Colorado Research in Linguistics

Document Type

Working Paper


In Chile, a variety of conventionalized metonymic comments and address terms are used in everyday discursive practices as a means of ridiculing gender and sexual minorities. Language provides a tool for associating gender or sexually non-normative males with women, either by alluding to their effeminacy, their sexual passivity, or a combination of the two. By presupposing an intrinsic relationship between gender and sexual orientation, these heterosexist comments play a vital role in maintaining the standard social expectations surrounding gender and sexuality, consequently subordinating individuals who do not adhere to these norms. Although seen as harmless jokes by those who regularly employ them, I argue that by derogating gender and sexual minorities, heterosexist commentary is a powerful force that engenders the reproduction of heteronormative beliefs in society.



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