Thursday, October 2, 2008

On Being Gay

The left wing of the blog-o-rama is up in arms about this clip:

I could not care less what consenting adults do in the privacy of their homes. What Mrs. FLG and I do isn't their business; what they do isn't mine. However, I think the people who argue that people are born gay miss something very important in their disgust of somebody who calls homosexuality a choice.

I firmly believe that people are born gay. To be more precise, some people are born in a way that makes them sexually attracted to members of the same sex. (Incidentally, I think bisexuals are simply confused. One is either straight or gay, but that is neither here nor there.) So, FLG, born gay, everything is good, right?

Well, uh, not exactly. Even if one is born gay, they still make a choice each and every time to engage in sexual activity with a member of the same sex. Whether they want to do it because of biological reasons is not especially relevant. The issue is still whether the act itself is okay.

Let me provide an example. Men are more violent than women. I don't think many people would dispute that. Some might, but let's assume it nonetheless. If men are biologically more predisposed to violence, then by similar logic shouldn't men get less jail time for committing violent acts than women? They are born that way, right?

Whatever word you want to use, correctness, morality, goodness, rightness, etc of homosexual sex is separate from the issue of whether people are biologically predisposed to prefer homosexual sex. Homosexuality is different from race or gender, for example, because one does not make a decision, surgery and Michael Jackson aside.

I cringe at biological justifications for bad behavior. Not too long ago, I wrote a post about how men make an instantaneous decision about whether they want to have sex with each woman they see. I included this important point:
I am sure some women, or many for that matter, will object to the idea that all men they meet make a decision about whether they want to have sex with them, but this is like objecting to the Sun rising in the East or breathing. It just is. Nevertheless, one can make arguments about how their actions towards women ought to be, but saying men shouldn't think that way is completely futile.

One cannot reasonably say what a person can or may think. The mind just doesn't work that way. However, one can certainly make distinctions as well as moral and normative claims about actions and deeds. Indeed, we must make these distinctions and claims.

So, the issue really is whether the act of homosexual sex is right or wrong. I take a sort of Utilitarian perspective on the whole issue -- the most good for the most people type of thing. If people are happy having sex with other members of their own sex, and it's consensual, I don't particularly give a shit. I do have some issues with the promiscuous, casual, and unsafe sexual activity among parts of the male homosexual community because I believe the negatives to the public health overwhelm their individual happiness in many cases. Nonetheless, I assume they are knowledgeable adults who are aware of the consequences.

So, I've few, if any issues with homosexuality, but not because people are born that way.


Anonymous said...

You make some interesting points. But we all know what Palin meant and most of the people who hold her view mean when they say it's a choice. Let's not forget, Palin is an bible thumping evangelical who's views have been shaped by her church's teachings. And, according to those doctrines, homosexuality is a sin. If it is a sin, then it must be a choice. God, who is great and good, wouldn't create predestined sinners, would he? (I'm an atheist so if I come off a bit contemptuous, well, I am.) So homosexuality will always be an issue with her, regardless of her friend of 30 years (if one does exist!)
(Sidenote: Bisexuals are probably the LEAST confused of all!)

FLG said...

As far as Palin goes, I'm sure you are correct. But I think both sides miss something in the born that way versus choice thing.

Anonymous said...

Ok, let's talk about that. Most people are born heterosexual. When they engage in unsafe, unprotected sexual activity, they are at risk at contracting, and infecting their partners with, gonhorrea, syphillis, chylamedia, and HIV just to name a few. Yes, it is apparently easier for homosexual men to acquire and pass on HIV, but I would venture to say the the percentage of men engaging in unprotected homosexual sex is probably the same, or less, than the percentage of heterosexuals who have unprotected sex. I would need to look up stats to back it up, but based on personal experience, I can attest to the fact that MANY heterosexual men still do not want to wear a condom! I think you'd be surprised! So, does that mean that you have issues with those heterosexuals as well? Or are you only picking on the homos? Seems to me that unsafe sex is unsafe sex, regardless of orientation, so the distinction is unnecessary.

FLG said...

Gonhorrea, syphillis, chylamedia are all treatable with antibiotics. HIV is not, and thank goodness for modern medicine, no is longer fatal anymore. However, I still claim it is more serious than the clap. Add to this it is apparently easier for homosexual men to acquire and pass on HIV. As well as the fact that, and I don't have statistics to back me up here, a higher percentage of homosexual men are HIV positive than heterosexual men, plus the relative prevalence of unsafe promiscuous sex partner, and I become concerned.

Nevertheless, I don't really have an answer for that. As I said before, I assume they are knowledgeable adults who are aware of the consequences.

The problem within the gay community on this issue, is that for a long time I think there was denial that male homosexual sex was more likely to transmit AIDS. Undoubtedly, much of this was because it was considered "the gay plague" and therefore to admit homosexual sex was more likely to transmit it gave the dumbasses some ammo. Nonetheless, the denial has only been overcome recently to where most people realize the facts. This is probably the product of three forces that were not present before 1) medical progress 2) a more excepting society and 3) more comfort within the gay community about being out.

To answer your question about heteros. If there are portions of the hetero population engaging routinely in unsafe sex, then I certainly do not condone it. If there is a population routinely engaging in unsafe anal sex, then I am equally concerned about them as homosexuals.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.