Lie #2: They know that being gay is the result of a conscious “decision,” an immoral “choice.”
Reality #1: In matters as intimate as sexuality, no one can speak for others—we all know only our own experience. Any claim to know what others have experienced in this matter is a lie produced by ignorance and prejudice—unless the person making the claim has been through the same kind of experience.
Reality #2: My own experience was that I gradually became aware, beginning around the time I started school, that I was attracted to certain members of my own sex, some of whom were older than I was. I didn’t have a name for it, but I felt that it was there.
Because I could observe, as time went on, that this was not the majority orientation, not the expected and approved thing; because everyone around me seemed to pair with a person of the opposite sex—my parents, close relatives, the neighbors and the community; and because this was constantly reinforced not only by the hetero-normative and even homophobic behavior and talk of everyone around me, but also by radio, films, books and newspapers and magazines, I half-consciously began to hide my orientation. And of course I was assisted by occasional demeaning comments and attempts at bullying made by other kids.
I say “half-consciously” because I didn’t know what sexuality or gender was. I didn’t know what adults know. I only felt that my attraction was not the expected, accepted thing. I chose to hide my reality because I could feel that it made me different in a way that alienated me from the group and made me vulnerable.
I infer that my case is typical because every reliable source available to me—every gay person that I have talked to or heard on radio, television or the internet, every article written by a gay person—says that their experience was the same as mine: that they did not “decide” their sexual orientation; it was not a “choice” for anyone. (This inference, in terms of logic, is “induction;” it is based on the ability to perceive similarities.)
Further, judging by my own adolescent and adult experience, I believe that no one would freely choose to belong to a despised and persecuted minority.
And, in fact, no heterosexuals that I know of have ever suggested that their sexuality was a “choice” or “decision” either—they all take it for granted as something expected, not needing comment. Those that I have heard tend to comment on the adventure involved, and of course on their sexual prowess.
It is, apparently, something we all discover about ourselves. Challenge any heterosexuals to explain when they “chose” and how they “decided” that they were were attracted to the opposite sex; when I do this, they say only that they “just knew,” or felt an attraction to someone of the opposite sex; some of them relate the discovery to a particular moment, or person, or incident; some do not.
So what evidence do ignorant homophobes like Sheba, Amber and Jeff have, for obsessively insisting that sexuality is a “choice”?
But when gays feel that it is safe for them to express themselves on a controversial issue that directly affects their lives; when they can contribute to overcoming a cruel prejudice, grounded in the most primitive superstition, that has killed and is still killing many innocent people; above all when they feel that they can communicate the truth about themselves, and in the process enlarge individual liberty for all persons—then they will share their experiences and their reality with others. They will “come out of the closet.” But that is not the announcement of a “decision”—it is a revelation, to their community, of what the gay person had discovered some time earlier and hitherto kept secret for reasons of personal safety and survival.
So why, in spite of this obvious reality, do ignorant homophobes need to destroy people simply on the basis of a difference in sexual orientation?
This is the real evil. The real evil is the destruction of others because they have a belief or a social relation that is different from one’s own.
Furthermore, although in some Western countries an “ex-gay” movement claims that people can be converted from homo-sexuality to heterosexuality, no one has ever come forward publicly to claim that a gay person converted him to homo-sexuality.
So, in reality, “Save the children!” is the cry of the paranoid, or the cynically cruel.
Unfortunately, although Western society has come a long way toward the tolerance and freedom that allow it to avoid religious wars, we still have a long way to go. Not all societies have evolved to even a minimum of tolerance.
One last reality (#5): From their language, it seems that Sheba and Amber, if not Jeff too, are African-American—black women. That someone should have to explain all this to black people in our country, in this century, is deeply disturbing—and is perhaps an indication of their intellectual limitations.