If you're one of the queers who think we'd be treated better if straights think we didn't choose to be gay, forget it.

Whether we were born gay or choose to be gay is irrelevant... we are still the target of hatred. Queers are the final front of unrestricted discrimination in America, prejudice everyone can agree on. This is flat out bigotry and, since bias needs no reason, it's permissible to hate us.

The question of whether we were born gay should have no meaning: we are entitled to be who we are, regardless. We deserve to be out and given legal protection no matter how we walk, talk, look or what we do sexually. It shouldn't matter if you are a truck driver or a teacher, are butch or femme, use a dildo or a butt plug, have one lover or many.

We should not have to get laws passed to decide who can visit us in a hospital. No one should be able to deny us an apartment or a job or pass amendments to limit our rights or our family life. Our rights should not be dependent on getting married or being in the military or behaving the way someone imagines we should.

We need no permission to be who we are.

Besides, every queer knows the real "choice" in being gay is the choice to say it. It's the choice to acknowledge it that's at question -- to yourself and to everyone else. The question isn't whether we are gay. It's whether we are out.

We don't have to figure out why we are queer. It doesn't matter. History shows that genes will not save you when someone with power wants to keep you down or to eliminate you.

  • Genes were the justification for the enslavement of African-Americans, for lynching and for segregation. Racists continue to consider African Americans "genetically" inferior and to imprison Black people more than white people.
  • For part of the 19th century, the Irish were not considered white.
  • Based on 19th century scientific presumptions, the U.S. had 600 separate anti-Asian laws limiting Asian citizenship. Whites could kill Asians with impunity, since they could not testify in court.
  • Early sexologists supposedly proved "scientifically" that there were genetically based physical differences between the sex organs of homosexuals and heterosexuals that justified -- among other things -- incarceration in mental hospitals.
  • By 1914, to prevent the inheritance of disabilities, 12 states had laws using genetics to justify the sterilization of the developmentally disabled, the blind, the deaf, the "deformed", and the drunk.
  • Laws passed by the U.S. Congress in the 1920s, based on the supposed genetic "feeblemindedness" of Eastern and Southern Europeans, severely limited the immigration of Jews fleeing Hitler in the 1930s.
  • By 1928, Eugenics, the scientific study of breeding "good" genes, was so popular in the U.S. there were 376 separate college courses on it, with an enrollment of up to 20,000 students. Elements of the American Eugenics movement were models for the Nazis, whose racial interpretation of it led to the Holocaust.
  • Eugenics was also the basis for new arguments against inter-racial marriage. By 1915, 28 states had made inter-racial marriage illegal.
  • Virginia's Racial Integrity Act of 1924 included racial registration as well as a legal definition of "whiteness". Within 10 years similar laws were found in Nazi Germany.
  • To preserve the Aryan race, the Nazis exterminated anyone they deemed genetically inferior: Jews, people born with disabilities, gypsies, and yes -- homosexuals.
  • To develop a cheaper work force of women free from child care, the U.S. government and the local government of Puerto Rico sterilized 1/3 of Puerto Rico women between 1930 and 1965.
  • Puerto Rican women were also guinea pigs for testing contraceptive pills in 1956. The doses tested were 20 times stronger than the pill now on the market.
  • In the 1996 bestseller, "The Bell Curve", Charles Murray argued that poverty is caused by genetic predisposition.
  • The President of the Harvard University recently suggested that genetic difference might account for the lack of tenured women scientists.

Face reality. Your genes will not protect you. The Rapture Right is out to get us. You are not safe. It doesn't matter if you were born this way. It doesn't matter if others think you were born this way. If they want to get you, you're screwed anyway.

Christian right wing propaganda has a solid critique of the "gay gene" research. They use its lack of scientific validity to say we are trying to manipulate people into thinking we were "born this way" so we can continue our "immoral life style". Many other religious leaders and politicians -- maybe even your family -- also think we are debauched, or at the very least, abnormal. For people who believe heterosexuality is the norm, homosexuality is still a deviation, chosen or not.

As long as America thinks gay and gay sex are the same thing the Choice Or Birth argument is moot. They can't get past the sex factor. Even our liberal supporters think books about lesbian and gay families are not appropriate for young children. Somehow, they think they would have to explain queer sexual behavior to their children if they read a story about two mommies even though books about straight parents are completely non-sexual.

Right, left or center -- no one really wants us to be who we are.

It's time to give up trying to explain our existence. So queers: Stop trying to prove we can't help it. don't deny our differences. Revel in our unique cultural contributions. Forget your attempt to ape the straight world by pushing for marriage and military service as if these will make us more acceptable.

End this chronicle of self-hatred, of sell out, of limiting our lives and the lives of the queers who came after us.

Quit explaining. Start expanding.

This time it's personal. It's survival. Arguing Choice or Birth will not save us.

next chapter

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