Worse, those couples perceived to be more "in love" were judged to be more worthy of formal and informal rights. Thanks to the starkly heterosexist hierarchy that emerged from these findings, opposite-sex couples were perceived as more "in love" — and therefore more deserving of basic rights and protections — than same-sex couples.
Long Doan, a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at IU Bloomington's College of Arts & Sciences and his colleagues asked survey participants to read the exact same story about a romantic couple. The researchers randomly changed the names of the two main characters to denote whether the couple was heterosexual, lesbian or gay.
The findings suggest that people seem to think of loving relationships in a hierarchy, with heterosexual couples being the most "in love," followed by lesbian couples and then gay couples.
Plainly, what heterosexist people think can hurt us. If they think you're less in love, they think you're not as deserving of rights, from holding hands in public to marriage equality.
So what can you do about this? Be seen. Be affectionate wherever you feel you can be safe doing it. Let people know you are capable of loving just as deeply and profoundly as anyone else!