Among conservatives, one often hears homosexuality referred to as a choice, while most of us insist—quite vehemently sometimes—that our sexual orientation was set from the moment we were born. I believe we and conservatives are talking about two different things, each of which is interesting and important to study.
Conservatives may well cede that some of us may born with gay or lesbian inclinations, a belief that still has not been proven by scientific investigations. That may not be what they are talking about; that is what we are talking about. Conservatives are talking about behaviors more than inclinations or attractions. We may or may not act on those impulses, and if we choose to live without acting on them, we are not homosexual, at least in their way of thinking. One does not become one unless one acts upon one’s interests and embraces the life, providing a handy label of gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc.
For some of us, the label may have come first, before any sexual activities had taken place. It can become part of our identity before it becomes part of our behavioral repertoire. It is a plan in the making, a choice already made. There is support for the young and the questioning throughout our community, people who have made the choice and live their lives the way they have chosen.
In this sense, we all make a choice about whether to act on our feelings. While conservatives might believe it is better to choose to ignore those feelings and push them away, we imagine a lonely, unhappy life if we follow that path.
Choice is an American expectation, we believe, and our choices are ours to make. We accept the consequences, both good and bad, of all of our decisions. They may come with a label or they may not.