Every time I look at the news, social media, etc., I see the bigots and heterosupremacists making the assertion that being gay is a choice. That somehow all these millions of men and women woke up one morning and decided to “be gay” without reason or cause. Why is that? What makes people say these things?
Have you ever sat down with someone and discussed sexuality, sexual orientation, or gender identity? It’s a touchy subject for many people, even some LGBT’s. However, when the discussion is with someone who has deeply engrained anti-gay opinions or anti-trans opinions, the conversation usually takes an unpleasant turn into Biblical ideas. As a member of The PPM, I’m often questioned on the subject of whether or not I believe homosexuality is a choice or something people are born with. People ask this of me knowing full-well that I am an openly gay man and have been since I was a teenager. Just recently, someone asked if I “…sincerely believe homosexuality is a choice, hereditary, genetic, or something else.” I was taken aback by this because he was bombarding me with this question over and over again. I thought about this and realized he was trying to initialize a heated response from me. He wanted to get “under my skin” by asking something he knew I was passionate about. How did I respond? The same way I’m about to now.
Homosexuality and gender identity are things we believe (and science has yet to prove otherwise) people are born with. This isn’t something that can change over time. Sure, we realize sexual orientation and gender identity are things we may not come to terms with until later in life but they are always there. Just as being born with blue eyes or brown eyes, we cannot change certain aspects of our being. The idea that someone would choose a more difficult life for themselves isn’t something I can comprehend. Why would I wake up one morning and decide to be gay knowing my life has now just become 50%, of not more, difficult? Why would I choose to be fired from a job for being gay? Why would I choose to be disowned by my family? Turned away for certain health care coverage or insurance? Be kicked out of my congregation (if I were religious)? Be laughed at or taunted? Be beaten or verbally harassed by friends, family, and complete strangers? Or worse, be killed for being gay? No one chooses this for themselves.
When I think about the notion of choosing to be gay, as the heterosupremacists believe, does that mean they also believe in choosing to be straight? When a person makes the assumption that something is a choice, then logic will tell you the opposite must also be true. With that said, and I know we’ve all asked this of straight people, when did they choose to be straight? I’ve asked this of straight people and they cannot answer that question with logic or common sense. They tell me they did not choose to be straight. When I ask them to be gay, they say they cannot. They say they are not attracted to the same-sex and cannot be gay. Then how is it a choice? Did everyone else make a choice except for them? This idea, in my opinion, is as preposterous as the Earth being the center of the galaxy: it’s simply not true!
In closing, are you concerned with other people’s sexual identity or orientation? Probably not. Are you concerned with another person’s married life? Chances are slim. Our society really needs to move away from the social issues that seem to plague our politics. We need to recognize that we are all equal, provide equal rights to all, and move on. There is no reason, in modern society in the United States that these debates need to keep brewing. Women are equal, women should have control over their bodies (not men making their decision), racial minorities are equal, religious minorities’ are equal, and homosexuals and transgender individuals ARE EQUAL. Living in America or being Christian does not give you the right to impose discrimination and judgment upon others simply because you “don’t like” their lifestyle. When someone gains equal rights that does not mean yours are being stripped away. The LGBT community is fighting for equal, not special rights. Now, let’s just live and let live and love and let love.