Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin
queerbychoice

"Praying to Be Straight" (Originally Posted to the Queerchoice Mailing List on This Date)

Actually, this whole issue of whether people can turn straight by choice is not something I know much about . . . I've never tried it! I guess basically I'm open to believing that it could be possible to turn het, yet at the same time I don't think the fact of people being able to choose to turn queer automatically means people can choose to be het. I mean, you can choose to get rid of your virginity but it's sort of hard to choose to get it back again (no matter what Quentin Crisp thinks). Sometimes I think heterosexuality is a kind of virginity: it's another state of not having done something--the state of not having
discovered one's potential (which I think all humans possess) to be attracted to members of our own sex. Whether we stumble across this wondrous ability by accident or dig for it on purpose, it's a pretty major discovery and one can't necessarily just decide to forget it ever happened.

However, I'm not totally unwilling to believe that one could learn not to feel attracted to one's own sex anymore. I just don't think that you can very well learn to forget that you once felt it—and in a world where everyone's so convinced that sexual orientation is inborn, admitting you used to feel same-sex attraction is going to bring you nothing but a constant barrage of people telling you to hurry up and accept the fact that you're really a queer in denial. You'd have to have a very thick skin indeed to go on feeling sure of your heterosexuality when nobody in the world will believe you. In that sense, turning hetero is much harder than turning queer—because if you've called yourself hetero at some times in your life
and queer at other times, then the people who insist you can only really be one orientation your whole life long tend to insist that your real orientation is queer—because people tend to assume that only a queer would ever go into denial about their sexual orientation. So if you're an ex-hetero turning queer, the people around you may tell you you didn't have any choice, but the majority of them are still likely to accept that you're queer. Whereas if you're an ex-gay turning het, you're going to have a very hard time getting anyone to believe you're het at all, much less that you had a choice about it.

And to put it simply, if a person has not come to terms with their previous queer identity 100%, they're not going to be strong enough to deal with having everyone in the world tell them they can't become straight. In fact, even if everyone in the world *did* believe you, I don't think you're really in a position to believe yourself if you never came to terms with the possibility of being queer. When you're that afraid of something, you can't just run away from your fears—they will follow you and haunt you forever until you fully face every last one of them.

When I chose to become queer, I wasn't trying to run away from my past and deny that I'd ever been hetero. Heterosexuality was not some big scary terrifying thing that I thought was a disease or a sin that I would rather die than face. It was just an ordinary dull boring thing, and I thought queerness sounded like a nobler, more creative way to live—a place where people invented new social rules and fought to change the world instead of just blindly following the rules their parents set for them. It's not that I didn't care whether I was het or queer: I wanted very much to be queer. But I wasn't running away from heterosexuality in the kind of sheer blind terror that the ex-gay people seem to feel when they try to run away from
queerness.
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