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Decisions, decisions

There is some “debate” over whether being queer (or homosexual or trans or whatever) is a choice or not. There is evidence, from both the lives of queer people and biology, that it is not, but that’s not going to be the focus of this piece. I’m seriously on the fence about the use of science in civil rights. It’s not that I think it wouldn’t help, it could (while simultaneously hindering, in a “Twilight of the Golds” type way, science is neutral like that), and I don’t think it’s a question that shouldn’t be asked from a scientific “we like to learn things” perspective. I just think that the issue is moot. My response to the scientific end of whether being queer is a choice is “we don’t really know yet, who cares?”

From my personal experience, and the experience of those I’ve spoken to, it also does not seem to be a choice. However, I again think that this is moot, whether being queer is a choice or not has nothing to do with whether or not there is something wrong with it. I choose a lot of things that other people consider wrong that are completely neutral. Many people decry metal and tabletop rpg’s, and I really couldn’t argue that my preferences in music or hobbies were based in biology. The issue is that the arguments brought up that being queer (usually addressing homosexuality) is wrong fall short, whether they be religiously based or questions of “health and safety” (aka blaming people for the discrimination they face).

The thing is, if there were something wrong with being queer, it would be wrong even if it were inborn, and if it was neutral then it would be so even if someone were to choose it. So the real issue is not whether it is a choice at all. (Though I did hear someone argue that anyone choosing to be queer would be wrong, while it being inborn is OK; a speaker at an LGBTA meeting at my university and a major “WTF” moment for me.)

But my biggest issue with this debate is one common response to the “it’s a choice” accusation: “who would chose this?” I understand that people use it to point out the discrimination faced by queer people, but the tone that often accompanies that seems to paint a picture of perpetually unhappy people. I’ve been thinking about that question for some time and I’ve come to the conclusion that the answer is “me”. Now, I don’t wish to imply that I have chosen my sexuality or gender, I don’t seem to have had much say in the matter (though I have total control over the labels I use and how I express myself). However, knowing what I do about myself, having faced what I have so far, I wouldn’t change anything. If I could go back to my 11 year old self and change my budding sexuality, or back to my four year old self and normalize my gender identity somehow, I wouldn’t put in the effort. My 11 and four year old selves felt differently at the time, but my current self is not only OK with these aspects of me, I consider them to be preferable for myself to the alternatives. So if I can (retroactively) chose a queer gender and sexuality, then what is wrong with anyone who might do so in real time?

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