Queer I Stand
What Does Sexual Liberty Look Like?
Almost two months ago, I wrote in this column on the possibilities of seeing one's sexual behavior or sexual identity as a choice (which, no matter what its origin might be, is still the case, i.e. whether we're born this way or not, we still have the ability to choose how we act upon our desires). The argument was not particularly popular with several readers. I certainly understand why this might be the case, but I think in the scuffle, a more important point was lost.
I would hope that the eventual goal of queer activism is not that gay and straight people have equal rights to marriage benefits, employment, adoption and child custody, service in the armed forces, and freedom from discrimination. Certainly all of those goals are admirable and important; but, thinking in those terms just creates further categories of persons that can be potentially limiting. What about bisexuals? What about polyamorous people? What about gender-variant people? While some of these groups might get knock-on benefits from the other equality measures, there are bound to be oversights and misconstructions in doing so.
I actually hope that the eventual positive effect of queer activism is a change in society so that no one is ever bullied for their gender presentation, mannerisms, interests, or romantic attractions; that "gay" is no longer an insult and a synonym for "anything I don't like"; and, for example, that a male who has dated women for his entire life can one day seek out the romantic and sexual companionship of another male without stigma from any corner, nor pressure to identify as one thing or another, and that his doing so is simply yet another option available to a person, like getting one's hair cut or driving a motorcycle.
To put it in more specific terms: the issue isn't so much that sexual orientation is or is not a choice, nor that it is nor is not something inborn, but instead that its origins shouldn't matter because there is no sensible reason (by which I mean scientific reason—but I'd go as far as to say theological reason as well) that sexual orientation or gender identity should be a factor for scorn or discrimination amongst humans.
As polytheists, and as people who claim to be "earth-based" and "nature-based" in their spiritualities and theologies, there is absolutely no reason to view gender variance or diversity of sexual orientation—which exists in abundance in non-human animal natures—as anything to be upset over or worried about, so long as it is carried out in ways that are also appropriate to human nature and social conventions. Consent is important, and taking into account the feelings and concerns of everyone who is involved is essential; and, certainly, legal measures must be observed as well. I see such social conventions as being a part of human nature, rather than something that is artificial and imposed over our more animal natures, and I take issue with anyone who would argue otherwise. We are not apart from nature as humans, and yet to deny that social life and civil conventions are at this point necessities rather than options that can be freely discarded or ignored at will is the difference between a person with whom I'd like to interact on a regular basis and someone who is a sociopath.
P. Sufenas Virius Lupus is a metagender and a founding member of the Ekklesía Antínoou (a queer, Graeco-Roman-Egyptian syncretist reconstructionist polytheist religious group dedicated to Antinous, the deified lover of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and other related gods and divine figures). E is a contributing member of Neos Alexandria and a Celtic Reconstructionist pagan in the filidecht and gentlidecht traditions. Follow Lupus' work on the Aedicula Antinoi blog.