Today a few students, after reading the inner monologue of several sociopathic Edgar Allan Poe narrators, wanted to discuss the problem of evil. Although they didn’t call it that. They wanted to know why people do “f****d-up s***”.

“People are born good, right?” asked Backwards-Hat Nick. “So how can they turn out bad?”

I said people are like cars: Some are better-made than others. Some are lemons. If something goes wrong at the factory (genes) and the car is bought by someone who doesn’t take good care of it (environment) and drives on dangerous roads (culture) disaster is more likely to occur.

For some reason, they extrapolated sociopathy into homosexuality:

Backwards-Hat Nick: “I don’t believe people are born gay.”

Me: “Well, as someone who believes she was…” (meaningful eyebrow raise).

Him: “Well, you would think so.”

I let it go — he’s a kid, and he’s from a country that hates gays more than the U.S. does — but after class it started to gnaw at me. Yes, Backwards-Hat Nick — I would think so, because I’m the one living in my body, mind, and spirit. 

Straights love to tell us how we got this way. After all, they’re the ones who can see us objectively, right? How could we ourselves know the origin of our sexuality, laboring, as we do, under the illusion that we are who we’ve always been? Either we’re not facing up to our childhood trauma or we just haven’t met the right man or or or. Gay is caused by controllable factors, ones that can be explained if not remedied. Because if they aren’t controllable and explicable, gay could happen to anyone. And there’s nowhere to put the blame.

It’s more complex that this, anyway. Some women’s sexuality is more fluid than others; plus I’m starting to believe in political lesbianism more than I used to.  Nothing I could explain today, though,

9 thoughts on “factory-installed

  1. As an atheist who has often been told, by believers who presume to know me better than I know myself, “You’re not an atheist, deep down you really believe in god.” I feel your pain.

  2. I admire your attitude. Someday I hope that boy looks back on that interaction and thinks “wow, I was such a dumbass.”

  3. For some reason, they extrapolated sociopathy into homosexuality

    Oh, man. You must have a much thicker skin, and cooler head, than I do, because that whole discussion would seriously bother me.

    I like your car analogy, though. Simple, yet still allowing for a whole lot of different causes coming together.

    “Well, you would think so.”

    *snicker* I’d probably have asked him if he thought people were born straight, and, if so, why other people could not just as easily be born gay.

    It’s weird that the people most afraid of The Gay, especially of its possibly happening to them, would prefer to embrace an explanation of it that leaves open the possibility that they could become gay tomorrow. You’d think the “born this way” narrative would be more reassuring to them. But then I guess there wouldn’t be any way to think of gay and bi people’s sexuality as an act of willful defiance, though — like Honjii’s example above of the people thinking there are no atheists, only people angry at God, maybe some people also think there are no gays, no lesbians, just people rebelling against their God-given duty to marry and procreate. *barf*

  4. It’s very hard for a majority to believe that a minority actually knows itself. Thus, it is the oppressor’s role to “define” those outside the ring.

    Love the analogy to cars… just a very clear explanation as to why evil exists, how people are dealt different hands in life, and what happens as a result of this.

    Still loving these very thoughtful well written posts!!!

  5. It’s weird that the people most afraid of The Gay, especially of its possibly happening to them, would prefer to embrace an explanation of it that leaves open the possibility that they could become gay tomorrow. You’d think the “born this way” narrative would be more reassuring to them.

    You’d think, wouldn’t you? But that is applying reason where there is none. Too many people (without the ability to question or possess no cognitive reasoning skills) have had it drummed into them that homosexuality is anti-god so god would not make gay people, therefore being gay must be a choice.

  6. Hi, Honji…I worry a lot about the absence of cognitive reasoning skills, which, I think, is a direct result of the virulent anti-intellectualism infecting America. People are thinking less and less; “feeling” more and more.

  7. Hi, Lindsay…would have loved to ask the kid is he was born straight, but that would’ve been veering into dangerous territory viz a viz teacher behavior.

    If I had asked, I bet he’d have agreed vociferously — “Yes, that’s the way God made me!” Heterosexuality is the healthy, factory-installed norm; homosexuality is the deviation. AS Honji said — homosexuality is anti-God, therefore God would not make gay people, therefore gay must be a choice. Never mind what gay people have been feeling since preschool.

  8. I think the focus on trying to locate the Origin of Homosexuality is rather ridiculous. Playing devil’s advocate, even if being gay were something that was picked up in the environment that wouldn’t change the plentiful evidence that exists of the persistence of homosexual thoughts and feelings in certain individuals.

    If it were caused by some repressed trauma, how would that lead to a solution? Hypnotizing them into finding out what it was and when, putting them in the way-back machine, correcting the gay-ifying event and resetting the space-time continuum? If it were a choice, then what would the solution be? Making them choose something else? Both legal and social sanctions have proved ineffective in making people “choose” to not live gay. So what would the next guess be? Psychotropic drugs? Lol. Even if it were possible to find a heterosexualizing pill, because of the relatively small percentage of gay/lesbian individuals, much less ones so displeased with their orientation that they’d be interested in conversion, that Big Pharma won’t be interested in looking for it. No profit, no cure.

    And if they come up with a pill, who the hell would take it? I’ve yet to meet a lesbian that just really, really wishes she was plagued with a desire to have sex with men, not one that had grown out of her teen years at least. Of the lesbians I’ve encountered, they don’t see what straight women see in men and are glad they don’t because they’re not the least bit interested in doing more dealing with them than they have to for work/school.

    I have never been able to make heads or tails out of why there is such heated debate about the “source” of homosexuality, as if practically speaking it matters at all.

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