People Choose To Be Gay.

This is a common belief of christians and conservatives in america, and like many beliefs I think it stems at least a little from the idea that life wasn’t just created in some sense, but created the way we’d make something, cookie-cutter the same.  But people do not come off an assembly line and they’re not stamped out of plastic.  They vary widely.

Most variations are not that extreme, but it illustrates the point.  We are not all the same, just like with height there is a spectrum in almost everything, from intelligence to athletic ability to skin tone to whether someone is impossibly docile or violently psychotic.  We vary greatly.  In fact, that is the one thing that nature does very, very well.  If you were to make an entire population of identical clones with identical DNA and let them reproduce, it would take a single generation for them to begin to vary.  We’ve been around, even by fundamentalist timelines, for many, many generations.

Why should it surprise us that sexual attraction would be any different?  Why should it be?  One in 180 thousand or so men is perfectly average and perfectly male in every sense, except that they have a uterus.  Did they choose to have a uterus?  Do we choose to be male or female?  We start out genderless in the womb, maybe our choice begins there.  Maybe god taps us on the shoulder in-utero and asks us if we’d like nipples just for show or the fully-functional kind.  Of course some must opt in for the middle-ground, since some men have nipples that are sexually responsive like women.

Is god running down all the kinky little options for the nation’s preemies?  Or is variation just a part of nature?

I think the science of how and why people are gay, bi etc is pretty conclusive, but honestly before I heard any of it I believed people when they said they were born gay because I knew I was born straight.  Unlike modern kids who surf the net on their iphones practically from the cradle, I didn’t get exposed to “adult” media until fairly late in life.  I grew up in a one parent home so my sense of gender roles was not monkey-see-monkey-do.  And it never occurred to me to have crushes on boys.  If someone had suggested it I would’ve looked at them cross-eyed.  I had crushes on girls long, long before I knew what sex was or had any clue about love and marriage.  I didn’t get a vote when I was 5 to like a girl in my class when I was 6.  I was born that way.

Sex and sexuality, while it can be influenced by our experiences like most things about us, is heavily in-born.  Or do teenagers just choose to be horny when they reach puberty too?  I can understand how people can have these kinds of preconceptions just going on the adam and eve story, but once you get out into the world and see the vastness and complexity of how it all works they should fade into the background.

I remember hearing ellen degeneres talk about her experiences with sex, how she thought everyone was supposed to be straight and tried over and over dating men and even sleeping with them and didn’t get it – she thought sex was just some grueling experience and couldn’t understand why her peers liked it so much.  Then she figured out she was gay and a lightbulb went on over her head.  Ellen didn’t choose to be gay, she chose to be straight.  Nature had other plans.  I could no more want to have sex with a guy than I could want to have sex with a turtle or eat a handful of salt.  It’s just not in me.  And when gay people say the exact same thing about being straight I believe them.

You will notice that I’ve not addressed the whole “being gay is wrong” thing, what you believe there is dependent on whether you think morality is determined by biblical authority or good and bad consequences, and/or how judgemental your theology is.  And of course the opinions of peers, your upbringing and homophobia can play a part too, but I’m trying to not write a dissertation every blog.

About agnophilo

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29 Responses to People Choose To Be Gay.

  1. Whether or not homosexuality is a choice or not is highly debatable. Most conservatives and Christians are aware of that.

  2. opticalnoise says:

    I love the way you write. Just a smattering of snark in an otherwise straightforward and highly rational viewpoint. I have nothing else to add, I just wanted to make a note of that.

  3. @RoaminCatholic@revelife – Isn’t it interesting that conservative Christians are the only ones who are predominately aware of that? Sort of like how devout conservative Christians are usually the only ones who are aware that evolution is “highly debatable”…hmm…

  4. runisom48 says:

    Excellent article. I’ve been thinking on this for a long tme and I’ve come to the conclusion that God has nothng to do with it at all. I was raised Christian, but am no longer. I believe in reincarnation and that we do make decisions about our sexuality in previous lives and the interim between births that affect the outcome in this life, thus the appearance of being born a certain way. The variety comes from a combination of these decisions and karmic manifestions in the physical developement of our bodies. This works for me now. 

  5. @TheThinkingPerson – The cause of homosexuality hasn’t been proven, has it?  I think that most people realize that, including conservatives and Christians.

  6. I am not Christian nor conservative in the family-values/social-values sense, but I do still believe that SOME gay people choose to be that way. Not all, but some. I had an ex boyfriend who did this. He admitted to me recently that many years after he broke up with me still living with regret, he could not find any other girl whom he loved the same as he loved me, and then he met a man who he decided to open his heart to. He openly admitted that he chose these things. I also was in high school during a time when it was very popular to “pretend” to be gay. Right around the time when the “emo/scene” fashion fad was rolling through, engaging in homoerotic behaviors was very popular with both genders. It wasn’t as an experimentation, although I’m sure some may have realized some things through engaging in those behaviors.So no, I’m not attacking gay people or anything, but I really just have a hard time believing that every single gay person who is out was born with the predisposition to engage in sexual activity with a member of their own gender.

  7. heckels says:

    @RoaminCatholic@revelife – Actually it is not highly debatable in the least, the science is pretty much in on this one. Sexuality is not WHO you have sex with but WHO you are attracted to. This is something that is consistent with every single person. Some straight guys are attracted to slim Asian ladies. Some guys are attracted to chicks with big asses. Some guys are attracted to other younger, thin guys. Nobody knows why they are attracted to anybody else, all they know is that when they see something that looks good to them they get turned on. When they see something that REALLY looks good to them, they get hard. When they see a person who they deem as hot getting fucked on the internet, they get so hard that they blow their load. But, if they see something that turns them off, they don’t stay hard or blow their load. Like I said, it’s all about attraction. I’m sure you have a type but don’t know why you have that type and more importantly you can’t control what you are attracted to. 

  8. heckels says:

    If people can choose their sexuality, than that is the single most important decision that one can ever make in their entire life and therefore, people would probably remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when all of a sudden they chose their sexuality for their life. Kinda like how everybody remembers where they were when they chose to get married or picked their college. It is an utterly condescending and degrading insult to gay and straight people everywhere when people claim that one can choose their sexuality. As a gay male, I get offended when people say it is a choice; I think it is fairly clear and certain that it is not a choice. (Ohhh, Paint It Black just came on……….gosh I fucking love this song). And I thank you for your support; society needs more people like you, especially gays. We need more straight people like yourself to set the record straight about the sexuality non choice.

  9. I was actually involved in a Facebook debate a while back where one person claimed everyone was asexual until puberty, and that they only thought they had feelings for the opposite sex because of exposure to the media. I had to point out to him that a previous (gay) commenter had mentioned that all of his crushes had been on boys, including his prepubescent crushes, and there wouldn’t have been any homosexual relationships in the media at the time. Just as a sidenote (since this got me thinking about it), I’ve always wondered how people think the media influences sexuality, or at least the part that’s innate. There’s all this bitching about how having gay characters on television will make kids gay or harm them in some way, but all I see it doing is allowing kids to be unafraid to explore their sexuality later in life, whether they be gay, straight, bisexual, or somewhere else on the spectrum.

  10. Many Christians do get this wrong. You cannot choose who you are attracted to. You cannot choose what emotions you feel. You just feel them. However, you CAN choose your actions. What emotions do you act upon? Who do you have sex with? People don’t choose to be gay or straight, but they do choose whether to embrace or fight their feelings.

  11. People who think homosexuality is a sin or immoral or whatever demonstrate the same level of intolerance as racists. It’s exactly the same thing as judging a person by the color of her skin, her ethnic background, or religion. Using religion as an excuse for discrimination doesn’t make it any more acceptable. It’s amazing to experience all this anger and hate against people who merely want to decide for themselves who to spend their lives with. Gay people have no reason to accept this situation any longer. I’m bi and I choose to have sex with persons of both genders. It doesn’t make me a freak, I’m not ashamed, I don’t need to make excuses and I don’t need anybody else’s blessing. It’s okay to be gay, whatever the reason might be. If it’s in your genes or not doesn’t really matter.

  12. Being gay in itself isn’t wrong, It’s not your fault if you are and the bible doesn’t condemn having those feelings because god understands that were all imperfect. What it does condemn is acting on those feelings in the same way a straight person who isn’t married shouldn’t act on their sexual desires. I have bisexual feelings but I choose not to act on them

  13. apathy_sucks says:

    People vary more than any of these simple explanations. Some people very well do choose to be gay. Some choose to be straight. Some feel they cannot help but be one or the other or bisexual. Some people think bisexuality doesn’t exist.It’s been debated over and over again – is it a choice?I think the more important question is, why should it matter if it’s a choice? Homosexuality is a harmless sexuality, chosen or not. Any argument against the matter has no scientific backing.

  14. man, I love this. I believe people are who they are as well. I think that people are so afraid of being different that they don’t know how to accept something that is unfamiliar to them.

  15. Like you, I believe that science has pretty much proven that people are born with sexual preferences, although many people will choose to go against their nature for various reasons, whether peer pressure, family expectations, what society tells us is right, ect.I’m a bisexual woman and although everyday society is becoming more accepting of people being either gay or straight, people like me are still left in the realm of distrusted or like what we are is clearly a choice.  Science doesn’t really seem to be touching bisexuality much, which really disappoints me greatly because I’d really like to see what scientific study has to say about how the brain works within a bisexual person.  It hurts when people assume that all bisexuals are immoral because the world at large thinks it’s a choice, when I know for me it was very organic and natural.I remember as a child very clearly being attracted to both boys and girls well before I had any understanding of sex or sexuality.  I had a very equal interest in both genders.  It all felt rather organic when I think about it, like it was all very normal and I was sort of confused why other people seemed to only like one or the other.I got to an age where my mother must have sort of sensed that something was diffferent and she pretty much told me that, “It was okay if I liked boys, but not if I liked girls.” That had a profound and shaming effect on me, so I decided that I better only like boys.I squashed down my natural tendancies for so long I sort of convinced myself that I was straight.But I’m not.When I hit my 30’s I realized that I was lying to myself about who I really was and it was a great relief to me to think, “Hey, how I feel is okay. This is who I am.”  I feel more like myself now that I accept my bisexuality….I feel more normal even if the world doesn’t think that I am.I’d love for science to spend more time tackling the lesbian and bisexual equation, because they really have primarily and mostly only put intense study into gay men.  I’d love to know why I feel attracted to both genders…why that feels so right to me. How can something that has been with me my whole life and since I was too small to understand it be a choice?I admit that as a bisexual I struggle with immorality because I am married to a man that accepts that I do have relationships with women outside of my marriage.  I also consider myself a christian, but perhaps not the best example of one.  I tend to feel very comfortable and natural about my lifestyle, yet there is that confilct with what I believe religiously and what feels natural to my personality.  I know my journey into what is right or what is wrong is my own and that I have to work it out for myself.  I just wish I had a way to understand the biological level of it all.  If I’m a sinner, than God and I will take that up later between the two of us and I’m at a place in my life where I can live with the long term consquences of my actions.

  16. AncoraImparo says:

    I think some people choose to be gay and others are born gay. This is an interesting queer perspective on the matter: http://www.queerbychoice.com/faq.html

  17. Bullcrap says:

    @Tiny__Dancer80 – So, gays have been dealt a harsher deck of cards, haven’t they? If you’re naturally straight, it’s fine to act on your impulses. Straight sex is ok, right? But, if you’re gay, you HAVE to force yourself into celibacy. How lovely. Nice try, though. No rational being should give a crap about what a book written by sheep and goat herders says. Taking those primitive babblings as unbendable rules is nothing short of idiotic. Only reason and common sense should be our guides.

  18. I LOVE how you say this. ‘Nuff said.

  19. derpherp says:

    @starcrossedloversdivine Yeah, I agree with you.  I really do.I don’t care if people like only men or only women or like both or experiment with both, I don’t care.  It’s their life.

  20. @ExposedWrists – I was like that as a child too I had crushes on lots of girls, still do. And even though I have crushes on girls I don’t chose to indulge.

  21. only I was told by my dad that it’s not my fault I feel that way as long as I didn’t act on it it was okay.

  22. @Bullcrap – straight sex is only okay for married people. I accept that I’m broken by being bisexual I don’t think I’m a bad person just broken and I think the same of others. I went through a stage before I was sure of religion where I did act on what ever impulses I had In which I dated several girls and even practically had sex with one but I recognize now that I should have fought myself.

  23. @Bullcrap – also I think you should read my post better. 

  24. @love4meislove4U – “People who think homosexuality is a sin or immoral or whatever demonstrate the same level of intolerance as racists. It’s exactly the same thing as judging a person by the color of her skin, her ethnic background, or religion. Using religion as an excuse for discrimination doesn’t make it any more acceptable. It’s amazing to experience all this anger and hate against people who merely want to decide for themselves who to spend their lives with.” Just because somebody considers it a sin doesn’t mean they hate gays, or are racist or discriminatory. I consider homosexuality a sin, but I treat gays no different than straights. I frankly don’t care what a person’s sexuality is (unless it’s a woman I might want to date, then I’d be disappointed to find out she’s a lesbian, nothing racist about that). It’s their business who they sleep with, and it has no effect on how good of a friend they are. I assure you, although I consider it a sin, I have absolutely no anger or hate towards gays.

  25. Aloysius_son says:

    This is a well written introduction to a very complex physiological issue. There is much that could be gleened by studying the genetics of sexual attraction as well as the affects of nurturing on predisposed behaviorisms. The belief in a supreme being should not preclude one from having an open interest in the analytical sciences, although many religious doctrines seem to discourage it. I often suspect God and sin are misrepresented concepts.

  26. apb102088 says:

    I had to do a paper on sexuality back during my second year of college. Eveything I found said that nurture has a lot to do with it. Saying it’s just like hair color or eye color is the furthest thing from the truth-people just make that up. No science behind that. But even if there was, you choose who you sleep with. At least I do. I’m straight because I trust that God knows what’s best for me. If the Bible taught that I should be gay, then I would be, because I know God is right and I’m wrong.Plus, if being “born that way” means it’s automatically okay, then we have to be more understanding toward other things, such as serial killers. Whether or not it hurts people is not the issue; if being born that way is permissible, then we must not retract that logic when it means applying it to things we don’t like.

  27. agnophilo says:

    @apb102088 – “I had to do a paper on sexuality back during my second year of college. Eveything I found said that nurture has a lot to do with it. Saying it’s just like hair color or eye color is the furthest thing from the truth-people just make that up. No science behind that.” The science says that it’s in-born, not that it’s hereditary.  It is most likely caused by hormone levels in-utero.  A woman being born with a penis is “born that way”, it doesn’t mean she will pass the trait on to any children.  Being in-born and being hereditary are two different classes of traits.”But even if there was, you choose who you sleep with. At least I do.” But you do not choose who you are sexually attracted to.  I guess I’m one of those people that thinks sex should be actually enjoyable and maybe even a beautiful thing, not a dry, painful, tiresome duty.”I’m straight because I trust that God knows what’s best for me. If the Bible taught that I should be gay, then I would be, because I know God is right and I’m wrong.”So you have no attraction one way or the other?  Or are attracted to either gender?  Or are you just saying you’d force yourself to go against your attraction?”Plus, if being “born that way” means it’s automatically okay, then we have to be more understanding toward other things, such as serial killers. Whether or not it hurts people is not the issue; if being born that way is permissible, then we must not retract that logic when it means applying it to things we don’t like.”I never said that being born that way makes it okay, I specifically said I didn’t even get into whether it was good or bad to be gay.  That natural = good is a fallacy, but so is it a fallacy that unnatural = bad.  Being gay however is not a moral issue and sex between two consenting adults is not comparable to murder or pedophilia or bestiality or any of the insane comparisons anti-gay rights advocates often make (and never make when it comes to things like straight people having anal sex, which is very common).

  28. apb102088 says:

    @agnophilo – About sexuality being hereditary- I was more responding to/addressing some of the previous comments on your blog which said that sexuality is like hair color. Not a direct comment to you though I see why you thought so and I apologize. Sorry, I just get up in arms when I hear someone say it’s like your skin color. Heck no it’s not; quit making crap up! lol. Glad you can see that. I’m sure hormones in the womb do have a lot to do with it.And I’ll be perfectly honest. God aside, I have no problem with gay marriage in America, because I am a big advocate of separation between church and state. So I don’t want you to think I’m “that” type of person, if you know what I mean. But what I am saying is, just because we’re attracting to someone or something doesn’t mean that we’re automatically in the clear for it being morally okay (which I know that is not what your blog is about but we’ve already got into the discussion). Personally, for me, I am a Christian. I was not always, and used to think that anyone could do whatever they wanted so long as it was between two (or more) consenting adults and it’s not hurting anyone. However, it’s interesting to think about. Who did Adam and Eve hurt? Just one little bite of the fruit. Two consenting adults. Not hurting anyone. Yet it turned the universe on its head because sin is disobedience, not just hurting someone. I hope that makes sense. I say all that to say, it doesn’t matter who I’m attracted to. The Bible condemns the act, not necessarily the attraction (though it does not encourage wrong attractions either, but Christ sympathizes with our weaknesses). Females are lovely; I wouldn’t have a problem being with one if God told me to. I could definitely see myself being gay if I had been brought up in a different environment, too.And you do kind of have to understand why people would bring pedophilia or whatever into the mix. They say “it’s okay because they’re born that way.” But when we bring up serial killers, rapists, pedophiles, etc, the rebuttal to that is “Well they’re not hurting anyone.” But that’s a different argument. Something being okay because it’s inherited/inborn and something being okay because it doesn’t harm anyone are two different arguments, you know? If something is okay because you’re born that way, then we can’t be discriminatory. But now I’m rambling. :-/ Apologies. Just food for thought.

  29. agnophilo says:

    @apb102088 – “About sexuality being hereditary- I was more responding to/addressing some of the previous comments on your blog which said that sexuality is like hair color. Not a direct comment to you though I see why you thought so and I apologize. Sorry, I just get up in arms when I hear someone say it’s like your skin color. Heck no it’s not; quit making crap up! lol. Glad you can see that. I’m sure hormones in the womb do have a lot to do with it.”I don’t think people compare it to hair color to say it’s hereditary, but to say it’s something you are born with and can no more change than the color of your hair.  I also hear it compared to height by saying you don’t “choose” to be gay any more than you choose to be 5’3″.  “And I’ll be perfectly honest. God aside, I have no problem with gay marriage in America, because I am a big advocate of separation between church and state.” As am I.”So I don’t want you to think I’m “that” type of person, if you know what I mean.” Alrighty.”But what I am saying is, just because we’re attracting to someone or something doesn’t mean that we’re automatically in the clear for it being morally okay (which I know that is not what your blog is about but we’ve already got into the discussion).” The argument on the gay rights side isn’t “it’s natural therefore good”, that it is in-born is generally brought up to refute the “being gay is a choice” argument, and also to try to inspire sympathy for gay people.  As Jon Stewart once put it, the difference between pro and anti-gay rights people is whether they think other sexualities are a part of the human condition or just some bizarre fetish.”Personally, for me, I am a Christian. I was not always, and used to think that anyone could do whatever they wanted so long as it was between two (or more) consenting adults and it’s not hurting anyone.” I think some actions and practices are better than others (for many reasons) but rather than thinking anything between consenting adults is good, I rather say that it’s simply a matter of personal preference not morality – I have no right to tell someone who to have consensual sex with than I have the right to tell them what color clothes to wear.  Until they do harm to someone it’s their prerogative.”However, it’s interesting to think about. Who did Adam and Eve hurt? Just one little bite of the fruit. Two consenting adults. Not hurting anyone. Yet it turned the universe on its head because sin is disobedience, not just hurting someone. I hope that makes sense.” No offense, but it doesn’t.  The adam and eve account is mythology, it didn’t happen as a matter of historical fact.  There is ample evidence contradicting the narrative of a 6,000 year old earth, a global flood, all humans descending from two people 6 thousand years ago etc.  The lesson I always got from the garden of eden story wasn’t “disobedience is bad, always obey god”, but rather that it was a commentary on the nature of morality itself.  I did a blog which touches on it here if you like.  You don’t have to read it, I’ve inundated you with links already.”I say all that to say, it doesn’t matter who I’m attracted to. The Bible condemns the act, not necessarily the attraction (though it does not encourage wrong attractions either, but Christ sympathizes with our weaknesses). Females are lovely; I wouldn’t have a problem being with one if God told me to. I could definitely see myself being gay if I had been brought up in a different environment, too.”I take your non-response response to mean that you’re attracted to other men?  If you’re attracted to men and not women, be with men.  If you’re attracted to women and not men, be with women.  And if you’re attracted to both, then be with either.  But you should no more go against how you feel to please puritanical hypocrites who ignore the condemnations against straight couples (like those against premarital sex, divorce etc) while condemning you than you should chew broken glass.  Everyone should be able to pursue happiness as far as it doesn’t harm others or inhibit their chance at happiness.”And you do kind of have to understand why people would bring pedophilia or whatever into the mix. They say “it’s okay because they’re born that way.” They really don’t – at least not generally, I’m sure some idiot somewhere does.  They bring that up generally to refute the whole “being gay is a choice” argument.  Here is one person’s take on this argument/counterargument you may find interesting.”But when we bring up serial killers, rapists, pedophiles, etc, the rebuttal to that is “Well they’re not hurting anyone.” But that’s a different argument. Something being okay because it’s inherited/inborn and something being okay because it doesn’t harm anyone are two different arguments, you know? If something is okay because you’re born that way, then we can’t be discriminatory. But now I’m rambling. :-/ Apologies. Just food for thought.”One is a response to the other.  Something isn’t okay because it’s inborn, but it is okay because it doesn’t harm anyone.  And no need to apologize, I’ve rambled plenty.

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