A question and belief that often intrigues me is the view that homosexuality, in all its forms, could potentially be a choice. Surely if homosexuality is a choice then so is heterosexuality, but that is a position that is often forgotten or not taken in to consideration. An argument, perhaps the most logical, for why heterosexuality is seen as “normal” is for procreation. The less logical and demeaning views are either based upon religious beliefs or ignorance – sometimes a combination of the two.
So a question I’ve been asking myself recently is “who would actually choose to be gay?”
Aside from the fact that most gay people I know have struggled in some way with their sexuality, their attractions and emotions were forming long before they could even put a name to their feelings.
Any person falling within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and more (LGBTQ+) spectrum would be able to tell you that you don’t choose to be the way you are. Once you have understood yourself, you can make choices. It is with that knowledge and that capacity to comprehend what you have encountered inside your head and heart that you can feel brave enough to “come out of the closet”.
The very term “come out of the closet” implies a shying away, a concealment – almost as though it were a deception, yet when was the last time you heard a 13 year old boy go in tears to his friends and family and say “I’m straight”? This doesn’t happen very often.
Schools have a duty to promote equality and fairness, but it is still very difficult for children to “come out” without fear of bullying. Sadly, the bullying can extend into the faculty of teachers itself – professionalism only goes a certain distance whereas a persons individual viewpoints are hard to disguise.
Even though, in the UK, homosexuality is legalised and generally accepted – it is still necessary to have an individual gay bar within a town. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it creates a safe haven and place of comfort and community for people to openly and proudly express themselves. However, it can also be seen as a segregation as there is a large section of the community that will see the Rainbow Flag and not enter out of some form of fear or misunderstanding. So people wouldn’t choose to be gay to “fit in” with the majority or to enter an entire local community, merely a minority section.
If, like most gay people, when you do decide to be open about who are, you are surrounded by a predominantly heterosexual crowd of family, friends, colleagues etc… you then become branded as…”you know the gay one” or “oh look it’s gay John”. The linking of sexuality with personality becomes a definition – you are now moulded and are only guided by your sexuality. This is one of the areas that allows the view of “predatory homosexuals” to continue. This marking out of someone also pervades into introductions. Generally a person is introduced like so:
“This is Amelia – she is a nurse”,
however, with most of the LGBTQ+ community instead of a profession being mentioned – it is 90% the sexuality. This isn’t always offensive but it removes an element of privacy and discretion.
Friendships are also hard to distinguish for people and you are judged on whomever you are spending your time with. If a gay man spends most of his time with a female friend then pretty instantly the lady is described as a “fag hag”. This can be an affectionate term but it is exclusive to the gay community.
With all of the above and the many statistics that prove it is harder to get work as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, that increasingly the community as a whole find it hard to fit in, suffer from increased risk of mental illness and encounter more hate crime than the average heterosexual – I find so hard to believe that anyone would choose to be gay.
Life should be about respecting and loving each other – not tagging, branding and judging.