This originally started as a comment on the included meme, that someone posted on a social media site. I quickly realized this was far too long, and I moved it here so I wouldn’t piss anyone off by spamming their comments. But I wanted this to go somewhere, because a lot came spilling out of me when I started writing this.
To me it’s always been very simple, and I’ve never understood why it’s not simple for other people. You can’t help who you’re attracted to. Whatever the reasons, sometimes someone walks into a room and your senses light up and your brain and libido are just like “Wow!” Your instincts don’t care if that’s a man or a woman. You like what you like. Sure, folks can get into these cerebral- and religious-based conflicts which try to deny that basic instinctual attraction (like someone trying to convince themselves they’re not attracted to the same sex), but that doesn’t go away. You can deny it. You can hide from it. But it’s still there. And this is as equally true of “straight” people as it is of “gay” people. If you’re a man (or boy) who is attracted to women (girls), you’re not suddenly going to start liking boys because you were around a gay person or a drag queen.
Hell, I should be gay. My mother was 1 of 7 sisters. I grew up knee deep in a matriarchy, where all but one of my aunts literally lived within a few miles of us, and interacting with my many aunts was just part of any normal week. I didn’t have any solid male role-models or influences. My father was a figure who wandered through for a visit once or twice a year. My step-father was an authoritarian who believed children should be seen and not heard, who rarely interacted with me. My uncles were sporadic influences who I only saw once or twice a month, if that (some I only saw every couple of months). I never had a male take me under his wing or pass footballs with me or show me how to properly be a man, etc, etc. For me it was my mother and 6 aunts, all the time, and I grew up very much influenced and shaped by them.
I know I’m going way off into the weeds here, but this meme really made me think. When I was young I WAS confused about my sexuality. Because of my familial upbringing I identified far more strongly with women than I did men. And when I was still trying to figure it all out, I wondered if I might be gay. I mean, I wasn’t like other guys. I wasn’t into sports. I was creative. I was bored by the standard scripted male interactions of talking solely about women, sports, and work.
But I sorted it out. And I eventually realized and accepted one simple thing. However much I may have felt more comfortable around women and sometimes (when I was younger) wished I could be part of that female circle I was excluded from, the simple fact of the matter was this; I was attracted to girls. Even if there were times in my life when I wished I was a girl (again, because of that sisterhood (literal in this case)), I was not attracted to men at all. I’ve never looked at another man and felt the same kind of attraction I have with women. I’ve never looked at a man’s hairy ass and thought, “Man, I’d like to get my hands on that.” Not once.
And here’s my (admittedly meandering) point. If it’s that simple, that being around gays or drag queens or whatever, can make you gay, I SHOULD be gay because I didn’t have strong male influences and very much wanted to be part of that female circle that governed my larger family. I should like boys. I should have grown up wanting to touch other boys’ penises, wanting to kiss other boys, wanting to date other boys. But I didn’t. Maybe I half-joked sometimes that I was a lesbian woman trapped in a man’s body, and that it might sum up the conflicts I had when I was younger, but I’ve only ever been attracted to girls.
Simply put, if I’m not gay, it’s not possible to be “turned” gay. If it was a matter of choice, then during my confusion when I was young I probably would have made that choice, even if temporarily, while I was trying to sort things out. But even if I had, I have no doubt whatsoever that I would have eventually realized, simply put, that I’m only attracted to girls, end of story.
So… long story short, if I’m not gay, it’s impossible to “turn” someone gay. As I said, you like what you like. You can’t change that. Someone who is repulsed by asparagus is not going to suddenly start liking it because you keep exposing them to it. And someone who adores chocolate isn’t suddenly going to stop liking sweets because they’re around someone who eats only meat and vegetables. It doesn’t work like that.
In the end, the basic problem is that the average human being is as stupid as a rock, and they can only access and understand stupid, simplistic concepts. They think you can be “turned” gay by being around a gay person because they’re stupid as a rock, and they heard somewhere that it’s possible, and because they’re simply not smart enough to understand the implications of one simple concept; if being gay is a choice (and being around gay people can prompt you to make that choice), then logically each and every straight person would have to, at some point in their lives, consider the options available to them and make a conscious choice that they’re going to be straight. If gay people have to make that choice, then straight people have to make that choice, too. You would think the fact that these straight people have never had to actually make that choice would make them realize that gay people are no different, and that it’s not about choice.
Just as you can’t decide to be white or black or Native American, you can’t decide who you’re going to be attracted to. Yes, you can experiment. Even if you’re straight, there’s nothing to stop you from playing with another boy’s penis or another girl’s clitoris. Humans are curious by nature, and it’s normal to explore. Left without the rigid social and religious structures we’re all governed by, more of us might experiment when we’re young. But we’d all sort it out eventually, accept who we’re attracted to, and move on with our lives. Simple as that.
It’s not about deciding who you are, but rather figuring out, and accepting, who you are.
It’s really that simple.