Unstraightening: ethical adventures with queer heterosexuality in an open text

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Nahrung, N 2011, 'Unstraightening: ethical adventures with queer heterosexuality in an open text', in J Conway-Herron, M Costello & L Hawryluk (eds), The ethical imaginations: writing worlds papers - the refereed proceedings of the 16th conference of the Australasian Association of Writing Programs, 2011, The Australian Association of Writing Programs. ISBN: 9780980757309

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Peer Reviewed



Charlie Rich sang that ‘no-one knows what goes on behind closed doors’. And with the (normatively bedroom) doors firmly shut, the heteronormative privilege to privacy is invoked, drawing the doona of homogeneity over heterosexuality. Yet what may be gained from opening closed doors from the inside? Abstract: Ethical writing considerations will be explored in the context of why, through the creation of an autoethnographic text for my Honours research project, I have decided to reject the privilege of privacy to examine my lived experience of heterosexual polyamory. This discussion will engage with the productive debates surrounding queer heterosexuality to explore the possibilities and limitations of writing against normativity while simultaneously holding a position of heterosexual privilege. In doing so, this paper will consider how the construction of an open text, that includes tools (scalpel and pencil) and spaces (blank right hand pages) for the reader to respond, may acknowledge the limitations of speaking about the self by opening the project to other voices and experiences. It will outline how the construction of such a text supports a belief that autoethnography holds significant potential to promote research as dialogue, or conversation. Yet, through constructing a text as the site of intended reciprocal exchange, what are the ethics of placing both author and reader in positions that may prove unfamiliar and perhaps uncomfortable?