Dear Dirty America


Should Homosexuality Be A Choice?

March 01
15:00 2012
Credit: Guillaume Paumier
It seems like fair knowledge that there are two opposing camps in regards to homosexuality in modern society today; homophobes who hold the conspiracy that gays choose to be gay, as part of some sort of world domination plan, and supporters of gay rights who hold the opinion that homosexuality is like hair colour, height, or pigmentation in the sense that it’s subject to genes and DNA make up. Now I can’t help but actually get a bit scared by what I believe may be subtle, subconscious patronisation for gay right supporters.
Like previously mentioned, gay supporters (and by gay supporters I mean mainly heterosexual gay rights activists) say homosexuality “isn’t a choice”. There have been years of research to support this, but lets ask a different question; Should we not still be respect EVEN if homosexuality was a choice. Gay supporters belt out from the rooftops that sexuality isn’t a choice and that it “can’t be helped”. Of course this is much appreciate support, but almost runs along the same lines of treating someone with special needs different because they’re “special”, or going easy of children because they’re “innocent”.
The paranoia in my mind can’t help but animate a scenario where some sort of celebrity philanthropist is driving home with a smirk on his face as he leaves a gay rights rally, basking in the half hearted glory of being a “gay icon”, all the while returning to their sixth wife, their (currently under their custody (but not for long)) adopted children, forgetting that they could, if they wanted to, bring the unjustice facing many LGBT people to the highest authority in both government and religion.
Imagine two women, both married in heterosexual relationships, both have at least one child. “Woman A” chooses, of her own free will, to be a stay-at-home mother and care for the child, while “Woman B” chooses to have a job, leaving “Man B” to take care of the child. Both women chose their decisions completely of their own free will. Does “Woman B” have the right to mock “Woman A” for choosing a stereotypical role for a woman? Does “Woman A” have the right to criticise “Woman B” over leaving her child? No, of course not. I had my hair long in my teens and had it nearly every colour; blue, green, red, pink, orange, white, yellow, black, and brown (when I decided to return to my original colour). Was I wrong to choose to have my hair like this? Did the people who made fun of my hair have some sort of right to do these things simply because it was my choice? No.
“But Conor! You could have avoided the abuse by not dying your hair like that.” YES! And that is where the trouble of the underlying context comes into play. As humans we learn that things that hurt us should be avoided at nearly all costs. Hot, cold, a flu, cuts, bruises. But what happens to people who avoid exercise? What happens to people who never learn to handle public ridicule? What happenes to people who never experience love and heart break? They get fat, they cant express opinions, and they never develope self-respect and empathy. My hair is short now, a medium brown, and I’d like to think I understand appearance a bit more than I did before. All because I made a choice, and I took the pain and the mockery, but I stood by my choice, I developed a backbone, a greater understanding of character, and I looked bloody sexy in the process.
To say sexuality isn’t a choice is hypocracy; you want to be accepted, but you use a cop out. How can you say you’re proud of who you are if you can’t play with the idea that you intended every single inch of you just the way you are? I recall meeting someone at a party…or possibly a gig house…I was drinking so I’m not too sure. Either way this person (heterosexual from what I could gather) blurted out, “I think homosexuality is a choice.” The room (or smoking area….or ditch…whatever) filled with silence. He explained that he has gay friends and loves them and he supports them, but I couldn’t help but notice people’s reaction. He could have taken a dump straight in front of them while saluting Hitler and he would have gotten a better reaction from them. It was disturbing. Could it be that the idea of fluid sexuality scared them? Did it scare them that people willingly put up with homophobia and such for the sake of being with a person you have romantic attractions to may be a step too far for them to comprehend, maybe even to endorse? Is the idea of the “helpless gay” more public-friendly and as heart string tugging as any cute small CGI character in a Dreamworks or Pixar film.
This isn’t an ultimatum, but I’m just saying you can’t say your proud of yourself if there’s something you would change. If you’re proud of being gay than act like you chose to be. Again, scientific research has produced more than enough evidence to distinguish sexuality as something so ingrained in us like gender, race, or kidneys, but the manner in which I am analysising sexuality is on the basis of whether or not it would be better for the LGBT community (god I hate that term. You never have to hear anyone say “Hello, I’m J-E-W” or “Hi, I’m a AAFL (Asian American Female Lesbian)”) to embrace the idea that they choose their sexuality. Would it help give creditability to the LGBT movement? It would certainly take the punch and meaning out of the homophobic argument, leaving them with nothing more than their last defense; a religious right to be stupid.
There was a period between the 60’s and mid-90’s where gays were portrayed in film, television, and books are sorrowful, angst characters; people of the night. This was of course highlighted in the 80s and early 90’s with the infamous AIDs epidemic with films like “Philadelphia” (1993) or “Cruising” (1980). It was only in the mid 90’s onwards characters would “come out” as gay, at first as nothing more than a plot device and story twist, later moving on as a reflection of the times. This could been seen as a mirror image of racial minorities inclusion into film and television, starting off first as a gemick, then moving on as a reflection.
By today’s standards, feeling sorry for women because they’re women, or an African Americans because they’re black, or even a paraplegic because they’re paralysed would erupt in a media scandal on a juggernaut scale similar to whatever scandal Sarah Palin has cased by the time you are reading this. Being a woman is a proud thing. Being Black is a proud thing. Being tall, short, Jewish, Atheist, Polish, or smart are all proud things. In all honesty, if everyone had the chance to change anything about themselves, I truly believe they wouldn’t, because once they reflect upon the sense of humour they developed as a result of being bullied for year for being fat, or the intelligence they gained after years of not playing with the other kids because they made fun of their glasses, or the charisma they developed around women after being adopted by a lesbian couple, they’ll realise that it made them who they are, and that they’re proud to put up with all the negativity; their pride and self-respect would overwhelm their fear of rejection.
Choose to be you. Choose to embrace what you’ve become naturally and decide to be it every time you have a chance to be otherwise. Choose to have your hair, choose to have your ascent, choose to have your gender, choose to have your passport, and most importantly choose your sexuality, especially if you’re gay.

Conor Matthews can be reached at:, and at Twitter:!/conorelmo

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