Choice" -- and how both gay and religious leaders perceive it -- is a key word in today's noisy national debate about gay rights. The issue focuses on the APA's quandary on how it can offer "reparative" therapy to gay people without seeming to pressure us unduly, or lapsing back into old attitudes that "homosexuals are sick" -- or even violating our civil rights.
Today some radical-right church leaders wish to bend APA policy to their belief that homosexuality is a crime, no different than murder and theft -- as per some passages of the Old and New Testament. In their view, gay people SHOULD choose therapy, because they OUGHT to stop being gay. In their view, all therapy should reflect penal law, and all penal law should reflect the Bible. Indeed, Donald Wildmon has dubbed the upcoming October as National Coming Out of Homosexuality Day, in hopes that hordes of homos will step out of the Life just like (snap!) that.
Unfortunately, in their struggle to evade control by this kind of religious thinking, some in the gay community throw the baby out with the bathwater. They reject the idea of "choice." They insist that no choice is involved in sexual orientation...that are driven by genes or environmental conditioning or both. "Homosexuals are born, not made," they say.
The fact is, we humans do choose. We make choices about thousands of things, big and small, every day. Choice is what sets us apart from plants and animals. Choice gives us dignity, and allows us to shape our lives, our characters, our destinies.
Even within the gay community, there are landmark choices about how we live and what we do. Choice is involved in the initial decision to overcome fear. "Do I or don't I come out?" No matter what...