Today, I mistakenly stumbled upon something on the internet that made me feel weird. And not like good weird, like the way I feel when I drink too much and end up having a solo-dance party to Taylor Swift while whining about how much I love her and how I just wish she would give me a chance and hang out with me because I swear wewouldbebestfriends. It was a post from a Facebook acquaintance by a conservative and seemingly religious blogger about monogamy, which at the end of my day spanned into me trolling some of his other entries, which lead me to this: You Might Not Choose Your Sexual Urges, But You Do Choose Your Lifestyle and Behavior.
Let’s get something straight: I’m not. And it’s not a choice, it’s not something I’ve decided upon – because I make a lot of choices every day and choosing to be gay is not one of them; it just is. When I wake up in the morning I decide to make coffee. I decide if I want to eat a granola bar on my way out the door or if I want to sit and have a bowl of cereal. I decide which tee-shirt I’m going to wear and which direction I’m going to go to get on the highway. I decide what I’m going to have for lunch and if I’m going to go to a yoga class later. I make a lot of decisions in the course of a day but I don’t ever wake up and think: “I think I’ll be gay today.”
In no world would I have consciously elected to live my life in a way that’s challenging and harder. This is not to say I don’t like being gay – in fact I love being gay, I am the gayest. I am gayer than unicorns, fanny packs, and Melissa Etheridge. If my mouth is moving, there’s a 97% chance something gay is coming out of it. I love who I am with every fiber of my being, but I didn’t “choose” to be who I am, I just am who I am. However, if I chose to be gay, I guess I chose to be gay when I was twelve-years-old – because that was the age that I first realized there was something was different about me.
I didn’t even really understand what “gay” meant, but I knew I didn’t feel the way my friends were starting to feel about boys. I had spent most of my childhood and adolescence idolizing and admiring women in my life. It was always my female teachers, camp counselors, and babysitters I was in love with. When I first learned what gay meant, I innately knew it applied to me. I was confused and scared. I was horrified and convinced that I was damaged goods. I hid it from everyone I knew, and had some pretty hard years around it. I went to therapy and I took Prozac. I tried to have boyfriends even though it made me uncomfortable to even kiss them.
In the aforementioned article, the author states that there is no credible evidence that our sexual orientation is generic or ingrained in us from birth. I guess that makes sense to someone who was born a straight male, but I’ll let you know – I was born this way. It’s not a cultural or environmental situation, I was born and raised in a Suburban middle-class town in Connecticut and there was one lesbian in my High School. I mean I guess I could have caught it from her.
“You choose to be gay, because you are not defined by what you feel, but by what you do and how you live. You may not have complete control over those feelings, but your lifestyle is yours to determine.”
Whether or not being gay is a choice or not, it really doesn’t actually matter – but if it is a choice, I’m opting in. Because I deserve to be happy in this life, and I’m not going to be happy unless I’m my authentic self. And my authentic self is gay, very gay. My Grandparents still don’t know and they never will. They’d probably disown me or send me to Jesus camp so I lie to them every time I see them or talk to them. Being gay isn’t easy, but it’s a whole lot easier than pretending to be something I’m not. And if it makes someone else happier to pretend? I feel sorry for them, but that’s their life – not mine. In the end I’m not judging them, or anyone for that matter. Not even the guy who wrote an article that really upset me – because he’s allowed to have an opinion and it was his opinion that gave me the resolve to be vulnerable and reflective and share a piece of myself here. I’m oddly thankful for the opportunity to do so – I don’t really have a large gay community and these days I’m good with who I am and surrounded by people who love me regardless, so I forget that being gay can suck sometimes.
People exist who don’t have the same beliefs as you and it can strike a chord, it can be hurtful. There are people who don’t believe you should have the same basic human rights as everyone else, and that you are beneath them. There are people who think being gay is something to be fixed or remedied – but I won’t put a Band-Aid on being gay, because I already did that for years and it didn’t work or feel good. I’m going to go ahead and act on my urges because I fucking love women and being with them makes me happy. I’m going to date them and love them and probably marry one someday. I will not suppress being gay, because that would suppress my joy and a pretty important piece of me. I’m grateful that as a terrified twelve-year-old, the internet was not the beast that it currently is – it was not yet a booming source of information and opinions. It makes the coming-out process both easier and harder – a double edged sword if you will. There are communities and great sites like Everyone Is Gay, but there’s also people out there telling kids they’re not okay.
Is it a choice? I don’t believe it is. But that’s just my opinion, what’s yours?