blog 2: sex, sexuality, and gender

Marguerita Sejaan
2 min readFeb 3, 2021
  • After reading Najmabadi’s gendered history of Iran, briefly summarize how gender as a binary and heteronormalization became markers of modernity.

Throughout its history, Iran never reflected a strict male/female binary in its art or history. Most notably, images that represented beauty and desire in Qajar art were never distinctly one or the other. In the 19th century, as Iranians began to interact with Europeans more frequently, and another gaze entered the equation, Iranians became conscious of European scrutiny, and began to mold their society in a heteronormative way. What once was a gray area of homoerotic love became heteroerotic, to the point that as the new state was being established the Iranian nation and homeland came to represent the male/female binary respectively.

  • Why does Atshan say queer Palestinians face “ethnoheteronormativity” and not just heteronormativity?

Queer Palestinians have to deal with both Zionism from the Israeli apartheid state and with heteronormativity and toxic masculinity from the existing systems set in place. Zionism, as defined in Atshan’s text, refers to Israel’s political movement to not only oppress Palestinians but to build a Zionist state on Palestinian territory. This involves stripping Palestinians not only of their land but of their nationality and identity because of their ethnicity. As for queer Palestinians, they are marginalized by both their ethnicity and their sexuality, due to the heteronormative systems set in place; whether by Palestine’s resistance movement’s emphasis on the need for heightened masculinity, or by Zionism’s intricate relationship and reliance on toxic masculinity. Ethnoheteronormativity then refers to the intersection of these two areas of oppression in a queer Palestinian’s life.

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