Paige Schilt

Not Born This Way

Filed By Paige Schilt | February 24, 2011 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Media, The Movement
Tags: born this way, Jose Esteban Munoz, Lady Gaga, LGBT youth, Marga Gomez, Phranc, queer theory

Last week, Lady Gaga's single "Born This Way" debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Her achievement marked the 1000th number one hit since the list was launched in 1958.

It also seemed to signal the ascendancy of a certain kind of narrative about sexual identity. If gays are born this way - whether because of biology or Creation - then they deserve rights, because their difference is innocent of choice.

littlefemme.jpgThere are so many reasons to be skeptical of "born this way" rhetoric. It emphasizes rights over freedom. It reduces identity to a dichotomy of choice or no choice. It relies on bad science. And, historically, attempts to locate difference in biology have been carried out in the service of domination, not liberation.

For myself, I can't help but question the increasing dominance of "born this way" narratives because they don't fit my own experience.

"Born this way" arguments tend to represent queerness as something that is foisted upon an unwilling and undesiring subject. (If you need a pop cultural mnemonic for this narrative, imagine Glee's Kurt tearfully asking his peers whether he would "choose to be mocked every single day" of his life.)

In telling my own story, I've never quite been able to fit my experience into this narrative of reluctant ineluctability. It's not that I never experienced mockery or violence. It's that, in spite of adversity, I still need to speak to the pleasures of being different. I need to be able to testify about the powerful attractions of oppositional identity. Instead of answering a question like "when did you know you were gay," I've been imagining an autobiographical narrative that answers the question that no one ever asks: when did you first want to be queer?

I went to middle school and high school in a suburb of Phoenix, where white teachers euphemistically referred to Chicano kids as "Spanish," and skinhead gangs left spray painted threats on the walls of the gym.

There was a MEChA chapter at my high school, and I was slightly in awe of the MEChA girls. ("What's MEChA for?" I asked a student in my Home Ec class. "To help us succeed," she said, mysteriously.) Those girls had oppositional style, the kind that made adults shake their heads. I yearned to inspire the same frisson of dismay, but it never would have occurred to me to express solidarity or to cross the abyss of social segregation that simultaneously stifled and protected me as a white girl.

I had the luxury of finding my neighborhood of cookie-cutter ranch houses oppressively repetitive. My family had a kidney shaped pool enclosed by a cement block fence. One sultry afternoon, I was hanging out by the pool with my friend Walter--a pasty, queeny, kleptomaniac. (At the time, I thought Walter was the height of sophistication because his parents were gin-soaked Brits. Later I realized that he knew about music and fashion because he was sneaking into gay bars.)

That day, Walter had brought a Phranc cassette. Phranc's campy, folky music was quite a departure from our usual diet of Bauhaus and Sisters of Mercy. When the folk-punk anthem "Take Off Your Swastikas" came on, Walter began to sing along with unaccustomed gusto. He danced onto the diving board and strutted his stuff on the makeshift catwalk. With arms akimbo, his pale, skinny, effeminate form was a total affront to the prevailing masculine ideal. As Phranc's guitar built to the taut ending of the first verse, Walter launched his wiry body into the air. The second before he canon-balled into the water, he shouted Phranc's defiant words: "Cause I'm a Jewish lesbian you see..."

From that day forward, we always referred to Phranc by her full title: "Phranc the Jewish lesbian folksinger." I think we felt a kind of glee in simply naming two stigmatized identities. Walter, as far as I know, wasn't a lesbian. Neither of us were Jewish. But we fell in love with the trouncing, shutthefuckup energy of Phranc's pronouncement. I don't want to be reductive, but I think that the moment when Walter shouted "I'm a Jewish lesbian" as he splashed into the water was the moment when I began to fantasize about being queer.

Like my youthful dreams of being a scary punk rocker or a childless urban intellectual, these early lesbian fantasies were less about loving women than they were about expressing some kind of resistance. It was the hairy legs that made me want to be one.* When I went to college, I found out that a whole social movement had been going on while I had been sequestered in my suburban home. I met ACT UP dykes with backwards baseball caps and "Read My Lips" t-shirts. These women were everything that I wanted to be. They had righteous, political anger. They didn't seem like they were waiting for male approval to justify their existence.

Basically, I felt like lesbianism was the coolest club in the world, but I wasn't sure how to join it. I struggled with the idea of inherency. If I was a lesbian, shouldn't I just know it somewhere deep inside of me? Nevermind that nothing in my family or my culture had prepared me to value some kind of authentic inner voice. Yes, I could look back into my past and resurrect a childhood crush on a hirsute camp counselor, but that kind of revisionism felt too forced. Certainly, I felt moments of intense sexual desire, but my desire to be part of queer subculture was the light that never went out.

I was living in an apartment building that was managed by an older butch dyke. Her girlfriend managed the building next door. Between the two of them, they seemed to know a whole army of lesbian painters and carpenters and washing machine repairwomen. I reported a lot of maintenance issues. My daydreams alternated between fantasies of seducing the plumber and fantasies of belonging to a self-sufficient queer community.

I bought a pair of overalls. I taught myself to use power tools. I applied to grad school with a writing sample about feminist porn and--surprise, surprise--ended up in an English department full of dykes. I still struggled with the "born this way" narrative--if I really was one, shouldn't I just know it, somewhere deep inside of me? Luckily, graduate school supplied both motive and opportunity. Queer theory offered a more expansive model of sexual identity. And the lovely scholars of Parlin Hall offered many enticements to let existence precede essence.

Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" is insanely catchy. Despite my resistance to the message, I've found myself humming the song all week. At times I feel hopeless about finding a pithy way to communicate my own experience of identification and resistance. This hazy, disjointed story is my contribution to the cause.

I wasn't born queer, but I got queer as fast as I could.

*I'm citing Marga Gomez and Jose Esteban Munoz. "It was the wigs that made me want to be one."


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I absolutely agree with this. As people with the ability to sign contracts and considered "adult" to make decisions in the U.S. we should not ever base rights on whether a characteristic was inherent or chosen. Religion? Someone can be raised a certain religion, but they choose it at the end of the day. That's protected. The "born this way" argument is used in churches and government, "well you may not be able to choose who you're attracted to, but you can choose whether or not you act on it". It doesn't matter if it's a choice. By law, I am an adult, and I can give consent, and I can sign contracts. If it's a choice, it's MY choice.

Thanks for sharing your experience. :)

"For myself, I can't help but question the increasing dominance of "born this way" narratives because they don't fit my own experience."

I don't think your experience is the end-all, be-all for everyone else.

Nature and nurture are not mutually-exclusive things. There are plenty of straight people in this world who feel like freaks and just want to be like everyone else. There are also straight people who want to be non-conformists and express themselves as punks, goths, hippies, you name it.

Most of these people don't decide to start performing fellatio or cunnilingus on members of the same sex just to be non-conformist.

In my experience listening to my female friends, female sexuality is much more fluid than male sexuality, and I believe there is cursory research to support that view. It may well be that the idea of 'born this way' is less applicable to women, and perhaps that's why this doesn't fit your experience.

I agree with you 100% that it shouldn't matter if you're born this way or not, and that even if being LGBT were a choice, it should be a perfectly valid and acceptable choice. Nonetheless, the overwhelming majority of gay men that I know, and many of the lesbians, all agree that they have had a sense of being different since they were children, and believe with conviction that they were 'born this way.'

Why do you think this sentiment resonates with people so strongly? It's not because they think it sounds catchy. It's because it truly describes how they feel.

Many people hate it when LGBT activists compare their struggle to the civil rights struggle for people of color in this country, but there's no doubt in anyone's minds that people of color were born that way. There is no escaping that identity.

LGBT people have historically had the choice to go stealth and to hide the fact that they are LGBT, even though deep inside, like people of color, they knew they were different -- they knew they were born this way.

This urge to say, 'we were born this way!' is not an expression of saying, "we had no choice, if it were a choice, we agree it would be bad." It is a way of saying, "we are tired of hiding who we really are and oppressing ourselves just to accommodate your prejudices and make you happy!"

Baby, I was BORN THIS WAY!

hearted!

Love this comment. :)

I agree with everything George Byrd said. It is a nigh perfect rebuttal.

I wasn't born with the urge to cut my hair short and use a rainbow flag as a curtain, but I have had an innate attraction to other females as long as I can remember. I chose to live a queer lifestyle to express my queer identity, but I've always had the sexual component that our whole identity movement is based around.

I don't think your experience is the end-all, be-all for everyone else.

Your criticism seems excessively mean-spirited, as nothing Paige said can be construed as an assertion that her experience is the end-all, be-all for everyone else. All she said was that she is deeply uncomfortable with the increasingly strong trend of tying gay rights to a "born this way" narrative of biological essentialism.

Renee Thomas | February 26, 2011 9:20 PM

George made it more than clear . . .

Paige speaks for Paige - period.

The fact that many of us might disagree with her assertion is not "mean-spirited" in the least. I reserve the right to define my humanity, my sexuality and my experience in my own own terms.

Any questions?

I liked reading this because I also think the "born this way" argument is hugely overstated. Here's what I wrote to a friend a few months ago.

This may sound strange coming from an ally, but I don't give a rat's ass whether gay people were born gay or not.

I love sixteenth century Mediterranean history. I don't know whether I was born to love sixteenth century Mediterranean history. I don't know whether there were aspects of my upbringing that *made* me love sixteenth century Mediterranean history. I don't CARE why I love sixteenth century Mediterranean history; I just love sixteenth century Mediterranean history.

There are no groups of people dedicated to proving that people like me love sixteenth century Mediterranean history because of some aspect of their upbringing. There are no organizations churning out reports purporting to prove that love of sixteenth century Mediterranean history is not genetic. And there are no Kool-Aid ranches dedicated to curing people like me of their love for sixteenth century Mediterranean history.

It's about as unreasonable to judge a gay person for being gay as it is to judge me for liking sixteenth century Mediterranean history. It's a non-starter. I'm relatively new to the advocacy game, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the whole argument is a distraction. Let's talk about something important, like why on earth anyone would abrogate a person's rights based on their sexuality. And don't come at me with religion, because this is a conversation about civil rights.

Thank you for sharing your story.

I have often felt uncomfortable with the broad argument of being "born this way," even though it is somewhat reflective of my understanding of my sexuality. Perhaps this discomfort is most present when I think about my gender identity: as someone who identifies as neither male nor female, or somewhere between the two, I have an urge to identify as transmasculine. I've even considered transitioning at times. Yet, an overarching narrative for medical treatment as well as social acceptance has historically been "if you've always felt like this, if you were born as a ___ trapped inside a ___'s body, you have the right to treatment and acceptance." This narrative does not describe me, but I believe that I should have the right to the same things.

Though this historical attitude has changed in some ways, I think it shows that this type of narrative offers very little room for personal desires that have not always been present in one's life, or those that may change in the future. I know that there's not an exact parallel to the narrative as it is used by LGB folks, but perhaps there's a connection to be made.

[This should go without saying, but considering the discussion thus far, my identity and thoughts about transitioning, etc. are reflective only of myself, and do not reflect the nuance of transgender and transsexual folks' relationships to the same.]

I am also uncomfortable with the "born this way" meme. At the same time, because our rights advocacy and our courts have been fascinated by the "accident of birth" argument, and it has been so successful, it has created a path dependence that is very difficult to deviate from. The recent Holder DOMA memo, which has sparked a great deal of hope in the LGBT community about the possibility of having our relationships officially recognized, of course relies heavily on the "born that way" argument, since it is attempting to justify itself based on our law, which so heavily relies on this argument. "Science," too, particularly "genetics," is extremely convincing to a lot of people because it has the aura of Scientific Truth.

There's no getting away from the "born that way" argument in regards to LGBT advocacy right now, but I think that we shouldn't fool ourselves that it must be true because it's so often repeated. The fact that I do, or do not feel that I was "born this way" does not substitute for careful scientific investigation of the issue, which is in its infancy. At the same time, I'm not going to oppose any path to the rights that we deserve as human beings.

You should educate yourself further then Dr.

The science is mostly in....we know the exact window of pre-natal development for both sexual orientation and gender identity.

The confusion arises because both "switches" have a neutral position as well as either or...........

Just as I long warned that opposing reparation therapy on "born that way" misunderstanding of science in that it ignores that bisexual wired people CAN be "switched", the answers lie in a more complete look at what is going on rather than the kindergarten thinking most activists engage in.

The "born that way" regarding gender identity is the very heart of why women of history oppose TG dogma..........we are those who clearly are born that way.

Paige is almost certainly bisexual politically lesbian......and there is nothing wrong with that until she extrapolates from it to others.

I don't know if I was born this way or not. I know the plumbing works fine with both the male and female of the species. But I prefer the, "I chose to be lesbian," argument over "born this way", for the very reasons Paige states in her article. I wouldn't choose to be anything other than what and who I am even if there was a magic wand that could "convert" me.

The "born this way" is a reality for many.
The "choice" is another reality for many.

One has been more vocal and as Dr. Weiss has already stated heavily relies on this argument. "Science," too, particularly "genetics," is extremely convincing to a lot of people...

The "science" has worked w/hetero conditioning and actually comes across as modern. As oppose to the thousands of years of Bible rhetoric... it makes an outside experience visible/teach/enlighten a large population, that doesn't necessarily "need" to accept what they do not experience... but perhaps tolerate and make visible for something outside of their collective hetero experience.

Choose your "god".
"Big guy" in the sky... "big guy" in a lab coat.
Or no "big guy" at all.

I don't care whether folks believe it's a choice/nature/nurture and if Lady Gaga's anthem for those who feel comfortable w/it, are enjoying it... what do I care?

They are not a threat for me in who I love and fuck.

It's a pop song. I do not base my experience/life/love on a fucking pop song. That would be as silly to me as putting all my faith into the "big guys" in the sky or lab coats.

I think it's important to avoid the born this way/it's a choice binary. Just because I don't feel born this way doesn't mean I feel like I chose my identity. I think that identity formation is more complicated and involves a limited kind of personal agency.

A few years ago, Kenyon Farrow did a campus tour with a talk about developing alternatives to biological narratives. He spoke about the need to find more language for things that feel inherent without necessarily being biological. Kenyon, if you are out there and some Google alert brings this post to your attention, I really hope that paper is going to be published soon. It was so great.

For me, the most useful language of inherency is a feminist, queer psychoanalytic language. I think that my family and my culture and my historical moment and my identifications and disidentifications made me queer, and I don't think that those foundational experiences could be undone or that I could choose to ignore them.

At the same time, I realize that the language of "born this way" does really resonate for lots of people, including my sweetie. (Lady Gaga, if you are out there and some Google alert brings this post to your attention, my partner would like to say that she loves your song and she hopes that my nay-saying will not deter you from coming to see her band, Butch County, on the mainstage at SF Pride 2011.)

"I think it's important to avoid the born this way/it's a choice binary. Just because I don't feel born this way doesn't mean I feel like I chose my identity."

Whether you want to avoid the reality of this binary existing or/not has little to do w/anything. It does exist.

In the OP you stated: There are so many reasons to be skeptical of "born this way" rhetoric.

Is "choice" rhetoric exempt of skepticism?
I truly hope not. Because Repartive Therapy would TRULY be booming.

My point being... why do any of us even care?

Just because "born this way" has had a more verbal/positive/scientific visibility for a society that has ALWAYS seemed to need answers from either "big guys" in a white robe or lab coat... is the reality that we live in today's society and conditioning.

A silly pop song is not making every experience visible. But it does for a lot of folks and I personally begrudge them nothing for not having covered my story.

Born this way ... no doubt in my mind and I can't speak for anyone else.

Thanks for writing this Paige. It's an interesting dive into the idea of "exploring" our sexuality. And one I think will give many young women freedom to make their own choice in this lifetime. For some perhaps it is black or white and very clear cut as to who they are. For others though there is a choice to go either way. The day when society accepts the fact that there is more than one way, my way, THE way, will be a beautiful day indeed.

It's arguments like this - so incredibly well written as it is - that makes me love you even more.

The real irony of that song is that it is manifestly impossible that Lady Gaga herself can have been "born this way", since every aspect of her performance persona advertizes itself as artifice. And yet, as her persona evolves, the artifice seems to be colonizing her body itself (the horns, etc.), so that it re-presents itself as essence, and then announces itself as 'innate' via the onstage recreation of an organic but inhuman "birth" from an artificial egg. Plus there is the fact that musically and lyrically BTW is a rip-off of two Madonna tunes, "Express Yourself" and "Vogue," so that this is a song that was clearly made rather than born, unless we are to assume that somehow EY and Vogue mated and BTW was their offspring. All very intersting, amd much more complicated than the lyrics of "Born This Way" make it sound.

Not to mix sexual orientation and gender identity (but, feh, that's already happened) I admit I have a lot of issues as a trans woman who's felt connected (or should I say disconnected) to this gender/body mismatch experience as long as I can remember, suddenly being in the same community with some genderqueer ID'ing people who have told me they chose their form of gender expression and basically constructed their own gender identity largely as a protest against the gender binary. And, yes, I'm aware there are many genderqueer people who follow the "born this way" narrative as well. Just trying to be honest, I tend to be a lot more critical of the former and more accepting of the later.

Obviously, both narratives deserve full rights, but just as you're uncomfortable have "born this way" people speaking for you (can't stand the GaGa song anyway) I'm really, really uncomfortable having people who are culturally/politically queer/gender variant representing me. I'm not saying you don't have a right to be yourselves and share your stories, just that it gives me the heebie-jeebies.

I guess some of my issues revolve around "well, you chose, then you can un-choose" just like some people chose to look like their favorite alternative bands for a while and then, you meet 8 years later and they're in a business suit. I've heard at least a few lesbians I know say that the spate of their friends who went "has-be-an" is strongly connected to this "culturally queer" concept and they feel very abandoned by them. I admit that judgment might be totally unfair (and perhaps rooted in some form of bi-phobia) but I think I have it as well.

So, I liked your essay Paige, and you're totally entitled to having your queer experience respected, but I admit, there's a little part of me now that's going to half expect you to stroll through the door on the arm of some guy happily announcing you're, like, rilly in love but still SO culturally queer. *yawn*

I have written before about how my wife's experience of being trans-embodied from her earliest memory (and my experience of watching her family's home movies) really pushed me to re-think my own understanding of identity beyond the nature/nurture dichotomy:

http://www.bilerico.com/2010/03/think_pink.php

My point, and perhaps I should have been clearer about that, is not to discount over people's experience of being "born this way," but to argue that we could use more language and more narratives for understanding identities that are real and authentic and integral without necessarily having to be based in biological difference.

Thank You, to all of you. You have all made good points and made me think. As a transsexual woman who identifies as lesbian, there was much to think about here. I have felt since a very early age, that I was supposed to be a girl and from a very early age I have been attracted to other girls. So I guess I was "born this way" on both counts. I recognize that each person has their own identity and experiences and are unique individuals. No one should be judged because they didn't follow the same path as the next person. Things like "you can't be gay because you had sex with a woman" and "You aren't transsexual until you have had all the surgeries" or the "you can't be lesbian because you married a man and had children" are all judgments made by people to separate themselves or groups from others. All people are both equal and unique!

It's curious that so far in this discussion. the topic of pre-natal dexamethasone treatment has not been brought up. If one is a feminine lesbian or a masculine gay man, masculinization doesn't seem to be an issue. For many other people it is.

I think the folks at the Network for Psychosexual Development at NCHD are being paid very well to determine just how much a factor nature is in the development of sense of self as it relates to sex and sexual orientation. Personally, I think a complex interaction between the person and the environment they live in results in the outcome which has as many possibilities as the interactions between zeros and ones that play out across my computer screen every say.

I think the variety of factors and the complex interactions that take place in a person will make it very difficult to predict an outcome that can be pinpointed in order to prevent certain outcomes that may be considered undesirable by conservative elements who are blind to the value of diversity and the role it plays in creativity among humans.

But, I don't think people should be dismissive of science to the point where it goes unrealized how confident scientists are about a day dawning when pre-natal screenings will be used to prevent the likelihood of certain outcomes. Gunter Dorner's interventions were a failure. Maria New is confident, however, that her methods will produce results. And, of course, there are advocates of parental rights like J.Michael Bailey and Aron Greenberg who believe parents should have the right to screen for homosexuality if researchers like Eric Villain and the others are able to predict a predisposition toward homosexuality through genetic means. At least, in certain cases, there are statistics available that will indicate an increased likelihood for same sex orientation or sex assignment rejection/transsexualism or gender identity fluidity.

It's more true of some of us than others. I have to admit, the biology is not faulty in my case. I have the SHH anomaly in my gene as per 23andme. I have a variety of anomalies like SZ genotype and low antitrypsin.

Here is a case of one false dichotomy defending another false dichotomy. The biology is true but regardless of it, I should be given my freedom to live straight, bi if I so choose, even if I am a Kinsey 6 gay. Both principles are true. My problem with Ms. Gaga is that she perhaps has ignored this other aspect where you give it more illumination but you do so at the expense of the other truth.

Regardless of the context of biology, (the motive here being service or non-service of a domination), that's not a sound way to dismiss it. You're just making an appeal to rebellion. While I share the sentiment, I can't share the logic in your discrediting of biology. Biology if anything supports the diversity we have: XY XX XYY XXY....XXXXX XX etc etc etc.

Of course, the dominating culture is making greater fallacies in their belief that everyone must be in XY-XX relationships and must fit one of those gender expressions. I just wish we would not stoop to their level of political ulterior motive and cognitive dissonance here. Sorry if this is harsh, I'm still supportive of much of your gist and definitely support the ideals of freedom as well as rights.

The tone of this article was too dismissive to the many of us who don't come from academia-- who are simply queer-- who have know it our whole lives. Maybe it's an academic game for you... maybe you could afford to live your queer life in the hallowed halls of Parlin and not feel threatened.

But to those of us who were (and sometime are) under constant threat- it feels as if you're speaking from a position of privilege.

You are speaking about sexual fluidity here-- about the ways in which queer theory problematizes sexual/gender identities and noxious essentialism so that sexual expression and boundaries are diaphanous.

Fine- but like most post-structuralist influenced theory- reality eventually sinks in and you must deal with the consequences of deconstructive "play".

This article avoids the political and cultural ramifications of denying the reality of the millions who WERE born this way.
Just think of all the people (from Turing to Mormons) who have suffered from the notion that it's "a choice" or a "proclivity" that can be changed by hormones, shock treatment, male bonding etc.
Think of kids living all over the world- reading this article and thinking-- maybe it is a choice and I can turn my back on it.

While sexual fluidity and your choice, are experiences that should not be discounted-- don't be so flip.

The very crux of the case for SSM is the argument that homosexuals are a "suspect class," a legal term for a group of people who have been historically discriminated against, who are powerless to protect themselves and who possess an immutable or highly visible trait that distinguishes them.

This is the inescapable litmus test by which a state supreme court or the SCOTUS decides such cases. Like it or not, the "born this way" argument is the only reason homosexual rights are even on the map.

It is because homosexual orientation is considered to be innate, and therefore worthy of suspect class protection, that pro-SSM legislation has been enacted in some states while laws against polygamy have remained on the books.

Speaking only for myself, I respectfully disagree. While it is thought provoking, and I'm sure it applies to some, it certainly does not to me.

For one, I HAVE felt like a girl since before I knew what "transgender" meant. I expressed that when I was 5 in a rather embarrassing fashion, and 2 months ago (at 23) I woke up from a hospital bed, finally content with my body configuration.

For the other, I have always felt attraction to other girls, as well. I have felt some fluidity towards men, but that has come and gone very rarely. Perhaps some day I'll act upon that, but as it stands right now, I'm getting married to a wonderful woman in a few months (by chance, also transgender), and I couldn't be happier!

With all that in my short life, I can't really wrap my head around choosing to subject myself to all that. But hey, your mileage may vary.

Wether people feel that they themselves were born this way or chose to be this way,or both,or neither- in the EU, the "born this way" political campaigns are not that strong. I think that's because we all remember pretty well what happened after a whole generation of activists based their arguments on the very same reasoning, during the 1910s and 1920s, only to be wiped out by the government for this inborn defect. It's been done before, guys. Stop it, it doesn't work and can backfire seriously.

I don't want to lie in order to get rights. At one point in time, I rewrote my whole history to convince myself and others I had always liked girls. But deep down, I knew this was not true. It was the experience of spending plenty of time around lesbians as well as negative experiences with men that made me realize how much I loved to love women.

The "born this way" idea has not been well-thought out enough, though I don't blame people for latching onto it, since it's what's propagated through all the gay rights orgs. It's interesting though--if you look at women who came out as lesbians in the '70s, the percentage who said it was a choice was much higher than those in the '80s. In the '90s, the percentage who said they were "born that way" was even higher. Our ideas of how we are are socially constructed. Also, just because one wasn't "born that way," doesn't mean sexual preference is a choice.

Think about the implications if a "gay gene" was discovered (which it won't): what if those without the gene said they were gay? What if those with it turned out heterosexual?

Lesbians and gay men I know are physically capable of having sex with the opposite sex, as demonstrated by the large number of us who have been married to someone of the opposite sex. We're just more romantically, spiritually and emotionally satisfied with the same sex.

For more on this subject, I suggest the website Queer by Choice.