It’s entirely possible that in a world where homophobia isn’t rampant, more people would in fact make that choice. By which I mean: Given the opportunity to change their sexual orientation to heterosexual, would most gays and lesbians actually choose to do so nowadays? Some might. But I, and most other gay people I know, would not—i.e., we would “choose” to remain gay. We are quite comfortable with our sexuality, and have grown tired of others viewing us as an afflicted class. If there’s truly nothing wrong with being gay, then there should be nothing wrong with “choosing” to be gay.
People like Rick Perry seem to want to encourage homophobia as a way of preventing people from making that choice, as if homophobia is the real reason why more men and women don’t “choose” homosexuality. This ignores the likelihood that most people, if presented with their sexuality as a choice in a world free of judgment and discrimination, would probably stick to whatever it is they are—which means the roughly 95 percent of people who self-identify as straight would still “choose” to remain so. The fact that so many gays and lesbians have decided to assert their sexuality despite the rampant homophobia they’ve faced probably only reinforces the genetic argument. But in 2014, we no longer need to have the “desire not to do that.” In fact, we might want to consider embracing the choice argument as one that is far more sex-positive. The heterosexuals of the world don’t feel compelled to defend themselves on genetic grounds, and neither should we. It behooves us in the LGBT community to accept ourselves as nothing less than equal, our sexuality just one of many markers of our individualism—not shameful, not lesser.