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This is a response to a post on a blog that has since been deleted. I put it here 'cause it's too long for LiveJournal's dinky comment system. (This is why some have dubbed the system the blogging world's answer to AOL.) This isn't a change of venue, so to speak, but just a way not to break up my argument. In any case, for those of you who don't like to follow links but like to comment on things you haven't read, suck it up and go read her post first. We had problems with this the last time I posted pieces of an argument out of context on here, as people didn't follow the links and didn't seem to get the point.

Edit: The replies I received to this comment just make me utterly sick at heart. It's hard to believe that anyone would twist my words out of proportion to the point they have. I feel, as I noted in another comment on the blog, as if I'd been invited inside for a nice discussion then bashed over the head with a chair. I feel like I was entrapped into something that turned out to be not at all the intelligent, reasoned debate I'd turned out for. [shakes head] Enough of that.

- - -

I don't really feel like getting into this (I say, as I get into it), but I want to point out that actually, the jury is still out (and probably will be out for years to come) on whether or not one can actually choose one's sexuality. It's just not clear. What is fairly clear, though is that some people choose to be homosexual and some do not. Sexuality is more nebulous than simply are-you, aren't-you. It's both a physical mode of existence linked to desire and a way of identifying oneself.

Also, let's say, hypothetically, that what you say is true and people can't choose—even then, they still don't have to choose exhaustion, hate, and alienation. There are options, neh? One can move to another place. One can live with other people. One can do a lot of things. Staying closeted is deprecated, but it's always a temporary (or permanent, if that's their choice) option—and in some circumstances it's the better one. (No, no, I'm not saying that everyone who's gay should stay closeted and we should never talk about such things and blah di blah. I'm just saying it's an option—which contradicts your intimations that homosexuals have no other option besides pain and suffering.) Even more subtly, there's the option to only selectively out oneself to friends and acquaintances who will understand—there's definitely room for tact and selectivity in such choices.

My point? In some sense, there is almost always a choice, regardless of whether someone is "born that way" or not. You have a choice who you tell things to. You have a choice where you live. You have a choice to be rational about the whole thing. There's no need to run around shouting "I'm gay! I'm gay!" unless you simply want to be confrontational. Most homosexuals don't go up to people they've just met and say "Hi, my name's so-and-so, and I'm gay," for the same reason that I don't walk up to every person I meet, male or female, and say, "Hi, I'm Margaret. I'm obviously female, I'm heterosexual, I'm a Capricorn, and I like to [insert pastime here]. If you'd like, I can summarize my sexual history for you as well." It's unnecessary information, inappropriate to the situation, in a lot of contexts, and making a big deal about it is an imposition.

Another point, which follows from that—I have a few gay friends who think that all this uproarious demanding rights that's occurring right now isn't the way to go, that in fact all it's doing is glamorizing/making extremity of the whole idea. They agree that it's a good thing that gay marriage be allowed, and it's also a good idea to let the general public know that an imposition is occurring, that people are being denied a right—but perhaps all this clamorous shouting isn't the only way to go about taking steps forward, neh? Many say the religious right is reactionary—so why provoke them when you know that they'll simply lash out right back? Instead, why not try a bit of subtlety, a bit of (non-anti-Biblical) reasoning, and a bit of tact?

Instead of attacking the Bible, an approach that immediately turns off a lot of people, religious or not, why not just accept the fact that yes, the Bible exists, yes, people believe in it, and then work from there? Churches can define marriage however they want—that's not stopping anyone from passing legislation giving civil unions the name "marriage." You're arguing contradictory points, in that what you want is the state to call it marriage, neh? If that's what you want, don't pick on religion, saying that they're the ones "keeping us down," so to speak. These are completely separate things, and you're not going to change the minds of the religious right by attacking the Bible. It's not as if anyone has written the Ten Commandments into secular law—the influence of religion in the U.S. is more subtle than that.

The problem you will run up against, however, which I talked about a while back here, is that our supposedly secular representatives aren't always separating their religious consciences from their political ones. That's something that we're going to have to take stock of...but I'm not exactly sure how we'd go about it. You can't force people to vote against conscience, regardless of how they derived that conscience.

[[shrugs]] Anyway, I'm not a big passionate advocate of any side in this debate, but I figured those points might be instructive.

5:40 pm, February 12, 2004 :: the jablog years

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