I want to preface this post by writing that I have no intention of this blog being turned into “Mike’s Big Gay Blog.” With that said…
Is being gay a choice? It is possibly the quintessential question to answer when dealing with GLBTA (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, asexual) matters. It’s a bothersome question, and there is so much rhetoric masquerading as truth on both sides that it polarizes everyone involved. I’ve always felt like the question lacks a kind of reduction needed to get at the core of the quandary with more surgical precision. The following video seeks candid answers from real people caught off guard. It’s a method that’s probably best when trying to solicit honest answers.
I knew I was attracted to men when I was five years-old. Sometimes people look at me doubtingly when I say that, but it’s true. I had no idea what sex was or why it existed when I was five. But divorcing the act of sex from the descriptor of gay is almost impossible when we’re adults. What I knew at five was that I fancied boys. And as much as I didn’t know what it was to be gay at five, I did know that there was something abjectly wrong with the way I felt. Although I didn’t know the concept of what it was to feel shame back then, I can definitely make the connection when looking back on my childhood as an adult.
What I’m about to write I’ve written before, mostly to the chagrin of people in the GLBTA community. In the United States, gay = anal intercourse. That is how people who don’t understand gayness characterize what it is to be capital-G Gay. When people talk about how disgusted they are at gay folks and the things they do, they are disgusted at the idea of one guy sticking his penis into another guy’s anus. Plain and simple.
Of course, a synonym for gay isn’t sodomy. However, I have to disclose that I have been guilty of interchanging the terms for comic effect. I have said “They went home to gay each other,” because I am an emotional fifteen year-old, and it makes me snicker. I feel like I have been through enough shit to be able to say something like that, no pun intended.
I got off track. We were talking about chagrining, and here is the part where I inflame the Gay Rage: if you think about it in pure terms of sex and choice, being gay really is a choice, just like being straight is a choice.
We’ve established that when we use terms like gay or straight, we’re really preoccupied with whose downstairs parts are doing what with whom. Discounting rape and other similar situations, we really do chose how we express our sexuality. If penis plus vagina equals straight, then we have to agree that penis plus penis or vagina plus vagina equals gay. This is basement thinking in that we all understand how sex is done. As a gay man, I can make the choice to go my entire life without engaging in sex with another man. If I am successful in this endeavor, and, I have to say, I think some people are, I have not participated in homosexual behavior, and, therefore, I am technically not gay. It goes the same way for straight people. If a straight man never has sex with another man, then, indubitably, he is straight. What people don’t take into consideration – I’m talking about straight people here – is that being gay isn’t just about who rubs their man parts — or their lady parts — on whom. If only it were that easy.
Sexuality is about comfort and who you chose to be vulnerable with. It’s about physical attraction, but it is just as much about emotional attachment. These are feelings we do not choose to have, and they are attachments we cannot choose to let go of. Sure, we can make a dedicated effort to never engage in homosexual behavior, but it’s not the behavior that compels people from the GLBTA community to kill themselves. It’s not the behavior that drives people to abuse alcohol and drugs and other methods of psychic escape. And it’s certainly not behavior that drives people to kill gay and lesbian persons in ferocious, horrifying ways. Instead, violence against members of the GLBTA community is violence against the essence of a person. Homosexuals are seen as threats based on how they present themselves. It’s dress, it’s talk, it’s gesticulations, nuances, and postures. If everyone on this planet exhibited the same essence, I wonder if sexuality would ever be an issue. Unfortunately, sexuality will always be an issue and it won’t be an issue about grinding crotches, instead, it will be an issue of how a person is conceived as being and what that conception yields.
One woman in the video said that no one would choose to be gay. Well, I agree with that. No one wants to be discriminated against in matters of employment, housing, marriage, and adoption, among other issues; no one wants to be told that God doesn’t care about them and, therefore, neither does the Church; no one wants to be a social pariah and isolated from friends and family with no one to love her; and nobody would choose to be tied to a fence, tortured, and beaten into a coma until he’s deemed brain dead at the age of 21.
There are people in the Community who yearn for the day that homosexuality is proven to be genetic. Not me. If being gay is proven to be a “genetic defect,” and that is exactly how it would be treated because we live in a straight world in which being other-than-straight is a deviation from what is “normal,” scientists will work to “cure” homosexuality. Why the hell would you want to do that? Sure, there are some people who would take the cure, and that’s fine. If cured is what you need to live your life to the fullest – if that’s your eudemonia – then seek it.
I used to cry myself to sleep at night praying that God would make me normal. When He didn’t, I shut Him out. Then there came a time in my life when I came back to God and asked Him to help me deal with those things that make me different. And it’s the acceptance of my dissimilarities, sexual and otherwise, that have made all the difference in my life. Do I struggle? Yes. Will I always? Probably. Am I okay with that? Yup. Who I am is not a choice, it’s an acceptance. And it’s an acceptance I made a long time ago. Besides, I’m a pretty cool guy to know, and 99% of who I am has nothing to do with who I am or am not gaying or straighting. There are things about gay people I will never understand. Likewise, there are things about straight people I will never understand either. But I don’t believe our differences are a matter of choice, and the great fallacy of sexuality is black-or-white thinking.