Reasons to support LGBTQ rights — not “born this way” WTF
The following arguments may be obsolete, now that most Americans seem to support many forms of equal treatment for LGBTQ persons. Perhaps we don’t need a coherent theory of why we should be treated more equally, so long as 51+% agree.
Basically I’m responding to the idea that LGBTQ rights should be supported because we are “Born This Way”, and/or because LGBTQ persons should be able to “trust themselves” regarding which gender to present as and which gender to love/fuck.
I’m reminded of this issue by a multi-part interview with Terre Thaemlitz beginning at: http://www.factmag.com/2014/04/29/deeper-underground-fact-meets-terre-thaemlitz-part-one/
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I never liked the argument that LGBTQ is OK because we are born this way, because I think many LGBTQ people aren’t born this way, and even if you perceive that yourself was born this way, this could be an oversimplification or misperception of the reasons for your own behavior. Human sexuality is unusually complex as compared to most species.
As Ms. Thaemlitz said in the interview, many women choose to become lesbians after they are sexually assaulted by men. I’ve known some of these women myself over the years. They were not born this way, they chose this path as a refuge from patriarchal violence.
My personal story is one of having crushes on, and for a while romantic/sexual relationships with, both men and women while I was in high school and college. I know several other men who started out as de facto bisexual, who later decided — after much thought, discussion, and experimentation — to identify as gay. And there are countless men who play around with guys when young, who ultimately decide to identify as straight. There are countless men who continue to play around with other men as adults, who still identify as straight.
For many people, sexual identity is a choice. Claiming that LGBTQ rights are required because we are born this way is unfair to those who believe and can authoritatively narrate otherwise.
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Even as a purely legal argument, Born This Way makes no sense. It is not a legal defense, and if it were, every criminal would simply argue he was Born This Way, born to be a serial killer, born to be a shoplifter, born to be a drunk driver. Who can argue with this? All you’d have to say is that from a very young age you’ve always felt attracted to committing a particular crime. OK, yes, you were born this way, so we can’t prosecute you.
Ridiculous. Whether something should be a crime should depend on whether there is a harm to individuals or to society at large.
So if you want to argue for LGBTQ rights, you should at least start with the premise that LGBTQ identities are not harmful, and that LGBTQ behaviors are not harmful. Not to the people involved, and not to society at large.
For example, what two men or two women do with their bodies in the privacy of their own home is of no consequence to anybody else.
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This leads us to the main argument of the other side, that LGBTQ identities and activities are harmful. To most of us out-of-the-closet LGBTQ people, we think these arguments are ludicrous. We know that trying to exist within the closet was harmful to us. We know that prejudice and discrimination against LGBTQ people is harmful to us.
But the main argument of the other side depends critically upon the foundations for gender roles in society. And not just any gender roles, but traditional male and female gender roles, based on the Bible, assigned at birth according to phenotype, and policed by government, church, school, community, family, and sidewalk hoodlums.
Men are supposed to be masculine, breadwinners, in charge of things. Women are supposed to be feminine, childbearing, and submissive. When anti-LGBTQ folks talk about marriage being One-Man/One-Woman, it is because they believe that the traditional gender roles are vital to both family and society. Messing with these 3,000-year-old traditions is dangerous! So they say.
But these traditions are harmful! Patriarchy is harmful. Forcing men and women to live within these circumscribed gender roles is harmful. Male domination of women, often through violence, is harmful.
Allowing people to choose their own gender roles (or no gender roles at all), and allowing people to choose which genders (if any) they will love/fuck, these choices — not the way they are born — these choices allow us to break free from the harmful strictures of patriarchy. These choices lead to a more free and more healthy society for everybody.
We are choosing to dismantle patriarchy, and for good reason, and it is finally damn time.