The Issue of “Lifestyle”

Lifestyle is a curious word in our culture, largely because its meaning has experienced a kind of decay to where it now refers only to sexual orientation, which is not a lifestyle at all but rather something we are born with. If you don’t believe that and you are heterosexual, please tell me what I might give you to have you “choose” to be gay for six months. Also, please include in your comment the exact day you “chose” to be heterosexual, prior to which you were bisexual.

This point was brought home for me yesterday when I read a review of the audio book version of Truman Capote’s In Cold BloodThe reviewer mentioned that she had long been a fan of Mr. Capote’s “writing, if not his lifestyle.” It doesn’t take much time to realize she wasn’t referring his lifestyle at all, but rather his sexuality. this led me yet again to reflect on the huge double standard that exists in our culture between heterosexual sexual practices and homosexual orientation.

You see, a significant segment of our culture believes that if you happen to be homosexual (or, for that matter, transgender or bisexual) you have automatically not only consented to but in fact asked for every random person’s input on and approval of your sexual orientation. It doesn’t matter how much you love your partner, contribute to your community, help your neighbors, work productively, or contribute to your community, your entire “lifestyle” seems to be something the population at large feels free to pass judgment on.

On the other hand, if you are heterosexual, you get a pass. You could be a bank robber, a rapist, an abusive husband, engage in all kind of pathological sexual practices, spend your free time looking through other people’s bedroom windows, not pay your child support or taxes, spend most of your time drunk or high, be not at all interested in legitimate employment because it’s so much easier to sling drugs on the street corner – and your “lifestyle,” which in your case really is a “lifestyle,” gets a pass from the narrow-minded bigots who are self-appointed monitors of the culture.

Makes perfect sense to me.

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