Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Do you remember the day you chose to be straight?

Do you remember the day you chose to be straight?

No, I suppose that you don't.

Just like I don't remember the day I chose to be a lesbian.

The reason?
Because we didn't choose.
Simple as that.

However, I do remember the day I realised that I was different, also the day I understood that I liked girls the same way all my friends liked boys, and I will never forget the day it was hammered home that all of these feelings were best kept under wraps... each one of these days happened before my 7th birthday.

Today I was in a friendly conversation with an older man who lives in my neighborhood. We wave on sight, and if we are near to each other we take a few moments out for a bit of conversation. 

We were talking about the hot weather and how Berlin really doesn't see so much of this kind of heat. We talked about our last towns... his in Bavaria, and mine in Kansas. He said that he missed snow, and I said that I missed exciting weather (I have a thing about thunderstorms, and European weather just doesn't have enough to suit me). 

After this he asked the question which so many come to eventually, "Why did you come to Berlin?". 

Since it has always been important for me to be open about these things, I gave him my stock answer, "I fell in love with a wonderful lady Berliner". 

Like many people who do not know me well, he was taken aback. His gaze intensified as the wheels started turning. After all had been put to rights in his brain, he popped out with one of the more creative responses I've heard, "Soon you will realise that you want children, and another woman cannot give you this; then you will choose a nice man and settle down". 

You need to know that I'm 46 years old, which puts me out of the child-bearing years... but to an octagenarian, I'm just one of those "kids", I'm sure.

In the end his assertion that I would change my mind later is just a variation on the "you're just in a phase", idea... which has always bugged me.

I'm so sick and tired of the old ideas that homosexuality is a phase, a choice, and/or a sickness which can be cured. The same goes for the idea of 'gay recruiting'. If you are really straight... do you think you can be 'turned' gay?

Were heterosexuals born that way, or did they choose it? I have been known to ask them what they think. Often they are agasp! "Boh! Well, I never chose to be straight, I am just this way". Why should my answer be any different?

If it were simply a matter of conditioning, then everyone would be straight. Mom and Pop are just the beginning.Try and imagine the world in topsy-turvey mode. Imagine every TV show, book, magazine and movie tells you that you should be GAY. You know you aren't, you know that you won't be happy that way... but everyone and everything is telling you that is your path. How would you handle it?

All of this conditioning, all of this peer pressure to be straight, every indication around you telling you to be one way... yet you are most decidedly headed in a different direction. This is what it is like to grow up homosexual in a heterosexual environment.

Turns out there is substantial evidence of genetic and prenatal components involved in sexual orientation, not to mention the hundreds of species which exhibit same-sex behaviors. In the end it has been proven time and again that a combination of genetic, hormonal and social factors determine sexual orientation and that the only "choice" made by people like me is whether to ignore the way we are and conform to society's expectations; or to live our lives as we feel most comfortable.

Rather than try to explain all of these factors to this nice man who was still wearing his customary smile, I told him that with two women in the relationship, there are twice as many possibilities for babies... if we were so inclined. We laughed it off, and went on to discuss his grandchildren who had come for a visit on the previous long weekend.

To my mind, being gay is no more of a "choice" than being left-handed and has many similarities.  

What do you think?
What day did you choose your sexual preferences?

 post signature


Anonymous said...

Great post! Thanks for writing this.

Emily said...

So true!

I grew up bi and trans so had the battle of battles trying to work out what was going on. One thing that was clear from my earliest memories was that this was all "me".

Even being bi, it's never a choice. It just means that through my years, I've had that heart-stopping Wow! feeling for men as well as for women (and now have it every day for a truly fabulous woman!!!)

I never could understand how straight people think this is a choice. It requires such a blinkered way of thinking!

Snooker said...

Hello Emily!
So wonderful to hear from you! Even more wonderful news is that you've found love! I'm so happy for you. How are you enjoying the southern end of the country? Will you come play with us in Nürnberg, September 12-14?

stevenglassman said...

"Soon you will realise that you want children, and another woman cannot give you this; then you will choose a nice man and settle down".

I am child-free by choice, and this is a comment that I've heard many, many times (minus the 'choose a nice man' part). Why is it that other people always think they know what will arise from our deepest heart of hearts?

Great post, Snooker. If you're free next time I'm in Berlin, I should buy you a beer. But only if you promise not to knock this one into my lap. :D

Snooker said...

Oh Steven!
I had to laugh so hard when reading this. You simply must come back to Berlin... this time I promise not to dump a fresh beer on you for your trouble.

Maria said...

I'm a truly odd duck. I've always been bisexual. I didn't have romantic feelings AT ALL until I was nearly 16 and then my period started and suddenly those feelings came with it. I've never leaned farther one way than the other, always have been attracted to certain types, disrespective of their gender.