Uncle Roger's Notebooks of Daily Life

Monday, January 30, 2012

Innate or Not -- It Matters Not

For quite some time, there has been a heated debate about whether homosexuality is a genetic or chosen attribute. Many who disapprove of it claim it is something that the LGBT community chooses, often due to some imagined pact with the devil. The best response to that, in my opinion, came from author, journalist, and sex columnist Dan Savage who said, essentially, "Prove it. Suck my dick." This was aimed directly at presidential hopeful/one-man comedy act Herman Cain. Thus far, Cain has failed to prove Homosexuality to be a choice.

But what if sexual orientation is a choice? What if we can choose to be either gay or straight? Recently, Cynthia Nixon told the New York Times that, for her, being gay is indeed a choice. This got a lot of people upset, not surprisingly. Many, I suppose, feared that she had handed the opposition a loaded weapon -- that she would be the one example that would be held up over and over again as the haters gleefully claimed that homosexuality is a choice for everyone. And then, along comes Frank Bruni.

Writing also in the Times, Bruni asks whether it matters if being gay is a choice. He argues that it isn't.

And, with that simple shift in outlook, it all becomes clear. For a long time, the fight for LGBT rights has been compared to that of African-Americans. The problem is, however, that the anti-LGBT crowd then says it's not a valid comparison because sexual orientation isn't genetic while race is. In the words of Herman Cain, speaking of his skin color, "this don't wash off." So if, unlike race, homosexuality is a choice, does that mean it's okay to discriminate against those who make that choice?

Actually, no. There doesn't need to be a genetic component for there to be protections. As Bruni points out, religion is very much a choice and yet there are very strong legal prohibitions against discrimination because of a person's belief. So unless the religious right is willing to give up their own legal protection, they need to stop suggesting that choice is a reason to discriminate.

In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter whether or not sexual orientation is a matter of choice or an ingrained component of who we are -- we should not be voting on people's rights. Everyone should have the right to love and marry whoever they like and not have to worry that doing so might endanger their job, their family, or even their standing in the community.

(Note: I don't, for a minute, think that homosexuality is, for the vast majority of people, a choice. For some, who are truly bisexual, gender is not an issue when falling in love, but for most of us, it's an important one.)

Journal Description

My life is, to me, ripe with frequent challenges, occasional successes, spontaneous laughter, adequate tears, and enough *life* to last me a lifetime. To you, however, it surely seems most pedestrian. And therefore, I recycle the name I used previously and call this my Notebooks of Daily Life. Daily, because it's everyday in nature, ordinary. These conglomeration of events that are my life are of interest to me because I live it, perhaps mildly so to those who are touched by it, and could only be of perverse, morbid curiosity to anyone else. Yet, I offer them here nonetheless. Make of them what you will, and perhaps you can learn from my mistakes.