Born this Way!

Dec 13, 2011 @ 11:54 am | By TheFeministGriote | 4 Comments

I don’t know what is more damaging to the queer movement heterosexuals who refuse to let go of their heterosexist ideology or self-hating queer people who fuel propaganda and misinformation about queerness. One one hand there is the heterosexist thinking of Tameka Raymond the ex-wife of Usher who tweeted she feels that  gay men should wear wrist bands so that they’re easily identifiable to the masses, which takes the phrase wearing your “sexuality on your sleeve to a whole new level.” Then there was the interesting tweets of Sandra Rose, lesbian urban gossip blogger whose opinions on sexuality tend to mirror that of an ultra conservative man.

Last week Sandra Rose tweeted the following tweets giving the twitterverse the abridged version on the complexities of sexuality;

As a child something happened in my environment to make me change my sexual orientation. So miss me with that born gay BS.

When I was a girl I was into boys. I remember that clearly. I used to wonder why the little girls wouldn’t leave me the hell alone, lol. 

I find these comments to be misguided and  dangerous. The belief that something has to happen outside of a person in order to propel them into the trajectory of a lifestyle of homosexuality, is the type of reductionist thinking  I thought only could be heard on FOX news. For Sandra Rose a self-identifying queer woman of color to make these comments is problematic and I almost want to believe that she is joking.

Not too long ago, the American Psychological Association(APA) labeled homosexuality as a disease. It was not until 1973 that the APA decided to remove that label from homosexuality. Up until then gay men and women in America were revered as being afflicted with the “gay.” Like being gay was akin to having diabetes or being a sociopath. Although it was only 38 years ago, I’d like to think that we are evolved enough in our thinking as a society to know that being gay is not a disease or defect, but Rose’s tweets and the tweets of those who agreed with her cracker jack philosophy tells me otherwise.

My question to Sandra Rose and those who think like her, what has to happen in your environment growing up to make you gay? Does one need to have an overbearing mother, absentee father, born with too many siblings of the opposite sex than you, or is the insinuation here that sexual abuse is the common denominator.  Although Sandra Rose did not explicitly mention sexual abuse, I am taking the liberty of doing so because it appears very obvious what is being implied. I have heard many people use the argument that being sexually abused as a child is a precursor to being gay. According to RAINN (Rape Abuse Incest National Network) among children 44% of  rape victims are under the age of 18. Based on these staggering numbers there are lots of children who who are being preyed upon by sick men and women who have an unhealthy sexual affinity for children. Does that mean that they all have now been predisposed to the gay? This type of dangerous assertion is not helpful for anyone. Essentially what is being said, is that sexual trauma causes one to be gay. Sexual abuse is very common in our society unfortunately, the Penn State and Syracuse scandal remind us of that.  Sexual abuse causes deep psychological, emotional, and biological harm it’s not an agent for someone becoming gay. Don Lemon CNN anchor who came out as a gay man and as a sexual abuse survivor on air  this year  while discussing the Eddie Long sexual abuse scandal, has made it clear that his sexuality has nothing to do with his sexual abuse history. One’s sexual abuse history and sexual orientation are two different things and should be treated as such!

If something has to happen to you to make you gay, what is the other “thing” that happens to you to make you straight? Also what about bisexuals, pansexuals, and asexual human beings what is their story?  This is where the argument really starts to get murky. Queerness is not a pathology or a glitch in the universal matrix, it is simply another form of sexual expression and attraction. To me Sandra Rose’s words sound like internalized self-hatred. Blaming a defect or deviation in your environment as the root cause of why you are queer does not sound like the words a healthy self-adjusted human being would say about themselves. Sandra Rose has the right to have negative feelings about her sexuality if she so chooses, but to pass off her opinions as if they’re gospel and to hand over to anti-gay critiques this type of damaging rhetoric is beyond my scope of understanding. There are several scientific studies that conclude that learning begins in the womb during gestation and even consciousness, so if that is the case why would it be so far fetched to believe that one’s sexuality could have been coded into you long before you entered the world?

We really need to raise the bar of intelligent conversation surrounding sexuality. Homosexuality is as old as heterosexuality. Queerness is not a new phenomenon therefore let us collectively stop acting like it is!

What are your thoughts, do you agree or disagree with Sandra Rose & more importantly why?



Categories: Mind Over Chatter

4 Responses to “ Born this Way! ”

  1. You always say it best. Very interesting piece.

  2. I fail to see the connection between hating oneself and believing sexuality can be fluid and malleable.

    You say:

    “The belief that something has to happen outside of a person in order to propel them into the trajectory of a lifestyle of homosexuality, is the type of reductionist thinking I thought only could be heard on FOX news.”

    … and yet the tweets you posted fail to suggest that “something *has* to happen… to propel them into… homosexuality” (emphasis mine). There is a logical difference between “*my* sexuality changed during childhood” and “*all* queer person’s sexualities *must have* changed during childhood.” The distinction is a significant one.

    [ Note: I do not know anything about Sandra Rose outside of this single blog post. I do not wish to defend her, just to challenge you directly. 😉 ]

    The APA/DSM classification of homosexuality as a mental illness was certainly a negative one. I believe the “born gay” theory that developed as a response to the APA/DSM classification has been significantly damaging as well. The “born gay” theory suggests that sexual orientation is fixed and inflexible. You are born one way or another. There is no changing that. The logic of “I was born gay, therefore I cannot change my sexual orientation, therefore it is okay that I am gay, therefore you must accept me as a respected memory of your society” is a problematic one. One does not have to be born a certain way in order to demand rights within a society.

    But sexuality is neither fixed, nor inflexible.

    A person’s sexuality is theirs alone. Some people may feel they have been heterosexual all of their lifetimes. Some people may have been gay their entire lives. That’s okay. Who am I to challenge them on that?

    And of equal importance: Who are you to challenge those who claim otherwise?

    If a person can remember being straight at one particular point of their life, then later on felt bisexual, why is that unacceptable? If someone is gay, then is sexually assaulted by a partner, do we force that person to continue dating a particular sex because they were “born gay” and must adhere strictly to that label? Why can’t that person “become” straight if they feel more comfortable in that role?

    People change over time. Religious beliefs evolve, political beliefs flip flop. Why can’t a person’s sexuality – a personal expression of affection, love, lust, interests, desires, etc. – manifest itself in different ways throughout a person’s life? Our identities aren’t stagnant ones.

    Sure, if we accept the fact that sexuality can express itself differently over time, we’ll have to abandon the “I was born this way… there, accept me” logic. And that’s okay. It will be more difficult to convince the homophobes that queer people are deserving of respect. Ultimately, though, the fruits of that labor will be infinitely more rewarding and beneficial to our society.

  3. I used to enjoy going to her site before the self hate showed up. It’s ridiculous.

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