Choosing Identity?

I've never considered myself anything but straight.
That said, I have never been in the position to be inside the head of someone who understands themselves as homosexual, transgender, bisexual, or anything along those lines. I am simply not in a position to declare that such a claim is a choice. Meanwhile, I am in the position to say I do not wake up each morning facing a decision of whether or not I will be cis-gender, transgender, heterosexual, bisexual, or homosexual today.
Perhaps your experience of your own gender and sexual identity is different than mine. As far as I am aware, however, mine is the more normative experience. We simply do not look upon our own sexual and gender identities as mattersof choice. It is not like deciding whether to wear jeans or dress slacks today.
What I do find is that the determinations made by so many who consider themselves something other than binary, straight individuals lead them to take their own lives at much higher than normal rates. They struggle with depression. They struggle with discrimination. They struggle with acceptance. They struggle with not finding a place within the expectations our society places upon them.
Still, we want to say that people choose to become LGBTQ. People don't become suicidal over something they perceive to be a choice. The LGBT community faces discrimination in housing, employment, religious practice, medical care, education, and services we generally take for granted. They face bullying in all its forms. Why do we keep considering it a choice? Is it just to distance ourselves from walking alongside and learning to better understand what makes us uncomfortable?
I have no basis for declaring that being LGBTQ+ is a choice. It has never come up in my life as a choice. Who am I to determine that for those who so identify it is a choice?
©Copyright 2018, Christopher B. Harbin 


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