Why is development work so straight? Heteronormativity in the international development industry

International development work has both reinforced and challenged inequalities related to sexuality and gender. The concept of heteronormativity is a promising frame for understanding these dynamics. This article starts with a description of the history of the concept and an exploration of its possible applications. It goes on to consider heteronormativity in development work, in relation to three areas in which struggles based on sex and gender orders have been most visible: in household models and family forms; HIV/AIDS; and efforts to combat violence against women.