A well-known argument from homophobes is that homosexuality is a ‘choice’. Over the weekend, one tweet — and its hundreds of responses — perfectly eviscerated that argument.
On Friday (22 March), Simon H posed a simple question to Twitter: ‘So. Gays. When Y’all choose to be gay?’
He then revealed the day he made the ‘decision’.
‘For me it was a beautiful spring day and I just thought, “You know what, I really want to disappoint my parents, offend my church, limit my options, lose my rights, live in fear of homophobic abuse, be afraid to hold my partner’s hand,”‘ he wrote.
So. Gays. When Y'all choose to be gay?
For me it was a beautiful spring day and I just thought, "You know what, I really want to disappoint my parents, offend my church, limit my options, lose my rights, live in fear of homophobic abuse, be afraid to hold my partner's hand…
— Simon H (@FreelanceCynic) March 22, 2019
Based on the over 14,000 retweets, 4,700 likes, and 300 responses, it’s clear the tweet resonated with people.
So why did people ‘choose’ this identity?
Most people followed Simon’s cue and wrote about the abuse, bullying, and harassment they face being part of the LGBTI community.
As a marginalized group, LGBTI people face higher rates of these negative experiences in their every day life.
I just felt like the constant fear that me and my gf will be sexually or physically harassed/assaulted by straight men was something that was missing for my life. None of my relationships being taken seriously and my family ostracizing me was an added bonus! Overall I recommend
— Kathryn (@KathrynNicassio) March 23, 2019
At the time people were yelling ‘poof’ at me and throwing rocks at me as I walked home from school, I was like – wow – I love being at risk. I should do this more.
— Bill Roberts (@Bilboroberts) March 23, 2019
One person referenced the way people are treated when they don’t fit into the gender binary.
I saw other “girly, weird boys” getting endlessly tormented and threatened at school, and thought to myself “man that looks great, sign me up!”
— Painfully Thick™ (@zeilreigan) March 23, 2019
Yet another brought up the HIV and AIDS crisis and how they wanted ‘some of that’.
It was during the 80s at the height of AIDS panic and stigma. I thought, y’know, I’ll have some of that…
— Alan Palmer 🏳️🌈 (@PalmerAlan) March 23, 2019
Others pointed out how the ‘choice’ doesn’t only affect just yourself.
When I thought I really want to hurt this woman I’ve married, probably alienate my friends and upset my family, but hey sex with men feels just so damn right and completes me.
— Andy’s addiction (@AndrewSylvesr) March 23, 2019
Others still discussed their various intersecting identities.
When being black in America didn’t seem like a great enough challenge. I thought to myself, how can I make this worse?
— J.L. (@PocPsa) March 24, 2019
Some went for slightly more humorous takes.
Someone told me I could be gay temporarily, you know just to try it for a year. After my 365 day trial ended I just went month to month. Now I can’t find the support number or email address to cancel so I just stay gay.
— TotchosInaBox (@TotchosB) March 22, 2019
It was a Tuesday. I was bored. And I couldn’t spell straight.
— Mike Wilkinson 🇪🇺🏳️🌈 (@Mike___MK) March 22, 2019
I was going to be straight but then I realised I don’t look good in a fleece.
— Phil Mews (@PhilMews) March 23, 2019
In a single Twitter thread, people decimated the idea that being gay, or any part of the LGBTI community, is at all a choice.
There is pride in the community, but there is also an acute awareness of the reality for many people in the community.