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Yay for Gay! Month Post V: Baby, I was born this way.

June 22, 2011

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 choiceand 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 “

15 Comments leave one →
  1. June 22, 2011 1:30 pm

    The environment that we grow up in and live in has a tremendous impact on what we see and identify with as “normal” and natural. We are all socialized in that way. Which means that when all the sudden, for whatever reason, we feel that what we really want and what comes as natural to us goes against the norm – it is a shock and for many very hard to risk the perceived judgment of others in that society. That said, norms can be changed but it is not easy and the more people advocate it the better. For some the grass will always be greener on the other side, no matter what comes natural for them.

    “Let us take what is essential to our being, and make those choices – and allow others to do the same.” – Amen to that. 🙂

    • June 22, 2011 2:58 pm

      Yes – that’s the issue. We have this norm – and, in many ways, we’re not allowed to deviate from it. To do so can put SO MUCH at risk. And it shouldn’t be. It just shouldn’t. So, yes, we need to change norms and speak out and act out and just live.

  2. Fantasminha permalink
    June 22, 2011 2:17 pm

    “We can’t change who we are” implies that you might want to (change who you are)? Really? And I can’t fathom why you would consider being around people that you think/fear might “sit in judgement” of you because of your race, gender, gender affiliation, or who you are attracted to. Ok, family is tough–I can’t even imagine how tough. But everyone else? If they are sitting in judgement, they don’t deserve your friendship. Full stop.

    The topic of discussion should be why people feel they deserve to judge others. Are they really so perfect? Hmm. I would say that if they are so quick to jump to conclusions about your life they probably have a lot of crap burried under their own rug.

    I’m a new reader of yours (you can probably tell) but have a silly question: what’s the “Q”? I know the LGBT, but can’t figure out the “Q”!

    • June 22, 2011 3:02 pm

      Agreed. Telling someone “but I can’t change it so…” implies that you WANT to change it if you could. Ugh. How about not? Find new friends. And, if necessary, new family. But there’s the rub: For some people that IS the choice they have to make: Be who they are, or find new everything. And *that* is a significant, life-altering, choice that shouldn’t be so goddamn terrible.

      I also agree that we should be wondering why people are so judgey and horrible to others when the choice made have nothing to do with them. It’s fucking ridiculous – and we would do well to remember that we ALL have our skeletons, and you never know what life is gonna throw at you next.

      Ha! “Q” is for Queer!

  3. Fantasminha permalink
    June 22, 2011 3:48 pm

    BTW, to Ivy’s point, if people use the excuse “that’s the way I was raised” it’s a cop out. So often people just repeat what they have heard others say without stopping to consider if they agree or not. I’ve seen people I **thought** I knew do it most often with politics: they just go with the flow rather than bothering to say what they really think. We need a few more folks with both brains and balls!

    • June 22, 2011 4:48 pm

      OHHHHH yes… big fat freakin’ cop out. I’ve had friends (in the past) who claimed a political party that they CLEARLY had nothing to do with – because it was what their family said.

      Yes – more brains and balls, less balking and bullshit.

      Thank you for reading and welcome!

  4. June 24, 2011 10:06 am

    I love this (not that I am surprised). I don’t think that people often think about the stuff you have talked about here. I think all too often they say saying “I did’t choose to be this way” is actually a way of “forcing” people to accept how they are.

    It really does make it seem like there is something wrong with them and that maybe they have tried to change it but they just couldn’t so they gave up. I don’t like that idea.

    Life the life you love. Don’t make apologies or excuses. Just live the life you love.

    • June 24, 2011 9:14 pm

      “all too often they say saying “I did’t choose to be this way” is actually a way of “forcing” people to accept how they are.” <– Exactly. And that's not ok. We should be embracing who we are, not trying to pretend we’d change if we could. I understand the impetus, and I understand the danger in taking back the word “choice” – but the alternative is not in any way acceptable.

      It is worth the risk to reclaim the word “choice”. To make clear that we are choosing, despite the ridiculous consequences, to be who we are and love who we are. THAT argument is worth the risk of someone saying “well, you can choose to be different, then.”

  5. June 24, 2011 12:50 pm

    agreed my darling.

    by saying that you wouldn’t be that way if you had a choice is demeaning yourself in a way. It’s saying that what you are is somehow lesser than heterosexuals. I think it obviously came from the whole idea of life being more difficult for homosexuals in the context of social norms, which are changing and growing every day… so hopefully people will not feel so inclined to “defend” their way of life any more.

    love ya girl.

    • June 24, 2011 9:17 pm

      Absolutely the origins of “I didn’t choose to be this way” are form that context – great point. I mean, why would you “choose” to endure the consequences of coming out? I can understand why someone would say “I wish I were born straight.” Absolutely. But. We need to change that attitude, by making sure no one thinks things like that – and it starts with us embracing who we are in spite of consequences, and refocusing on those consequences and how ridiculous they. It starts with getting rid of causing people to wish they were different, by embracing diversity.

  6. June 24, 2011 11:02 pm

    Gay no more of a choice than straight.

    Denny was also born this way. [music jam]

  7. June 25, 2011 8:32 am

    Fabulous. This sums everything up that I’ve been trying to explain to people, and failing, because I could not articulate the way I thought about it.
    Excellent explanation- heartfelt, thought out, and perfect.
    I’m going to link everyone I know to it so they can see what I mean!

    • June 26, 2011 5:40 pm

      Hey thanks! I am glad I could help – as I feel like I could have done a better job with this, actually! Nice to hear I pulled it off… I also really recommend the article I linked to at the bottom. She is *very* articulate on this issue…

      Thanks for stopping by! 😀

  8. Movedup permalink
    June 28, 2011 6:42 pm

    Love is the underlying bond that only the heart can see… don’t let your head get in the way of it. Quite simple really. Baby I was born this way!

    • June 29, 2011 2:19 pm

      Amen, lady! 😀 Hope everything is wonderful with you!

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