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.