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Lifestyle choice? Not!


If you’ve been paying any attention at all during this political season, you have heard right-wing politicians and (so called) Christians carrying on about the evils of gay people and gayness. The volume reached a high point during the Republican presidential primary. Some of the justification for this bigotry centers on the idea that this is all about choice. Somehow we choose to be gay. Or, in their parlance, we choose “the gay lifestyle.”

And anyone who is gay, plus most people who are intelligent and fair-minded, know this is nonsense. We are born the way we are, and being gay is not a lifestyle.

And yet, for late bloomers, choice can be a bit of a slippery concept. The truth is, we have made a choice. We have chosen, finally, to live as gay men. Does this mean we are choosing “the gay lifestyle,” whatever that is?

Of course not.

Yes, we choose to come out and live out as gay men. That’s not the same thing as choosing a sexual orientation. It’s choosing to be honest – with ourselves and with the rest of the world.

But it’s not quite as simple as that. In order to be considered a late bloomer, one has to have made another choice first – the choice to hide. For whatever reasons – and the reasons are as varied as humanity – we chose to hide first, before we chose to be honest. So it’s really about two choices – one to hide and another to reverse that choice, and come out.

And furthermore, there’s this: even if it were a choice, there’s no such thing as “the” gay lifestyle. I assume that in the fevered dreams of the loudest homophobes (they sound almost envious) the “gay lifestyle” is one of endless parties, sex, and short-term – instantaneous, even – relationships. Total hedonism.

Well, that is certainly true of some. True of a certain slice of the straight population, too. But then there’s the rest of us. Our lifestyles are as diverse as we are. And our lifestyles are as normal – and sometimes as boring – as we are. Gay lifestyles are exactly like everyone else’s life styles, except the participants happen to be gay.

As late bloomers we need to stand up and be proud of ourselves and the choice we made. We have chosen honesty over lies, truth in spite of consequences. We choose to be out, not to be gay. One choice is admirable. The other impossible.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Margaret Ellis permalink
    06/23/2012 9:12 AM

    Well spoken, David.

    • 06/23/2012 9:13 AM

      Thanks, dear.

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