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Choice?

I’ve often heard people ask whether being gay is a choice. See e.g., Bill Richardson’s response to Melissa Ethrige’s question. (Warning, it makes one cringe worse than any episode of the Office but here is the link.) I think it is a weird way to put things. For example, did I choose to like big band music more than classical music? Did I choose to like chocolate? If choose means to consciously, willingly pick between alternatives, then the answer is no.

The other alternative presented is “being born that way.” But, the opposite of a characteristic with which you were born, is not a characteristic you choose. It is a characteristic affected by your environment. Nature versus nurture. I am sure that is what the serious thinkers are looking into when doing research or writing white papers. But I think rephrasing the question “is it a choice” would allow for a more honest every day discussion.

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