Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Choice I Never Made

Home Sweet Home
I grew up in a place called Lynchburg, Virginia. Maybe you have heard of it a time or two. Unfortunately, it was probably in the context of Liberty University (a conservative religious school founded by Jerry Falwell). Aside from that, I don't remember Lynchburg being particularly conservative, not that I really knew what that meant at the time, but this is central Virginia we are talking about.

When I was little, just like anyone else, there was a lot that I didn't know. Pertinent to this conversation, I didn't know what homosexual or gay meant. I didn't know anyone that openly identified as such. There were not really many LGBT characters on television in those days. It was not talked about in school (whether from the teachers or fellow students), at least until not until high school (when it was mainly inter-student gossip). There was no connection between myself and anything gay or even the concept of homosexuality whatsoever.

I was in grade four (ten years old) when I first had feelings for another guy that were, shall we say, more than platonic.

We keep hearing people (particularly from the political/religious right) saying that homosexuality is a choice, or it is learned, or something of that sort. As I said above, I did not know what gay was. I did not even know the word in any non-Christmas song context. As such, me choosing to be gay makes zero sense. How could I choose to be something that I did not at the time even know existed, let alone doing so at the age of ten? How could I have woken up one day at that tender young age and decided that homosexuality was the way to go?

The fact of the matter is this: when someone says being LGBT is a choice, they are speaking out of categorical ignorance. When we in the LGBT community say it is NOT a choice, we are speaking out of experience. One is far more reliable than the other.

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