You already know what most people will say.
Far right: Yes. It is a difficult choice, but can be overcome. There are bad things to being gay, but some people live with it the way geeks live with ridicule because of their strangeness that they could change.
Far left: No. You can't choose who you fall in love with. You're just born that way. Why would someone choose to be teased, rejected and alienated by society and their loved ones?
Well, to be fair to the right, some people, like geeks or weirdos, don't care about being teased or bullied or rejected because of the things they like. Even straight couples are willing to be teased or rejected because of their choice of a partner, but it's for love, right? Then again, is there really such a thing as true love at all?
Maybe it's just physical. Let's be honest, being gay or straight depends mostly on sex. If you fall in love with someone online then find out their not th gender you like, you probably wouldn't want to be with them the same way you did before.
For all we know, we do choose who we fall in love with. We make decisions about how to interperet our feelings, how to react to a person's actions or thoughts, when judging something they do or believe in, those are all little choices. Bu are they really what make us fall in love with people?
But it's true, if you want to love someone, why make it someone you're family or friends would reject you for? Why pick someone you can't have kids with or marry?(If that's what you want)
In Chrsitianity, the Bible says at least three times that being gay is wrong. But the only reason it would be wrong is if it's a choice, because sin is about disobeying God's will and rejecting the truth of his law and words. You can really only go against God's law by choosing to reject or go against it, like choosing to steal or choosing to ignore Jesus once you've heard the truth, or choosing not to even try to be a better person. So how can something be a sin if you don't choose to do it? (please no religious bashing from any sides in this discussion) Many christians who don't support being gay say that it's a hard thing to overcome but can be done, but how many gay people do they know that have actually stayed celibate or gone straight?
Main questions wiht this issue: Is it a choice? Can you choose who you fall in love with? Why or why not? If it is a choice, why would you choose to be gay at all?
EDIT: If you have anything directed specifically at me, the one posting this, I'm not going to read it. The discussion is mainly for other people who wanted to discuss it, and I lost track of the comments months ago anyway.
...So you're a vegetarian, then?
Following your logic, we could say that animals are suicidal. You don't need higher brain functions to want to live.
No, you could not deduce that at all. It is not a function of brain functions, but brain development. All fetuses are under-developed by definition. The point being made is that human fetuses, at most points of their development, as with animal embryos/fetuses, are not developed enough to possess "desire" of any sort, though their bodies may continue to work to ensure their survival. I think Thoronir made a very valid point you disregarded.
All organisms are programed to preserve their own survival, at the most basic level.
However, this does not equate to the "desire" you were expressing.
I really can't agree with myself on this subject.
Though I do belive that you can't choose who to fall in love with. You can get over a certain crush or love, but I don't think you can deny it.
But it also depends if you really are gay, or if it's "just a phase".
But as a matter of sexual intercourse, you have a choice, much like a nerd can choose not to play old-school videogames, read fantasybooks and play pokemon.
So to sum it up, i think that you can't choose your sexuality, but you can choose wether you want to practise it, or not.
in this era, i don't think people would choose to be gay. it's incredibly difficult to live in ridicule and hurt and no one in their right mind would willingly desire to be subjected to that. that's why i think being gay isn't a choice. it's a tendency, an inclination, a way of life.
but being gay, like being straight or you know a regular person for that matter,entails a number of decisions. people can decide whether they want to be open about their homosexuality or be in closet. i'm not saying that either side is better. both options are perfectly reasonable, and those who procure them must have purely legitimate reasons i'm sure. and i think that's where we as a community come in. we humans are obliged to make the world a happy and livable place for each other. whatever they decide, it shouldn't be because of fear of hate. With reference to Moslow's Hierarchy, homosexuals also deserve a chance to achieve actualization and whatever path they see fit should be available and accepted. i am aware that it sounds a bit truist, but i don't think it's so hard to ask people to try. it's a lifestyle choice and we should try our best to respect it. we should allow them to be happy as much as we'd want a shot at happiness for ourselves.
I think the question of whether or not people choose their sexual preferences isn't a valid question because it makes the assumption that there's something at stake if you choose one preference over another. As has been stated several times on this thread, choosing one thing over something else implies that the thing chosen has an advantage over the thing not chosen. But neither sexual preference actually carries any advantage over the other, and thus sexual preferences can't be described as a choice.
The only explicit, scientific difference between homosexuality and heterosexuality is that one leads to reproduction and the other doesn't. If you prefer the opposite sex, you can make babies and pass on your genes; if you prefer the same sex, you don't have that option. However, this difference isn't the same thing as an advantage for three reasons:
1 - Aside from those cases where someone consciously decides to make a baby, most people don't think about the potential for procreation as a motivator for relationships; almost all of the time, sex and romance are motivated by pleasure, either physical or emotional as the case may be.
2 - Even if people did think about procreation as a motivator for their relationships, it's impossible to determine whether or not being able to procreate is, in fact, desireable. With the world's rising population demanding more and more food, water, energy, and natural resources, one can easily make the case that people SHOULDN'T be reproducing at all. On the other hand, there is always a need to produce 2 children per woman to prevent population decline. In these circumstances, it is impossible to determine the impact of one newborn person upon the world's population. The only factor that determines the desireability of procreation, therefore, is if an individual consciously wants to have children.
3 - For people who do consciously want to have children, heterosexuality isn't the only option. The vast majority of people don't necessarily want to have children to pass on their genes; they want to have children for the enjoyment of raising someone from infancy to adulthood, which means adoption and in-vitro fertilization are still viable options. Even for those who do want a child who shares their genes, breakthroughs in genetics in the last decade have made it possible for any two people to produce a child with their genetic information, regardless of their gender.
Therefore, neither homosexuality nor heterosexuality is physically better than the other. The only other advantage that can be considered is the fact that homosexuality carries unfortunate social stigma which are the result of millenia of unjustified prejudice. Leaving aside religion (because you can't consider one religion more valid than another), the chief argument against homosexual behavior has always been that it is immoral. However, morals are not absolute; each individual has his or her own standards of what is right and wrong, and although members of the same society may adhere to similar morals, they are by no means set in stone. One that virtually everyone can agree upon, however, is the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In some form, it appears in nearly every religion and nearly every well-established moral system in recorded history. Why? It's advantageous for everyone in society to behave this way, because doing so ensures both equality and stability at the same time. If you don't want to have your property stolen, it would behoove you not to steal. Likewise, in the context of this discussion, if you want your peers to respect your own sexuality, you must respect theirs. Therefore, any argument that homosexuality is immoral itself violates one of the most universally accepted tests of morality, and thus cannot be considered valid.
Having demonstrated that no sexual behavior offers a physical or moral advantage over the other, the only conclusion can be that there is no advantage to being heterosexual or homosexual. Therefore, the two can be considered equal (although different), resulting in a dilemma. There isn't a reason to choose either, and there isn't a need to choose at all. Therefore, our sexual preferences cannot be described as choices without arbitrarily specifying one as being better than the other, and that arbitrary specification will always be prejudiced and therefore immoral.
umm, wow. That was beautifully written and well reasoned. I am confused on one point, however, you state that "choosing one thing over something else implies that the thing chosen has an advantage over the thing not chosen" and I would say that that's not necessarily the case. It's possible to make a decision between two completely equal options. It doesn't really hurt your argument though, because once you've established the equality of the two possibilities whether or not it's a choice becomes a question wrongly asked.
exactly, whether or not it's a choice is irrelevant. people are people and that's what it boils down to. the objective standard for moral conduct (if we're going to continue going down that rabbit hole) seems to me to be "does it cause harm?" anyway....so whether it's a choice or not, let's ask, does it cause harm?
on the sum of it all, homophobia causes harm. we can agree with that. it's bullying. that causes harm. so homophobia is immoral. now, as for homosexuality. well, does it cause harm? no more than heterosexuality, or bisexuality, possibly less when considering contemporary issues of overpopulation and the procreation factor. so whether or not homosexuality is a choice, or moral, it certainly isn't immoral.
so we can argue that no sexuality (between consenting adults) is immoral in absolute terms. but we might argue that if population levels are part of the equation, then the moral good of a sexuality is relative. so we might say that if the human species was about to go extinct and really needed to make lots of babies to prevent it, then heterosexual acts would be more likely to increase procreation and therefore, reduce extinction, and in that situation, be a moral good. this may have even been behind some of the reasoning of ancient religions; the peoples lived in remote communities under threat of nature and neighbouring empires. but not the case now. we've got 7 billion + and counting, and the climate is going all over the shop, food supplies are messed up and we're out of room. so having babies is now have the opposite effect, and heterosexuality is not a moral good, and homosexuality may provide that moral good instead.
I would identify as gay, but I don't entirely know if it's a choice or not. It certainly never felt like a choice but I really don't think it matters. If it's a choice then it's a perfectly valid one which deserves the same respect and rights as any other choice, if it's not then it still deserves the same respect and rights as any other genetic-environmental quirk.
As for the religious perspective, the bible does say it's wrong to commit the act, so if one places value in the word of the bible I imagine it becomes more difficult. Choosing to believe in the bible though, is a personal decision and one which one does not have the right to enforce on other people. Generally i think Governments should be completely religiously neutral and in circumstance like this come back to the principle rule behind any law: "Does it hurt anyone else?" If it does then by all means ban gay marriage, but as far as I can see there is still no argument for banning it.
Well I went off topic there. In summary; I don't know whether it's a choice and I don't see why it matters.
Of course being gay's not a choice, you don't get to pick who (or in some case's what) you're attracted to it just sort of happens.
I have, in my own experience, never met anyone who had chosen to be gay. Anybody in the LGBQ community that I've ever spoken with has wholeheartedly denied there ever being a choice, and me personally. I know I didn't choose my orientation, I just was.
You are who you are, the only choice is whether or not you will let yourself be yourself. The choice isn't whether you are gay or not, it is whether or not you choose to behave in a "gay" manner; i.e. open and honest about your sexual preference. Nobody chooses their sexual preference; it's not like choosing a hair colour and you can just change it. It's like a birthmark, it's a part of you. There's nothing wrong with it, it's who you are. I can't stress that idea enough.
I think that the systems (biological, psychological, social, cultural) that go into determining where we fall on the sex/gender/sexual preference spectra are so complex that calling these identities either a 'choice' or a predetermined biological fact verges on absurdity. I also think that with all the sources of world suck on the planet, focusing on whether or not queer folks are sinners is myopic and out of whack. The real question ought to be, all religious and/or gender & sexuality matters aside, are we doing the right thing for our fellow beings and ourselves? If so, are we doing it well / enough? If not, why not, and how can we start? Being queer or straight, cis or trans doesn't stop me or anyone I know from being kind, charitable, hospitable, and generally awesome, so why dither about it?