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Old Nov 11, 2012, 02:12 AM   #1
AP_piano295
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Why is the "choice" aspect of homosexuality so central to the gay equality argument?

Up front I'm absolutely certain that homosexuality has genetic origins. I'm also equally certain that choice and life experiences do play some role in determining sexual preferences as well.

Some people are going to be so far towards gay or strait on the spectrum that they effectively don't make any choice about it. They are absolutely born to be one way or the other. Other people are more towards the center, they might call themselves bi or they may never think of themselves this way their experiences and choices might steer them clearly towards one sex or the other despite their genetics.

But who cares? If you've decided that being with a man or a women regardless of your own gender, will make you happy than no one has any business interfering with that.

Why has the gay equality movement made the inflexibility of sexual orientation such a lynch pin in the argument?

Maybe they haven't maybe this is just my interpretation because the anti-gay side of the argument's claim that sexual orientation is purely choice has created the illusion through retaliation of the gay rights proponents that this point is central to their argument as well?
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 02:30 AM   #2
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Because no choice wasn't made. I didn't choose to be gay, I just was. And did straight people choose to be straight? It's not because there was some point in all our lives where we came at this dilemma of choosing to be gay or straight. It just is. It's offensive when your lifestyle that still not widely accepted is being thought of a "choice." I didn't choose to be this. But if I could, I wouldn't change who I am.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 03:11 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by AP_piano295 View Post
But who cares? If you've decided that being with a man or a women regardless of your own gender, will make you happy than no one has any business interfering with that.
There was no decision being made. What you or others perceive as "decision" is simply the acceptance that you or 'they' are different than the hetero norm and are going with what your heart (or libido) want.

Human sexuality is a physical matter which we cannot control (as you said genetic - but that's up for debate) whereas sexual identity is all in our heads. The way you define yourself sexually is the way you can fit you and your sexual needs in today's society. This is where the illusion of "choice" is being made. You can choose to deny your sexual orientation but that doesn't change who you really are - you've always been that way and when you decide to live openly and honestly you simply are doing what every heterosexual person has been doing all this time.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 03:22 AM   #4
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Whilst I agree with the rational, scientific and generally medically accepted view that people do not 'choose' their sexuality, I agree the whole line of argument is a bit odd.

I can see why it is done - if you convince the sceptical people that sexuality is not a choice it becomes easier to convince them to support equality by comparing the issue to race, gender etc.

However, it doesn't logically follow that something should be allowed or prohibited on the basis of whether a characteristic is innate. If people could take a pill to change their skin colour would we suddenly have an argument to restrict interracial marriage? Of course not! The choice v innate debate is a distraction.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 04:02 AM   #5
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Because no choice wasn't made. I didn't choose to be gay, I just was. And did straight people choose to be straight? It's not because there was some point in all our lives where we came at this dilemma of choosing to be gay or straight. It just is. It's offensive when your lifestyle that still not widely accepted is being thought of a "choice." I didn't choose to be this. But if I could, I wouldn't change who I am.
You very well may not have, I agree I didn't choose to be straight.

But my experiences are not those shared by everyone, some people don't rest squarely in one genetic camp or the other. Generally we call these people bi sexual but I'm sure many people in that range have classified themselves or as either strait or gay.

Making "choice" the lynch pin of your argument dis-regards people who perhaps did make a choice. A choice being made doesn't in any way change the nature of the question at hand.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 04:09 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by AP_piano295 View Post
Up front I'm absolutely certain that homosexuality has genetic origins. I'm also equally certain that choice and life experiences do play some role in determining sexual preferences as well.

Some people are going to be so far towards gay or strait on the spectrum that they effectively don't make any choice about it. They are absolutely born to be one way or the other. Other people are more towards the center, they might call themselves bi or they may never think of themselves this way their experiences and choices might steer them clearly towards one sex or the other despite their genetics.

But who cares? If you've decided that being with a man or a women regardless of your own gender, will make you happy than no one has any business interfering with that.

Why has the gay equality movement made the inflexibility of sexual orientation such a lynch pin in the argument?

Maybe they haven't maybe this is just my interpretation because the anti-gay side of the argument's claim that sexual orientation is purely choice has created the illusion through retaliation of the gay rights proponents that this point is central to their argument as well?
Anti gay bigots call homosexuality a choice because they know their views are discriminatory if they are objecting to an inborn trait. Like limiting someone's rights due to their skin color. Something they were born as and cannot change. By saying being gay is a choice they claim they are against a choice or action. Versus being against someone for being who they were born to be.

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Old Nov 11, 2012, 04:15 AM   #7
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There was no decision being made. What you or others perceive as "decision" is simply the acceptance that you or 'they' are different than the hetero norm and are going with what your heart (or libido) want.

Human sexuality is a physical matter which we cannot control (as you said genetic - but that's up for debate) whereas sexual identity is all in our heads. The way you define yourself sexually is the way you can fit you and your sexual needs in today's society. This is where the illusion of "choice" is being made. You can choose to deny your sexual orientation but that doesn't change who you really are - you've always been that way and when you decide to live openly and honestly you simply are doing what every heterosexual person has been doing all this time.
Again it's naive to imagine that human sexuality is so simple, you're choice to define it in a binary manner is ridiculous.

Human sexuality is (I am certain) coded for by many many genes, some more important than others. These genes probably influence a range of traits from brain development to hormone production.

For many people their code places them squarely in one camp or the other, but it's certain that some people rest nearer the dividing line. The very existence of bi-sexual people is proof of this.

People are not gay, strait, or bi our sexuality is much much much more complex than this. And it is un-imaginable to me that our environment and our experiences do not have some influence on how our sexual preferences develop.

Building an argument around the existence of some sexual binary cheapens people's experiences, and yes their choices by implying that the only meaningful characteristics are those which we are born too.

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Anti gay bigots call homosexuality a choice because they know their views are discriminatory if they are objecting to an inborn trait. Like limiting someone's rights due to their skin color. Something they were born as and cannot change. By saying being gay is a choice they claim they are against a choice or action. Versus being against someone for being who they were born to be.
I'm well aware of what the anti gay camps arguments are.

I'm asking why the the side for sexual equality has allowed them to dictate the the argument to revolve around the issue of "choice".

People's sexual preferences do change, most people's preferences do not fluctuate to members of the opposite sex but certainly some people's do. This is a fact, the pro sexual equality camp shouldn't be arguing that a genetic certainty is a pre-condition for equal treatment under the law.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 04:37 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by AP_piano295 View Post
You very well may not have, I agree I didn't choose to be straight.

But my experiences are not those shared by everyone, some people don't rest squarely in one genetic camp or the other. Generally we call these people bi sexual but I'm sure many people in that range have classified themselves or as either strait or gay.

Making "choice" the lynch pin of your argument dis-regards people who perhaps did make a choice. A choice being made doesn't in any way change the nature of the question at hand.
Choices are made all the time. However, you were born with your own sexual identity. Bisexuality, arguably is existent in all humans as Freud said some just act upon it more. Those who choose to be gay (if there any) more than likely due so for a relationship. The problem with this "choice" crap being hurled all the time is they think our entire lifestyle, everything we do, we are is a choice. And like I said for those people who do choose do so only for sexual reasons but this is about the entire lifestyle. The entire person.

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Originally Posted by AP_piano295 View Post

I'm asking why the the side for sexual equality has allowed them to dictate the the argument to revolve around the issue of "choice".

People's sexual preferences do change, most people's preferences do not fluctuate to members of the opposite sex but certainly some people's do. This is a fact, the pro sexual equality camp shouldn't be arguing that a genetic certainty is a pre-condition for equal treatment under the law.
Is "sexual equality" the term used in your area of the world? If not, then: It's not about sex, it's about person wanting equal rights.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 05:23 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by AP_piano295 View Post
Again it's naive to imagine that human sexuality is so simple, you're choice to define it in a binary manner is ridiculous.

Human sexuality is (I am certain) coded for by many many genes, some more important than others. These genes probably influence a range of traits from brain development to hormone production.

For many people their code places them squarely in one camp or the other, but it's certain that some people rest nearer the dividing line. The very existence of bi-sexual people is proof of this.

People are not gay, strait, or bi our sexuality is much much much more complex than this. And it is un-imaginable to me that our environment and our experiences do not have some influence on how our sexual preferences develop.

Building an argument around the existence of some sexual binary cheapens people's experiences, and yes their choices by implying that the only meaningful characteristics are those which we are born too.

----------



I'm well aware of what the anti gay camps arguments are.

I'm asking why the the side for sexual equality has allowed them to dictate the the argument to revolve around the issue of "choice".

People's sexual preferences do change, most people's preferences do not fluctuate to members of the opposite sex but certainly some people's do. This is a fact, the pro sexual equality camp shouldn't be arguing that a genetic certainty is a pre-condition for equal treatment under the law.
The type of guy I like may change but I still like guys. That has never been a choice.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 06:16 AM   #10
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They think our entire lifestyle, everything we do, we are is a choice. And like I said for those people who do choose do so only for sexual reasons but this is about the entire lifestyle. The entire person.[COLOR="#808080"]
Do you wan't your entire lifestyle to be something programmed into your genes? How you dress, what you eat, what you believe in, how you choose to behave, who you chose to associate with?


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Is "sexual equality" the term used in your area of the world? If not, then: It's not about sex, it's about person wanting equal rights.
Equal treatment under the law regardless of sexual preferences, in regards to behavior between consenting adults is what I mean.

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The type of guy I like may change but I still like guys. That has never been a choice.
If you're bi-sexual this is not the case.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 07:16 AM   #11
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Even if it were a choice, which it isn't ( just think about going and picking up a guy as a straight male) people should have the freedom to choose.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 09:53 AM   #12
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Do you wan't your entire lifestyle to be something programmed into your genes? How you dress, what you eat, what you believe in, how you choose to behave, who you chose to associate with?




Equal treatment under the law regardless of sexual preferences, in regards to behavior between consenting adults is what I mean.

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If you're bi-sexual this is not the case.
Being bisexual is not a choice either. You are focusing on the act of sex. Not on sexuality as a state of being or attraction. If you are straight, you are naturally attracted to women. The type of woman may change, but the base sex does not.

If you are gay or bisexual it's the same. Someone bisexual has a base attraction for both sexes.

What is the point you're trying to make? Whatever it is, you're not communicating it well.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 10:14 AM   #13
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What is the point you're trying to make?

Whatever it is, you're not communicating it well.
A very pointed question, and one that I was forming when I came to your post.

As close as I can come is the the OP is trying to stir up the same mud all over again.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 10:24 AM   #14
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First, the bulk of the scientific evidence suggests that homosexuality is an emergent property of brain structure that is determined early in life. It is hard to evaluate the moral status of any kind of sexuality if one doesn't understand its origins.

Second, the whole choice thing relates to the notion of sin. People feel comfortable condemning others for their choices, but not for the fundamental properties that define them.

Third, associated with the myth that homosexuality is a choice is the idea that it can be treated. This has led to some dark moments in medical history. For example, in the 1960's a neurologist named Heath (Tulane University) tried to treat homosexuality through direct electrical stimulation of the brain of a male homosexual. The neurologist stimulated the reward pathways of the patient's brain while a female prostitute stimulated him sexually. The hope was the patient would associate the pleasure of the brain stimulation with having sex with women. To be fair to Heath, back then homosexuality was considered a mental illness that he was trying to 'cure' his patient.

Thus, it really does matter how we think about homosexuality, and indeed any other form of sexuality. For instance, should a physician assume that somebody reporting asexuality needs treatment because they are sick?
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 10:38 AM   #15
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You know what's absolutely, 100%, no question about it, a choice?

Religion.

And yet we have freedom of religion as one of our most protected values.

The problem is that followers of some religions aren't happy unless they can turn their religious beliefs into law.

Whether my sexual orientation is a choice, a whim, inborn, or some complex combination of factors, at the end of the day, what it is is MINE. Not yours. Not the Pope's. Not Mitt Romney's And hence, 100% none of your or their business. Mitt Romney has as much moral right to decide on my relationships as I do on his. NONE. The Pope can tell Catholics to follow him. No one else, least of all the legislatures of other countries.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 11:08 AM   #16
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The argument is evolving.

When people were being killed and shunned for their behavior, the "I should be free to do what I want" argument is a non-starter.

It had to begin with, "I was born this way. It is not a choice."

But I completely agree with the OP. The real argument is whether society can deny consenting adults equal rights based on who they choose to associate with. And in my opinion, society can't.

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For instance, should a physician assume that somebody reporting asexuality needs treatment because they are sick?
I aspire to asexuality in my next life.

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Old Nov 11, 2012, 11:10 AM   #17
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I aspire to asexuality in my next life.

Live long enough and it will acquire you.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 03:13 PM   #18
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People are not gay, strait, or bi our sexuality is much much much more complex than this.
What? Are their 4th, 5th and 6th categories that I do not know about? Because from where I am sitting, we are all one of those three things.

1. Straight - Only likes opposite sex. This is a lifelong thing.
2. Gay - Only likes same sex. This is a lifelong thing.
3. Bisexual - Attracted to both sexes. Some may be more attracted to the same sex, others may be attracted more to the opposite sex, but the thing they have in common is that both sexes are attractive to them

Now, you might say someone goes from a primarily straight to gay or gay to straight relationship, but that person was bisexual to begin with. People in the truly gay and straight categories aren't going to change teams. Outside of brainwashing of course...and horrible lab experiments that try to force someone to be a certain way, but that's a separate matter entirely.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 10:16 PM   #19
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Being bisexual is not a choice either. You are focusing on the act of sex. Not on sexuality as a state of being or attraction. If you are straight, you are naturally attracted to women. The type of woman may change, but the base sex does not.

If you are gay or bisexual it's the same. Someone bisexual has a base attraction for both sexes.

What is the point you're trying to make? Whatever it is, you're not communicating it well.
There are probably many people in the range of sexuality which could be considered "bi-sexual" who consider themselves to be gay, or strait.

The point that I'm trying to make is that the central argument for equality should not revolve around something which is basically a non sequitur. Why has the gay rights movement decided made their central argument something which should not matter.

If you say that gay people should be allowed to be married because they don't have a choice about who they are attracted too then you're functionally saying that bi-sexual people should chose heterosexually since they do have that choice.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 10:43 PM   #20
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I agree with you. I have no doubt that homosexuality has biological origin. My friends who are gay didn't one day say, "hey, I think I'm gonna be gay, dude"...it was more of a, "hey, I've been gay all my life and have hidden it due to social repercussions".

But even if it was a 'choice', which I do not believe it is, it should be irrelevant. I base that statement on the fact that you 'choose' to get married. There is no biological requirement that you commit to someone else (of any sex), and so heterosexual 'choice' exists in this case. So by that reasoning, if homosexuality is a choice, then heterosexuality is also a choice, meaning the two cannot be ranked or ordered because they are of the same. Therefore, any and all legal rights should be one and of the same.

But people don't think like that. They use the 'choice' argument to justify discrimination...then they turn right around and talk about how much 'freedom' we have.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 12:22 AM   #21
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Making "choice" the lynch pin of your argument dis-regards people who perhaps did make a choice. A choice being made doesn't in any way change the nature of the question at hand.
Choice is not the lynch pin of the gay rights argument. The whole "we're humans, we deserve equal rights" point is. The choice discussion comes into play to combat the "lifestyle" moronics and also, as some said, to emphasize that sexuality is a human characteristic and not a deliberate decision. Decisions have societal repercussions, positive or negative, characteristics should not.

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You know what's absolutely, 100%, no question about it, a choice?

Religion.

And yet we have freedom of religion as one of our most protected values.

The problem is that followers of some religions aren't happy unless they can turn their religious beliefs into law.
Excellently said. And one step further, they aren't happy unless they can enforce their religious beliefs on others. I don't care what Mormons, Muslims, Protestants, or whoever else practices in their own homes. I am not religious, but I would not want their rights or beliefs taken away. The same cannot be said in reverse.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 09:43 AM   #22
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 01:32 PM   #23
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Anti gay bigots call homosexuality a choice because they know their views are discriminatory if they are objecting to an inborn trait. Like limiting someone's rights due to their skin color. Something they were born as and cannot change. By saying being gay is a choice they claim they are against a choice or action. Versus being against someone for being who they were born to be.
I have to disagree with you.

I am a gay male and have identified myself as gay my entire life. I have memories of homosexual inclinations, thoughts, and even actions that date all the way back to when I was about 4 or 5 (I'm 31 now) and I while I do agree that I never chose to feel that way about men, it is 100% my choice as to whether I practice or involve myself in this lifestyle. And I can tell you that ALL of it is always going to be my choice. What I wear, where I go, who I have sex with, who I date. It is purely my CHOICE and no one else's. No one has ever (and no one will ever) forced me to engage in an emotional or sexual relationship with another man or woman.

I know that there are lot of people out there who approach this issue from a hateful point of view, and I know there are religious/political extremists, and the bigots, as you said. But I also know there are a lot of good-hearted people who call it a choice as well. This subject is often intertwined with religion and because it is largely viewed as a sin or unacceptable, they are left with no alternative but to call it a choice because that's what it is. From a religious point of view, in the end, all we are judged on is what we do. Our actions are the only thing that will damn us. I believe it is accepted and understood that the desires, feelings, wants, and urges come naturally to us but ultimately it is up to us to CHOOSE whether we give into it or abstain from it. So, technically speaking, I do have the choice to exercise that lifestyle and I also have the choice to suppress it. Whether that is considered to be a healthy alternative is a whole other story, nonetheless that is a choice. And by abstaining from the lifestyle I'm not suggesting forcing oneself to become heterosexal, either. If you don't like the opposite sex, there's nothing that will make you like it. But there is the choice to remain celibate. All these things are choices we can make for ourselves. It's entirely up to us. Just because I choose not to be with a man, that does not mean I "have to" be with women now. I can choose to be with neither.

Yes, I know you'll probably say "well, even if you abstain from being gay you're still going to be gay because your desires and feelings will remain with you". Yeah, that's true but let me say this too: I could sit here all day long and fantasize and think about and lust over the idea of breaking into an Apple store and stealing a new iMac, iPad, and iPhone because I want and desire them, but can you call me a thief because I think of it? Can you charge me and judge me for theft if I think of it but don't do it? By definition, no, that wouldn't make a thief until I actually did it. That some logic could be applied to this. All of us are often tempted with things. From junk food, to alcohol, to drugs, sex, easy money, cheating on a spouse, etc... we all have desires and cravings but we abstain from what we feel doesn't benefit us or satisfy our moral compass. If I ever felt being gay is bad for me - regardless of my desires to be with a man - I know I have the freedom and CHOICE to not engage in emotional/sexual relations with other men.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 01:40 PM   #24
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Caliber26, don't confuse choice of attraction with choice of action because that's where this whole misunderstanding stems from.

Yes, you can "choose" to act out your sexual orientation but you can't chose to be attracted to men or women. This whole choice-argument is all about justifying homosexuality as being a voluntary choice to have same-sex relations opposite living "normally".

You and I know well we can't help ourselves when another man - attractive to us - makes us fluster with butterflies. Many people actually believe we just pretend to when in fact it's our natural response - just the same they get when it comes to someone of the opposite gender.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 03:25 PM   #25
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I have to disagree with you.

I am a gay male and have identified myself as gay my entire life. I have memories of homosexual inclinations, thoughts, and even actions that date all the way back to when I was about 4 or 5 (I'm 31 now) and I while I do agree that I never chose to feel that way about men, it is 100% my choice as to whether I practice or involve myself in this lifestyle. And I can tell you that ALL of it is always going to be my choice. What I wear, where I go, who I have sex with, who I date. It is purely my CHOICE and no one else's. No one has ever (and no one will ever) forced me to engage in an emotional or sexual relationship with another man or woman.

I know that there are lot of people out there who approach this issue from a hateful point of view, and I know there are religious/political extremists, and the bigots, as you said. But I also know there are a lot of good-hearted people who call it a choice as well. This subject is often intertwined with religion and because it is largely viewed as a sin or unacceptable, they are left with no alternative but to call it a choice because that's what it is. From a religious point of view, in the end, all we are judged on is what we do. Our actions are the only thing that will damn us. I believe it is accepted and understood that the desires, feelings, wants, and urges come naturally to us but ultimately it is up to us to CHOOSE whether we give into it or abstain from it. So, technically speaking, I do have the choice to exercise that lifestyle and I also have the choice to suppress it. Whether that is considered to be a healthy alternative is a whole other story, nonetheless that is a choice. And by abstaining from the lifestyle I'm not suggesting forcing oneself to become heterosexal, either. If you don't like the opposite sex, there's nothing that will make you like it. But there is the choice to remain celibate. All these things are choices we can make for ourselves. It's entirely up to us. Just because I choose not to be with a man, that does not mean I "have to" be with women now. I can choose to be with neither.

Yes, I know you'll probably say "well, even if you abstain from being gay you're still going to be gay because your desires and feelings will remain with you". Yeah, that's true but let me say this too: I could sit here all day long and fantasize and think about and lust over the idea of breaking into an Apple store and stealing a new iMac, iPad, and iPhone because I want and desire them, but can you call me a thief because I think of it? Can you charge me and judge me for theft if I think of it but don't do it? By definition, no, that wouldn't make a thief until I actually did it. That some logic could be applied to this. All of us are often tempted with things. From junk food, to alcohol, to drugs, sex, easy money, cheating on a spouse, etc... we all have desires and cravings but we abstain from what we feel doesn't benefit us or satisfy our moral compass. If I ever felt being gay is bad for me - regardless of my desires to be with a man - I know I have the freedom and CHOICE to not engage in emotional/sexual relations with other men.
You lost me with "But there is the choice to remain celibate." And comparing being gay to being a thief, alcohol or drug user. I reject the comparison.
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