Little Monsters, let me preface this by saying this is not an attack on Lady Gaga or her ridiculously catchy song. While I do understand the intent behind “Born This Way,” I still don’t think it has the best impact. Here are 5 reasons we should stop using the “born this way” defense when we’re fighting for our rights:
1) We don’t have to justify our sexual orientation or gender identity.
Many of us (myself included) have used the “we were born this way,” defense whenever we hear someone attacking LGBT rights. But if someone is attacking LGBT rights, or trying to say LGBT people are unnatural in some way, that defense isn’t going to change their mind. We’re here. We exist. We’re people who deserve basic human rights and respect. Whether our sexual orientation and gender identities are products of genetics, environments, or choices, we still deserve basic human rights and respect.
2) Sexuality and gender identity can be fluid.
Some of us know exactly who we’re attracted to and what gender we are by the time we’re 10 years old, and that never changes. Some of us take a little longer to figure it out. Some LGBT people are only attracted to one gender until they meet someone of a different gender who they are inexplicably drawn to. Gender nonconforming people have a fluid gender, and even cis people can feel more masculine some days and more feminine other days. It’s possible to be born one way and not be exactly the same way at 20 years old or at 70 years old.
3) We didn’t all figure things out at the age of five.
Sometimes the “born this way” argument is turned against LGBT people. “If you were always gay, why didn’t you know?" "If you were always trans, why didn’t you say something?”
Because we live in a society that’s pushes heterosexual and cisgender people as “natural” and “normal,” and because many of us never know about or meet other queer people until we are adults, we often don’t have the resources to name our own gender or sexual orientation until later in life.
4) Sexual orientation and gender identity are really complicated.
The idea that scientists will find a “gay gene” is really unlikely. Sexual orientation and gender identity aren’t black-and-white, and they are, to a large extent, socially constructed depending on the society that we live in.
5) It opens up a whole scary, eugenic can of worms.
If LGBT people are born this way, and the wrong people find out how to identify whether or not someone is going to be LGBT before or shortly after birth, there’s still the possibility it could be used against us. That might sound a little paranoid, but there are still a good handful of countries in the world, including Sudan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, where homosexuality is punishable by death.
Rather than arguing that we’re born this way, (which won’t make a difference to those who wish we hadn’t been born at all), we should fight for everyone to be treated like a person, regardless of how they were born or the choices they make.