Sing if You’re Glad to be Gay (or Trans)

29 05 2008

“It’s not a choice!”

How many times have we heard this?

And it bothers me. A mandatory disclaimer: no, I do not think sexual orientation is a choice. But really, does it matter?

The thing that bothers me about the choice versus biology thing is that it assumes if it was, indeed a choice, we’d have a moral imperative to choose straight. Unlike members of the religious right, I see absolutely nothing wrong with same-gender love, desire, and sex. Absolutely nothing at all. So why must I constantly defend myself? I don’t like turning myself into a victim of my natural and healthy desires. Nor do I like kissing ass to the religious right. Because, I feel, that a lot of times when people so adamantly say, “It’s not a choice!”, it’s almost like they’re saying that being queer or trans is a terrible way to be.

Let’s be honest. It’s not easy a lot of the time. The world, unfortunately, contains a lot of homophobes and transphobes, who have a stick up their ass so big that they feel the need to hate people for the kind of sex they have, or the fact that their genitals don’t match their gender presentation. When you think about it, it’s kind of pathetic. Pathetic enough for me not to want to lend any credence to it by pandering to that kind of fucked up ideology. And queer/trans people do face a lot of obstacles, almost all of them caused by prejudice rather that being queer or trans in of itself.

If I had a choice, honestly, I’d choose queer. There are a lot of really great things about being part of the queer/trans community.

The big part of it is the community. The culture. We have our own books and magazines and TV shows, our own hang-outs and our own way of living. I have a lot of queer/trans friends (and lovely straight allies!) who are like family to me. The queer community is so vibrant and amazing that I can’t imagine ever wanting to give it up.

Then there are other things. A queer activist friend of mine once joked with me that the reason the religious right is so obsessed with the way queers have sex is because they’re jealous. I’m pretty sure queers have, on average, better sex lives than straight people. I think we have fewer hang-ups about sex, since traditional straight-up straight sex isn’t usually an option (unless you’re bi/pansexual/whatever – in which case, you probably still have same-gender sexual relations from time to time). Plus, we know how to get creative, if you know what I mean.

There are a million other awesome things about being queer. I can’t list them all at the moment, but I think being queer can be a great experience. That’s why I refuse to make myself a victim. That’s why I refuse to yell, “It’s not a choice!”. Because I like being this way. And yes, I’m glad to be gay.

(S. Bear Bergman had a great speech on this topic. I know the title is similar – it comes from a song, and it wasn’t an effort to rip off Bear’s speech. Go read it. It’s awesome)

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8 responses

30 05 2008
queerunity

Interesting concept, I don’t think saying “it’s not a choice” necessarily makes it that you are a victim though. You can say it’s not a choice, and I am proud and unashamed of who I am and the way I was created. It is all contextual I guess, one could say “it’s not a choice” and i was born with this gay condition, please help me.

30 05 2008
lesbiansaidwhat

I usually say it’s not a choice when I’m face to face with some nimrod right wing person who feels the need to point out that I’m choosing to be immoral.

Other than that take it or leave it. I am who I am. I agree I enjoy being queer. I don’t know what it would be like to be straight though. I don’t want to know.

31 05 2008
Jacky V.

And how! I have similar reasons for disliking the default: “It’s not our fault” argument. Also, genetic causes for things never stopped eugenicists from victimizing people with “faulty genes” so even if someone, somewhere COULD prove a purely biological origin for homo/bisexuality or transsexuality and transgenderism, this would NOT guarantee us protection from people who hate us. Regardless of the “cause” (biology, personal experience or choice), we should be free to be who we are. Any arguments against discrimination and harassment should be based on equal rights to human dignity.

Regarding homosexuality or bisexuality, the way I often explain this to people who ask me about possible causes is this – sexual orientation has many components: desire, behaviour and identity. Who knows where desire comes from? Why are we attracted to what we’re attracted to, not just in terms of gender or sex but also in terms of hair colour, style, personality etc? Maybe nature, maybe nurture, probably a bit of both.

Behaviour . . .well, we CHOOSE to act, or not, on our desire, I think. Depending on how strong the desire is and on how strong cultural taboos are against this choice will influence our choice. Some people will spend their lives with same-sex desires but not act on them. Other act on them with guilt. Yet others get over the guilt (if applicable) and act on their desire with great pleasure (YAY!)

Finally, identity is certainly a choice as far as I’m concerned. People may label us one way or another depending on how they perceive us but we make the choice to identify, or not, according to our sexual orientation or gender identity. That’s why some people may engage in same-sex behaviour and not identify as lesbigay. They may see the gender/sex of the people they love and/or sleep with as irrelevant to their personal identity. Other people choose to identify that way either because it’s a source of community, pride at being able to live openly the way they are, or for multiple other possible reasons.

31 05 2008
And how! « Tboy Jacky

[…] 31 05 2008 I accidentally stumbled upon this post about the whole biology versus choice argument for sexual orientation and gender identity. I love […]

31 05 2008
Cristopher

you rock little girl!!!

1 06 2008
Tirade

In the immortal words of Popey the Sailor Man, “I yam what I yam.” 🙂

And that’s really all there is to it.

2 06 2008
Zula

Yes, exactly! I dislike the “it’s not a choice” argument for the same reason – so what if it were? Whether sexual orientation is a choice or not is irrelevant because it doesn’t change the rightness or wrongness of it. Really, I think the entire debate is a pointless distraction.

2 06 2008
queerunity

some of you may find this site interesting

http://www.queerbychoice.com

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