When did you choose to be straight? (video)

A neat idea for a video.  Asking people in Colorado Springs about whether being gay is a choice.  And if the person says they think gay people chose to be gay, the interviewer then asks the person when they chose to be straight?

The only problem with the video is that they really don’t have enough people who say gay people “choose” to be gay. And god knows they’re out there.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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28 Responses to “When did you choose to be straight? (video)”

  1. mirror says:

    I agree with your thoughts.

  2. Al Lucard says:

    Gay people that acknowledge a “choice”, in my experience, refer to the point in their life where they “chose” to be open about who they really are, instead of hiding behind a false face of “heterosexuality” .. or more commonly known as, “staying in the closet”.

    Being gay, is as moral as being straight. There are promiscuous straight people, and prudish (not really an accurate pendulum, but I needed to express a range…) just as there are promiscuous and prudish gay people. I’ve been with my partner (soon to be husband) for 4 years, and we haven’t had *sex* in almost 7 months. Why? Because there is SO much more to life, and “marriage” than sex. Wouldn’t you agree?

  3. Al Lucard says:

    A person can be gay, and celibate. Having *sex* isn’t what makes a person gay, straight, or bisexual. It’s the *orientation* of your attraction that defines it. Why is it that so many are so concerned with the “physical” aspect of “sexuality” when, as the saying goes, “the brain is the largest sex organ’?

  4. 945687 says:

    Like the fact that sexual orientation is affected by a variety of early-year factors (including in-utero)? As in, sexual orientation (not lifestyle) isn’t a choice?

  5. 945687 says:

    DNA methylation – long article on the web about it. Genetics is VERY complicated. Plus, the environment could have a big effect on genes when children are young.

  6. Collatz says:

    Studies have shown that identical twins do not always have the same sexual orientation: One twin may be heterosexual while the other is homosexual. If it’s all in the genes, how can this be true?

  7. Randy says:

    Actually, I find the more effective question to those who believe it’s a choice: If it’s a choice, then what would it take for you to chose to be gay and enjoy sex with another man?

  8. flocculent says:

    I’m going top say something I hope is equally fair and hopefully as provocative as these interviews:

    I’d heard of “Gotcha Journalism,” but “Gotcha Philosophy?” I suspect that both have pretty much the same worth, which to me isn’t much. This is just creative choir-preaching, when what is desperately needed in all civil rights movements is common ground between people of different worldviews.

    The way this question is framed implies that we as a species have no choice but to meet the world with our genitals or to give in completely to some aspect of “reproductive” behavior (neurologically speaking). It further suggests that choosing one gender or another as a love receptacle SHOULD have some sort of bearing on our participation in the economy and government. I disagree.

    Lots of people still hold off on sex until marriage, and a combination of population genetics and culture means that most people having sex are straight. For centuries, the exalted in Western society at least declared themselves celibate, and abstinence is still considered a prerequisite for holiness and grace in some Eastern cultures. So yeah, sex itself is to a large extent a choice in most people’s lives.

    Unless what is being demanded is cultural acceptance (which can’t be legislated), the demand for gay rights is therefore ultimately a demand for economic advantage based on behavior. To me this is as demeaning to Democracy as the EXclusion of anyone from participation based on uncontrollable personal characteristics like race and disability.

    BTW, I feel the same way about marriage in general. Why should someone’s religious/cultural traditions elevate them above anyone else? Like the tax-exempt status of churches marginalizes atheists, what gay rights advocates are demanding is special status above the abstinent and celibate. At least be honest about it. I say call it what it is, a business arrangement, and the path to equality becomes much clearer.

  9. In my teens I can remember choosing to be straight many times. I just never worked.

  10. Butch1 says:

    Good, it makes them think about it in a non threatening way.

  11. olandp says:

    Point taken, but it has nothing to do with my comment.

  12. karmanot says:

    “just like misuse of the word lifestyle.” Exactly so!

  13. karmanot says:

    “I have always maintained that if one chose to be gay, one must choose not to be gay.” Nonsense. One chooses to be gay, because one is gay. Denying one’s authentic identity is a sad and terrible thing.

  14. ronbo says:

    When your dick engorges, your choice is made for you. I don’t know about lady parts, that may be more plastic ; but, I only focus on what I know.

  15. John Masters says:

    I worked as a volunteer when the United Methodist General Conference was here in Tampa last year. I was handing out a daily newspaper printed by the Reconciling Ministries group, and a female minister came up to “save me.” She started talking about some person with a “powerful testimony” who’d come out of “the homosexual lifestyle.” She really had all the buzzwords down pat.

    I explained to her that people don’t make a choice about their orientation, that the person she was talking about may have made a choice to deny their nature and live as others expected him to live, but he was still gay. She persisted, so I finally said, “You know, that who choice thing cuts both ways…if you say I chose to be gay, then you are also saying you could simply to chose to be gay…could you?”

    I was kind taken aback by her answer. She said, “Yes, yes I could have. I remember the moment when I could have, and the girl.” I could then see the obvious hurt and longing flash across her face, just for the most fleeting moment. I’d been trying to come up with some pithy comment, but suddenly could only feel pity for this lady.

    And that’s what I told her. That I was sorry she’d made a choice in her life that left a hole, and that I knew, because I’d lived it for a portion of my life, that she could tell herself all she wanted that Jesus, religion, her husband, etc. filled her life, that I knew there was hole in her heart, and that I prayed she would someday find the courage to fill that spot.

  16. olandp says:

    I have always maintained that if one chose to be gay, one must choose not to be gay. Bi-sexuals can make a choice if they are in long term relationships with the same or opposite sex partners, but that doesn’t change their attractions. Tony Perkins, Porno Pete, Matt Barber, Maggie Gallagher, and all of the other professional homophobes are probably at the least bi-sexual and have made a choice. In their world there is only black and white, bi-sexuality would be a shade of grey.

  17. Sweetie says:

    The choice thing isn’t about orientation. It’s about pretending that orientation doesn’t exist, superimposing behavior onto it. Sexual behavior and sexual orientation are not the same. Choice rhetoric, though, is designed to confuse people, just like misuse of the word lifestyle.

  18. pappyvet says:

    did not have a choice

  19. FunMe says:

    Too many in the camp of “born this way”. But the last interview was the best.

    Would have been nice if the video ended with Lady Gaga’s song. LOL

  20. karmanot says:

    I always said, “Damn right I chose to be gay, it was perfectly natural.”

  21. Interesting article. I got a taste of this myself when I came out. At the time I hadn’t had a sexual experience of any sort and I did have one person say, “How can you say you’re gay? You haven’t even slept with a man yet so you don’t know you’ll actually like it.” Or something of the sort. Turned out I did like it well enough.

    I’ve never liked the smug “You chose to be gay” canard, although my automatic thought tends to be more like, “What if I did? It’s no business of yours.” I don’t think that retorting “When did you choose to be straight?” would work against the hard-core heterosexist, however. I believe the idea is that God made us naturally straight but some people choose to depart from the straight way and choose to be perverts.

  22. Bj Lincoln says:

    It’s interesting the reaction to the question of choosing to be str8.
    It made some re-think their answer to the first question.

  23. perljammer says:

    I doubt that most straight folks have given much thought to the question. Most of those interviewed said something along the lines of “Probably” or “You have a point” when asked “Do you think it’s the same for gay people” even if they started off by saying they thought it was a choice. I probably would have said something like, “Why do you care about the opinions of random people when the facts are well-established?” Man in the street interviews are usually pretty silly, and this isn’t much of an exception.

  24. Rik Elswit says:

    The problem with asking a homophobe when they decided to be straight, is that so many of the most vicious homophobes are actually repressed homosexuals. They did make a choice, and it’s been making them crazy ever since.

  25. Anomaly 100 says:

    Great video. It’s difficult to understand that some of these people live in the same century we do.

  26. YouthAllies says:

    Really well done. Incidentally, I just posted on related issues today. If you’re interested, check out: “Too Young to Be Straight?” http://www.youthallies.com/too-young-to-be-straight/

  27. mirror says:

    This video is good and all, but I expected a video of people who say they believe gay is a moral lifestyle choice and are then asked the follow up question about when they made the choice.

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