Is Being Gay a Choice?

Recently I’ve noticed a few articles online on this subject which came from Christian sources. Most of these articles suggested that being ‘born Gay’ is a myth and attempted to pass this idea off as something perpetuated by the Gay community in order to gain acceptance from society.

Of course, many Christians believe that being Gay is immoral and constitutes a ‘sin’ according to the Bible, there are even various camps and processes which certain Christian groups claim can make a person straight again. The idea that being Gay is not genetic is largely based on the lack of evidence for a so-called ‘Gay gene’ and of course, the fact that Christian groups really want it to be true because they feel that they can use the idea that Gay is a choice to stigmatise those who choose same-sex relationships.

Of course we know that it isn’t only Christians who discriminate based on sexual orientation, I’m simply using this example because it was the one which brought it to my attention.

Today then I’d like to explain my own thoughts on this subject, please note however that I don’t claim to be an expert in any way, I’m no scientist or theologian and I don’t claim to know more than the average layperson on this subject, I am simply a Human being with an opinion and as always, I am more than happy to alter my view on the science of the matter if new evidence were to come to light.

Do I think people are born Gay?

Gay Fathers hug their newborn Son - Huffington Post
Gay Fathers hug their newborn Son – Huffington Post

No. It might be a slightly controversial view for an Atheist from what I’ve seen, but I don’t believe that people are born Gay, I don’t imagine there is a specific Gay gene and, while we’re on the subject of genetics, I also don’t believe that anyone is ‘born in the wrong body’, your body and mind are one, your mind comes from your brain which is a part of the Human body, so whatever sex you are born as is naturally the correct one as far as I see it.

Don’t misunderstand me though, I also don’t believe that anyone is born straight, I think we’re simply born as essentially blank states with some genetic attributes, like a freshly generated Dungeons & Dragons character with a set of basic stats and no back story or practiced skills. I think that the most likely scenario is that our sexual orientation and sexual identity come from a combination of our experiences throughout our formative years and how our brains interpret those experiences. I suspect that (sorry Christians) every single person is able to be Gay or straight and a subconscious ‘choice’ is made based on our preference as it happens during our early years.

It’s entirely possible that, like many of our base instincts, an event in later life might be able to alter our views regarding our sexuality, in many single-sex environments such as prisons, for example, people have been known to ‘make the switch’ and I suspect that this is partially due to those people realising in due course that there is another option and that only stigma or life events have previously closed the possibility to them.

Does it matter?

This is just for illustration, how dare you suggest otherwise? ;)
This is just for illustration, how dare you suggest otherwise? 😉

Not even the tiniest amount. The real issue here isn’t whether a person is born Gay, whether it is subconsciously chosen or whether they make an active decision to choose to be gay later in life, the point is that, if gay is a choice, then it’s an absolutely fine choice to make and if a person makes that choice they have every right to be respected and allowed to live their lives however they see fit. What on Earth makes anybody think that they have the right to judge or discriminate against people who choose a same-sex relationship or who wish to live their lives as a different sex?

So your religion says it’s wrong? Well that’s just dandy, you are entitled to your opinion of course, but discrimination based on this opinion, spreading hate based on this opinion, these things are not acceptable at all. This is exactly the issue with religion, it seems to feel that everyone should live by its own ideas of right and wrong. The idea that being Gay is only OK if a person can’t help it is to suggest that making the choice to be Gay is inherently bad, that it’s similar to Paedophilia or Psychopathy in that a person cannot help their immoral urges.

Do these religious zealots think that acceptance of homosexuality will cause it to spread like some sort of virus across the world? That suddenly we’ll all realise that we can choose to be Gay and do so simply because we can? Over the years I’ve often thought that it would be nice to be bisexual as it would open up so many opportunities for relationships and experiences which I would otherwise be unable to enter into. Sadly, most of us can see that it isn’t this simple, changing one’s sexual orientation would be an extremely difficult thing to do for most people and is certainly something that should never be forced upon anyone.

An ad campaign to raise Trans awareness
An ad campaign to raise Trans awareness

What I’m saying here of course, is that it simply does not matter whether there’s a Gay gene, it doesn’t matter if a person can be born in the wrong body, if a person chooses these paths then they should be completely entitled to do so and to expect the same level of respect and protection from hatred as everyone else. It’s time to stop wondering why people make these choices and to simply accept them.

As a Father one of my hopes in life is that my Children grow up in a world where the idea of ‘coming out of  the closet’ is defunct, if any of my kids were to enter into a same-sex relationship I’d hope that they simply wouldn’t tell me, no coming out, no worrying about how to explain their choices. I’d love for them to simply bring their partner around to meet me and introduce them simply as such. That’s the world I want to live in and the world I want for my Children. If only it wasn’t for those who choose religion….

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