My oldest daughter recently came out. She is not the first person close to me who has come out. I have a younger brother who I met as an adult who is gay. My wife and I have several other close friends who are gay. But my daughter coming out brought the issue much closer to home.
A major source of frustration for my daughter, and by extension myself, are the responses of those attempting to be supportive while not really understanding the nature of homosexuality. On multiple occasions we have heard responses like “Well, it’s their choice, and I will love them and support them no matter what.” While it is great to hear you will be loved and supported, there are two concerns here. First is the implication that this is something you will be loved in spite of. The second is that this is a choice.
I understand that not everyone is fortunate enough to have family and friends who even show love and support. I know people who have been disowned, alienated, etc. Certainly these responses are not the worst things that could happen, but they still show a lack of understanding. I also know many people have been conditioned that homosexuality is sinful, unnatural, immoral, and as such it is hard to embrace and accept. Loving them in spite of their sexuality may be a best first step.
But saying it is their choice is to fully misunderstand the situation. Saying someone chooses who they are attracted to is like saying you choose what food and drinks you like. I didn’t choose to like broccoli and I didn’t choose to dislike watermelon and strawberries. Trust me, people seem to have much more fun eating watermelon and strawberries. I also didn’t choose to dislike beer. I have tried and tried to no avail.
Unfortunately many homosexuals live the same way, with much more serious consequences. They try to “choose” not to be gay. They have girlfriends/boyfriends of the opposite sex. Sometimes they get married. The point is, this isn’t a choice, and to say it is their choice is to ignore the reality of what sexual orientation is.
If you aren’t at a place where you can understand this, at least choose your words carefully. Suicide rates among the LGBT community, particularly among youth, are alarmingly high. And then take some time to research some different viewpoints and see if you might not come away a more loving, understanding person.