No such thing as ‘Gay’ and ‘Straight’ People

human-anatomy-muscles[1]Put simply, purposeful human action is comprised of what one does with their time. Because time is scarce, individuals are continually confronted with the reality that they cannot do everything they want to. The things we end up doing are things that we believe will lead to a more desirable state in near or distant future.

Some argue that human action is not the result of choice; that what people do with their time is dictated by genetics or some predisposition. I often hear people say, I was born to act such-and-such a way – I don’t have a choice – this is just who I am. This is simply untrue. I believe I can prove it in six logical steps.

  1. For action to occur the possibility to act must exist.
  2. Absent the possibility to act, no action could possibly occur.
  3. The fact that man acts cannot be  disputed. To argue otherwise requires man to act.
  4. Therefore, because man acts, it must be the case that, at the very least, a single possibility for man to act upon exists prior to every action.
  5. If a single possibility exists, logic demands that it’s opposite must also. For instance, to stand one must have forgone the possibility to not stand. To run one must have forgone the possibility to not run. So every action arises from no less than two possibilities; do or don’t do.
  6. So it can be stated with certainty, that prior to every action a choice must occur. There is no getting around this.

Do we have a say in what we prefer? Absolutely. The individual is the only one capable of determining whether to-do or not-to-do. Preference is revealed in action. One cannot act counter to what is perceived by oneself to be the most advantageous of all possible actions. The choice is made, to-do or not-to-do, based on what condition one prefers and the belief that doing or not doing will get them to where they desire to be. For, if in fact, one genuinely preferred to walk rather than to not walk, they would walk. By doing so, the onlooker could say with certainty, that person prefers to be walking. Similarly, if one genuinely preferred to sit, they must choose to forgo the possibility to not sit. A person who truly has no choice doesn’t have the options to sit or not sit, in which case, they would be essentially unable to do anything at all. The resulting state would be something akin to time stopping. Sitting or not sitting, in such a state, would no longer be possible. Because we all act, we all must have chose what we prefer from all possibilities for action. Therefore, every individual owns their actions, the choices that guide them, and the consequences of them.

Our actions are what differentiate us. There is no additional body part that one could point to or find internally that makes a person, a biker, a mountain climber, a race car driver, a hunter, a pole vaulter or a mechanic. We label each other on the basis of the preferences exhibited in action.

If I were to propose to you that biking is not a choice, or that racing is not a choice – that a biker and racer are born that way – it would sound pretty absurd, right? Of course it would. It’s nonsense. Riding a bike is something anyone can choose to-do or not-to-do. A person who prefers to spend their time riding bikes is called a biker because they choose to ride bikes. We call them a biker because of their actions, but by doing so, we don’t imply that a biker is a different or specific kind of human. The only difference between a biker human and a racer human is what they choose to do. Both are entirely human in their faculties.

Such is the case with sexual preference. To say that no choice exist to prefer the same sex or not, is to say that no action is possible that would reveal that preference. If action is present that indicates the preference of the same sex, then it, without question, must be the case that the choice was made to act that way rather than not. People who have sex with others of the same gender are labeled as homosexuals. They too, just like the biker, are entirely human in their faculties. The label is a result of their actions. People who do gay things are called gay people. People who do not do gay things are called straight people.

The reality is that there is no such thing as a gay person or a straight person – only people who act differently.

The reason people spend their time differently is a result of the different choices we make when presented with the option to-do or not-to-do.

It’s time people stop insisting that no choice is involved in sexual preference.


16 thoughts on “No such thing as ‘Gay’ and ‘Straight’ People

  1. Tell me. Is a person who has never looked at another person as a sexual object gay or straight? Is a person who has never been sexualy aroused gay or straight? Is a person who has never given or received oral sex gay or straight? Is someone who has never kissed someone else gay or straight? Is someone who has never had sex gay or straight?

  2. Perhaps the question to ask isn’t “when did you choose to be straight?” but “When did you decide you were not gay?”

    I think many people are not sure what their sexual orientation is in early tween years. If people were honest, I suspect that many have doubts one way or another at some point.

  3. This is very silly.

    What you say is no more than to assert that Choice comes before characteristics; whereas, our choices come from our character and personality. We act like we do because we are who we are, but no-one makes himself who he is.

    Think for a moment. You find another person attractive: she comes into the room, and your body responds to her. You can choose whether to pursue her, or stay away- but do you choose how your body responds when you see her?

    In answer to your questions, some people are asexual. Some people strongly identify as gay, and later in their lives strongly identify as straight. It is silly to imagine a clear binary, that a human must be gay OR straight; but that does not mean that someone whose body responds to women she finds attractive can be changed so that she will only find men attractive. Change may happen, or it may not, but it cannot be forced or chosen.

  4. “In answer to your questions, some people are asexual. Some people strongly identify as gay, and later in their lives strongly identify as straight.”

    But they are born that way – just carried along with the winds of change like a leaf on the water… no possible control over their desires.

    That is total BS.

    Gay means one thing an one thing only. It means you do gay things. Everyone is in control of what they do with their bodies. They have to make a choice to do anything at all. Action is proof of a choice having been made. It’s simple.

    Take away that basic truth ad you have a great defense for every type of sexual deviance and violent criminal. How can you throw a child molester in prison – he has not control – he was born that way – he cannot be responsible for his actions. How can you blame the murderer if no one is in control of their actions? You can’t.

  5. Clare,
    I consider my self a pretty reasonable person. So I’ve been pondering your comment. I want to understand what you are saying here.

    “What you say is no more than to assert that Choice comes before characteristics; whereas, our choices come from our character and personality.”

    This is simply a grudge match between determinism and free will. An age old battle that I doubt we’ll end here. Suffice to say I stand firmly on the side of free will. It is my belief that each person is capable of choosing what course of action to take by weighing potential outcomes, and squaring the possibilities with a desire to improve one’s condition in life. I don’t believe we are slaves to our impulses. Our ability to reason is what makes us uniquely human.

    A person who is gay does themselves and their community a great disservice, imo, to attempt to sway public opinion in their favor by selling the idea that they do not choose to do what they do. I would think it would be much more effective for a person who is performing gay actions with their time, who wants to be respected, to say, I am a rational being. I stand by my decisions to do x,y,z. It is my choice and as a free human being, I’m not going to alter my behavior simply because it is not favored by the masses.

    The main point of my article is simply this. It is inaccurate to say that a person does not choose to act on sexual urges. It’s a very simple concept and it revolves around a clear understanding of what it means to say (no choice was made). This phrase demands that no purposeful action can occur. I consider sex a very purposeful action. For it to occur, one must pass the threshold of to-do or not-to-do (an internal process) for the act of sex (outward manifestation of a choice having been made) to ever occur.

    I don’t believe that a person is gay or straight. The label is put on them strictly based on the lifestyle they choose to live. If you take away the actions that are “gay” or “straight” no one would be labeled – no one would be gay. Gay is nothing more than same gender sex. You cannot have same gender sex without making a very deliberated decision to physically engage in such an activity. Your body is not a programmed robot, that acts without your consent.

  6. “There is no such thing as a homosexual or a heterosexual person. There are only homo — or heterosexual acts. Most people are a mixture of impulses if not practices.” Gore Vidal

  7. Thank you for all those links. I am a determinist, but putting that aside for a moment-

    Someone walks into the room, and you find them very attractive. You get an erection- mutatis mutandis if you’re female.

    Now, you can choose what to do. You can try to make their acquaintance, you can try to ignore them, you can walk away; you can think of other things in order to stifle your stiffy. But you can’t prevent that initial response, before it happens.

    If you would like to debate free will, I have written about it here.

  8. So, I was looking around your blog today, and I came upon this post. I wasn’t planning on actually commenting on anything, but I feel like your argument here has some significant issues. Please note that I am not saying this because I believe that homosexual practice is morally permissible (because I don’t). So, anyway…

    The first point has to do with free will and determinism. I am not a determinist, but I also do not believe in free will in the full, unlimited libertarian sense. The reason is that I believe it is impossible to make a choice contrary to your nature. Our natures do allow for a range of possibilities, so it is not as though there is always one exact action that we are determined to do. I could have chosen to go to bed right now instead of writing this comment because while I had a desire to respond to you, I also have a desire to sleep. I would be free to choose either one. However, I would NOT be free to figure our how I could purchase crystal meth and become a hardcore drug addict by the end of the week. Why? Because I have no motivation to do this. It would be impossible for me to make that choice unless it was in accord with my character and my nature. Now, it may be possible for me to eventually make the choice to do something like that as a result of making a string of smaller (and unwise) choices that lead up to that. But something about me would have to change first. It’s even the same way with God. God’s omnipotence does NOT mean that He has the ability to act unjustly because He is not able to do anything outside of His nature (and He is just by nature). You yourself said, “One cannot act counter to what is perceived by oneself to be the most advantageous of all possible actions.”

    Now, I do believe that it is a choice whether one engages in homosexual behavior. Or, in any case, it would be possible for a person to eventually reach a position where such a choice would become viable. However, one could not change their inclinations so that they no longer felt a physical attraction for people of the same sex. If I decided that I was going to make myself sexually attracted to men tonight, I wouldn’t be able to do it no matter how hard I tried. Even if I devoted years to doing it, it is unlikely that I would be able to. The reason is biological. I have some control over my will, but my body still responds in a certain way to certain stimuli. To use a more extreme example, suppose I wanted to change my preference so the feeling of being stabbed with a knife. I wouldn’t be able to do that because that’s not how my body works. And sure, there are some people who are masochistic, but that it is a form of mental illness. It’s not just a state that I could one night choose to will myself into. Speaking more particularly of homosexuality, there have been forms of therapy that have been devised for trying to turn gay people straight, but they generally have low success rates and often have harmful side effects.

    I think then what it comes down to is this. We are all fallen beings, and both our bodies and our souls are affected by sin. The effect of sin on our bodies will not disappear until the resurrection and our minds will not be entirely free from sin until after we die. Sin affects different people in different ways, so different people have different struggles. Some people are naturally disposed to alcoholism or some other form of addiction. They can still make choices to act against those impulses, but the tendency is still there. The same is true for homosexuality. In most cases, somebody who (through a combination of genetic makeup and environmental factors) has only homosexual inclinations will likely never have heterosexual inclinations, but the Bible itself teaches that some are called to marriage and others to celibacy and that both are gifts with their own benefits and setbacks.

    Also (sorry, I know this is getting very long), I think that the logic of your “six steps” is flawed. Point #5 says, “If a single possibility exists, logic demands that it’s opposite must also.” But that is an unproven assumption. A hardcore determinist (which I am not as noted above) would simply say that only one possibility actually exists in any given situation. In the case of an inanimate object like a super ball (which doesn’t have free will), if I drop it on the ground, the only possibility that exists is that it will bounce back up. The only way that this is any different for a human being is if you assume free will (which is exactly what you are trying to prove in your argument which means that you are begging the question).

  9. If a single possibility exists for action, logic demands that the option to remain idle also exists as a possibility. For any action to to occur a choice has to be made to do or not to do. We know man acts. It’s irrefutable. To attempt to to prove otherwise requires one to act purposefully. Therefore action proves that a choice was made.

    The only way out of this logically is to claim that unseen forces can make the choice for us by controlling our minds.

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