Sunday, October 17, 2010

Captain Obvious: Being Gay is Not a Choice

Candidate for US Senate in Colorado, Ken Buck, said Sunday morning on Meet the Press that being gay is a choice.  He put this belief into the context of comparing homosexuality to alcoholism. He believes that people may be predisposed to being gay, and likens acting upon those desires to taking a drink.  Mmmkay.

Look, we may never know 100% what causes attraction to the same gender.  It shouldn't matter in a free country. But why take the word of anti-gay straight people on a subject they have no way of knowing anything about?  The overwhelming response of gay people when asked is that they had no choice, and were likely born gay.  But conservatives often take the life experience of actual gay people as some sort of group lie.  Why?

Most gay people when asked will tell you they always felt "different."  They usually couldn't put a name to it until puberty or some time after, but it's easy to connect the dots in retrospect.  Here is where the "first drink" analogy falls apart. Most gay people had a dawning realization of their sexuality long before they actually had sex.  They knew (or now recognize) that they were gay before ever having sex.  What's more, a person can easily self-identify as gay while still a virgin, or in the spans between actually having a partner.  If a person stops having (or has never had) sex, their sexuality does not go away.  It gets complicated when a young gay person tries to "make a choice" to be straight.  If a gay person has a successful heterosexual encounter, he can convince himself for a time that he is straight.

That's where people get convinced that homosexuality is a choice, because they see someone who was married for 20 years and then "comes out."  The real choice is to stop living a lie, and live life truthfully. All gay people go through a process--much like the stages of grief--coming to terms with their sexuality. Since even today there is a taboo to overcome, it takes many forms, and can take a varying amount of time to get through.  From the inside--as a gay man--this is all very obvious, and easy to forensically put together.  People like Buck, however, start with their own prejudices, and assemble a theory that fits them.    What is missing is, what would motivate an ostensibly straight person choose to be gay? It implies that all people have this choice.  An obvious follow-up to anyone presenting this theory is, "When did YOU make the choice to be straight?"

1 comment:

  1. Very nicely writtten. I can tell that came from the heart.


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