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Before Herman Cain’s “Pizza Express” to the presidency got derailed by (re-)emergent charges of sexual misconduct and infidelity, he was the frontrunner in the GOP Field of Crazy — one reason, I think, for his preliminary success was due to his unapologetic, unwavering opinions, including his opinion that homosexuality is a choice. In an interview with Piers Morgan, he plainly stated:
Implicit in this statement, although I’m sure he wouldn’t comprehend the logic (poor thing seems a bit slow), is the idea that all sexuality is a choice.
Of course, his opinion drew derision and critique, most notably from the LGBT political arm, the HRC. “It Gets Better” creator (and advocate of the poly-monogamous marriage) Dan Savage even proposed to Herman Cain that he “suck his d–k” to prove that sexuality is a choice.
What Savage does not acknowledge is that, by giving Cain the choice (to suck his d–k), the argument is moot: Cain has chosen “no.” And “no” is still a decision based on a choice. As I firmly believe, an individual’s actions — sexual or otherwise — is her prerogative, her power (unless she is being forced against her will in an assault/rape situation). Also implicit in Savage’s curt letter to Cain is the equation of act to identity, an equation that I agree with (we are how we act / we are what we do), as opposed to the counter-argument of an identity somehow being innate to an individual’s ontological being.
Shortly after Savage’s open letter appeared in the media, Darnell L. Moore wrote a compelling piece in the gay section of The Huffington Post that ponders the idea of selecting one’s sexuality. Moore’s piece is a step in the right direction — in a direction of (self-)affirmation, of ethics not based on prescribed morality, of equality based on the constitutional recognition of each and every human being regardless of their personal, non-violent decisions.
Moore’s point is simultaneously ethical and legal: my choice to hold another woman’s hand or to get makey-outey with her or to decide, with her, the “status” of our relationship not only is a part of my right (“to the pursuit of happiness”… within the fraught, oftentimes headache-inducing domain of dyke relations) but it also brings no harm to any body or bodies existing outside that relationship.
A commenter of one of my earlier posts asserted that we had no grounds for legal equality if we contend that our sexuality is a choice — well, it’s actually the opposite, as Moore observes. I find that the claim to legal rights based on genetic “difference” or (gasp!) “abnormality” opens up a very slippery slope to something akin to eugenics. Considering The Crazy existing throughout the States today, I wouldn’t put it past someone to demand that a minority population be “fixed” before receiving full legal rights. (Didn’t the events of the last GOP debate hint at something like this regarding immigrants? When the field of candidates was on the verge of suggesting that only immigrants with “graduate educations” could be eligible for U.S. citizenship?)
Just think about this — think about responding to some bigoted comment with the line, “You’re right. I wasn’t born this way. I decide who I f–k, when I f–k, and where I f–k…. But, I can tell by your fugly fetus-face (thanks Santana!) that you don’t have that luxury. Sucka!”
OK, so, maybe you don’t have to respond that way specifically.
This post about the legal (and, more subtly ethical) implications of being “pro-choice” clearly resonates with my first column about the agency we have over our actions, in particular, how we stylize or “perform” our gender(s) based within our own material (including bodily) means. In my next column, I’ll think more about the philosophy behind this idea of choice when it comes to sexual actions (and thus sexuality).
Dr. Marcie Bianco is gloriously unemployed and homeless — as only one