Sexuality Isn’t a Soda

I got an email from a very dear friend this morning. I will share it with you, and then my reply. She said:

I don’t know if you’ll agree with me and I’m not asking you to but, you are welcome to comment. I would like to hear your opinion. We both have our own opinions and we respect each other!

I was watching a Ricky Martin video that he did with Oprah Winfrey. Sexual orientation is a big question in today’s society. I believe people aren’t born one way or another but, they grown up to make the decision. I believe it is a choice. You can choose to have a Coke or a Pepsi. See, I think it is a choice. I think you can tell a child the things he or she needs to grow up strong and independent. And I think you can show them the things they will need to exceed. Ultimately, it is the person’s decision what they will be. Don’t you see it that way? 

My response to her was more patient than I would give most people because I care a lot about her. Here is how I replied:

Here is the litmus test…. could you love and have sex with a woman and enjoy it?
I mean, you can drink a Pepsi or a Coke, right? So, could you fall in love with a woman, have sex with her, marry her, and have what you have with X____… only you “prefer” not to do that? Or, is it that you COULD NOT love and have sex with a woman?

If your theory is correct, then most gay people would have been raised outside of a church. They would grow up in families who approved of being gay, families which did not teach them not to be gay.

Do you already see that your theory is failing these tests? Because many gay people are beaten by their parents when their parents suspect they are gay. There are gay people who were told from the earliest signs that they did not fit in, that they could only do things stereotypical for their gender. Boys were beaten for wanting their nails painted, or even for hugging their friend in a way that was too loving.

Yet, people are still gay. Why do they choose that, if it is a choice?

Sexuality is not a choice. Who we love is not a choice. Who we marry, is a choice to a certain extent…meaning, you like boys, but chose X____. Gays do not get that choice, but they should. Take a moment to consider the idea of being gay outside of the context of sex. Because relationships are not about sex, at least not the ones that last until someone proposes marriage.

If you really, truly, want to know if it is a choice…find out what gay people have to say about it. You really can’t form an opinion about gays if you haven’t actually talked to any about it. They are all over the place, do some research.

And I have to divulge that the novel I am writing centers around the relationship between two girls, how they help each other recover from two different types of abuse. One of them can not seem to break free from it. But, these girls love each other… yes, “like that”. I didn’t write it to sensationalize the gay issue. Actually, I hope that it helps in de-sensationalizing the gay issue. This book is not about “being gay”. It’s about surviving self-hatred.

In real life, my friends C____ and M____ have been living together for 18 years, but they are not allowed to marry each other. Still, their love for each other and the strength of their relationship is far greater than what you or I experience with our own marriages. I don’t mean that to sound bad to us. I am only saying that they are inspiring as a couple, and they make me want to be a better person to my own spouse.

Even if it was a choice, and it isn’t, I truly believe they are meant to be together.

I hope this helps you understand my point of view.

I wanted to share this publicly, because this question plays out in the storyline of my novel. Why do we love the person we love? Where do we fit in? How do we survive a journey through self-loathing without love?

One day, I hope to hand my book to her. I hope she will read it and understand that love is complex and essential and nothing at all like a soda.

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5 thoughts on “Sexuality Isn’t a Soda

  1. Very well written.

    But what about bi-sexuals. They can enjoy it with both genders. Are they not proof that it’s a choice. That you can choose alternatively?

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    • Thanks for commenting and bringing up the subject of bi-sexuality.

      In the context of this discussion, the experiences of bisexuals are not proof of anything for the gay and lesbian community as a whole. They land somewhere in the middle of a vast spectrum of sexual preferences.

      But, let’s look at it like this. Most people have had sex with more than one person. So, why didn’t we all just marry the first person, since we obviously liked them enough to have sex with them? We probably didn’t marry that person because they weren’t the “everything” that we loved and wanted in a partner.
      This is the thing that isn’t a choice for gays and lesbians, not even for bisexuals.

      The big picture of love and marriage is more complex than sexual desire. It boils down to the fact that we are all unique, and can not just pick anyone randomly to love in that way.

      We did not choose to fall in love with the people we found ourselves in love with. Why should we expect that someone else could choose it? For bisexuals, it just means they might fall in love with either, but when they do, it is just as real as what either of us feel for our partners.

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  2. Gorgeously written! Thank you thank you thank you for taking the time to talk about queer issues with your friend and others. I wish I could go into the future and read your book—it sounds like something I would really enjoy reading.
    As to the bisexual question asked above, I hope neither of you mind if I offer my own perspective—the fact that *some* people can love both genders doesn’t prove that *all* people can. And a bisexual person can no more change their orientation than a straight or gay person can. They can’t force themselves to choose one gender and stop being attracted to the other. Even if they enter into a monogomous relationship with a man, for example, they’re still going to be checking out ladies on the street.
    Great post, Julie, thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, thank you thank you thank you for commenting and sharing your insight! I wish I had my book available for you to read because I would value your feedback. But, I still have technical hoops to jump through before I can get it to readers. Your interest in it is really encouraging.

      Like

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