Love, Self

We Need To STOP Assuming Sexual Orientation Is A Lifestyle CHOICE

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LGBT Women in love

It's time to stop making the mistake of thinking that sexual orientation is a choice or lifestyle. It is no more a choice than your own sexual orientation. Something you were born with — just like those who are lesbian, gay and bisexual.

Being gay or a lesbian does not equate to a sex act or behavior just as your attraction and/or romantic feelings for the opposite sex does not equate to your doing the missionary position. Being gay, lesbian or bi is a sexual orientation which is actually marked by differences in the brain ... just as male and female brains are different.

Sometimes it takes longer for LGB people to discover their sexual orientation, but this is primarily because we live in a society that grooms everyone to be heterosexual.

This is especially true for bisexual people. They are often thought to be gay if they are in a same sex relationship or straight when they are in an opposite sex relationship. The truth is that they are and always will be bisexual. They are not changing their mind; they are actually attracted to both sexes.

Another common mistake people make is assuming that if you are gay then you are attracted to all men, if you are a lesbian you are attracted to all women and if you are bisexual then you are attracted to everyone. Umm ... so as a heterosexual are you attracted to everyone who is the opposite sex? No. 

Do you see how off base that thinking is when you put the shoe on the other foot?

Think for a moment of just how ridiculous it would be if you were single and someone asked you if you are still attracted to the opposite sex; or contemplate how offensive it might be if someone told you that your choosing to have romantic relationships with the opposite sex was just a lifestyle choice — if you REALLY wanted to you could be attracted to the same sex.

You would probably want to laugh in their face due to how preposterous that sounds. 

Except now, imagine that people were more than happy to discriminate against you for this by doing things such as firing you from your job, kicking you out of your home, refusing to do business with you — or worse —​ beat you or kill you.

Those kind of very REAL and threatening things are what many LGB people experience and it is part of why thinking that being LGB is a choice or a lifestyle is a DANGEROUS and IGNORANT way of thinking.

Even more insulting and ludicrous is any thought that being LGB means you are attracted to children — when in reality, the high majority of sex offenders are HETEROSEXUAL men. The references to pedophilia and sexual abuse are not only false, but they are horribly damaging to LGBT people.

Can you imagine if someone assumed you were a sex offender established only on the fact that you are heterosexual? 

There are very real consequences based on such hateful ignorance.

If you are still struggling with this concept, perhaps it is time to ask yourself some bold questions. Maybe even this one for example: have you EVER indulged in anal or oral sex? Did that make you gay or a lesbian?

Of COURSE not, because sexual orientation has nothing to do with a sex act. Just like eating Mexican food does not make you of Mexican descent.

Despite what many people assume, not all gay men have anal sex, nor do all lesbian women have oral sex. In fact, there are many who don't ... but it doesn't change the fact that they are attracted to the same sex.

We heterosexuals should not be trying to empathize by putting ourselves in the shoes of LGB people and asking what it would "be like" to be gay, lesbian or bi. Rather, we should be thinking of what it would FEEL like if many people were discriminating against and hurting us and those we love because we are heterosexual. Then and only then can we understand how insane this all is.

Understanding that sexual orientation is not a choice or lifestyle also helps us understand why it is so courageous for someone to "come out" with their sexual preference. It is who they are — just as being heterosexual is who you are. It's not something you can change.

OUR WORDS MATTER when we say things like ‘choice’ or ‘lifestyle’, because referring to it that way means that we do NOT see their sexual orientation as valid as our own. It is a derogatory way of describing someone’s sexuality, and when you say such things, you may be inadvertently inspiring ignorance and even contributing to the further discrimination of our LGB brothers and sisters.  

We are responsible for how our speech negatively impacts people in the same way that positive speech inspires people to be better, more loving and successful individuals.

Have you not seen and agreed with people who thank those who inspired them to do something great and give them credit for that wonderful and positive influence that motivated and drove them to accomplish great things? Well, my friends, the same applies to those that inspire ignorance, discrimination and even bigotry.

It is important to be the educated and compassionate force that you wish to see in the world by showing respect for everyone’s sexual orientation and identity, because our WORDS, not just our BEHAVIOR, matter.

Please note that the focus of this article is simply about sexual orientation and is in not intended to exclude transgendered people or the importance of the acceptance of gender identity issues. To see articles with regard to the LGBT+ community please visit their website.