I am a straight white man with a genetic disability, who was born and raised in South Carolina, and I support the full civil rights of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities. A lot of folks might not understand why I feel the need to express this support. Many may be confused why a straight man would want to support a community that he himself is not a part of.
I will be honest I haven’t entirely understood my desire to support these communities either. Don’t get me wrong, I have a handful of amazing gay friends and family members that I love and support. But, many straight people do, and don’t feel the need to speak out for their civil rights. However, after a bit of meditation on the issue I think I have discovered why I want to vocally support these communities. I think my perspective will be unique to many, and therefore I want to share it with you all.
Many of you know that I was born with a genetic bone disorder, I have written about it in the past so I won’t go into great detail. My disability (OI) is the result of mutated collagen molecules that make up my bone structure. Therefore my disability is a part of me at the molecular level. Yes my disability is abnormal, but for me and many that have the same disability it feels like a natural part of our life experience. For me, OI is just as natural as the color of my hair, or the freckles on my arms. And because of that, I love my disability as part of what makes me unique and whole. I would not trade my disability for anything in the world. It defines a large part of my life, a life that I love.
When I think about the gay people in my life, I am 100% positive that their sexual orientation is also a natural part of their life experience. I am 100% confident that they do not choose to be gay, rather they choose to be who they naturally are. Many times they make this choice in the face of a society that rejects them, and that takes incredible courage.
How can I be so confident that homosexuality isn’t a choice? Many will argue that there is no biological evidence that homosexuality is genetic. To me this seems like a moot point. Many gay people, may be gay because of some undiscovered biological precursor, others though may find themselves gay as the result of a life time of experiences.
For example I love seafood. But I can’t remember the first time I ate shrimp, or the first time I tasted an oyster. Because I was raised in an area and culture that cultivated these things as a part of our regional diet. When I was very young I couldn’t understand how anyone could have never seen the ocean. Now at the age of 32 I do not make the conscious choice to “like” seafood, my taste is a natural part of who I was raised to be. Of course sexual orientation is much more complex than your taste in food. However both may manifest as a result of a life time of experiences, and both, in no way can be considered “a choice”. To fully understand this type of logic please check out this lecture from Sam Harris on the absence of free will.
If you agree that homosexuality isn’t a choice, then you must support the civil rights of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities if you want to live in a just society. To deny these groups equal rights in our society, is the same as denying the rights of African Americans, Hispanics, disabled people, or any other group of people that never chose to be who they naturally are.
I support the civil rights of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities because their life experience is natural and a part of who they are. I am not saying that homosexuality is a disability. I am saying that like my disability, it is a natural life experience that many have, and thus no one should be persecuted for it. We should all find pride in who we naturally are.