A Facebook friend recently posted something happened while she was interviewing someone: “And then this woman said that her friend had ‘decided to become gay’ later in life. Huh?”
It seems that over the past decade a lot of people have become wedded to the notion that people are born gay or straight. And though it’s true that many people are truly “wired” one way or another, I have a problem with this argument because so often it seems to be implying, “So they can’t help it!”
Some even go so far as to say, “No one would choose to be gay!”
I find this argument self-defeating. For me, it’s less important whether a person is born gay or “chooses” to be gay. To me, the crux of the matter is that everyone deserves respect, and that either way: There’s not a damn thing wrong with being gay.
And I am here to tell you that some of us have chosen to be gay.
Back in the dark ages when I started college, the BLOCs (big lesbians on campus) who convened weekly lesbian meet-ups, made it clear that there would be no sitting on the fence. Either you were straight or gay: Which was it? Most dutifully chose one side of the fence or the other.
A timid few continued to declare themselves bi (that was me in the back of the room, biting my tongue). Once, when we dared suggest that we might form a bi women’s support group, one BLOC told us, “If you want support, go get a bra!”
These decisions played out in various ways over the years and decades that followed. Some who declared themselves lesbians through college are now with men and some are with women.
But I see that dark-ages mentality persisting today, when people want to draw lines around other people’s sexuality. It makes them uncomfortable that someone might choose to cross the line in either direction.
I’ve dated men in the past; I even married and had a child with a man. (Note: My divorce had nothing to do with my sexual preference and everything to do with my then-husband’s unacceptable behavior. I took seriously my vows to love, honor, and respect; he did not.) But I do believe that the period of my life when I want to be romantically attached to a man is over and done with.
Some know from early childhood that they were only ever going to be romantically interested in people of their same sex. To me, these folks are analogous to those who know from childhood that all they ever wanted to be was an engineer or a surgeon. Nice work if you can get it, but I’m not one of them.
I knew from early on that I could be happy in a romantic relationship either with a man or with a woman. From this basis, I’ve had the luxury (or burden, depending) of choosing. I might belong to a small minority of people who can make (and are comfortable making) this choice. But that doesn’t mean we don’t exist.