronormativity; Heterosexual privilege; Homophobia


Heterosexism refers to systematic preference and privilege given to heterosexual individuals and the stigmatizing impact that this has on sexual minority groups (Ritter and Turndrup 2002; McGeorge and Carlson 2011). The term heterosexism highlights the similarities in the oppression that is experienced by sexual minority groups and other minority groups such as women or people of color (McGeorge and Carlson 2011; Ritter and Turndrup 2002). Furthermore, heterosexism describes the processes which oppress those who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) while providing privilege to those who identify as heterosexual (McGeorge and Carlson 2011; Ritter and Turndrup 2002). Heterosexism is important to examine in the context of couple and family therapy to ensure that LGB clients have access to supportive and nondiscriminatory mental health services. To provide quality care to...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Marriage and Family Therapy/Applied Developmental Science Program, Colorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.Marriage and Family Therapy Program, Human Development and Family StudiesColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kelley Quirk
    • 1
  • Adam R. Fisher
    • 2
  1. 1.Colorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA