Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Invisibility in Nursing.Creat Nurs. 2019 May 01; 25(2):121-125.CN
Lesbian nurses have historically been silenced, but diversity initiatives within professional health programs suggest a need to initiate scholarly discussions that explore heteronormativity as increasing the risk of harm for nonheterosexual nurses as compared to their heterosexual counterparts. Nurses can reflect on relative privilege within the profession to better understand the ways in which normative health practices perpetuate adverse health outcomes among vulnerable patient populations. Nurses from diverse backgrounds, such as this lesbian author, offer insight into how the nursing profession might illuminate relational aspects of privilege. As such, the nursing profession could uncover solutions to systemic vulnerabilities which are inadvertently perpetuated within our profession, the health-care system, and society more broadly. The notion of compulsory heterosexuality is discussed in relation to nursing in this opinion piece with an aim to render structural harms visible that have been obscured by the institutionalization of heteronormativity in health care, to build awareness of the ways in which systemic vulnerabilities are unknowingly perpetuated despite health-care professionals being well-intended in their practice.