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When did the gay community all a sudden decide it wasn't a choice?
Chris Katko
Member #1,881
January 2002
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I don't have a problem with gay people, I'm fine with gay marriage, I have gay relatives. But this new idea... "it's not a choice." confuses me because it's the opposite of what they've been telling me for years.

How is a choice less important than being born a certain way? How is free will between consenting adults not as important as genetic drive? If you bring up such a debate on Reddit, you'll immediately get deleted because it's such an "offensive idea." How? When? Why?

In the 1961 British film, Victim, one of the first films to feature a gay protagonist, one of the primary reasons it was given an X rating was

Wikipedia said:

Third, the film implies that homosexuality is a choice, which "is a dangerous idea to put into the minds of adolescents who see the film".

So clearly, in the 60's and prior, the idea that it was a choice was far more alarming to the status quo than it being genetic.

So why are kids flipping the issue around? What caused the change? I'm really trying to understand, but every overly offended kid seems to be standing in my way of an honest question.

p.s. This thread is not for flaming, nor a discussion of whether being gay is acceptable. It is a discussion of why the gay community thinks the way it does today.

-----sig:
“Programs should be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.” - Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
"Political Correctness is fascism disguised as manners" --George Carlin

Dizzy Egg
Member #10,824
March 2009
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I've always wondered what makes Western gay men's voices change....it goes from normal up to about 16-20 years old, and then bam....(not bamcaig, I mean BAM like SUDDENLY)....they start talking like....well, like gay men.

That part must be a choice? Dunno.

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LennyLen
Member #5,313
December 2004
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It is a discussion of why the gay community thinks the way it does today.

Perhaps you should ask this question in a gay community then. Nobody else can accurately tell you why gay people think the way they do.

Arthur Kalliokoski
Second in Command
February 2005
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Assuming you're not gay, would you choose to do the nasty with a dude? Supposedly the gays think the same about the opposite sex. The "choice" thing in the '60's might have reflected the idea that if it was a choice, it'd be far more dangerous, like viral communist attitudes or something.

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as "bad luck.”

― Robert A. Heinlein

torhu
Member #2,727
September 2002
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I don't have a problem with gay people, I'm fine with gay marriage, I have gay relatives. But this new idea... "it's not a choice." confuses me because it's the opposite of what they've been telling me for years.

I think it's probably just that the gay community never said it was a choice, but the homophobe community did. Are you sure you are not just mixing up who said what here? People can also be coerced or fooled into saying things that one would assume they have a good basis for knowing are wrong.

Quote:

How is a choice less important than being born a certain way? How is free will between consenting adults not as important as genetic drive?

It's an orthogonal question. Consenting adults can for instance choose to have sex, choose to have child, choose to get married, etc. Sexual orientation doesn't work that way. Sometimes people will even experiment with having sex with someone of the same sex, but that doesn't have to mean they are gay.

So what's "dangerous" about suggesting that it is a choice? If it was a choice, it would have been easier to claim that it's something that can be "corrected", it's "unnatural", it's "just a phase", etc. If on the other hand it's not a choice, the discussion will be more about accepting it as a normal part of human life, etc. Which some people are opposed to (for bad reasons, I believe).

If it was a choice, I think most people would choose not to be gay. I've seen a bunch of videos where lesbian girls talk about how hard it was to come to terms with their own sexuality. Some become self-harmers or even worse. Largely because of the stigma that society puts on being gay, I think. Some of them end up being rejected by their own family. Just search for "coming out" on Youtube, there's a whole bunch of them.

This is one is just cute, but I think it's pretty clear that there was no choosing involved ;D

video

bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
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I discussed it once with a homosexual female that basically explained to me that it was just how she was and there was no choice. The best way to enlighten yourself is to speak openly with a willing homosexual (willing to talk, other stuff optional...) that you respect or care for (because if you didn't you probably wouldn't be open to what they say). For most people I don't think it's a choice and I don't know where you are, but I can't even remember it being explained as one... I think that has always been the prejudiced side of the debate, not the homosexual side... Maybe you are unknowingly on the prejudiced side?

While you could certainly choose to have homosexual sex, I don't think you'd enjoy it unless you just happened to be a homosexual (or bisexual, which again would be something you were born as more than something you choose to be). Which isn't to say that a straight person couldn't still get aroused from physical stimulation from the opposite sex, but they probably couldn't get aroused by the mere thought of it and probably wouldn't enjoy it either. I think that you're just misinformed about homosexuality if you believe it is a choice that they all make...

The most likely explanation is that it's a "defect" in the reproductive process. And I don't mean "defect" in a negative way. Defects are normal. That is essentially evolution. Reproduction is not perfect. We do not clone ourselves. We make very imperfect combinations that sometimes "malfunction". That may mean being born blind, being born handicapped, or being born being attracted to the opposite sex. Sexuality is a very grey area. It is more of a map than a boolean. In my experience, most women that excel at male dominated activities are lesbians or at least "tom boys" and generally their brains more closely resemble men than women. It is even apparently possible to be born with the body of one gender and the brain of another. Gender is not an exact science.

These "imperfections" are ultimately what make it all worthwhile. :D

Arthur Kalliokoski
Second in Command
February 2005
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I remember reading decades ago that overcrowded mice exhibited much greater frequency of homosexual acts. Take that how you will.

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as "bad luck.”

― Robert A. Heinlein

Johan Halmén
Member #1,550
September 2001

When did you choose to be straight?

The "choice" was about whether to live in a lie or live truthfully. It was not about being gay or straight.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Years of thorough research have revealed that the red "x" that closes a window, really isn't red, but white on red background.

Years of thorough research have revealed that what people find beautiful about the Mandelbrot set is not the set itself, but all the rest.

bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
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I remember reading decades ago that overcrowded mice exhibited much greater frequency of homosexual acts. Take that how you will.

That's an interesting anecdote, Arthur. I happen to remember learning that elephants will "rape" other species (e.g., rhinoceroses) when they're incapable of finding a mate. Certainly there is the potential for just letting out sexual energy any way you can, but personally I'd rather rub one out and I imagine that's true of any straight person...

Append:

On the other hand, I seem to be most attracted to feminine lesbians. ??? What the Hell does that make me? :'(

Chris Katko
Member #1,881
January 2002
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When I was growing up, the "liberal" "progressive" thing was to believe that sexual attraction is a scale, not a yes or no label. That everyone is partly gay, and partly straight.

Now, gays are apparently offended by that notion.

Looks like someone more eloquent hit the nail on the head before me.

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/116378/macklemores-same-love-sends-wrong-message-about-being-gay

torhu said:

This is one is just cute, but I think it's pretty clear that there was no choosing involved ;D

It wasn't a choice for her. :P

I find it offensive that I'm not allowed to hypothetically have sex with a man and enjoy it because I wasn't "born that way" and if somehow later I decide to, I was just "covering it up the whole time." It's absolute crap and backwards thinking to tell someone they can't be sexually autonomous. The same kind of thinking that was used to harm gay people, is now being used by gay people to alienate others into a "you're either one of us, or you're not" mindset.

It's like everyone completely forgot the sexual experimentation of the 60's ever happened. If everyone was involved in orgies, does that make everyone born gay, straight, or bisexual? The only answer is: The question is incorrect to begin with.

-----sig:
“Programs should be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.” - Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
"Political Correctness is fascism disguised as manners" --George Carlin

bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
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Perhaps if I put it like this it might make some sense to you.

If you chose to kill somebody unprovoked then you're guilty of murder and deserving of punishment. You do not have the freedom to choose to do whatever you want. "Choice" is not a defence for anything. If you were coerced, provoked, or acting against your will or conscience then you're not guilty of murder and probably deserve some lenience or pardon. The point is, there's no doubt that you can be held accountable for your choices. You generally have no control over what you naturally are though. You can't punish somebody for being what they are. You can only punish them for the choices they make and the actions they take as a result.

I can't speculate on whether you're a closet homophobe or just haven't reached an epiphany, but it seems clear to me that you're currently on the wrong side of the fence. :-/

Append:

There's nothing wrong with a heterosexual person choosing to have homosexual relations. I mean, it wouldn't make much sense to do unless you were making a political statement, but you could still do it if you were so inclined. It would be like eating grass or inserting your penis into a light socket. It doesn't really serve a purpose, but there's nothing stopping you from doing it.

To imply that gay people choose to be gay is robbing them of their very identity. You're saying that they aren't really gay, and they're just choosing to be different. That also robs every other person that is different in some way of their identity. Do introverts choose to be introverts? Do left-handed people choose to be left-handed? Do psychopaths choose to be psychopaths?

torhu
Member #2,727
September 2002
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Here's what I make of it: some people simply are gay, in the same way you (I assume) and I are straight. Some people are bisexual, it just comes down to the person, not the gender. For other people (even fewer, maybe), it's more complicated, it can change over their lifetime, whatever. Don't ask me how that works, but I'm sure more research and information on this subject will crop up in the coming years.

Quote:

It wasn't a choice for her. :P

Well, you originally seemed to be talking about all gays, not just some of them.

PS. You can have sex with as many guys, farm animals, or two-headed aliens you want for all I care. Pics or it didn't happen :P

APPEND: bamccaig's last paragraph is a good one (the one about identity, in case he edits his post again).

APPEND2:

The same kind of thinking that was used to harm gay people, is now being used by gay people to alienate others into a "you're either one of us, or you're not" mindset.

People sometimes say or do stupid things. And gay people are people. Nothing new there, and I definitely don't think most gays are like that either.

Johan Halmén
Member #1,550
September 2001

We should always remember that our ideas about marriage, sexuality, religion, politics, anything, is very strongly based on centuries or millenniums of cultural development. And when ideas take form as social institutions like marriage, we can't expect people to easily adapt to new ways of seeing things. People have difficulties understanding gay marriages, because their ideas of marriage base on how it used to be. But the problem here is that it used to be so that homosexuality was a mental illness and a crime! I support marriage but at the same time I feel ashamed to support an institution that has this historic ballast of exclusiveness.

When I say I support marriage, I kind of resent bisexuality. What I resent is the idea that a bisexual person switches back and forth from women to men, just because of being bisexual. Like one gives the permission to oneself to dump an ongoing relationship, because it's time to switch from gay to straight or vice versa. Maybe I see only ghosts here. I don't know any bisexual person behaving like this. I do know a lesbian married couple. Both have had straight relations before, one of them has a lovely kid and they form a very lovely family.

So who gives a damn what I support? Why should a bisexual swinger care what I think? Well, probably they shouldn't. If I support something, I do it from a society perspective. Society has responsibilities. A secure society is based on secure families. Children being raised by loving parents. No matter if they are gay or straight.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Years of thorough research have revealed that the red "x" that closes a window, really isn't red, but white on red background.

Years of thorough research have revealed that what people find beautiful about the Mandelbrot set is not the set itself, but all the rest.

torhu
Member #2,727
September 2002
avatar

When I say I support marriage, I kind of resent bisexuality. What I resent is the idea that a bisexual person switches back and forth from women to men, just because of being bisexual. Like one gives the permission to oneself to dump an ongoing relationship, because it's time to switch from gay to straight or vice versa. Maybe I see only ghosts here. I don't know any bisexual person behaving like this.

Which reminds me of another video I saw, this time it's a bisexual girl explaining how bisexuality works, some of the myths about it, etc. If you want to save time, you can skip ahead to about 9 minutes into the video. But the whole video is interesting.

video

Johan Halmén
Member #1,550
September 2001

torhu said:

You can have sex with as many guys, farm animals, or two-headed aliens you want for all I care. Pics or it didn't happen

Please, put them in spoiler tags.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Years of thorough research have revealed that the red "x" that closes a window, really isn't red, but white on red background.

Years of thorough research have revealed that what people find beautiful about the Mandelbrot set is not the set itself, but all the rest.

Chris Katko
Member #1,881
January 2002
avatar

Hey, I just want to apologize in this thread for turning it into my personal soap box. That really wasn't my intention. Either 1) I'm weaning off anti-depressants and they make me snap sometimes, or 2) I'm just an butthole, so I apologize.

My intention was supposed to be learning, so while I still agree with my points, I don't really see why I was so abrasive about them.

bamccaig said:

I can't speculate on whether you're a closet homophobe or just haven't reached an epiphany,

Actually, I'm just extremely sensitive about the power of free will and civil liberties.

If you were to imply black people are genetically pre-disposed to dancing, wouldn't we all be offended?

Quote:

To imply that gay people choose to be gay is robbing them of their very identity

Ah! Another good discussion topic that people will get worked up over. I don't personally believe it's healthy to overly identify with your sexuality.

Everyone I've known that is gay, and also a reasonable human being, being gay was merely a single facet of who they are. Most of them you would never know they were gay until they told you. They didn't run around in flaming clothing every day, and tell you every single person they'd have sex with if they had the chance. I've known a lot of really cool people... they just happened to be gay.

In the same sense, that I've known a lot of really cool people that just happen to be straight. I don't associate with the typical steroid jock guys that have nothing to tell you other than "I'd totally do that girl.. and that one... and both of them at the same time with whip cream on top." "Yeah? Good for you..."

I don't really understand why it's so acceptable for some gay people to be so outragious, and then claim the oppressive banner when people think they're "freaks." It's not being gay that made them freaks, it's wearing flaming clothing and acting flaming that makes you a "freak."

I live in the "middle east" (ho ho ho) of the USA, Tennessee. And we've got a huge population of gay people, but most of them are actually pretty normal people and look at the more flaming populations out west/north and even they scratch their heads.

I think the thing that gets me about the vocal gay community (not my local gay population), is that they're so damn vocal! They're extremely aggressive and acting like everything that we think today, is obvious and not up to discussion! I mean, look at the Firefox CEO ordeal. That wouldn't have happened ten years ago, at all.

When I say I support marriage, I kind of resent bisexuality.

And that's what I'm getting at! The idea of being gay, sexuality, and marriage, are not just magically done being discussed. People with different opinions shouldn't magically be chased with pitchforks. You have a worthwhile discussion topic, but the modern vocal gay community doesn't want to hear it.

I have long-time friend who's of that persuasion. He was like, "Be gay, or be straight. But if you're bi, stop being a douche and pick a freaking side." Thinking that most people who are "bisexual"--especially plenty of lesbians in college who magically stop being lesbian afterward--are really just "promiscuous."

And goodness, that reminds me of another issue I saw back in college, the LGBT community has extremely hurtful words and downright oppressive bias for anyone who "is gay" and might be considering going straight. I've known so many gay clicks that felt the need to "protect" their members from going straight and will intimidate the weaker minded ones. I'm not saying that's everyone, but that downright shocked me when I saw it happen.

We live in a world that thinks straight people going gay, are "coming out [as their true selves]", but gay people going straight are lying to themselves, and giving up on their true values. And that completely overrides the sliding scale of bisexuality (that at least used to be acceptable in the counter-culture of the day) and actually leads to a more oppressive "you're with us or against us" culture.

-----sig:
“Programs should be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.” - Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
"Political Correctness is fascism disguised as manners" --George Carlin

Yodhe23
Member #8,726
June 2007

I guess those people just feel threatened that (as Buddhist philosophy amongst others have pointed out for thousands of years) people can and do change their mind(s).

One day I may be this, another that, and on some days something entirely else. It doesn't stop a person from being, and I think is far healthier that holding onto a notion of this or that persona. Indeed Buddhism says one of the seeming causes of unhappiness is holding onto ideas of what one should or shouldn't be, rather than just being (happy).

www.justanotherturn.com

torhu
Member #2,727
September 2002
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Chris: To me it sounds like you're muddying the waters on purpose. Not all opinions that are publicly stated about this issue are equally well grounded, some are more based on ideology, myths or bias then reality, some can perhaps be attributed to ignorance or someone's limited experience with these issues. Basically, stop looking for strawmen and start separating the wheat from the chaff :-*

Chris Katko
Member #1,881
January 2002
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I'm quickly turning this thread into an all encompassing debate the world thread, however:

Yes! Labels! I'll never forget a quote I heard as an impressionable young college student at a concert:

Saul Williams (poet) said:

[Paraphrased]
Any time you identify and associate with a label, "I'm republican/democrat/feminist/etc", with an "ism," you are taking away from the beauty of your own uniqueness and your ability to contribute to society from it. You are nullifying your own ability to contribute.

Here's an actual quoted portion from some of his writing:

Quote:

We depend on our minds to guide and aid us from one day to the next
Some of us see our minds like muscles
That we exercise with theorems, riddles, thoughts, and thought processes
We gather and store information
We play word games, rap, solve problems, work to the best of our abilities
We also accept or reject labels and categorizations at face value
Black, white, terrorist, suspect
Gay, straight, religious, Republican
We sometimes choose lifestyles
Based upon these accepted labels and categorizations
Those that we identify with
Which then take the form of beliefs

Beliefs are the police of the mind

torhu said:

Chris: To me it sounds like you're muddying the waters on purpose.

Not intentionally, no. I just have lots of thoughts, and most of them are predicated on fairness, respecting other people's choices, and not being a hypocrite. And when I see disparities in those values, I note them. I don't see any difference in being an oppressive straight person, and an oppressive gay person, for example.

-----sig:
“Programs should be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.” - Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
"Political Correctness is fascism disguised as manners" --George Carlin

bamccaig
Member #7,536
July 2006
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If you were to imply black people are genetically pre-disposed to dancing, wouldn't we all be offended?

Ummm, nooooo? ??? From what I have observed, black people do in fact seem to be predisposed to dancing. And basketball. Generally speaking... There's nothing wrong with generalizing.

Ah! Another good discussion topic that people will get worked up over. I don't personally believe it's healthy to overly identify with your sexuality.

I identify as being a straight male. All the time. A lot. Who you are is who you are. It isn't any one thing. It is a combination of things. And sometimes those things are the reason why you do other things (e.g., today I saw a smoking hot Asian girl walking down the street and wanted to beep my motorcycle horn at her...the only reason I didn't is because we had a newbie riding with us and I didn't want to scare her). Naturally, your identity as that thing caused you to do that other thing so if it comes up why you did it it's because of that thing... You know? Identifying with who you are is perfectly healthy.

We live in a world that thinks straight people going gay, are "coming out [as their true selves]", but gay people going straight are lying to themselves, and giving up on their true values.

It appears that you have discovered that LGBT people are still human. They are perfectly capable of overreacting, being themselves discriminatory, hateful, and hypocritical.

Mind you, generally speaking, the former (coming out) is harder to do, and the latter (going back in?) easier. It's probably not really that big of a deal if there is a little bit of resistance added to the former, presumably with good intentions. I'm sure the resistance found going the former direction is significantly more. I imagine it is intended to either provide support for people that feel pressured to change their mind, as well as defending their own way of life and distancing themselves from people that would cast doubt on it.

You still sound like you believe it is ultimately a choice. Like I said, gender is a very grey area. There may be people that just can't figure out where they lie. There are people that are attracted to the opposite sex, people that are attracted to both sexes, and maybe there are even people that aren't attracted to either. There's room for trying to figure it out, getting it wrong, and moving on.

I think that lesbian sex is a much more pretty thing and therefore is much more tolerated by society. It's not really a big deal if two straight women decide to have sex. Most people won't be that bothered by it, and most straight men will love it (the only part we don't like is if it means they don't like us). Girls can pretty openly experiment without any significant harm done.

Whereas gay (male) sex is a much less pretty picture. It's something that society isn't so quick to embrace. I'm obviously biased as a straight male, but I believe that it would be significantly more difficult for two straight men to have sex. Not only by their own discomfort, but also society's reaction to it and the consequences thereafter.

LennyLen
Member #5,313
December 2004
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bamccaig said:

e.g., today I saw a smoking hot Asian girl walking down the street and wanted to beep my motorcycle horn at her...the only reason I didn't is because we had a newbie riding with us and I didn't want to scare her

Most of us just wouldn't have because it's a dumb ass thing to do. ;)

torhu
Member #2,727
September 2002
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