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Response to yardwork (Reply #32)

Sat Jan 28, 2012, 05:00 PM

46. Look. I'm not gay. I have heard the objections -from my GLBT compatriots- to the meme of 'choice'.

Personally, I don't think it should matter whether it's a choice or not, and yes, personally, I think my brain is flexible enough to accept that some people are gay, some people are straight, some people are bi, and much of sexuality runs along a spectrum whereby not everyone fits into a neat little box.

My other point, which maybe I didn't communicate clearly, is that "choice" itself- what constitutes choice- is a thorny philosophical issue that I think is a fascinating topic, notwithstanding the fact that I don't think the "dumb ones" are even capable of gnawing on that sort of metaphysical bone. It's sort of like "God"... Okay, for the purposes of political discussion in this country, I self identify as an Atheist (and a Taoist, and a Buddhist, after a fashion, etc.) -- I self Identify as an Atheist because under the limited, low-brow terms of the debate, for most purposes in this country, that's what I am. I *don't* believe in anything resembling the "God" of the big Western Monotheisms, for instance.

But -and this is the discussion I don't normally get into- to call oneself an Atheist depends, to an extent, on a definition of what, precisely, you're not believing in. Is it 'any supernatural beings'? Okay, define that. My point is that "God" is such an opaque, ill-defined concept that calling myself an "Atheist", although a solid working description for the purposes of political discussion, is not necessarily a complete label or even true-in-all-cases. Dig?

Similarly, with "choice" or "innate"... I accept that for most people, sexual orientation seems to be hard-wired from early on, i.e. innate. And for purposes of political discussion, I strongly support the right of consenting adults to make their own decisions, i.e. choices. This assumes, (and for purposes of, say, legislation I absolutely do) that I believe "choice" is something fundamental that consenting adults are capable of making, free-will-exists-in-a-vacuum-as-a-platonic-ideal, that sort of thing. But I also think it's a fascinating question (having spent plenty of time around, for instance, addicts) as to exactly how much of what we think are our free will decisions actually are, how much is us and how much is programming.. how much is genetic, how much is environment, etc. My point, really, was that it's a complex and not easily cracked question with more to it than meets the eye, and really it's over the heads of the fundamentalists, which does NOT mean we should cede the terms of any debate to them.

And it's very different than the definition of terms like "marriage", which is a legal term, in fact much of the misconception around the debate (such as it is) re: marriage equality comes from conflation in the public mind between the legal and religious meanings of "marriage".

Rest assured I don't want to cede the terms of any debate to any bigots, and I wholeheartedly support your right to define yourself in whatever terms you choose.. If I have ceded the 'choice' question (or label) to anyone, it has been to my GLBT allies who have asked me to please drop it because they, themselves, would prefer (for simplicity's sake, apparently) to continue to reenforce the message that sexuality is NOT a choice.

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Neue Regel Jan 2012 OP
XemaSab Jan 2012 #1
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yardwork Jan 2012 #31
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Quantess Jan 2012 #22
Warren DeMontague Jan 2012 #23
Proud Liberal Dem Jan 2012 #28
yardwork Jan 2012 #32
stevenleser Jan 2012 #38
LineLineLineNew Reply Look. I'm not gay. I have heard the objections -from my GLBT compatriots- to the meme of 'choice'.
Warren DeMontague Jan 2012 #46
yardwork Jan 2012 #50
Proud Liberal Dem Jan 2012 #27
yardwork Jan 2012 #33
Bucky Jan 2012 #30
Proud Liberal Dem Jan 2012 #34
Neue Regel Jan 2012 #39
Proud Liberal Dem Jan 2012 #44
stevenleser Jan 2012 #35
Donald Ian Rankin Jan 2012 #37
Neue Regel Jan 2012 #40
Donald Ian Rankin Jan 2012 #41
slackmaster Jan 2012 #43
Donald Ian Rankin Jan 2012 #47
Politicub Jan 2012 #45
HughBeaumont Jan 2012 #49
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