Wingnuts like Lou Sheldon (right), chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, and the reverends Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and their ilk must cast gayness as a “choice” in order to prevent same-sex orientation from being considered “natural,” which would make gay people worthy of protection under civil rights laws. (Thus ending one of their most lucrative fundraising hot buttons.)
Many years ago, the best response our side could come up with to charges that we “chose” to be gay was – Who would choose to be part of a hated underclass – a societal pariah?Although there is truth to this, it conjures up the very sociological paradigm we’re trying to move past.
The fact is, nobody chooses their sexuality. Some people are born with a predeliction to be 100% straight; others are born definitely gay. What muddies the water – especially for rigid-minded, unworldly folks like Evangelicals who can only see the world in black or white – is that there’s a third group of people whose sexuality is more fluid. These people experiment in college but usually settle down, one way or the other. In this sense, bisexuals can, and do, “choose” their sexual preference.
But here’s the point: If gay people “choose” their sexuality – and presumably this happens at some point during adolesence – then it stands to reason that straight people must make a choice during their teen years too.
So here are some open question to Lou Sheldon: Sir, would you please tell us about the moment in your life when you chose to be heterosexual? What sort of introspection led up to this decision? Was it a difficult choice? And how many sexual encounters with other males did you have before you decided to be straight?
(Of course, this assumes that Sheldon is, in fact, straight. His effeminate, even mincing behavior has set off more than a few gaydar detectors over the years. And the record is now replete with self-loathing gays in the Republican ranks – Jeff Gannon/James Guckert, Rep. Mark Foley, Rep. David Dreier, and Gop operative Arthur Finklestein, just to name a few.)