Like most mornings, as I made my commute, I was listening to a local conservative talk show. I really like this particular show because of the host. He has been on the air in Denver for quite some time and I like him for a number of reasons, but one of those happens to be his support for gay rights. If you listen to him for very long, anytime he discusses any issue that concerns sexuality, it’s not long before he is in a discussion with a caller and he happens to ask, “When was your choice day? When did you choose to be straight?” Inevitably, the caller ends up responding with something similar to “Well, I just am” or “I didn’t choose”. Obviously, this is the exact point that the host of the show is making – sexuality isn’t chosen, it just is.
It took me a long time to fully grasp that concept about myself. I never understood why I could be attracted to some men, if I were heterosexual. Of course, I noticed my attractions in my pubescent years. I had been attracted to a few friends growing up and the attractions I had for some men never went away. Granted, I got much better at suppressing those attractions and hiding my sexuality – even to the point that I explained away any “transgressions” I had with the same gender as a direct result of having been sexually violated by a male when I was very young.
Of course, having engaged in sexual activities with members of both male and female, it was already apparent that I was bisexual. But the radio show today had me pondering when it was I noticed or became aware of my attractions. There was never a defining moment of having a conscious thought of choosing to be straight, gay or otherwise. I just noticed that I had distinct physiological reactions to some people, regardless if they were male or female. Those physiological reactions included nervousness in breathing, sweaty hands, a raging erection, inability to refrain from blushing when engaged in any sort of attention from my attractions. It, simply, just occurred, regardless how confusing it was to me.
I know I spent a lot of time – especially in my youth. Trying to force myself into being either gay or straight. On the one hand, society, at that time, was not accepting of homosexuals at all, so it was a much easier solution to be straight. But I knew I wasn’t; I always knew I wasn’t. I certainly knew I was attracted to girls – those physiological reactions mentioned above happened quite a bit. But I had no clue why I found myself looking at some of the guys I went to school with too.
I think about the reality of this in my life, and it makes me still contemplate the age old question about whether or not sexuality is a matter of nature or a matter of nurture. This became more relevant last August when there was a study released, that above all things, essentially stated that there is no genetic markers or codes that show people are born with their particular sexuality. After looking at the website about the study, it left me wondering, again, if I’m “normal” (Of course, I always like the misuse of the word “normal” when it comes to discussing sexuality, anyways). Although, I’m a firm believer in choosing your own actions and behavior, I fully recognize there is no ability to change our feelings – as fickle as they may be.
As you can imagine, it has always felt like a conflict with my catholic upbringing. My parents never shoved religion down my throat, so I don’t have any resentments. Also, I fully recognize the advantage of living in a free country and do as I wish, with respect to religion, but I have always found some peace in my faith. I have found some solace in accepting my sexuality and still believing in God. But it hasn’t always been easy. I have a friend on Twitter that is a lesbian and catholic and she once told me that God makes us who we are and there is an ability to live modestly withing your sexuality. That made a lot of sense to me. It helped me understand that there are individual intricacies about me that do not make me an evil person. That was huge.
But taking all of this into consideration, I still take deep notice of the fact that there is no Choice Day for people. They are straight, they are gay, they are bisexual. They are who they are.