Is being gay a choice?
Posted on February 6, 2012
That’s the controversial question author Nathaniel Frank takes up in his latest article on The Huffington Post:
When Cynthia Nixon, who became famous for her role on Sex and the City, recently told The New York Times that being a lesbian was, for her, “a choice,” her words lit up the LGBT listservs, angering many who believe that Nixon is giving comfort to the enemy. Those who believe sexual orientation is a choice are far more likely to oppose our equality, while folks who think we are “born that way” are more likely to support us. If we can’t help it, goes the thinking, we shouldn’t be punished for it; and the corollary to that: if you can’t choose to be gay, there’s no need to stigmatize it as a way to discourage people from making the wrong choice.
To be sure, Frank’s point is deeper than this, but I can’t help but ask, at least in regards to ethics: why does any of this really matter? Why is the prospect of homosexuality being innate somehow an argument in its favor? Isn’t this an example of the naturalistic fallacy? On the flip side, why is the idea that homosexuality is a choice somehow imagined as an argument against it? What’s wrong with, if it’s possible, choosing to be gay? Where’s the harm?