First, in response to Corey Motley's column ("Being gay is not a choice"), I want to say that I agree with Motley on many points and have personally experienced much of the same frustration against society and narrow-minded people as someone who is also attracted to the same sex. That being said, I want to expound a little on the question of choice and homosexuality to ensure that we ourselves are not becoming shortsighted.
According to the American Psychological Association, when talking about sexuality, there are three important distinctions psychologists make: attraction, identity and behavior. Attraction is simply what gender an individual is attracted to — homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual or asexual. Identity is what an individual believes and acknowledges about himself — gay, straight, lesbian, transgender, etc. Behavior is what an individual chooses to do with the above — dating, closeting, marriage, abstinence, etc.
Humans are extremely diverse. A man may identify himself as straight, have homosexual attractions, marry a woman and have secret encounters with other men throughout the course of his lifetime (we see this in the news time and time again). Which of these were choices? Which were not? He had homosexual attractions, but he never chose to be gay. Being gay and adopting that lifestyle and identity is as much a choice as dating and marriage are.
This may seem like nitpicking, but it’s a very important distinction to make. Personally, I have exclusively homosexual attractions, yet I do not take that on as my identity. I believe that my primary identity is being a follower of Jesus Christ, which offers hope for people with unwanted same-sex attractions, especially through programs like ReachTruth. However, I know that most people aren’t thinking of these distinctions when they say being gay is a choice, so I side with you in saying that no, it is not a choice to be attracted to the same gender.
On the gay gene: no study has released conclusive evidence. Virtually all researchers and psychologists agree that there is not a “gay gene,” but there are genetic influences that will increase the probability of developing homosexual attractions — a propensity, but not a guarantee. By “gay brother study,” I believe Motley is referring to a study done in 1993 on gay brothers where researchers found the same genetic markers in the brothers’ chromosomes. Dean Hamer, the scientist heading the study, never said he found a gay gene, yet the press publicized it as such. I’m not saying there will never be proof for genetic linkage, just that Motley should check his facts a little more closely.
I in no way mean to attack or bash Motley’s column. In fact, I agree with Motley: People need to stop being ignorant and realize that we don’t have a choice about whom we’re attracted to. We’re on the same side even if most of the time Christians and gays are pitted against each other. But I stand on my point: homosexual attractions are not a choice; what you do with that, including being gay, is.
Barclay Bell is a senior physics and education major at Texas A&M University.