The homo- / heterosexual distinction is an inherently anxious and unstable structure of knowledge." Discuss this proposal with reference to the notion of the closet.

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The homosexual and heterosexual distinction is indeed an unstable structure of knowledge. This instability and anxiousness of this reciprocal definition is inherent due to the very nature of sexuality--its invisibility and tendency towards secrecy in the form of the closet. Heterosexuality and homosexuality is inevitably intertwined with each other. One cannot exist without the other. Heterosexuality is dependent on homosexuality, as the marginalized other, in order to establish itself as the norm. Without homosexuality, there would be no need for the term "heterosexuality", as it would be a default, so much of a norm that it need not be mentioned. As Katz aptly put, the paradox of the norm is that it is everywhere yet nowhere. As we continue to grapple with the inconsistence of this binary definition of homo/ heterosexuality, we realize that it is perhaps too limiting a view of human sexuality that does not accurately reflect reality.

The very existence of the closet renders the rigid binary definition of homosexuality versus heterosexuality inherently problematic. The closet is a metaphorical space that homosexuals abide in, deliberately concealing their sexual preference. The closet is essentially an oppressive private sphere and is considered the "defining structure of homosexual oppression in the 19th century". (Sedgwick 1990: 71) It has become an integral part in the understanding homosexuality. "The closet is a special kind of epistemology for a specific kind of oppression." (Sedgwick 1990: 71) The closeted often experience stress and depression, they constantly monitor their behavior, gesture, language, speech, hobbies and interests to ensure that they appear "normal", that is heterosexual. That creates a sense of invisibility in the homosexual community. Unlike other minority groups like Asians in a western country, "the majority homosexual are not visibly distinguishable from the majority population" (Paul 1982: 355)

As discussed by Sedgwick, in the...