How Prop 8’s overturn will turn people gay

One of the hysterical claims regarding Proposition 8 is that it will turn our children gay. The legalisation of gay marriage, proponents claimed, would awaken young impressionable innocents to the idea that they could choose to be gay. These poor little heterosexuals will defect to the ranks of the gays.

They are right; legalisation of gay marriage will mean more gay people in our society, but not for the reason they think. There will be “more” gay people not because anybody has converted, but because people who are already gay will not feel obligated to fake it any more. Fewer people will repress their innate selves. Fewer people will fake heterosexuality to meet the demands of their unforgiving families and churches. Fewer people will engage in inappropriate marriages and find relationships that are truly lasting and fulfilling.

The gays aren’t coming to get your children; they are your children. Homosexuals are not on the rise; they are already here.

Anti-gay activists refuse to accept this because it means accepting that “my descendant, my DNA contained the building blocks of gay.” As long as homosexuality is a choice, homophobic people to not have to acknowledge that contained within them are the a genetic, epigenetic, and congenital factors that produce gay people.

Many parents refuse to confront the reality that their bodies produced a child with unwanted characteristics, because they would have to acknowledge that their chromosome gave their child Down’s Syndrome or their DNA gave their child Autism. Notorious activist Jenny McCarthy comes to mind as someone who will do anything, however damaging, to convince herself that an outside force and not her body was the thing that gave her son autism. Similarly, anti-gay parents will do anything to exonerate themselves from having any part in producing a homosexual child.

We need to remove this mindset from parents of gay children. Gay is not a choice. Gay is not a disease. Gay is not anybody’s fault, because there is no fault to be had. Like having green eyes or black skin, sexuality is just one piece of the package we’re handed at birth.

8 thoughts on “How Prop 8’s overturn will turn people gay

  1. Yes, but, although I realize you didn’t mean it this way, comparing being born gay with being born with a congenital birth defect is problematic. First, it’s potentially offensive; however accepting and positive we are about challenges like Down’s Syndrome, they’re still challenges–impediments to leading a normal life. Homosexuality, however, while socially challenging in some contexts, isn’t a birth defect. Second, people do change, and have changed. How do you think my family became so pro-inclusion? To varying degrees (depending on generation, etc) we’ve all grown more open minded, and more aware, because of the people who’ve blessed our lives.

    You can’t “remove” a mindset, but making blanket generalizations about what “all” people do in a certain situation is hardly the way to open a constructive dialogue. If we’re to change people’s minds, we must first be open to respecting them as people. However right we are, those who appose us feel just as right. Sitting around cheering “hooray for our side, we’re right and you’re wrong” isn’t productive.

    • Perhaps I didn’t write it clearly enough, but my point was that viewing being born gay as a congenital or inherited birth defect is problematic. That’s why I concluded the being gay is like being black or having green eyes. It’s just one more variation in a person’s total composition. Parents of children society views as defective struggle with complex feelings. When I advocated removing the mindset that gay children are defective, I meant removing in the sense of drawing out poison or removing a tumor. It’s not a burden of guilt parents need to carry at all. I’m also not sure what you mean about the “hooray for our side” part. I’ve re-read my post and still feel it comes across as a call for advocacy for gay children of anti-gay parents.

  2. @CJ

    It seems to me that Molly was making that allusion precisely because anti-gay people see being gay as a disease. She clearly said it wasn’t a disease, but made the comparison because it is similar to the anti-vaccination nuts who refuse to believe autism has at least some genetic/biological causes, just as homosexuality does. I thought it was quite a good comparison.

    Whether you’re right that we probably can’t remove a mindset, we can make that mindset/view laughable, ridiculous, and embarrassing to have. We can also educate as much as possible. Those two things, coupled with more and more people coming out is what will lessen homophobia in society.

    I’m not sure what you think we ought to do otherwise. How does respecting religious and homophobic nuts help us? I’ve never found that compromising on the truth helped anyone. People who are willing to listen to the truth are those we can educate. Those who won’t are those we need to ridicule and shame, just as we ridicule and shame racists.

  3. Craig, I understand what Molly’s getting at. My point is that merely because bigots use certain language/ideas/allegories, doesn’t mean we should empower them by doing the same. It’s just feeding the trolls.

    And, yes, respecting people is exactly what I’m talking about. It’s dangerous to confuse treating people with respect with “compromising the truth”. Oddly, many of the people I know who take this stance on gay rights don’t take it on other issues–like the war. Suddenly, then, it’s not “compromising the truth” to explore diplomacy.

    I don’t ridicule and shame racists, either. I don’t ridicule and shame anybody. All that does is 1) inflame them, 2) reinforce their preexisting belief that people who disagree with them are unreasonable/crazy people, and 3) make me look bad. I’m not in the habit of being angry or judgmental–and I certainly have no intention of compromising my Christianity by sinking to their level.

    It’s incredibly dangerous to get into discussions of who’s willing to listen, who “deserves” respect, etc–it’s basically just doing the exact same thing these anti-gay folks are doing. However, branding people as “unworthy” of your love/respect/consideration ALWAYS sounds a whole lot more reasonable when you’re the one wearing the righteousness hat.

    Diplomacy is never easy. True diplomacy shouldn’t be easy. But, personally, I’d rather fight the hard fight.

  4. And one more thing: “I’m right” isn’t, de facto, a logical reason for people to listen to you. For people to listen to you, you have to be worth listening to. Is someone who proudly states that they ridicule people who believe differently than them worth listening to? Are they representative of the kind of morals and ethics we, as people, are supposed to embrace?

    It’s not enough to say, “it’s OK for *me* to act this way, ’cause I’m right and they’re wrong”. I know that feels different, but, trust me, the receiving end is still the receiving end. Has experiencing this treatment–the exact same treatment you’re advocating here, although I don’t expect you to realize it–caused *you* to change your mind?

  5. The argument that I’ve heard from a couple of places is not that prop 8’s overturn will turn people gay, but that it will encourage bisexuals to choose gay over straight.

    I’m not sure if I dislike THIS argument even more than the one that Molly speaks about, because it assumes that if someone can *pass* (e.g., is bisexual), then they should, but gay people should be tolerated only because they can’t pass as straight

  6. @Andrew, that’s exactly right. It shows a total lack of understanding for what it means to be bisexual. If a bisexual person finds the love of their life (regardless of gender), they won’t abandon that person just because gay marriage is illegal. It’s just one more way the “homosexuality is a choice and should be banned” argument falls to bits.

  7. Pingback: Another Step in the Prop 8 Saga « Irresistible (Dis)Grace

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