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Hey, guys, it seems like there hasn't been activity here in about a year . . . but I have a question! I hope someone can answer. =D

Anyway, I'm new to this theory, and I was wondering if you believe ALL queers chose to be queer? For those who believe that they chose to be queer, do you believe that everyone who is queer chose to be queer, or can some people be born that way, or whatever?

What I've read so far seems to avoid saying either way, though, admittedly, I haven't looked very hard to find the answer just yet. I know the question is awkwardly worded, sorry. ^.^

Free Speech Where do We Draw the Line?

A few interesting and controversial headlines have popped up in the news and the gay blogosphere that raise some important questions. At what point is gay activism intruding upon free speech and freedom of expression rights? Freedom of speech and expression must be protected even for anti-gay forces, because if we don't have these basic freedoms it becomes a slippery slope and eventually we will not have the right to express our opinions.

I write this in light of some stories recently, such as a student who wore a t-shirt to school saying "Be Happy - Not Gay!" at a diversity event, who got in trouble. The courts have since ruled she is entitled to wear the shirt.

What about Crystal Dixon's case with the University of Toledo V.P. of Human Resources who outside the university wrote an opinion column denouncing homosexuality, claiming it is a choice. She has been fired under grounds that she mentioned she was a worker at the school and is now suing the school.

Finally there was the case at Smith College, where the College Republicans brought in Ryan Sorba who created a book called "The Born Gay Hoax" who spoke about bogus research regarding LGBT people. Students interrupted his anti-gay speech by screaming "We're Here, We're Queer, get used to it" the student protesters overwhelmed the room forcing Mr. Sorba to leave the campus and cancel his speech.

Youtube clip of the Smith protest:

What do you think about GLBT activism and where do we draw the line to ensure free speech rights, or is it okay to intrude upon the free speech of others when they seek to intrude on our civil liberties and spread falsehoods about our community?


ignorant question?

hello. not sure whether this community is highly active but i thought i'd try asking anyway.

i'm a person who is historically heterosexual in practice but upon maturation and consideration have become very open to the idea of queer experiences and/or relationships. that's not really related to my question, but it is why i've become interested lately in queer theory and politics. (of course, even if i wasn't personally inclined to tentatively identify as bisexual or something other than strictly hetero, i'd hope i'd be interested anyway!)

anyhow i just came across the idea of "queer by choice" and i find it very intriguing. i suppose i understand the belief that sexual orientation is fluid rather than dictated by genetics or atmosphere (though i'm not informed enough to have an opinion either way), but i don't understand exactly the motivation to choose a preference. is it an exercise in will? i suppose what i mean to ask is whether it's a political action meant to display the autonomy of the individual or perhaps to condemn the mindless standardization that is manifest in the majority of people identifying as straight--a protest against the conventional heteronormative assumption that "straight" is normal.

i don't know if that made sense. i hope it wasn't offensively ignorant--trust me i mean well! ok well hopefully someone can shed some light on this topic for me.


I started a Facebook thread about queer choice which has got rather heated.  Some of the stuff people have said has really made me worry - do I have any right to call myself bisexual at all?  If I do, do I have to agree that it was not a conscious choice for me?  I don't want to do either of those things.

I'm not proud of having chosen to be bisexual, but I'm also not willing to give up being bisexual because it was a choice.

Ah, thank you, QueerByChoice.com, for existing.

Ophelia Xx

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strategies and activism (mmmmmm)

was actually wondering if ya'll might be able to give me some advice. I created a queer art display at the University of Florida, and the entire thing was censored (mother fucking queerphobes)...so my latest efforts have been to tie together the community, and see what can be done. At this point, it seems my efforts might need to take some concrete construction (I'm even thinking of starting a "gay shame organization" ... modelling after gayshamesf.org...there's already a Queer Activist Group, but I think this may need a specific structure at this point.

the thing is the wanna-be mainstream LGBT group has resisted supporting this issue as it wants to remain apolitical. So any advice as to what might be done would be lovely. I've thought of flyering, failed at contacting newspapers but tried, a kiss-in right in front of the University space . . . i want to get as much attention and in as uneuphemized manners as possible.

I've written more about this in my LJ if you care to browse it around for more details.

 Curious, what are the thoughts of starting a gay shame group considering there already is a similar group on this campus? So yea, annnnyyyyy ideas for activism would be lovely.
short skirt

A link to another post about a news article

This is a link to another post in bipolypagangeek about a new article in the NY Times which states:
    "Desire between the sexes is not a matter of choice. Straight men, it seems, have neural circuits that prompt them to seek out women; gay         men have those prompting them to seek other men. Women’s brains may be organized to select men who seem likely to provide for them         and their children. The deal is sealed with other neural programs that induce a burst of romantic love, followed by long-term attachment."

Any way read it here

Kathleen Bryson

Okay, who knew about Kathleen Bryson? I didn't. So I'm glad I have Google set up to regularly email me search results containing the phrase "choose to be queer." It found this in the Wikipedia entry about her:
Controversially, Bryson, who has always described herself as bisexual since these Seattle years (except for what she jokingly referred to as her "3-month lesbian separatist period" in the fall of 1994), has been clear in several interviews that she does not consider either heterosexuality or homosexuality to have a genetic basis, but rather considers them to be the result of many social and environmental factors. From a 2002 interview with Rainbow Network: "People often forget that 'gayness' and 'heterosexuality' are new concepts, less than a hundred and fifty years old... 'Straight' and 'gay' and 'bisexual' are all social constructions anyway, but until the world is more comfortable with same-sex desire I'll be calling myself bisexual, as that word comes the closest to describing my own personal make-up."

In another interview from the same time, she said, "I choose to be queer, and I'm proud of my choice. I'm sick of gay people saying 'it's not my fault', like being queer is something to be ashamed of." More radically, she suggested the following: "I truly believe that all people are born with bisexual potential, and I feel strongly that the onus should now be on 'heterosexuals' to come out, as queer people have already done enough hard work questioning sexual mores."
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I'm always writing LiveJournal comments about choosing to be queer and then wanting to say exactly the same thing in ten other people's journals a few months later, but I can never find my old comments anymore to copy and paste them, so I rewrite the same things endlessly. This time I'm going to copy and paste them here as an entry in their own right, so maybe I'll manage to find them again later. I wrote this in foucaultonacid's journal, and I apologize for possibly boring you if you've heard it all from me before.
I would say that we can create an attraction or an orientation that is not just temporary - but that in order to do so, we also need to have created an entire system of other beliefs/desires within which the new attraction makes sense. A meaningful, long-term change of orientation can't just be tacked onto the top of a personality without other changes that give the person a reason to desire to be with members of a different gender or other category of people than the person previously desired to be with.

I think that feeling more attracted to a particular gender arises from believing that members of that gender are more likely (at least in our society) to do/feel/be something or other, and that the something or other they are more likely to do/feel/be is important to one's happiness. A person can be either right or wrong about what members of each gender are more likely to do/feel/be, and a person can also be either right or wrong about whether the something or other is really important to their happiness. For a person to choose to change their orientation in a meaningful way, the person would start by questioning these beliefs and looking for reasons to change their mind about these beliefs. If they succeed in finding a good reason to change their beliefs, then they successfully choose to change their orientation.

If they don't succeed in finding a good reason to change their beliefs, then they don't succeed in changing their orientation. However, in a way, this means that they actually choose to keep their existing orientation - because they evaluated the reasons for having each preference, and they made a decision that the reasons for having their existing preference were better reasons.

Of course, the common notion of "free will" demands that there must also a third possibility, which is that theoretically they could choose to change their orientation to one that the preponderance of evidence available to them suggests they should not choose. But I think if we're talking about sane people, this option is going to be so automatically ruled out that it doesn't much count as a choice at all. I think sanity is inherently defined as basing one's choices on evidence whenever evidence is available. If all available evidence suggests to you that being hit by a car would really hurt, and that if you run right in front of the one currently coming at you it will it you, yet you choose to run right in front of it anyway, we call that insane. In exactly the same way, if you see that being in sexual situations with certain people is likely to make you happier than being in sexual situations with certain other people, yet you choose to avoid sexual situations with the first group of people and seek them out with the second group of people anyway, that also would have to mean you're insane.
Also, I wrote this next bit in response to a comment on a different entry in foucaultonacid's journal, in which the commenter said he wishes he were heterosexual because "reproducing is the main thing that makes the earth go around, our main purpose. so not naturally liking what I'm supposed to, what I'm MADE to do, is kind of disappointing."
This is exactly why I think the whole idea that sexual orientations are biological (as opposed to being developed in various other ways that you aren't necessarily able to change) increases homophobia. If you accept the idea gayness is biological, then it can be very, very difficult to avoid judging its value in terms of its evolutionary viability, and by that measure, concluding that it probably deserves to be called a "birth defect."

But why should you accept the idea that gayness is biological, just because you haven't been able to change yours? If you see gayness as something that evolved through your interaction with the world, it becomes much easier to say, for example, maybe your gayness is a sign of your greater than average ability to think for yourself, to gravitate toward relationships with people who share more of your experience of life and who can therefore understand you more fully and deeply. It becomes much easier to judge the value of gayness in terms of its social purposes, in terms of furthering the purposes of our lives that we can choose for ourselves, such as making the people we love feel loved and making the world a better place for people of future generations who share that goal, instead of just worrying about making more copies of little bits of DNA.

Advice from Sasha: The Right to Choose to Be Queer

I really liked this advice columnist's answer (in the second letter on that page) to someone who wanted to know if her lesbian sister could be turned hetero through psychiatric treatment. The advice columnist, Sasha, encouraged her to stop focusing on the question of whether her sister could be turned hetero or not, and instead realize that whether or not it's possible, it's not the right thing to do:
I am a devoted female reader of your column. It has always provided me with lots of useful information. I need you to help me with my sister, who is 17. Two days ago a very good friend of hers sent me an email explaining why she (my sister) has been very depressed lately. The cause, according to the friend, is that my sister is lesbian and has broken up with her girlfriend. I was totally shocked to learn this. My sister has always been tomboyish but I didn't imagine she was lesbian. What can I do to help her? Is there no way for her to be straight? Can psychiatric therapy help? Thank you. SHOCKED SISTER

There is a way you can help her, yes, but let's first look at some of the theories and ideas surrounding orientation conversion. A popular pro-gay argument is biology, mostly because it's the most incontestable way of explaining to nosy people with double standards that "it's not our fault, we were born this way." But why shouldn't choice also be a legitimate reason, especially given our obsession with it in so many other circumstances? I feel like I would choose to be queer too, because it works so well for me. I think it's imperative that we start respecting people's choices along with their biology, but also their right to change if they want to try. My guess is that some people can probably change their sexual orientation through willpower or religious conviction, but by that rationale, it would go both ways. In other words, there are probably straight people who could live gay if they really believed it would enhance their lives.

The problem as I see it is, most sexual-orientation conversion methods -- and I've only ever seen ones trying to make gays go straight, no matter what zealots call Pride Day -- are based in fear, particularly of hell, and in self-hate. If I really, really believed in hell and I hated myself for being queer, I'd be working my ass off to dump my girlfriend and find a nice Calvinist boy to settle down with and start using my breasts for something more businesslike than twirling pasties. The real questions become, how much do you hate yourself, and how much would this impact your desire to live a different life? Would you be willing to change your orientation because it was considered by your family and religion to be wrong?

If helping your sister is truly your intent, then how about an open-ended conversation rather than one with such a complicated goal in mind? Your sister's heart is broken not because she's queer, but because she lost a lover.
By the way, what kind of a "friend" responds to a friend's depression over breaking up with her girlfriend by outing the friend to her homophobic sister? Now the lesbian in that advice column has three things to be depressed about instead of just one: brekaing up with her girlfriend, having a sister who's looking for ways to "save" her from her queerness, and having a "friend" who outed her to her sister. I'm sure she feels lots better as a result of that.