Gay (or not)…By Choice?
Recently Colorado Republican senate candidate and tea party leader Ken Buck said during a television interview, being gay is a choice- you know, like alcoholism.
When the host asked Buck if he believes being gay is a lifestyle choice, he answered quote- “I do. You can choose who your partner is,” end quote.
I guess we should start with the obvious, because apparently not everyone knows being gay and being an alcoholic are two things that cannot be compared, particularly through the lens of choice.
Alcoholism is a disease that requires treatment. It is not something that can be cured, but rather managed through one’s life.
Also, in case you missed the memo, homosexuality is not a disease, and thus, there is no magic cure for it. Buck says he wasn’t comparing homosexuality to a disease, but boy did his statement push that line.
The gay rights debate is pretty heated across the country right now, and one of the talking points we consistently hear, whether accurate or not, is that being gay is a choice, and therefore is unnatural and shouldn’t be protected.
But ya know, I’ve noticed that it’s usually people from the conservative right pushing the gay-lifestyle-is-a-choice rhetoric.
Here’s the problem- that is the very group of people who most often hide or deny their homosexuality. When they say you can choose to not live as a gay person, they don’t just believe it; they’re doing their damnedest to live it. Why?
Lest we forget, teens across this country are killing themselves after being accused, teased, bullied and outted for being gay. I can’t imagine the experiences of those youths are any different than the experiences of a gay man in the conservative movement, which is why they make the choice to pretend to be something else. They don’t want to be ridiculed or abandoned by their communities any more than the Tyler Clementi’s or Seth Walsh’s of the world.
Conservatives are so good at trying to suppress their own reality they believe anyone who is gay can make the choice to do the same thing.
There is a plethora of examples to choose from.
The most recent case of anti-gay-conservative-oh-and-by-the-way-I’m-gay is California Republican Roy Ashburn. The state senator was arrested earlier this year for drunk driving after leaving a gay bar.
This is a guy who repeatedly voted against gay rights and even hosted a rally in support of “traditional marriage.” He voted against expanding anti-discrimination laws to include sexual orientation, he voted against recognizing out of state gay marriages, and he voted against establishing a day honoring slain lawmaker Harvey Milk.
Oh and by the way, Ashburn admitted he is gay. As if that weren’t enough, he apologized for it- being gay and oh yeah, driving drunk.
Add his name to the list alongside men like Mark Foley, Larry Craig, Ed Schrock and Ted Haggard to name a few; all conservatives who demonized homosexuality while lying to their wives, children, colleague and friends.
Whether out of fear, shame or self hatred, each made the choice to embrace a personal and professional lifestyle that conflicted with who they really were inside- a personal truth and identity they could not make the choice to change, no matter how hard they tried.
For many, the stories of Ashburn and other closeted conservative men like him are just gay sex scandals used to incite gasps and giggles. That isn’t nearly the sum of significance.
They condemned homosexuality, actively fought against gay rights, they even chose heterosexual marriage, and yet at the end of the day- still gay. It’s ironic; despite claiming homosexuality is a choice, they proved through their own life experiences and hypocrisy- it actually isn’t.
So when I hear people like senate hopeful Ken Buck say he is against gay marriage and gay rights in general and that homosexuality is a choice, only one thought comes to mind: yup- he’s probably totally gay.