Sexual orientation result of both choice, biological factors

Opinions Columnist | Mass Communication Sophomore

Identifying as gay or any other alternative sexual identity is neither completely a matter of choice or biology—it is both.

Everyone is born into this world with a clean slate. Over time, that blank tablet comes to be marked upon by one’s family, experiences and surroundings. After a while, people start making their own decisions and forming their own opinions, possibly contrary to how they were raised. After a while, regardless of whether their actions are contrary to those of their parents, people inevitably start to make their own decisions.

Some will argue that this is evidence part of the “born that way” philosophy. According to this philosophy’s proponents, some people have traits predetermined at birth that, regardless of their upbringing, they cannot help. In this philosophy, people are gay because they are born that way, and there is nothing one can do to change that fact.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are people who argue that being gay is a choice. According to this philosophy, people choose which lifestyle to live based on how they were raised and what they have experienced. Those who identify as gay are seen as having made a choice to do so, a choice which is either in line with, or else has developed as a reaction to, their upbringing.

There really is no clear-cut answer to this question. For me, I chose to be gay and have never looked back. I have had my ups, downs and fair share of moments wondering if what I chose was right, but when all is said and done, I would not have it any other way.

For others, it is not so easy. They may find the way they were raised fits a certain lifestyle mold, one they do not wish to break by choosing a certain sexual identity. Unfortunately, some people who choose a path based on their upbringing struggle with decisions later in life.

People often point to the animal kingdom to back up their views on whether homosexuality is a choice or not. There are many cases of homosexuality in animals. Many of such animals are extremely intelligent creatures that know what they are doing. Other animals that engage in homosexual activity are not as intelligent, and whether they know what they are doing or not is questionable. These facts continue to muddy the truth of whether homosexuality is a choice or something determined at birth. Unfortunately, science has yet to give humans a true understanding of animals’ thoughts. Until such a time, I will continue to believe that both choice and biology are factors in one’s sexual orientation.

Besides the fact that the issue of choice is a huge gray area, asking if I was born gay is offensive. I do not like it when people ask me this question. My lovely response is, and will continue to be, “Were you born an ass or did you choose to be one?”
It is no one’s business how I choose to live my life. Ultimately, the question of whether I—or anyone else—chose to be gay or not is completely irrelevant. Does the fact that someone chose to engage in a homosexual relationship make that person somehow less deserving of respect and human decency? I do not think so.

I think people should strive to live lives that are completely satisfying. Naysayers will always be there to mock others’ decisions in life, but as long as people are happy with their decisions, it should not matter what anyone else says.