- Feb 18, 2010
- United Kingdom
A healthy adult with a normal social life, or for that matter any intellectually curious human being with the capacity for thought, should not require "evidence" of this any more than they require evidence of other obvious social consensuses. If you have reached adulthood and yet not managed to develop any kind of basic understanding of human sexuality, you are simply not equipped for this discussion and you need to stop and maybe go talk to some normal people.But your claim is a consensus among gay people. I have not found any evidence of that.
You can cry about logical fallacies all you want, but the simple fact is, noone wants to watch you humiliate yourself, and noone needs to prove the obvious.
But to explain to you what you should have learned as a child, there is a basic difference between sexual attraction and sexual identity. Sexual attraction is very obviously outside of conscious control or social mediation, if you are attracted to someone then you are attracted to them and you cannot choose not to be. There is a some question over whether some individuals may have the ability to consciously cultivate new forms of sexual attraction in the same way some people can consciously develop a taste for certain foods over a long period of time, but the reverse is not true. Attempts to remove unwanted forms of sexual attraction rely on the mechanism of social repression. They are harmful, ineffective and increasingly illegal.
Sexual identities are the social identities associated with particular patterns of sexual attraction. At times, queer political movements have attempted to reclaim these identities as chosen identities for various ends, but always with the conscious recognition that this is in opposition to the way these identities operate socially. Outside of radical queer politics, sexual identity is a mediated identity produced through the way an individual interacts with society. If a man insists they are heterosexual but demonstrates clear attraction to men, then those around them are extremely likely to stop viewing and treating them as heterosexual.
The fact that sexual identity is not immediately intelligible in the same way as physical properties like sex or skin colour, but is rather something that is subject to continuous social negotiation, is referred to (both socially and academically) as "closeting". Again, it would be simplistic to describe closeting as a choice, as people do not have control over the conditions under which the social negotiation of their sexual identity occurs, although they can control how they react to those conditions. For example, the man in the case above might tactically choose not to express attraction to other men in order to be interpreted as heterosexual, but he is not choosing an identity, he is engaging in an intentional deception for social advantage.
The "debate" around choice is separate from and yet related to the debate around whether or not sexual attraction is innate. Homophobic political lobbies frequently attempt to confuse the two, because while there is a pretty absolute consensus outside of conversion therapy advocates and the religious right that sexual attraction is not a choice, there is no clear consensus amongst gay people or anyone else around whether or not sexual attraction is innate or learned. Psychological research exists to support both positions, and in general the evidence leans towards sexual attraction being based on the interaction of inherent features and those learned in early life. But even those who strongly favor social learning as the basis for sexual attraction overwhelmingly reject the idea that it is a choice.