- It is cisheteronormative as fuck and pathologizes LGBT people. It makes our acceptance conditional on being unable to avoid being queer. “I tried to be a good boy, I tried soooo hard to be straight, but I just couldn’t help myself and turned out queer. I know I failed at being straight, but please don’t be mean about it”.
- It puts the burden of proof on us. “Prove you were born that way or no rights for you!” This is not asked of other minorities. No one doubts it’s wrong to persecute a religious minorities, even if they haven’t proven that they were born with a gene that makes them believe that way.
- It gives all the power to the oppressor. Straight (cishet) people get to decide who was born that way and who wasn’t, in a way that reflects preexisting prejudice. “It’s natural for gays to be that way, but bisexuals are just promiscuous”. “Gays and lesbians just are that way, but trans people are just really, really gay and trying to avoid it”. “Trans women have female brains in male bodies, but non-binary people are just making stuff up”. The general formulation would be: “[Group I approve of] were born that way and it’s okay, but [group I dislike or don’t understand] are just [prejudice]”. This benefits the more mainstream elements of the LGBT community (read LGs) and leaves more marginalized elements behind and does not constitute true liberation.
- The accusation of having a choice (i.e choosing the homosexual lifestyle) is just a rationalization for many people. Bigots already made up their minds. And then they just look for any argument that supports their stance. If they actually believed in respecting people that were born that way then there would be no mistreatment of intersex people, who were obviously born intersex. (I’m bringing up intersex people, because discrimination towards them and LGBT people shares many root causes and therefore looking at how they are treated reveals something about the mindset of our common oppressors. I hope this does not come across as me trying to appropriate their struggles or being disrespectful).
- The origin of sexual orientation and gender identity is not yet fully understood by science, research is still active. It could still turn out that we weren’t “born that way” after all.
So what’s the alternative, you ask? Well, we could just insist that a person’s sexuality and gender is personal and, therefore, you should just accept people even if you don’t understand their motivations. Also, on a personal level, we should be able to freely express ourselves as queer if that feels right. The question of our essential self is irrelevant (if such a self exists at all).
Final note. There is consensus among psychologists that forcefully trying to change someone’s sexual orientation doesn’t work. It just doesn’t. We don’t have to be born this way for “conversion therapy” to be abusive.
I hate when people get into queerness like this. What does it matter to you if I explain my queerness this way to the otherwise-religiously-conservative people in my life? The people who otherwise would’ve never been exposed to queerness and continued to live in their heteronormative bubble? By letting the people in my life understand that I didn’t choose to be queer, I’m able to salvage relationships that would’ve otherwise been lost. Relationships that I’ve spent over 19 years building. Relationships with my grandmothers, my aunts, my uncles. Relationships with my parents’ friends. Relationships that will be built with my now-five-year-old cousin.
If queerness really is personal, why is it the LGBT community’s business as to how I explain my queerness and what language I use to inform the people in my life so that I get my point across (that I did not actively decide to be queer), without severing ties? I’m sorry, but what language I use to explain myself to the people in my life should not be the LGBT community’s decision. And I get that Tumblr is full of bloggers who feel that this is their only outlet, but let’s remember our “I” statements, shall we? There’s a better way to educate than to make me feel like shit for coming out and being open with the people in my life without severing the ties that their religion and/or upbringing tells them that they should sever.
By explaining, on a religious level, that their God intended for me to be exactly as I am (because their God does not make mistakes), their worldview is kept intact. Maybe even widened a little by the possibility that queer people are children of their God, as well.
I did not mean to shame anyone for doing what they have to to survive, nor to police how people conduct their relationships. The language you use is not the LGBT community’s business. No one is obligated to participate in identity politics.
However, I can and will be critical of the form our politics take and point out problematic aspects of a commonly used argument. Especially if it leaves behind a group of people I happen to belong to.
I hardcore agree that the “Born This Way” argument sucks as well. OF COURSE I understand that some folks have to use it to survive. That’s not what I’m criticizing. I’m criticizing the fact that anyone has to use it at all. Just as described above, it is apologetic and gives power to the oppressor. To clarify, I would NEVER fault someone who uses the argument such as to keep a relationship with their family. I fault the system that causes the argument to be the only valid option for us in many situations.