Queer by Choice Links

"Against Being Born This Way: Queers Should Be Insisting on Sexual Development, Not Stasis" by Zach Howe, for the column "I'm Queer & So Are You," Blunderbuss Magazine, November 11, 2013. "I used to think I couldn't be gay because I could remember all the girls I had crushed on growing up. When I started talking about being into dudes, I had more than one friend tell me I wasn't really gay."

"Why Should Fluid Sexuality Be Women Only?" by Ann Friedman, New York Magazine, December 6, 2013. "My guess is that as taboos and strict sexual categories begin to fall away, men will be more willing to explore same-sex relationships and hookups—and be more willing to admit as much to researchers—without panicking about which label to claim. For people of all genders, figuring out who we are and what turns us on has always been difficult. But we’ve failed to accept that many of us continue to question our sexuality well into adulthood. Given that most of us go through dozens of other major changes throughout our lifetime, doesn’t it make sense that our sexual desires could shift, too? That we might not be simultaneously attracted to both men and women, but that some of us might go through cycles of being more interested in a particular gender?"

"Preacher's Daughter: Why Do We Have to Be 'Born This Way'?" by Kristin Rawls, Bitch Magazine, October 20, 2011. "Some of us do experience an element of choice in coming to terms with our identities. And this is only threatening if we've conceded that LGBTQ identity is a horrible burden to bear, something so terrible that no one would ever choose it. I recognize that societal judgment keeps people in the closet. However, it seems to me that, if we want self-acceptance, we shouldn't frame our identities as prison sentences. Do we want to apologize for this unfortunate way that "God made us," or do we want to celebrate it instead?"

"What If Some of Us Aren't Born That Way? The issue of choice may not settle the question of gay rights." by April M. Herndon, Ph.D., Dry Land Fish column in Psychology Today, June 11, 2012. "I don't think those seeking rights should advocate from a position of powerlessness, and the constant refrain of "who would choose that?" flirts dangerously close with presenting homosexual people as worthy of pity. As a queer-identified woman, I don't want my sexuality to be seen as a lesser choice; I don't want to be seen only as some hapless victim of biology. It's not, after all, the person with whom I choose to go to bed with that makes my life difficult. Rather, it's the homophobia I face that makes my life harder."

"What If I Chose to Be Gay? Or, Why Herman Cain Might Be onto Something" by Darnell L. Moore, Huffington Post, October 31, 2011. "I affirm my LGBTQ brothers and sisters who name and claim their sexualities and expressions as part of their being. But I also want to push back against those who feel as if there is only one right (pun intended) way to think about our sexual selves. What if one's affinity towards, attraction to, desire to be intimate with, and/or love for another person of the same sex is a choice after all? What if we, including those of us who are LGBTQ-identified, considered what it might mean if we only relied on the nature argument to somehow prove that we aren't morally inept, sinful, hell-bound, deviant, lustful, and/or community-destroying bodies?"

"Queer by Choice, Not by Chance: Against Being 'Born This Way'" by Lindsay Miller, The Atlantic, September 12, 2011. "The 'born this way' argument is frequently used in defense of gay rights, but whether or not I deserve the same rights as straight people has nothing to do with whether I chose to be the way I am. I deserve equal rights because I'm an equal. I'm a human being sharing my life with the person I love. The life I have now is not something I ended up with because I had no other options. Make no mistake—it's a life I chose."

"The Gay Gene Will Not Protect You" by Yasmin Nair, Bilerico.com, March 13, 2011. "I suggest an alternative slogan: 'I chose to be this way. And I don't give a fuck what you think.'"

"Why 'But I Was Born This Way!' Is the Wrong Answer" by SirBruce, from Daily Kos, Jun 10, 2007. "I chose to be bisexual, and chose to engage in both homosexual and heterosexual behavior. And there's nothing wrong with that choice."

"All We, Like Sheep? A Commentary on Gay Rams and the Nature/Nurture Debate" by Jim Burroway, from the Box Turtle Bulletin, January 25th, 2007. "It is not only silly to argue that human sexuality can be blamed solely on biology or parenting because it is scientifically ludicrous, it is silly to argue it because it merely reinforces the assumption that something must have gone wrong. Laura Schlessinger says we are a 'biological error'. Strike the 'error' from that statement and you have the prevailing pro-gay argument on what happened."

"The Label Table" by Lauren, 2005. "You decided to try to be attracted to people of all genders and races and sizes and amounts of hair, and you found that you eventually succeeded?"

"Queer by Choice" by PoetryAndTruths, in the Lesbian LiveJournal Community, April 6, 2006. KrazyHippie replies: "I consider it a choice. Not in the sense that I woke up one day and decided to be gay (although some queer-by-choice folk do, and that's perfectly fine too) but it went along with an entire restructuring of my belief system. I don't feel I was gay and just wasn't out--when I was straight, I was really straight. But now I'm really gay--no matter what my reasons for it, I love and want women and only women."

"If We Wanted to Be Straight, We Would Be: Attempts to Identify a Genetic Basis for Homosexuality Refuse to Accept That Sexual Desire Is a Social Construct" by Julie Bindel, from The Guardian, U.K., December 14, 2004. "While understandable that, as a response to horrific homophobia that still prevails in most cultures and societies, some in the gay community wish to pass the buck for their choice of sexual identity to a rogue gene, it plays into the hands of reactionary geneticists whose agenda is terrifying. They are seeking to prove that those outside of the white, able-bodied heterosexual norm are inferior. We must not collude. . . . It is a positive choice, and we do not need anyone with a test tube telling us otherwise."

And a commentary on Julie Bindel's article linked above: "Bi by Choice?" from Bi Community News,, U.K., February 2005. "Bindel's vision is limited to a choice of 'hets v dykes' - as captured by her concluding but unfunny reversal: 'Heterosexuals? Some of them are okay, but I wouldn't want my daughter marrying one.' What is potentially far more subversive is the plurality of desires which might bloom if we were all capable of genuine 'freedom of choice' as regards sexuality and, to adapt an old Tory Party slogan (!), had the Right to Bi."

"The Nature of Choice" by Kevin Sparrow. "Being gay is not a worse choice, only a different one. We base a lot of our opinions on judging whether something is bad or good (mostly because it’s faster), but I believe that if we can try to settle the argument of whether homosexuality is a good or bad choice to make, we will find that it does not matter whether it is something determined by genes or experience."

"The Gay Option: Same-Sex Love Is a Choice—and It's Time LGBT Activists Start Saying So" by Stephanie Fairyington, from Dissent, Winter 2010, excerpted in Utne Reader, May-June 2010. "No matter how bumpy the ride or long the journey, choice as a political strategy is the only ride out of Freaksville."

"We're Here, We're Queer, We're Genetically Determined?" by Deborah Gould and others at the University of Chicago, Illinois, USA, from the e-zine Broadside. "Why is the decision I make with another woman—to spread her legs, put my fist inside her cunt, and twirl her clit with my tongue—a basis for granting or taking away my civil rights?"

Frank Aqueno's Queer by Choice website

"Signing On Versus Coming Out: Sometimes It Really Is a Choice" by Kevyn Abernathy, March 7, 2007. "I realize that there is tremendous political capital invested in the idea that we are born gay, but I am here to say that for some of us, it's a choice. . . . Which is why I don't say I 'came out.' I prefer to say that I 'signed up.'"

"Morality and Homosexuality: Gays Must Take Up the Affirmative Argument" by Ron Gold, from the Los Angeles Times. Ron Gold was one of the five original founders of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force (one of the biggest queer rights organizations in the USA), and he was also the driving force behind the movement that got the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from its list of "mental illnesses" in 1973. He also sees queerness as "a moral choice," and he gave Frank Aqueno permission to reprint this article on Frank's Queer by Choice website.

"Queer by Choice" by donnaidh_sidhe, February 10, 2004. "Finally, the statement 'why would anyone choose to be gay?' is homophobic in that the speaker, who is queer, is saying that he or she cannot see any redeeming qualities in his or her sexuality, finding the negative social consequences of queerness so overwhelming that the joy one can find in one's sexuality is overpowered by them."

"Queer by Choice, Again" by Julianna Adalia Van Der Lee, February 12, 2005. "I can accept, for instance, that genes or hormonal cycles hold sway over how often I'd want to engage in carnal activities, or influence rhythm or duration. But I can't accept the existence of a gene that causes me to be singularily obsessed with the form and function of my partner's genitals. Or one that forces my entire social behavior to correspond to my own equipment, and whether any opportunities for procreation present themselves."

"Choosing to Be Gay" by Todd VerBeek, from Network News: The Newsletter of the Lesbian & Gay Community Network of Western Michigan, November 1992. "Each of them has made a . . . (dare I say it?) choice about their sexuality. For that matter, so has each of us."

"Gay by Choice? The Science of Sexual Identity: If science proves sexual orientation is more fluid than we've been led to believe, can homosexuality still be a protected right?" by Gary Greenberg, Mother Jones, August 27, 2007. "Diamond has spent the last 12 years . . . following a group of 79 women who originally described themselves as nonheterosexual, and she's found that sexual orientation is much more fluid than activists like [Wayne] Besen believe. 'Contrary to this notion that gay people struggle with their identity in childhood and early adolescence, then come out and ride off into the sunset,' she says, 'the more time goes on, the more variability comes out. Women change their identities and find their attractions changing.'"

And a commentary on Gary Greenberg's article linked above: "Hellish Choice Beats Heavenly Genes" by Eric Scheie, ClassicalValues.com, September 17, 2007. "[T]he argument that homosexuality is a choice is a politically superior, more astute position. Putting aside the merits of the 'born that way' argument (I for one believe that some are, some aren't), concepts of freedom should not depend on genetics or biological predestination. There either is a right to do something or there is not. Nothing could be more personal than what one does sexually. To condition this on the expression of a gene would mean (among other things) that only certain people who had that gene would have the right to do it."

"Queer by Choice? The Notion That a Person Can Make a Conscious Decision Regarding His or Her Sexuality Throws a Wrench into the Nature/Nurture Debate" by Kim Ficera, from Fairfield County Weekly, Connecticut, USA, May 31, 2000. A fantastic article on queer choice and the dangers that queer by choice people face when attempting to turn to PFLAG for support during our coming-out process. This article also later appeared in the Hartford Advocate, the New Haven Advocate, the Westchester County Weekly, Flipside: Canada's Alternative Daily Newspaper, and forPLU: The E-zine for People Like Us. Contains interviews with QueerByChoice.com owner Gayle Madwin and with Frank Aqueno, the owner of another Queer by Choice website.

"Just Not Getting the Strategy of the Gay Movement..." by Zippy Kondracky, November 10, 2004. "I'm bi because I frickin' wanna be. Which is what surprises the heck out of me when I hear gay activists. If I hear one more gay activist tell me that s/he was born that way, I'm going to scream . . . I chose to be bi. I never thought about it until college, I decided to try it, and I've been pleased with my decision since."

"Fat = Gay?" by Dot, December 13, 2004. "I believe the queer community made a pretty stupid political mistake when it took the route of saying gayness is something one is born to. . . . What if it isn't? What if gayness is as much about behavior as identity? What if identity is mutable? What if one can choose to be queer? Does that make it okay to hate queer folk? . . . Really, the most effective argument in favor of any minority group's rights is more analogous to the right to religious freedom than anything else - one chooses one's religion, and that's a defended choice. Period. No 'are people born Catholic, or do they choose it?' debate needed."

"The Day I Decided to Become a Lesbian" by Clare Sudbery, Manchester, U.K., author of the novel The Dying of Delight. "[Y]ou could, if you wanted to, say that I personally was 'converted' to lesbianism. By various filthy radicals. Or, at the very least, encouraged. And very glad I am too, because it was one of the best things that ever happened to me."

Interesting message board discussions on "Essentialism", 2000, and "Homosexuality: Genetic or Acquired?", 2000, both from UnitedRadicalCommunities.com.

Another message board discussion on "Queer by Choice", 2003, from GentleSpirit.com.

"Sexuality and Choice" by Alan Hamilton, with a few added comments from his partner Pete Chvany. "People who think or feel, for whatever reason, that some or much of sexuality is, at least for them, the result of conscious or unconscious choice, also feel abandoned by a queer liberation movement that does not acknowledge their experience as queers as valid. . . . any of us, of all sexual orientations and preferences, are concerned that the case for queer civil rights is based on a politics of disempowerment ('we don't have any choice about our sexuality') rather than one of empowerment ('all people deserve the right to be themselves and to make their own choices.')"

"Is Homosexuality a Choice?" by Kimberly Hayes, from suite101.com, March 1, 2001. Look, an article inspired by QueerByChoice.com! "At first glance [at the QueerByChoice.com website], I thought, 'They're mocking homosexuality! What about people that have always been gay, who struggle with their same-sex attractions?' But this site [QueerByChoice.com] is all about throwing away the labels, acknowledging that sexuality is fluid and forever changing."

"My Queer Life Is Not a Birth Defect" by Joey Manley, posted to alt.politics.homosexuality by Joey Manley, July 8, 1996. Formerly available as a videotaped speech from Free Speech TV, with music by Frank Moore, but according to Joey Manley, the only existing copies of the video have now been lost.

"'Becca Cragin and Frank Aqueno on Choice"
An interview with Emory University grad student 'Becca Cragin and radical queer performance artist Frank Aqueno, conducted by queer writer Rob Nixon for his article "Queer by Choice," published in Etcetera Magazine in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, June 20, 1997.
Elizabeth's Gender-Free Universe by Elizabeth Pietrzak, a pre-op/non-op MTF transsexual. "In fact, gender is a conscious choice of belonging and identity. It is not something that can be determined by scientific data, by psychological treatment, or HRT and SRS, for that matter, but simply is because we say so. We choose who and what we associate with. We choose our sexual preference and we choose how we present ourselves. We do not need to resort to 'biologically determined' roles, because doing so puts the power of our selves, bodies, personas in the hands of others. . . . Sometimes I think that being a woman trapped inside the body of a man is like saying I am a blonde trapped inside the body of a brunette."

"The Sexual Blur" by Ted Gideonse, from The Advocate, June 24, 1997. "When Anne Heche sat down next to her girlfriend, Ellen DeGeneres, on The Oprah Winfrey Show and said, 'I was not gay before I met her,' Oprah Winfrey's audience—and Winfrey herself—were a bit bewildered. 'That confuses me,' Winfrey said."

"Choice in Sexual Orientation: The Sword That Cuts Both Ways" by Patricia Nell Warren (author of the novel The Front Runner, among others), from Whosoever: An Online Magazine for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Christians, Vol. 2, No. 2, September/October 1997. "[A] gay or lesbian or bisexual couple who decide to have a loving, monogamous relationship are not operating blindly off natural dynamics. They choose to live together that way. Straight and gay people have a right to make choices about their sexual orientation."

"Daring to be Deviant" by Robert Rose, from The Ninth Street Center Journal, Vol. 6, Autumn 1986. "The idea of choosing to be gay seems ludicrous to most people, even most gay people. Who would choose pain and confusion over pleasure and certainty? Those to whom truth and right are absolutely essential to their psychological well-being. Homosexuality is part of our capacity as human beings, and individuals with enough honesty and courage cannot deny it."

Windows Media PlayerQueer by Choice: Interview with Gayle Madwin by Dr. J. Hughes, from Changesurfer Radio, October 2001.

"Tale from the East" by Hong, from Oasis Magazine, March 2000. "And at that point of my life I was defiant toward all things, I literally changed overnight, became gay for one. I always tell people that I chose to be gay, not born gay. Is that so hard to believe? . . . Is the idea of me being gay [built] upon my defiance of the orthodox?"

"Being Gay Is A Choice: A Different Perspective On The Old Argument" by Dave Cornwell. "I choose to be gay! I make the choice full and free. I care not whether I was born this way or whether it is the cause of environment or poor parenting. The choice is mine and it is right. I am gay. I want to be gay. Pat Robertson, Pope Paul, or my bishop do not have the right to trifle with my choice. It is mine. Even if I were born with absolutely no pre-disposition to homosexuality, it is still my right to choose to be gay. Today I make that choice. I'm proud to make it."

"Kate Bornstein: A Transgender Transsexual Postmodern Tiresias." An interview with Kate Bornstein by Shannon Bell, in which the Kate proclaims, "I make it clear that I am a transsexual by choice and not by pathology. . . . Gender is a cult. Membership in gender is not based on informed consent. There is no way out without being ridiculed and harassed."

Daryl Vocat's Queer by Choice website. "I am told that in order for me to fight for queer rights that I should tell people that my sexuality is biologically determined, that I was 'born this way.' I can't. That is like saying that I was born with an unwanted affliction and assumes that it is necessary and even desirable to become heterosexual. Sexuality is not an innate orientation as most would believe, but rather a preference that in some way biology may play a role in defining."

RealPlayer"Choices" RealVideo from Dyke TV. Contains interviews with a variety of women who express all different views about whether or not they chose to be queer.

"Any Choice of Sexuality Remains Valid" by Kevyn Jacobs, from the Kansas State Collegian, Sept 24, 1995. This is an interesting one because Kevyn Jacobs had previously asserted in Oasis Magazine in 1994 that sexual orientations could not be chosen. By 1995, he'd changed his mind. "This may come as a shock to some card-carrying liberals, but I do know some self-identified lesbians on this campus who will tell you that they chose to be lesbian as a political act. And do you know what? I believe them."

"Tribe" by Dermod Moore, from his column "Bootboy: Journeys of a Man-Lovin' Man," Hot Press, Ireland, February 4, 1999. "Somewhere along the line, I think it's important to choose to be gay. I don't just mean acceptance of the fact, although God only knows how difficult, sometimes impossible, it is to accept that one is different. . . . I mean at some later stage, one chooses to join the tribe of those like you, and take on the privileges and support and responsibilities of being a life-long member as if it is the most precious thing in the world to you. For what draws you together is not that you share similar tastes in shopping and fucking, but the capacity to love."

"When I Decided to Live as a Lesbian" by Minami, translated from Japanese by Ayako Hattori

"Heterosexism and Women's Situations: What is Heterosexism for Women in Japan?" by Ayako Hattori. "Of course sexuality is constructed socially. So we can make and choose and change our sexuality in our lives."

"Choice & PFLAG" by Toni Pizanie, from the queer magazine Ambush, October 1999, about QueerByChoice member Frank Aqueno's ongoing battle with the New Orleans chapter of P-FLAG.

"Can Straight People Change?" by Jim D. Maynard, from NationalGayLobby.com, December 9, 1999. "As a sociologist, I am very leery of any theory of biological determinism to explain human behavior. The argument that human sexuality is biologically determined is contrary to social scientific research which suggests that sexuality is largely socially constructed."

"Even Educated Fleas Do It: Dave Hill on Animal Instincts" by Dave Hill, from The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia, September 9, 2000. The scoop on how David Bowie inspired Dave Hill to choose to be queer!

"Bisexuality's Appeal is Freedom of Choice" by Suzanne Curley, from Newsday, September 1995. "Nowadays people see that they have a choice, that there are options, and that feelings that they may have had (of attraction for people of both sexes) are real feelings."

"The Right to Be Queer" by Rose Shuman, from the Brown Daily Herald, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA, December 6, 1999. "There are a ton of biologically set cases, just as Diaz said. But I know for certain that there’s also a huge sector of folks who are queer partly by choice. Like me."

Heterosexism and Women's Situations: What is Heterosexism for Women in Japan?—a three-part essay by Ayako Hattori:
Part 1: "What Is Heterosexuality for Women in Japan? (Are You a Heterosexual Woman? Do You Choose Your Heterosexuality?)"
Part 2: "Why are Lesbians Discriminated Against?"
Part 3: "Choice of Sexual Orientation and Women's Economic Situations"

"Become a lesbian TODAY! It's FREE!" by Ben. "Impotence will never bother you. Contraception is unnecessary. You have a lower risk of catching STIs than heterosexuals or gay men. And you know all those annoying things men do? You need never live with this again!"

RealPlayer "A Queer by Choice" music video by Kevin Gibbs, 2002.

Lesbianism and Feminism by Tsuruga Minako, a three-part essay translated from Japanese by Ayako Hattori:
Part 1: "What is Lesbian?" and "The Politics of Coming Out"
Part 2: "Why Am I a Lesbian?"
Part 3: "Lesbianism and Feminism" and "Aiming at Freedom to Choose Our Sexuality"

"We Can Choose to Be Gay" by Tucker Lieberman, gay FTM transsexual. "I did not arbitrarily decide to be a gay transsexual. I never would have chosen this particular journey; it would have appeared, from the outside, all pain and no light. Only in the midst of my journey am I finally able to say that the view from here is great. Of course it's been rocky, but if I were to claim I have no choice to be here, that would only increase my feelings of victimization. To eliminate conscious decisions from one's sexuality is to shrink one's humanity."

"Sexuality in Chasing Amy" by Luke David. "The issue of choice that is raised in the film is interesting, as it suggests that for Alyssa, lesbianism was not a given, it was a social rather than biological/genetic construction."

Gary's Queer by Choice website. "Queer by Choice! believes that everyone has the right to choice in their personal relationships."

"Winning the Debate" by Talmadge of PFLAG Anchorage/Southcentral Alaska. "Is homosexuality a choice? In the past I have always made the case that homosexuality is not a choice. However, I have recently found reason to believe that homosexuality is a choice—for some people."

Book Review by Julia Jones discussing Vera Whisman's book Queer by Choice: Lesbians, Gay Men, and the Politics of Identity

queer by choice pinAt Kersplebedeb.com, you can buy these Queer by Choice buttons co-designed by Gayle Madwin of QueerByChoice.com and Kersplebedeb of Kersplebedeb.com. Last time I checked, they were $1 each (US$) plus shipping and handling, and they were located in the "New Stuff" button gallery. (And no, I'm not making any money off of this—I mention it solely from the genuine belief that queer by choice people may be interested.)

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