By S. Vaishnavi:
Ever since gay rights have been brought into the limelight, there have been constant debates as to whether it’s a gift of God or gift of society. Homosexuality, if inherent from birth, is seen as significantly more acceptable, as opposed to when people make a choice to be so. Many have already attempted to validate or incriminate homosexuality based on arguments of ‘it’s inherent’ vs. ‘they choose to be’.
Some studies succeeded in getting to some results. There was a recent study that was published according to which homosexuality is 40% genetic and 60% caused by environmental influences, being very specific about the apparent contributions of nature and nurture. It is a remarkable attempt, although I still do not understand how it is supposed to translate to everyday sentiments. Are people going to go around being 40% ‘okay’ with homosexual behaviour, and 60% not?
We can see that this line of thought inevitably throws the ‘choice to be homosexual’ behind bars. “Why can’t you just choose to be straight?” We have all heard this argument. Having a choice to be straight and choosing to be gay while at it is viewed as morally wrong. However, if you are born that way, poor you, you had no choice, therefore you areÂ excused.
It is pretty hard to see the underlying message behind this, which is why people all over the world- homosexuals, and their supporters alike, are trying to prove that homosexuality is inborn, hoping that would lead to mass acceptance. However, in this argument, we are diminishing homosexuality to a disease, as a disability, a pitiable condition. We are saying, ‘oh you had no choice but to be wrong? All right, you can walk.’ This is not acceptance. This is pity. It is tolerance. But we don’t need people to be able toÂ just put up with homosexuals. We need people to recognize that this sexual preference is someone’s right, and when you are criminalizing it, you are denying them, the basic human rights. We need people to accept homosexuality. And acceptance is when we agree that being homosexual, whether by choice or otherwise, is not wrong. It is when we treat it as no bigger a deal than someone liking oranges over apples.
Digging deeper, I honestly do not see one good reason why choosing to be homosexual is so wrong. We all choose to be different things, in accordance with what lets us lead the most comfortable life. Â I could be a lawyer and practice art in my free time while humming along to the tunes of hakuna matata. These are all choices that make me who I am, and handcuffing my right to be able to choose is taking away my fundamental right to freedom. Apply the same argument to sexual orientation, and it soon enough becomes pretty apparent that curbing someone’s homosexual preference is taking away his or her right.
Many would argue that it’s not the same. Your choice to hum along to hakuna matata affects no one else, but you. However, someone’s choice to be homosexual affects others around them, they would say. I beg to differ. When you actually think about it, my specific choice to be attracted to someone of the same gender would, andÂ shouldÂ affect no one else but the subject of my interest. In fact, there are many other choices I make in my life that are more likely to affect other people around me, like the choice to indulge in irresponsible consumerism, the choice to not vote, the choice to dispose of my garbage on the road etc.
Another perception is that if you let it, homosexuality ‘breeds’. Well, that makes it sound like everyone on Earth would one day turn to homosexuality if it were legalized. Firstly, homosexuality is not something that allÂ people will turn to it, through some mass conversion scheme. It is just a different preference, and as I said before, it is like the difference between liking apples and oranges. Secondly, if that were true, places that have legalized it already (like the Netherlands) should be brimming or close to brimming with homosexuals everywhere. But we know for a fact that that is not the case. Thirdly, even if homosexuality does ‘breed’, the only rational problem with it seems to be possible stalling of reproduction, which is another argument homophobic apologists don’t waste time in bringing up. The common argument is that the traditional familial structure gets destroyed, andÂ people would not want children anymore. This slippery slope argument forgets that there is no established link between being gay and not wanting children. Being exposed to so many gay couples we know for sure that is not the case. Famous gay couples have adopted children and the desire to raise a child rarely stems from being part of a heterosexual family that gave birth to the said child. And once they want children, there are means of getting to it, be it surrogacy or adoption. So there is no problem here, either.
Perhaps it is time we vindicate choice to homosexuality. Let’s stop saying homosexuals do not have a choice. It simply does not matter. If we are willing to treat individuals as people who deserve freedom, if we are willing to side with humanity and bestow people with basic rights of choice, if we are willing to look past what we areÂ used to, to make another person feel comfortable, there need not be any excuse, any apology for homosexuality- just open-minded acceptance.