Yay for Gay! Month Post V: Baby, I was born this way.
My apologies for only posting on Weds this week *and for the rampant typos I didn’t catch for days* – Life has been a bit of a bitch lately…
I know we’ve all heard this argument:
You have to accept us gays because we can’t change who we are.
Homosexuality is often discussed as something that is not a choice – and cannot be “fixed.” It is not something that can be “cured” – with more religion, or less sex, or more boundaries, or better parents.
Now, here’s something new: I have a bone to pick with that argument.
Look. I understand where it comes from. We can’t change who we are. But by “we” I don’t just mean us gay people over here. I mean… everyone.
Ever tried to tell yourself maybe you should have been born a different gender, or fall in love with a different gender, or desire a different gender?
How does that work out for you?
We can’t change some of the things about us. Not gonna happen. However. That doesn’t change the fact that we can choose to live a lie. People do it every day.
A lot of what we do in life is a choice – whether we recognize it or not. We choose our religion, where we live, what we wear, who we associate with. We dictate our own actions, and behaviors, and thought processes, and words, from the moment we decide it is time to get up and not hit the snooze one more time, to when we hit the sack.
Sometimes, sure, it feels like these choices are made for us. Sometimes they are. Sometimes we feel like the things we do aren’t choices – they come naturally.
“Of course I am with a man. I’m straight. That’s natural for me.”
Therein is the choice – you choose to be with the gender you fundamentally want. The difference is that people who are not straight-identified don’t have Society’s blessing on the person they desire.
They have to make the choice between loving who they want, and loving who they are told they should. And it’s easy to tell me this isn’t a choice, or shouldn’t be a difficult one, if you’re straight with Society’s blessing.
Because, if you are not straight, your choice has significant consequences.
You could lose friends. Social networks. Citizen rights and benefits. Your job. Your family. Your religion.
Other fundamental aspects of who you are are suddenly are at risk. As a result of the choice you made to love who you want to love.
That is not a choice we should take lightly or overlook. It’s also not a choice I believe we should ignore because we feel the need to say “I didn’t choose to be this way” so someone else will accept us.
You still have a choice – and denying the existence of that choice should not be the issue. The issue should be the consequences of it, a choice that is so fundamental to a person’s life and happiness. The issue should be what you are forced to deal with, for choosing love. The issue should be that the people who dole out those consequences are in no way even remotely affected by your choices. Further, we should be celebrating every person who makes the choice for love. Period.
IMHO, there’s a deeper problem with this I-don’t-have-a-choice argument. I think re-focusing away from pretending there isn’t a choice on to the consequences other people and our government force on us is important, but I also take serious issue with the way the language of choice is regularly utilized.
On the one hand, I understand the need to say “this is not a choice – this is what comes naturally to me and you can’t change it.” However. That language can also be used like this:
“Please don’t hate me – I didn’t choose to be this way. If I could be straight, I would.”
This kind of statement reinforces the idea that being gay/bi/trans/etc is some kind of affliction you can’t help – but you would if you could. Once we start using “but I didn’t choose to be this way!” as an argument for why we must be tolerated and accepted, we are buying into the idea that this is some horrible unalterable problem, when it’s not. That we should want to change ourselves if we could, when we shouldn’t.
There is a significant loss of power and lose of identity, a loss of self-worth, in those kind of statements. And that? I take serious issue with.
Because, you know what? We can damn well choose to be different. We can actually choose to play the straight dude, when all we’re thinking about while fucking our wives is a big fat cock. People fake that kind of shit (and worse) all the time. They pretend to love lives, and people, they don’t.
Hell – I would bet my bottom dollar that there are people out there that would change their skin color, their race, if they could.
But why the fuck would we do that? Why pretend to be someone you’re not?
Why would you allow someone else to take away the word “choice” from your vocabulary? Why have we, the LGBTQ+ community and our allies, allowed homophobic asshats to make us say we’re not proud of who we are, that if we could change we would, that we have no choice in the matter? Just so maybe possibly perhaps if they feel enough pity for us, they’ll tolerate our lives?
More importantly: Why would you want to make someone else do that? Just because they make you uncomfortable? Just because they’re not like you? Just because… “oh dear, what will the neighbors think”?
And isn’t there a greater lesson in all this? In making the choice to live your true life, whether that is as straight, gay, bi, trans, queer? As atheist, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist? As monogamous, kinky, poly?
Where do we draw the line over what is fundamental to our very beings? What is necessary for our own happiness and fulfillment? What we choose to do, to embrace, and what do we say we can’t help because it Society tells us it’s wrong?
Do we live the life we want – or do we hide in our own closets because we’re afraid of what other people would say?
Or, do we live life out loud, because what is natural to us is beautiful, no matter what that is, because it makes us happy? Because it is what comes natural, even if Society says it’s not.
Because we choose love – true love, not what is dictated as correct. Whether that is gay, or whether that is poly, or whether that is straight.
Let us live knowing who we are, what we want, and what makes us happy. Let us take what is essential to our being, and make those choices – and allow others to do the same. Let those choices be a challenge to the statue quo, to every naysayer, every voice that would silence us because we are different, because we make them uncomfortable, because living this way might open hearts and minds.
Because making these choices might make it easier for someone else.
For more, I highly recommend this article: The Gay Option.
“Live and let love be our desire
Live and let life be our fire
Stand by yourself
And I’ll stand by you
Live and let love be our truth “