Heterosexuality seems to be a widespread human condition, and yet science hasn’t found its cause. Maybe that’s due to an absence of available funding for the research or just plain lack of interest.
Nevertheless, we’re still in the dark about why there are people who are attracted romantically and sexually to a different gender than the one with which they identify as if they have problems loving the very gender they themselves embody.
Probably this lack of scientific curiosity has to do with the fact that the majority of people – mostly heterosexuals, but not always – consider unadulterated heterosexuality to be the norm with anything else a deviation. And much medical and psychological science studies abnormalities rather than what’s just assumed.
So, we’ve been left to social scientific observation, psychological analysis, and anecdotal evidence represented in the inability to answer the question: “When did you decide to be heterosexual?”
What seems clear then, and therefore has been embraced for over half-a-century by the mainstream scientific community, is that heterosexuality is not a choice.
It’s apparently something that’s established very early in a human being’s lifecycle. It’s likely that it has to do with physical genetics, bodily chemistry, or prenatal factors.
They like to picture heterosexuality as not just the norm for all human experience, but as actually inherently healthier than any other orientations.
To do so, of course, they have to paint heterosexuality in rosier terms than, let’s say, bisexuality, homosexuality, asexuality, or even uncertain-sexuality.
And they do that by targeting whatever the orientation of the non-heterosexuals is for any psychological or social problems some individuals have.
If a man molests boys, it’s blamed on homosexuality, but if he molests girls it just can’t, can’t have anything at all to do with sexual orientation.
In the past some people have been won over to equality by the argument that LGBT people can’t help that they deviate from the norm. They’d be straight if they could be, poor things.
Moving beyond such argument to the point that it doesn’t matter whether sexual orientation is a choice or not, ends our own participation in the demeaning of LGBT people. It also questions the idea that being straight has any inherent health or value to it.
It allows lesbians and gay men the freedom to contemplate what is good about being gay. And it allows those who identify as bisexual the freedom to love whom they find companionable and attractive.
But moving beyond the debate over cause goes further. It questions whether people really would choose to be heterosexual if they actually had a free choice in the matter.
Since they don’t in most cultures, even those where being LGBT is legally accepted, we have no idea what the choice would be if it could be made without any stigma. And that idea in itself is sure to make many uncomfortable.
Heterosexuality is going to have to come out of its closet, then. Right now it’s hidden behind being straight-acting, straight-thinking, straight-feeling, and straight privilege.
But it can’t define itself by what it is not. Being heterosexual is one human option. But being a healthy heterosexual person means living comfortably affirming all human options.
Dr. Robert N. Minor