A huge and happy hooray for Ireland and Guam and their passing same-sex marriage!
When countries start the process of considering equal marriage, all the old school, ignorant arguments against gays come out of the wood work. A lovely time where we’re told on a daily basis how horrible homosexuals are, how we are the gateway to incest, bestiality and paedophilia.
But in the end, it always seems to boil down to the same question.
Are we born this way?
Is this something genetically ingrained in us? Can we control it? Did we choose this lifestyle?
And to an extent…yes. I did choose this way of life.
I could choose to be with a man. Incidentally choosing to be miserable and hating every second of my life. But instead I’ve chosen to live a glorious and wonderful life filled with happiness and excellent sex, with a woman.
So yes I chose this life. I chose to be happy.
But did I choose to be gay?
Well, there have been countless studies with a huge range of results, depending on who commissioned the studies in the first place.
So we’ve heard everything from “Children raised by gay parents are happier and healthier than those raised by straight parents” to “children raised by gay parents have shorter life spans”
Brilliant. Very helpful there.
But here’s my stance…
Why does it matter? It’s about as important as knowing if people are born liking marmite.
Is liking marmite genetically engrained? Or is it something in our environment that makes us like marmite? Maybe something traumatic happened in someone’s past that created the dislike of this condiment. Or maybe they just haven’t found the right marmite for them yet.
Liking marmite, being gay, neither is “right” or “wrong”. It just is.
And whether it’s from nature or nurture, doesn’t impact on whether being gay is moral or immoral. In any case, it’s not really an excuse for the demonization or inequality that many LGBT people experience.
But I understand why people fight on the side of genetics.
For instance, I don’t hugely enjoy people justifying my homosexuality by saying I come from a broken home, or must have been abused in my past, or that I have severe Daddy issues. I’m not broken or crazy. I’m just gay.
From the gentle comments of “it’s just a phase”, to the far more extreme and distressing acts of “corrective rape”; having people understand that homosexuality is not something that a person can control or change may be a step towards stopping both thoughtless comments and horrific acts of violence.
But maybe finding a genetic factor could actually have a negative impact on the future of the gay community? Would people then pursue finding a “cure”? Would “homosexuality” be added to the list of choices in a Designer Baby Clinic?
So what do we do? Do we concentrate on poking the gay finger at either our genetics or the way we were raised? Or do we work towards making this world better for LGBT people, no matter how we ended up the fabulous way we are?