Is Sexual Orientation a choice?

We are all unique when we are born.  We have a unique genetic code that decides what color hair we will have, will it be straight or curly, how tall will we be, what our skin tone will be.  It tells us what color eyes we will have, hazel, green, brown or blue.   Our DNA decides if we will be born with all of our body parts and brains fully functioning, or if we are missing a chromosome, or piece of DNA it decides if we will have Down’s Syndrome, or autism, or any myriad of genetic birth defects.

That being said, what about gender and sex?  Of course we know our physiological sexual characteristics are decided by our DNA, but gender? Gender is fluid and is a social construct and we are socialized to be one gender or another.  And what about sexual orientation? Is sexual orientation a choice? Or is it hardwired into our DNA?
Many people will say that people CHOOSE to be gay or straight.  Many say they are born gay or straight.  I am not a scholar and I have not done enough research to determine if the scientific data supports either theory.  All I can tell you is what people have told me.

One day, while waiting for a professor to show up for a class, my classmates and I started having a discussion about sexual orientation.  I said I don’t like to
“classify” my sexuality, and told them that I am vague because I don’t like to categorize myself as one thing or another.  I am not straight.  I like guys, but I also like women. I have been in a wonderful relationship with a woman for over 10 years, and I expect to stay in that relationship until I die.  If something were to happen to her and I wanted to be in another relationship  have no idea what gender that person might be.  They could be male, female, transgendered….who knows.  I don’t rule anything out and definitely don’t really have a certain “type” of person I am attracted to.  According to my college friends this makes me a “pansexual”

I had never heard of Pansexuality before and of course I looked it up and did some research, and I realized she was right, and that described me perfectly.  I am not attracted to just one type of person, I can be attracted to any type of person.  What matters to me more than their sexual anatomy is who they are as a person, their heart and personality.  Those are the things that draw me in and makes me attracted to someone, not their gender or physical features.

During this discussion with some of my classmates, we started talking about sexual orientation and whether it was a “choice” or how we were born.  Someone said,  “You know, I hear people say that gay people choose to be gay, but I am here to tell you that is not true.  Why would I choose this lifestyle?  Choose being discriminated against?  Choose a lifestyle that made my friends and church family abandon me?  Choose an orientation where I can’t even walk down the street holding my boyfriend’s hand? Who would choose that? Nobody would.”

That young man articulated the thoughts that I believe MANY LGBTQ people have had.  Why in the world would we CHOOSE to be born that way?  A life of discrimination, ridicule and being treated differently?  A life where you still can’t have a legally binding civil union or marriage (or whatever term you prefer to use) in every state in this country.  A lifestyle where you get bullied and picked on in school.

These are questions that anyone who feels being gay is a choice should ask themselves.  It would be much easier to be heterosexual.

So for anyone who thinks LGBTQ people wake up one day and consciously make a choice to take a more difficult path through life, ask yourself, “would I chose that?”  If the answer is no, then that is all you need to know.  Being gay, or straight, or bisexual, or asexual, or bisexual is not a choice, it is hardwired into our DNA and it is how we are born.

So in the words of Lady Gaga, we were “Born This Way”!!