It’s no news that insomnia, ill health and my escalating depression have been kicking my butt for a while now. When it gets particularly bad as it has in the last couple of weeks – and this isn’t a shout out for sympathy; seriously, I feel sorry for myself enough as it is so I definitely don’t need or want it from you guys – I tend to live even more than usual in my head. That is, I rarely read or watch tv, I don’t want to go out, and I don’t want any contact with people. Instead, I sit, I daydream and I think. Not a good thing I know, but that’s my reality sometimes.
Anyways, this is me needing to articulate the stuff in my head. To just get it out. It may be like preaching to converted. It may or may not be new to anyone. It may or may not cause offense. Regardless, I need to say it so feel free to deal or not. The choice is yours.
A very nice segue; even if I do say so myself, to what I want to talk about, which is the matter of choice.
One of the main things that has been going around and around in my head has to do with issues facing GLBT people. Some of this has stemmed from thinking about topics raised in Queer As Folk as well as ongoing discussions about gay rights and marriage, the debate about the US military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy and now Uganda’s controversial anti-homosexuality legislation.
Setting aside the scientific studies and interpretations of religious texts, it seems to me the ultra conservatives who campaign against homosexuality appear to have this underlying belief that sexuality is a lifestyle choice.
A lifestyle choice? Geezus.
This reminded me of a story my father relayed to me a couple of years ago. He told me about a dinner he had attended where people were discussing the government assistance – financial and otherwise – received by Indigenous people here in Australia. This is a pretty sensitive topic and there are always those who resent the amount of support given to Indigenous Australians. My father recalled how he got increasingly frustrated by the conversation until at one point he just snapped “If you really think they’re so lucky let me ask you this – would you choose to be Aboriginal then? Would you choose to be in their place?”
I don’t remember an occasion when I’ve ever been more fucking proud of my father in my life.
I think the questions he asked relate to the fundamental truths of us as individual human beings; the truths which we do not necessarily have a choice about. I’m not saying that we cannot learn, change and adapt our attitudes and opinions, etc. What I am saying is that there is an integral core to all of us which makes us not only who we are, but what we are – whether we like it or not.
This, to me, includes sexuality. Therefore to attempt to make the argument homosexuality is only a lifestyle choice is just so… illogical.
Taking a page out of my father’s book let me ask: Why would anyone choose to be discriminated against for being who they are? Why would anyone choose to be subject to hate, intolerance and violence? Why would anyone choose to risk their lives or jail time by practicing a sexual act that is against the law? Why would anyone choose to enter into a relationship that may never be recognised by the law of the land to which they are born and loyal too? Why would anyone choose to go through the possible heartbreak of loosing a child because the union that created it is considered unlawful?
Honestly, would you choose to be homosexual if this was part of the ‘lifestyle’ that you had to look forward to? I’m not sure I would, even knowing there are obviously many positives too.
The only choice that I believe exists here is to either accept who and what you are, or not.
That, I think, is an unbelievably brave and honest thing to do. Those people who do accept themselves deserve our deepest admiration and respect for they have done what many of us are still unable to – be true to the core of ourselves.
What right does anyone else have to question or ask them to deny that?