While I was watching the Mardi Gras last night (on TV – watching it in person inevitably means battling sweaty crowds comprised of either loud bogans or screaming gays or loud screaming gay bogans), it occured to me that those homophobes are right when they insist that being gay is a choice.
They’re right, but not for the reason they think they’re right.
Being gay is not in itself a choice. No one chooses to be gay (or lesbian or bi or queer, or whatever; for simplicity’s sake I’m bundling them all up under “gay”); that’s decided by the genetic lottery. But every gay person chooses to live a gay lifestyle.
After all, no gay person has to live as an out gay person. You could acknowledge you’re gay but spend your entire life living in the closet. Or you could suppress your homosexuality altogether – get married, have kids, settle down into a life of permanently suppressing your true identity.
But both of these choices are deplorable, and it’s really sad that thousands of people believe it’s the best path for them, or worse, that they’re forced down that path by the people around them.
Sometimes I hear people questioning gay pride. “Why would you be proud of being gay?” they ask (and I’ve heard this from both gay and straight people). “It’s like being proud of having brown eyes.”
But gay pride isn’t merely about taking pride in being gay. It’s taking pride in choosing to live a gay lifestyle – choosing to live as yourself in defiance of all those hateful fuckwits who believe homosexuality is evil and wrong, or in defiance of the many people out there who “merely” have a dull, low-level scorn for men who kiss men.
The Mardi Gras, for all its ridiculous flamboyance, is a pretty great way of expressing that pride. What’s not to be proud of?