I thought we were finally past this, but it seems that the idea that LGBTQ people are LGBTQ by choice is still alive and well. I must admit, I am astonished at the level of ignorance it takes to believe that, with everything we now know about the natural world. In the year 2015, you have to deliberately deny truth in order to believe that people choose to be ridiculed, disowned, and marginalized. After all, that’s what LGBTQ people go through daily, and I would question the mental health of anybody who would choose to be treated in such a way. No, my fundamentalist friends, LGBTQ people have not chosen their orientations or identities, nor are they disordered or broken, nor are they spiritually corrupt. They were born, and they are just fine the way they are. Your cries to the contrary do nothing but cause hurt, suffering, and death.
We see same-sex pairings in virtually every mammalian species, and many non-mammalian species on this planet. The population numbers generally stay under 10%, and they carry characteristics of sexual attraction, romantic attachment, and monogamous commitment, depending on the social structure of the species. To say that homosexuality is unnatural, or not biological – what you must say, if you believe it’s a choice – is just factually incorrect. As for gender identity, the same applies. Sex is biological, gender is cultural. They don’t always match up, and that’s not at all surprising. People are just too varied to fit into boxes. You can’t say “boys must be this way, girls must be that way, and we are all unique,” and then be surprised when a person comes along who is physically male but identifies as female. This idea of choice is just a non-starter, and those who believe it have bought into the weakest argument, against anything, I have ever heard.
Enter religion. I have said before that every argument against LGBTQ people can be traced back to a religious origin, and the more research I do, the more I find that to be true. In the Western world, that origin is Christianity. The problem with Christian opposition is that it falls flat before it even begins. You see, to use the Bible as an authority, you must first accept the presupposition that it’s true. That’s asking a lot for many of us, and it’s troubling that most people who quote the Bible as the reason for their opposition, don’t know the first thing about biblical times, what the book actually says and why, or where it goes wrong. They just believe because they were told to, and you know what? That belief has made a lot of good people do a lot of terrible things. If you think “it’s a choice” is a benign belief, perhaps even insignificant, perhaps an opinion, you are sadly mistaken. That’s where it starts. From “it’s a choice,” to “look at them flaunting themselves,” to “they’re destroying society,” to “they’re oppressing us,” to “we have to take action” … to DEATH … this is how it happens, and this is why it matters.
No, LGBTQ people are not LGBTQ by choice. Yes, they have every right to live openly, as themselves, with the same rights and privileges as the rest of us; and NO, your religious belief does NOT entitle you to persecute them. If you think that an LGBTQ life is less valuable than a non-LGBTQ one, and particularly if you think that an LGBTQ person can be “converted” back to your version of normalcy, I hope you someday open your eyes. In my 26 years as a fundamentalist evangelical, I did a lot of damage to some wonderful people, and I did it because I believed what I was told in church. Years later, when I found out how much death and sorrow those views have caused, I felt sick to my stomach. I was lied to (as were my parents, and their parents, and so on), and if you still think it’s a choice, the difference between you and I is that I no longer believe that lie. I choose love. I choose truth. I choose honesty. I choose equality. I stand for humanity because it’s the right thing to do. If you stand against people who are different from you, and if you you believe you will get an eternal reward for doing so … if you “love the sinner, hate the sin” … if you think it’s a choice … I feel sorry for you.