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Taking Sides

On Choosing Sexuality

Cynthia Nixon attempted to clear things up for us regarding the issue of choosing sexuality. According to Nixon, bisexuality is not a choice. It is, however, her choice to be in a gay relationship. But why can’t sexuality be a choice? Why can’t we just let people choose (especially since they do it anyway)?

On the one side we have people like Nixon who are adamant that their homosexuality is as natural as heterosexuality. Neither inclination is chosen, it merely exists as an orientation that we have no control over. On the other side of the choice argument we have conservatives who are equally adamant that homosexuality is a deviant lifestyle; an unnatural and immoral choice one makes in defiance of all things right and holy.

It was probably not Nixon’s intention to make the exact argument that ex-gay movements have made for decades. Nevertheless, she did. Some ex-gay movements argue you can’t choose your sexuality, but you can choose the type of relationship you have. The ex-gay movement adopted this philosophy to reform homosexuals and provide distinction between orientation and choice. While some movements claim they can cure homosexuality, most of us by now know such claims are completely baseless. It’s almost funny to think about someone you know who’s “too gay to function” being programmed to think he/she is miraculously straight, until you realize these organizations ruin the lives of far too many who seek their help. Other organizations are less rigid in their approach and admit that homosexual desires may persist for a lifetime but that there remains the choice to resist that lifestyle. A choice to engage in a normal and healthy heterosexual relationship. A choice they make after they’ve been shamed into thinking it’s wrong to be who they were born to be or it’s wrong to be who they want to be.

Regardless of whether you view sexuality as an immutable characteristic or an adopted lifestyle; whether you love the gays and would put your life on the line to afford them the same rights and liberties as everyone else or you hate them and think they’re are single-handedly the reason for the demise of American society, we have to stop with these rigid definitions we have for each other and move to a place where we really do peacefully co-exist. Gay people aren’t going anywhere and neither are conservatives. This is home for everyone.

I don’t like to make parallels between historically disenfranchised groups because I’m of the very firm opinion that the similarities end there. However, I’m willing to break with tradition just this once to make my point.

We women are not all alike. Some of us choose to be mothers. Some of us choose to have careers. Some of us choose to have both and wonder why we wanted it all in the first place. Some of us don’t have any choice in the matter and work dead end jobs because the children we chose to have need proper food to eat. Some are mothers by accident. Some are mothers quite purposefully. Some are raped into motherhood, chose not to have abortions but to instead love their children and make the best of the worst imaginable scenario ever. It’s either fucking crazy or radical acceptance. My bet is that it’s a whole lot of both. Luckily, we still live in a society where most women get to make their own choices.

In one way we are the same; we’re all women. Yet our lives are vastly different from our neighbors based on the choices we make. Choice doesn’t have to be a liability to the movement; it empowers the movement. If you teach a young girl that she can grow up to hold any profession she desires so long as she works hard but she chooses to stay at home and raise her children, will you frown upon your choice to educate her? Will you frown upon her decision to only be a mother? Probably. Most of you will. Most of us do, but we know that we shouldn’t. You can’t tell someone that you know what’s right for them. You can’t strip someone of their ability to choose what’s right or wrong for them. We don’t need to be afraid of the choices people make. We need to be afraid of telling people that they have to be who we want them to be.

People are born gay. Or people people choose to be gay. Some gay born people may choose to identify as straight and live happy and fulfilled lives in heterosexual relationships.  We can let them. We can let people choose sexuality, partners, and the course of their lives. If you don’t concern yourself with who I love or who I sleep with then I’ll give you the same courtesy. And don’t think it’s easy for me to say this, because while I may not care about the details of anyone’s private life, I do care about improving the quality of everyone’s life and upholding a sense of morality in this country. Still, love and sex are wholly private matters driven by pheromones and personal preferences — neither of which are any of your (fucking) business.

When I choose to date assholes, I realize it’s both my choice and somewhat out of my control. I can’t help who I’m attracted to, but I do choose who to be with.

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About Bella

I’m an (almost) 30-something free-lance writer, blogger, genealogist, and friend. Yep. If you pay me, I’ll be your friend. Initial fees are subject to negotiation. You can also contact me about product reviews and ad space. Everything is for sale around here. I make my home in Boston with my roommate, Jane Doe; my 12 year old dog, Chewy; and Jane’s feral cat, Felix. I’m addicted to reading Mormon mommy blogs, Huffington Post, Jezebel, and Facebook status updates.

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