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?
Well put, Kris. It's been an interesting effect of reading m/m, becoming much, much more aware of GLBT issues.
The discrimination makes no sense whatsoever to me. Why be so threatened by someone else's sexuality?! But then, I've never understood why people are threatened when others don't have the same religious beliefs, etc.
I noticed an amazingly simple thing while I was in Toronto last fall – wedding cards with two men or two women. And I realized that I have never, ever seen comparable in the US. Not even in my very progressive neighborhood. Bah.
*clap clap clap*
I agree. Why on earth would anyone want to get the shit kicked out of them in an alley? For what? Butt secks? Hell, you can do that with a woman. That's why dildos were invented. Would I be disappointed if my daughter was lesbian. Yes, not because she's lesbian but because I know she'd have to face more adversity than if she's straight. That she will likely be discriminated because of it, that's what would make me sad, that she would have a tougher row to hoe than her straight friends.
I've always found the argument that it's a threat to traditional marriage seems to indicate that the ONLY reason men are with women is because they can get married. If suddenly the avenue to marry guys were open they would abandon women in droves and hook up in gay relationships. Do you really think men are straight only so they can get married? Riiight. I'm really gay but I just crave the big party with cake so I guess I'll marry a woman. Uh huh. What the hell kind of logic is that? They aren't going to marry women anyway.
Standing O. (get your mind out of the gutter, people!)
As for the rest of it, hope you're feeling more the thing soon.
ah Kris, hugs. I agree with everything you say and more.
Dang Kris, usually I have tears from laughing when I visit your blog but now you have me tearing up because I'm truly moved! Well said.
You did yourself proud on that soapbox, kiddo.
Very well said, Kris, and I totally agree.
Well said, Kris.
The only time when the lines are burred is when it comes to bisexuality. Then I suppose that person does have a 'choice' as it were and only love or strong emotion dictates which choice they eventually make.
I have a friend who strongly believes that homosexuality is a choice and you can 'force' yourself to change through repentance (yep, she's a Christian). I've had several 'interesting' discussions with her in the past and bisexuality is the sticking point. My argument is always that people who are gay (rather than bisexual) are born that way and no amount of repentance is going to change that. Of course it doesn't help that my friend's sister was abandoned with four young children when her husband ran off with another man. Then again, as I told her that just makes him a cheating bastard and that it wouldn't have been any better if he'd ran off with a woman.
Chris: My gay friend got married a couple of years ago and I went into the local card shop thinking that I'd have to find something generic to send them as a wedding card. I was pleasantly surprised to discover a small selection of 'civil partnership' cards. Yay for Clinton Cards (nothing to do with the ex president btw)!
Chris: “It's been an interesting effect of reading m/m, becoming much, much more aware of GLBT issues.”
Yes. I totally agree. My current theory is that unfortunately some people are unable to deal with the uncertainty caused by any issues such as sexuality which may bring their faith into question. Their reaction is to strike out at it rather than actually attempt to engage and understand it in meaningful ways.
Tam: “I've always found the argument that it's a threat to traditional marriage seems to indicate that the ONLY reason men are with women is because they can get married.”
I've never thought about that before, Tam. A good point. I have always thought the argument that 'we don't mind gays, but they shouldn't be able to get married' totally bizarre. Umm, it's okay for them to have sex with each other, but they can't be in love and express that through marriage? Is that what that means?
Lori *too late ;)*, Katiebabs chook, Janna, KZ and Richelle:
Thanks for your responses and thoughts. I know it's a bit like preaching to the converted, but I really felt the need to say what was in my head so I appreciate that you all took the time to read it. It means a lot.
Jen: I'm sorry that your friend and her sister went through that. I wonder if sexuality in such instances is the 'easy blame' option rather than actually dealing with other factors such as the fact that he was a cheating bastard.
“The only time when the lines are burred is when it comes to bisexuality. Then I suppose that person does have a 'choice' as it were and only love or strong emotion dictates which choice they eventually make.”
I guess, but it doesn't negate the fact that they have accepted their bisexuality in the first place and not made a decision about their partner based on the expectations of those around them. 🙂
“I guess, but it doesn't negate the fact that they have accepted their bisexuality in the first place and not made a decision about their partner based on the expectations of those around them.”
Ah, yes. That's a good point.
Believing homosexuality is a choice makes a good excuse for hatred. Hating someone because they were born that way is inappropriate. Therefore, they need to believe it's OUR fault, OUR choice to live this disgusting and immoral way of life. If they admitted we didn't choose it, they would have to stop hating us. Since it's not going to happen, they need this excuse.
Matthew: “Believing homosexuality is a choice makes a good excuse for hatred.”
Yes, it's easier for some people to dismiss and hate out of hand as opposed to actually questioning their beliefs. If they admitted it wasn't a choice they would have to question other things about their faith, which some people are unable and, more significantly, unwilling to do.
Nicely said Kris. I have a drabble for you…
My sister falls in the category of “So Heavenly Bound, no Earthly Good” and she use's her religion to propagate nothing but intolerance. She's against different religions marrying, race, creed, you name it, so I asked her once if her god was such a loving one why couldn't she love people for who they were and not what they were. It was really sad because she said that she did, and when I pointed out her bigotry she said that because God said (more like her pastor) it was wrong for whatever intolerant view she had. Really, it didn't make me mad, it made me really sad that she couldn't see what was wrong with her views and she couldn't think for herself. Unfortunately, many people especially here in the US are this way and there seem to be so many of them that they overwhelm the rest of us.
(Big Hug) Ive been lurking around your blog as well as Wave's and Jenre..Im in the same boat with your kiddo with the insomnia and depression (frankly its kicking my ass and being virtually unemployed is NOT helping matters at all). I totally agree with everything you said. I have no idea why anybody with any sense would believe my sexual orientation was a choice? I have it extra tough bc not only am I a homosexual but Im also african-american. I have two strikes against me (although I have one of the greatest mothers in the world who told me dont let either hinder me to reaching my dreams)
Anyway, I hope you feel better.
Ozakie: Being homosexual and African-American might be two strikes against you but on the other hand: some people find that combination irresistible. 🙂
I totally agree with you!!
It's sad how people feel that they can impose their views on others. Yet these same people would never stand to be told what to do, feel or think. It's 'their' way because their 'God' told them so. BS!
What about when their God says to do unto others as you would like done to you? Or love thy neighbor.
It just makes no sense to me. Love is love and that should be the important thing. It shouldn't make a difference that you love a man or a woman or even both.
I have three gay cousins, all men. One is deeply closeted (to his parents and older relatives at least), one not so much but only because he lives many states away and the other is openly gay and has a partner of many years. Guess which one is bitter and unhappy, which one rarely gets together with the family and which one is happy and loved.
It's sad that not all three are happy, that one feels he has to live far away to be himself and the other one, even in his 40's, still hides who he is because of the scandal for his very uptight 'Christian' parents.
I hate discrimination in all forms and have since I was a little girl. I was pro-GLBT issues for years before I even read my first m/m story. Now, I'm even more so.
Ok, I think I'll stop my ranting now. Sorry! I hope you feel better real soon. *Big hugs*
Hmm…some deep thoughts. I know for my friends who are gay, life's not easy. They can pretend, but I know the ignorance and stupidity of people can really make their life hell.
I know for myself, being straight, but getting tormented all through high school because everyone THOUGHT I was gay, it was hell on earth. The reason everyone thought I was gay? Because I'm tall. yeah, mentality rates about zero on that one. So, even thought I'm not gay, I can empathize with those who are. I think that makes sense.
And even though you don't want sympathy, how about some empathy for your depression? I've suffered from it ever since forever, so I know what it's like to disappear into your own head for awhile. So, *hugs* and I hope you're able to give your depression the finger sooner rather than later. 🙂
Chin up girl you couldn't have said it better – I know I am one of the choir that you mention…
Your thoughts comes on a particularly conflicting day for me, here in the UK a 19yrs old lad was raped last evening at one of the gay clubs in Soho, just on the eve of when Church leaders here are getting together to announce a petition to change the law books in relation to having gay marriages in church as they feel it is discrimatory to gay couples as the law now dont allow them to…
So in some sense you can't win – but in this case 3 steps forward one step back..
Sleep well hon..
Melissa: I get both mad, sad and totally confuzzled when I hear those types of views. Mad and sad that there seems to be this total unwillingess to consider the fact that they may be intolerant or hypocritical. Confuzzled that they are able to reconcile a loving and inclusive God with one that supposed hates and discriminates. Again, to me, it all seems so illogical. Having a faith I can understand, but one that doesn't make sense is just plain friggin' odd.
Ozakie! Lovie! (((HUGS))) It's so good to hear from you. 🙂 Although it is poo to hear that you are suffering from insomnia and depression as well at the moment. It's such a vicious cycle and so hard to break. I totally empathize. I'm also on the verge of having a stern talking to myself in the mirror where I can tell myself to get the fuck over myself, but that could possibly be my mixing alcohol with my medication so you should probably forget that I even said that. Okay.
I remember you talking about how difficult it was with all the strikes against you. It may seem trite, especially when you are feeling the way you are at the moment, but it is awesome that you have a mum who supports you like that. A true blessing. I don't even want to think about what I would do, even if she drives me bat shit crazy sometimes, without the support of my Mumma. It's so *good* to know that there is someone in this world that loves you unconditionally – even if they may not understand you -, don't you think. 🙂
Matthew: *sigh* You're such a friggin' flirt. 🙂
Lily, thanks. “What about when their God says to do unto others as you would like done to you? Or love thy neighbor. It just makes no sense to me.”
Nor to me. As I said to Melissa, I don't get how people can reconcile the total juxtaposition of a loving and a hating God. It's… *shakes head*
It makes me sad to hear that people so unhappy about who they are and the choices they make – or feel that they have to make because of others – because of it. God, how I wish we humans were more tolerant.
Bridget, you are sneaky, but I do thank you. 🙂
People thought you were gay because you were tall?? WTF! I get that people judge by appearances. It unfortunately happens all the time, but… geez. And, yes, I can see how you would have a unique perspective on this issue.
“I know for my friends who are gay, life's not easy. They can pretend, but I know the ignorance and stupidity of people can really make their life hell.”
Yes, which is why the argument that being homosexual is a choice because apparently some people are totally masochists is such a crock of shit.
Thanks EH. Bloody hell. Rape is horrific at the best of times, but to happen at this particular time in the UK when those discussions are going on throws light on the issues unfairly.
There is also the stigma about a man being raped, which I still don't think is something we deal with in any real way in our society. I wish it were then, at the very least, this recent attack would be seen – hopefully not in a way that we would be desensitised to – but it a context that was better understood. Does that make sense?
Hi Kris. I needed some time to get together my ideas on this topic, because in a way it's very actual where I live. So: in my disgraced country we're passing through a very dark and bleak period and it seems that everyday, amongst other things, a new sexual scandal comes to light. Someone too powerful for our own good was discovered having sex/having sex parties with what it seems is every pricey professional in the country, nevermind that he has a very large family and, hell, that little thing that is a responsability to an entire nation. But anyway. Someone else, with a position of power but not so powerful and with a family of his own too, was discovered having an affair with a transsexual man. Guess who was covered with shame, has never shown his face again and is the butt of every joke and who, in a roundabout way, ended up being a winner once again, envied by the plebs as a shining example of virility? Yeah, I bet you all can tell. These events have made some old prejudices resurface once again. Homosexuality and gender queerness are immoral and wrong. People who are not your average straight human being must have suffered some trauma in their past or are just plain bad seeds. Men are bending over backwards in order to make it clear that they are not, in any way, freaks (their word not mine) and that their ass is off limits and always has been (they are all so obsessed with their ass virginity it's ridiculous). Women are raising their eyebrows and chuckling, both embarassed and more that a little scornful, with a touch of fear thrown in it, because they seem to take the fact that not every man wants to bed them as a threat to their femininity and that would be disastrous, so of course men who like men are less than a man and wrong at their core. Lesbians do not exist. Transsexuals are just a source of embarrassment and the epitome of perversity. Of course they're all really pedophiles.
*Sigh*. I feel all kind of desperate.
I don't know why people feel entitled to pass judgement on someone else's sexual life. Like you have said Kris, I firmly believe that sexuality is one essential aspect concurring in making us who and what we are, and I'm perpetually shocked when I see that someone or many someones (hello Papa Ratzinger, Church, assorted lackeys) try to manipulate and control it and define what's wrong and what's right. Many people don't even make an effort to understand that we're not clones and many of those who do base their arguments on stereotypes. What's so scaring in one's sexuality, I wonder? I've never understood it.
I have always thought the argument that 'we don't mind gays, but they shouldn't be able to get married' totally bizarre.
Me too. I always read it like that: “Ok, see, I'm very open-minded because I'm not puking my guts out at the thought of same-sex relationships. But of course they're not as serious or as important as the traditional m/f pairings, and anyway I don't want to see them, so crawl back in your holes (no pun intended) and don't show your faces again”.
(…)total unwillingess to consider the fact that they may be intolerant or hypocritical. Confuzzled that they are able to reconcile a loving and inclusive God with one that supposed hates and discriminates.
That's ignorant self-righteousness for you. When I start thinking about it I go mad.
By the way, you *are* preaching to the choir, Kris, but it's so liberating, isn't it? *grin*.
Well said! I always find your posts wonderfully to the point and well articulated.
I remember half-watching a movie with Diane Keaton where she had a family dinner and was admiring the sensitive and demonstrative way her gay son was behaving. She said in a rather fey way she wished *all* her children were gay. The visiting girlfriend of the straight son (sarah J-P? it's coming back to me LOL) was stunned for much the same reason as has been commented on here i.e. why would a mother *wish* their child more struggle in their life than they might already have to face?
Please don't quote me on this movie, I'm not sure that was the message of it at all LOL, but at the time it really made mne sit up and think.
A gay colleague at work has told me the same story, when some of his relatives asked why he 'chose' to be gay. He replied (in his wonderfully dry way) that of course he's 'chosen' to be overlooked at work, to be avoided by some friends, to take abuse all his school life etc etc.
And Jen, I've found some lovely wedding cards in the past, with 'Mr and Mr' and 'Mrs and Mrs' on :). We're moving on, albeit slowly.
Very well said Kris. I have to agree that homosexuality is not a choice and I have never understood the discrimination. People are afraid of what they don't understand but they don't try to understand, they just hate.
hang in there chickie. The internets would be a depressing place without you.
Sara: Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts.
Bleak and dark seems a perfect description of what's going on in Italy at the moment. How awful, especially for the innocents who will be victimised because of it through no fault of their own.
I hate how the automatic response of humans to controversy and scandal is to automatically react in the form of denial, no matter what the circumstances, and to follow the mob mentality.
Have you ever noticed that at such times we tend to launch into this culture of defining ourselves by what we're not. For eg, I'm not gay, I've never had butt secks, I'm not interested in anyone else but women, I don't like transexuals, etc. So much more empowering to say what you are; that is, I AM. Unfortunately people are again so unwilling and terrified to speak out against popular opinions during these kinds of events.
“I don't know why people feel entitled to pass judgement on someone else's sexual life.”
Well said. It also makes me wonder why, if we are to be judged by how we've lived out lives at the time of our deaths, these types of people feel the need to make judgements now. Are they saying that they are God on earth that they are able to do this? Doesn't the Bible talk about there being only one true God? Aren't they therefore going against the very heart of what they believe in? Yet, another thing to me that doesn't make sense.
Clare, thank you. I remember that movie now.
To be honest, I'm glad that I'm not the only one who feels this way. I was concerned that I would inadvertently offend someone, but I really wanted to get what I was thinking out there.
Tracy: “People are afraid of what they don't understand but they don't try to understand, they just hate.”
Yes. If they only realised that, in the long run, it takes a lot less energy and is more healthy to discuss challenging issues, to learn and to accept – even if it is only in some way, shape or form – then it takes to hate the world would be a totally different place.
Kassa, thanks mate, and I'm a stubborn cow if nothing else. 🙂
The only choice that I believe exists here is to either accept who and what you are, or not.
And society makes that even harder by saying that certain choices are…anathema. And it's hard enough learning to accept something about oneself, but to have to fight everyone in order to do it?
And Kris? (((Kris))) If there is anything I can do, please let me know, and I mean that!
Orannia: “And society makes that even harder by saying that certain choices are…anathema. And it's hard enough learning to accept something about oneself, but to have to fight everyone in order to do it?”
Exactly. I think we've had a few conversations about my opinion about being true to yourself and accepting who and what you are being one of the most difficult things we, as individuals, ever face. To then fight outside obstacles as well… bloody hell…
Oh, and thanks sweetie. I mean that too. 🙂