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maya_slash wrote in metaquotes
Something that I just found on silverkiiri's lj. She quoted a letter from a mother of a gay son.

If you want to tout your own morality, you'd best come up with something more substantive than your heterosexuality. You did nothing to earn it; it was given to you. If you disagree, I would be interested in hearing your story, because my own heterosexuality was a blessing I received with no effort whatsoever on my part. It is so woven into the very soul of me that nothing could ever change it. For those of you who reduce sexual orientation to a simple choice, a character issue, a bad habit or something that can be changed by a 10-step program, I'm puzzled. Are you saying that your own sexual orientation is nothing more than something you have chosen, that you could change it at will? If that's not the case, then why would you suggest that someone else can?

The entire post is here

I wish I could shake this woman's hand. If there were more people like her on this planet, it'd be a better place.

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that was well written and perfect.

It's weird. First, the body was the most important thing - your body dictated your gender. You are female, therefore you are a woman, therefore you are attracted to men. Gender was the social construct that sprung up around you: the dresses and shoes and the cover-your-ankles and the don't-sit'-with-legs-apart and the long hair and the pale skin to indicate money and leisure.

Now, it's the opposite. We privilege the social construct over everything else. We acknowledge that no little girl is born with the desire for a Barbie doll or dresses or whatever (many little girls never play with them, and never will), and yet we use *that* to determine what the biological sex will be. You use a social construct to determine a social construct. And in the meantime, sexual orientation is tacked on at the end, as if it's something that's decided last. You are female therefore if you sleep with women you are homosexual. You have a sex change operation to become male therefore you are legally male and yet are not allowed to marry a woman in many countries. (But they wouldn't be too happy if you turned around and tried to marry a man after a female-to-male change, either.)

I studied this for years, and still have no idea what I think about it. It's incredibly culturally specific. Where does the Indian third sex fit into this male/female hetersexual/homosexual split? For that matter, where does bisexuality fit in?

I salute this mother for her bold statement. I'm not sure I agree with it, but, then, all I've managed to discover about myself and about gender and sexuality and biological sex is that I know nothing about it.

Hmm. I've been studying this as a side issue for years, and I hadn't noticed that one. Next time I talk to a trans friend of mine, I must ask her.

I've noticed that queer theory is trying to stop the idea of sexual identity/orientation in favour of a more fluid language of desire. And yet the woman who taught us this identifies as bisexual (though I'm not 100% sure of her policy on how she labels herself), as do I. Until society stops using those constructs, we're stuck with them, or at least with reacting to them. Being bisexual breaks the identity idea in a way, because it makes the gender of object-choice irrelevant. Though I still note and respond to gendered behaviour...ach, no idea where this is going, it's one in the morning and I have (non-girly) embroidery to do!

I couldn't agree more.

I don't think it's as simple as "you choose to be gay," but I also don't think it's as simple as "you're born gay." Both views are kind of naive, as I see it, as you can only know what's going on in your head, and you don't know if it's different for someone else. I mean, I wouldn't be surprised if there was a genetic/hormonal proclivity towards homosexuality, but I don't think it would account for every homosexual, bisexual, or queer person out there. I mean, people like our friends at QueerByChoice kinda show that there are people out there who felt they ACTIVELY chose their sexuality.

I remember once I got flamed on ikissgirls for stating my opinion on this, as apparently I "play into the hands of Pat Robertson" by doing so. Which makes me sad - queer people feel like their sexuality is a burden they carry, not a part of who they are that they can be proud of.

I agree whole heartedly with this woman. My own mother has said this for many years, trying to reason with my grandparents that their son (her younger brother) did not choose to "embarrass and insult" them...
Thank you for posting this

so true-thanks for posting this, might make some of the people with a less open mind think twice! ♥

Yes, I've run across this letter before, but it seems to be cycling through LJ.

More people reading it? Definitely not a bad thing.

I thought so too. I'm glad it ended up here, where even more people could see it.

Yeah, this is quite an old letter (I'd say pre-2000, IIRC) but it remains one of the most ringing statements I've ever read on the subject.

FWIW, I read somewhere that the boy is fine and is now in college.

The problem with stuff like this circulating around the internet without a direct reference to the original source, is that its status becomes to be an "urban legend". Here is the original source material link:

It is from Sunday, April 30, 2000

I wish that any who would circulate this would include the original link so that this will have more validity. Just my two -cents as a researcher and antiquarian bookseller who really, really likes reading original source material.

That whole letter just made me cry.

Hope that the rumor that the boy is fine and in college is true.

Wonderful mother and grandfather he has. Absolutely wonderful.

It made me sad, and it made me feel empowered. A woman was speaking back -- speaking Truth to Power, and she was given space in which to do so by a newspaper. That made it a victory.

A very dear friend of mine tried to kill himself when he was a teenager, because he was gay. I am sympathetic to the issue.

That is why I am fixated on having original source material; documents like this are important to properly archive.

I agree with your commentary.

There are times I truly love and adore the internet. This is one of them. Without the web, that woman's letter wouldn't have gotten this kind of exposure--the kind of exposure it deserves.

Mmm, very good. I love things like this, no matter how old or circulated they become.
I do feel that sexuality is more fluid than fixed, but that's neither here nor there. >>

I followed the link to the entire article and all I can say is...


I never have thought that sexual orientation had any bearing on anything except one's sex life, and I totally do not understand why two people who love each other and wish to make a lifetime commitment to one another can't do it if they both have the same type of genitalia.

I also completely agree with the OP that if more people thought like this, the world would be a better place.

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