I accidentally stumbled upon this post about the whole biology versus choice argument for sexual orientation and gender identity. I love it! Here is a copy of my response:
And how! I have similar reasons for disliking the default: “It’s not our fault” argument. Also, genetic causes for things never stopped eugenicists from victimizing people with “faulty genes” so even if someone, somewhere COULD prove a purely biological origin for homo/bisexuality or transsexuality and transgenderism, this would NOT guarantee us protection from people who hate us. Regardless of the “cause” (biology, personal experience or choice), we should be free to be who we are. Any arguments against discrimination and harassment should be based on equal rights to human dignity.
Regarding homosexuality or bisexuality, the way I often explain this to people who ask me about possible causes is this – sexual orientation has many components: desire, behaviour and identity. Who knows where desire comes from? Why are we attracted to what we’re attracted to, not just in terms of gender or sex but also in terms of hair colour, style, personality etc? Maybe nature, maybe nurture, probably a bit of both.
Behaviour . . .well, we CHOOSE to act, or not, on our desire, I think. Depending on how strong the desire is and on how strong cultural taboos are against this choice will influence our choice. Some people will spend their lives with same-sex desires but not act on them. Other act on them with guilt. Yet others get over the guilt (if applicable) and act on their desire with great pleasure (YAY!)
Finally, identity is certainly a choice as far as I’m concerned. People may label us one way or another depending on how they perceive us but we make the choice to identify, or not, according to our sexual orientation or gender identity. That’s why some people may engage in same-sex behaviour and not identify as lesbigay. They may see the gender/sex of the people they love and/or sleep with as irrelevant to their personal identity. Other people choose to identify that way either because it’s a source of community, pride at being able to live openly the way they are, or for multiple other possible reasons.
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These are things that I often think of but could never eleqontly put to words as you have. I often find myself…actually alsmot daily…wondering how I got to be a gay transman. Is it nature, nurture, experiences, or what? I just don’t know. Somedays I swear I was born this way….other days I think it was part experiences and then on others I just don’t know. In the end I ask myself….does it really matter? If I feel good and I am happy does it matter? However, I personally am always looking to see what “boxes” I fit in and what “bosex” I identify with. It is so individual and it varies from day to day. Thank you for sharing and helping me to see that I am not the only one that plays this out in my mind often.
I liked your comment over at Miss Nomered’s so well that I came to check out what else you had to say.
i dont think its necessarily bad to say its not our choice. lets just say its not our choice, and even if it was there is nothing wrong with it.
Thanks Edward! Glad you can relate!
Queerunity: No. Let’s just say there is no proof one way or another (because there really isn’t!!!!) and, either way, there’s nothing wrong with it. I will never concede that it’s biological without any firm proof, and even then will be sceptical because of the biased nature of science (and I say this as a scientist myself).
Besides, I didn’t say that “not our choice” is bad. I just don’t think it’s a good idea to rely on that as something that will make people accept us. And since not all of us feel that way, I resent it when people make that blanket assertion because I don’t feel included and I know other transfolk who don’t either.
I’m not saying I *chose* to be trans but I don’t see it as a “not my choice/bio thing” either. My transsexuality results from a spiritual essence that transcends nature AND nurture so neither the “it’s in the genes/hormonal wash” theory nor the “it’s about some childhood trauma” theory apply to me. My transsexuality is a gift and I am choosing to act on that. I also accept that some people feel differently about it. If someone feels they were born that way, that it’s in their genes, that doesn’t negate my experience any more than mine negates theirs. Hope that clarifies my point.
Hey Sunflower! Thanks for dropping by! Don’t be shy to add your 2 cents on anything you read here!
[…] out that pride! June 1, 2008 — Ryan Jacky linked to a post about being glad to be […]
Thank you for the link love, and your awesome comment too!
Awesome blog, by the way.
Thanks Missnomered, I look forward to reading more of your stuff!
[…] about this moment Posted on 2 June, 2008 by Tarald Jacky and Ryan writes about how it shouldn’t matter if being queer or trans is a choice. And I […]
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