I recently had the honour of participating in a panel discussion about homosexuality in the church. One of the panelists was a woman who had been saved from being a lesbian through her faith in Christianity. The other was a gay and proud man. Can I just say I was not prepared for the level of emotions that followed!? Needless to say, it got heated. The discussion centred a lot around whether you can actually be saved from homosexuality and whether being gay is a choice.
While I was in the middle of this debate, I was mostly thinking to myself…”what if it is? what if being gay is a choice?”. I understand why it’s a hotly contested issue. The arguments favouring gay rights (that I’m most familiar with) say that gay people can’t help that they are attracted to people of the same sex. On that basis, discriminating against someone for their sexual orientation is wrong, in the same way racism is wrong. It’s wrong because no one should be discriminated against based on something they have no say in. What was interesting about the former lesbian’s story is that, with no motive to lie, she was countering this, saying that she *had been* a lesbian and no longer was. Now, it’s tempting to discredit this story if you are supporter of gay rights, because if this is true, then it could be used to further harm people who identify anywhere on the LGBTQIA spectrum. However, for the sake of this post, I am going to take her story as true.
If being gay is, indeed, a choice, then so what? Why shouldn’t people choose it? Why can’t gay people have nice things, like lurrrrve and happiness? For people who are against gay rights, gay marriage or “homosexual acts” (I’m looking at you, Botswana): why are you discriminating against other people because of the choices they make, if those choices don’t affect you? And let’s be real, other people’s sexual orientations really do not affect you.
There is a lot of time and energy spent on actively discriminating against gay people. Homosexuality is outlawed in many countries. Gay couples aren’t allowed to adopt children in many places. Words like fag and moffie are offensive based on their association to being gay. Gay people are often bullied, raped or killed because others disapprove of their sexuality. Society is doing a great job at being awful about this.
Oftentimes, the justification for this discrimination comes from our religious beliefs. It is generally believed that the bible says it’s wrong to be gay and that it’s a sin. I can’t verify this but I’m just going to go with it. Let’s say the bible had it set in stone that homosexuality is a) a choice and b)the wrong choice. If I acknowledge this, and I still choose to be gay, why don’t you just respect my choice? I have the right to choose and have my choice respected. What I don’t understand is the *choice* to intervene in another person’s life (and in their rights) based on your own belief system.
There’s also a discrepancy in when it is deemed appropriate to intervene. I will admit it…I have told a lie before but no one has ever denied me basic freedoms because of it. And I’m pretty sure envy is a sin, but I don’t see anyone telling envious people they shouldn’t adopt kids. Also, where are all the protests against wrath? Can we at least be consistent?
I understand why we are debating about the choice/non-choice to be gay, but I think in debating it, we are missing a bigger point. I don’t think it should matter whether or not it’s a choice to be gay. What matters to me is that others are treated fairly.
I’m not asking for a lot.