Is Being Gay a Choice?

Today the Delaware Senate is debating marriage equality. According to Twitter, some anti-gay senator or witness brought up the old canard that being gay is a choice.

This is such an old, tired, beaten-to-death topic that it’s not even worth writing about. But I will.

First of all, shouldn’t we gay people be the prime authority as to whether being gay is a choice? We’ve said time and again that it’s not a choice. None of us chose to be gay; we just are gay. But apparently we can’t be trusted to know whether we actually chose it or not. Because we’re, I don’t know… mentally ill? Pathological liars? Brainwashed by imaginary gay central headquarters? Who knows. Even those who are professedly neutral and say things like “science is unclear on whether being gay is a choice” are insulting us. Is being gay a choice? Just freaking ask us. The answer is no.

I think the problem is one of language ambiguity. Being gay means, in most cases, “being exclusively (or almost exclusively) attracted to people of the same sex.” But some people mistakenly think that “being gay” means “having gay sex.”

I wouldn’t be surprised if many of these people are themselves fighting homosexual urges. They tell themselves that as long as they don’t act on their urges, they’re not gay. Therefore, in their universe, “being gay” only means “having gay sex.” Because if “being gay” means “being attracted to people of the same sex,” they’d┬áhave to admit that they were gay.

These are probably the same people who think that if society becomes more accepting of same-sex marriage, everyone is going to turn gay and get gay-married and nobody will reproduce anymore and the human population will die out. They think that everyone else has secret gay urges just like they do.

Finally: even if we defined “being gay” as “having gay sex,” and therefore “being gay” was a choice, so what? Religion is a choice. Fine, that’s specially protected by the First Amendment, so also: masturbation is a choice. Heterosexual sodomy is a choice. Extramarital sex is a choice. Who cares?

But it’s not a choice in the first place. I wish that canard would stop quacking already.