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Discussion 3 to Reflections on Ethics 51
On choice.

by Kurt Krebiehl

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I don’t believe that it is possible to “choose” to be homosexual. The factors involved in determining a person’s sexual orientation are still unknown, but regardless of the details, it seems that no room is possible for homosexuality to be a choice of any kind. Genetic predisposition is certainly beyond the control of the individual involved, but I would argue that upbringing is also almost entirely out of the person’s control, at least up to the age of 15 or 16. So, since a person has choice in neither genetics nor upbringing, I cannot see how homosexuality can be a choice for someone if either of these factors is the “cause” of homosexuality. Both nature and nurture are largely, if not totally, out of a person’s control.

Perhaps a more illuminating way of looking at it is to ask if anyone can choose his or her sexual orientation. In my case, I find the thought of personally engaging in homosexual relations rather repulsive. I find women sexually attractive, and I do not find men sexually attractive. I cannot articulate the reasons why I feel this way, but I certainly never made any kind of conscious choice to be heterosexual. And even if I had compelling logical reasons to do so, I could not choose to be homosexual. The practice is alien to me.

This, I believe, is where the problems develop. Many people cannot conceive of how or why anyone would engage in homosexuality. The practice is alien to most (perhaps, by definition, all) heterosexuals. Being unable to understand homosexuality, many people are unable to see beyond the homosexuality of a person or feel any empathy for a homosexual individual. They therefore don’t know how to deal with homosexuals other than to demonize them, in the same way that they would demonize a murderer or rapist. The reason, in my opinion, that homosexuals are so frightening to some is not so much because of their sexual practices as such, but because homosexuality is incomprehensible to many people.

I believe that calling homosexuality a choice seems to disregard human nature. Perhaps those who call it a choice should ask themselves “Could I choose to be homosexual?” If the answer is no, then how could a homosexual ever choose to be heterosexual?