What is Choice?

Part 3 of my series on gender role conformity.

I posted the picture to the right of this text on my Facebook wall last week. I did so because I believe it presents important information that is not often considered in public discourse. So very often in discussions and debates around the issues gender role conformity, human sexuality, and sexual orientation, we seem to reduce the discussion to what happens in the bedroom. This happens despite the fact that the majority of a person’s day, no matter how sexually driven they might be, is not spent in search of, in preparation for, or actually having sex – unless one has a so-called sex addiction. Most of us spend much more time earning a living over the course of our lives than we ever will making love, for example.

I didn’t really care if the picture drew the ire of anyone, my hope was to increase awareness and perhaps open the door to discussion. Most of the comments were interesting and supportive, but one individual who has since withdrawn his comment posted something to the effect that transgender people are rejecting God’s will or design for them, and continued to say that he was “un-friending” me (the Facebook equivalent of taking your ball and bat and going home) because I didn’t see this issue the way he does. This led to several exchanges between us through the Facebook messenger service and him finally withdrawing his comment. He felt that my challenging some of the things he claimed he enjoyed on his Facebook bio, such as astrology (prohibited in the Hebrew Scriptures), on the basis that he was picking and choosing his scriptures to serve his best interest constituted slander, while his declaration that an entire segment of the human race had voluntarily rejected “God’s plan” (whatever that is) did not. In other words, my pointing out that his hobbies were inconsistent with the scriptures constituted a false personal attack while his declaring that the very identity and being of an entire population was broken and evil (for what else could rejecting God possibly be?) was just a matter of indisputable fact. He subsequently claimed that the word “astrology” was a typographical error and should have read “astronomy.” How nice it must be to simply claim – no matter how transparently – that the aspect of one’s behavior that is questioned was simply a typographical error. It’s the equivalent of claiming that when you called someone a “motherfucker” what you really meant was “a really nice guy I would like to get to know better and go golfing with” – anyone can see how there could be confusion.

The problem is that a person’s identity as transgender isn’t a hobby or a choice, it is a fact of birth – and often subsequent bad judgement on the part of physicians who were less than enlightened. You can no more put on and take off being transgender by claiming a typographical error than I can change the fact that I am an average height, fat, middle-aged white guy. Claiming that identity is a typo and that I really am Brad Pitt isn’t going to change reality one iota, dammit. Call me, Angelina!

My point is that only a deluded person argues against reality. It’s completely valid to argue that we should or shouldn’t breastfeed our children until their retirement party (but a little sick, if you ask me); whether we should all follow a certain diet; whether or not Paul Ryan is the illegitimate child of Eddie Munster; or whether or not alternative energy sources are important – but attempting to debate gender identity; sexual orientation; height; the color of one’s hair, eyes, or skin; the number of fingers and toes a person has; whether they are left or right-handed; and a host of other topics is foolish because these things are innate, not chosen. That would seem to be a distinction that is lost on quite a few people, and so it’s one we need to educate around.

You know, so many times a young person will come up to me and say, “Craig, I want to be outstandingly attractive, just like you are.” Often I am saddened, and a tear comes to my eye as I have to tell the person there is only so much they can do because the rest comes from God.



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