The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not represent the opinions or editorial position of I-Witness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to news.iwitness@gmail.com.

Our society has a major problem with homosexuality. Why is this? We’ll it’s largely cultural, historical and religious.

Our Prime Minister has been quoted as saying he wants to stay clear of the topic of homosexuality and gay marriage.

I know that I will be called all sorts of insulting terms by the end of this show. But I think we should look at the issue of homosexuality and resist condemning people because of their sexual orientation.

We all see television and know about the dramatic changes in attitudes toward homosexuals in Europe and in North America. Just 20 years ago, attitudes toward homosexuals were dramatically different. The concept of gay marriage was not considered. Now it’s becoming normalized in many parts of the world.

I want us to look at the issue of homosexuality from a logical and not an emotional viewpoint. I will stay away from the religious arguments since we can find almost anything we want to in the Bible to support our various positions on almost any issue.

We as a society are quick to condemn gay people and especially gay men in particular. We ostracize gay people. We treat gay people as though they consciously choose to be homosexuals.

What causes people to be gay? What causes people to be attracted to members of the same sex? If we can look at this then maybe we can be more sensible in our attitudes toward gay people. Psychologists and scientists have and continue to look for the reasons that cause homosexuality. The American Psychological Society (APS) has looked at this issue and their website has some great reading on the current findings. There is no definitive answer at this time on what causes people to be gay. I certainly don’t have enough time on this programme to go into any details about the various findings of the scientific community thus far.

People who are homosexual don’t choose to be homosexual. The vast majority can’t help that they are attracted to people of the same sex. The scientific literature says that between 3 and 7 per cent of people are gay. In St Vincent, if these statistics are correct, that would mean roughly three to seven thousand gay people. That’s a substantial number.

Who in their right mind would choose to be gay in a society such as ours? Knowing that they will be abused? Knowing that they will be prejudiced against? Who would really choose that lifestyle? The vast majority of gay people don’t choose to be gay. They are gay. This is just a fact! Many of my religious fanatic friends will refuse to see this reality.

I believe that most of us watching this show know someone who is gay. And I believe that if you honestly look at these people, you know this is not a conscious choice. They are what they are. We can look at some children and see their sexual tendencies. Do you think they are choosing this? I certainly don’t.

I am not here to condone homosexuality. I am here to ask you not to condemn those among us who are gay. I am also not asking you to condone homosexual behaviour. I am asking you to be a decent human being and respect those who are gay. I am asking you to treat gay people as people first. To refrain from calling them stupid names and from being prejudiced against them.

I will like to relate a short story about one of my experiences. There is one of our Vincentian popular entertainers who would go on stage before thousands of people and encourage violence against gay people. About a year ago, I spoke to this person and asked if he was really conscious of what he was doing? The impact he was having? The fact that he knew good and decent people who happened to be gay? I pointed out that he was a leader in our society and he therefore had a duty to refrain from such behaviour. He was very upset at what I said to him and the way that I said it. In fact, I don’t think he spoke to me for at least six months after that incident. However, I noticed that in his stage performances this carnival season, he didn’t make the stupid offensive comments (at least not in the shows that I saw).

I relate this story only to say that the leaders in our society, the political, social, religious and other leaders need to lead!!! Don’t run away from the hard unpopular issues. History will judge you. I note that the new Pope has taken a much different position than his predecessors and I am extremely happy about this. The reality is that our knowledge changes and improves over the years. And our positions on issues should also evolve as we learn more.

We are discussing calls to legalize marijuana. I want us to revoke the laws criminalizing homosexual activity. Why is it any bodies business what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own homes?

Imagine if your children grew up to be homosexuals. Would you love them any less? I certainly would not!!!

Stephen Joachim
(@stephenj5 stephen.joachim@gmail.com)

(Editors note: This opinion was first broadcast on IKTV and is published with permission)

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to news.iwitness@gmail.com.

25 replies on “Being gay is not a choice”

  1. Vasilca Charles- Frederick says:

    Stephen,

    Your position on homosexuality in SVG is well presented. However, I am a bit confused about your statement – “People who are homosexual, don’t choose to be homosexual.” Are you saying that homosexual, bi-sexual and heterosexual people are born that way? If I am to logically continue your argument, then ,I can also say that a person who is a racist didn’t choose to be a racist. In my opinion, no one is born heterosexual, homosexual, bi-sexual. Some people are born asexual because they may lack functional sex organs.

    On another note, I don’t think that SVG Prime minister or government should jump on the homosexual bandwagon. Laws are created when there is a need for such laws. How many homosexuals, in SVG, want to get married?

    1. Attraction has a chemical and “pheromonic” as well a socio psychological dynamic. To that extent, one can logically postulate that it is an organic process albeit one that is subjugated to and influences by social variables (Caribbean men are attracted to big bottoms because we have been socialized in this way).

      Racism and the like to my knowledge lack chemical and biological elements such as pheromones, testosterone and estrogen balance etc. In brief, the analogy is not analogous.

      It is not always a choice for some although I strongly believe that some simple choose it (for money, a rush, love). Moreover, principles of liberty and equal protections are in application. As the author stated, “Why is it any bodies business what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own homes?”

      1. Vasilca Charles-Frederick says:

        You are correct, “what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own home” is their business. Therefore, there is no need to drag the government and the rest of society into the “privacy of their own home.” On another note, If racism is a learned behavior, since no one is born racist, similarly, so is homosexuality.

      2. Vasilca, racism is a learned behaviour because people are not born with inherent hate towards persons of a different race. This hatred is developed through stereotypes and conditioning. Sexuality on the other hand is more innate save perhaps cases where, due to some level of abuse, a certain sexuality is conditioned.

  2. Personally, I could not easily equate being gay to being racist. I wouldn’t know where to begin. Being racist is an acquired attitude. It may be acquired so early in life that its origins are untraceable. But I don’t think you could successfully co-opt someone into being gay, or ‘turn” them gay or any such thing. It is as it is: innate, built-in and very much part of us.

    Stephen, I hold with you on this one.

    1. What about the little boy who went to the church on the river for communion and looked up to the priest as a holy man and that priest told him that it was ok for him to bend over and take it. In fact God will bless him if he does. That boy was not born that way and more than likely will turn out others to be just like him and the unholy priest. That’s how a lot of the homo-sexual behaviors developed. Be careful where you send your children especially the basement of the dungeon by the river.

  3. Interesting article. I’m not too sure that your assertion that those who are homosexual didn’t choose to be so has been scientifically or even socially established. This implies that ALL don’t. It’s my understanding that some may fall in that category, others no.
    I do however support the general sentiments of your argument. I think we need to look at the issue more as a rights issue…homosexual are humans. However we cannot ignore historical moral and religious positions on the issue. It’s one of the issues I know that present a serious political dilemma especially in an environment where partisan politics looks for every opportunity to score points…thus any side that take a position on this issue risk being opposed just for politics and not because of merits or demerits of the argument.
    It’s an issue I think more people end to start talking about …so congrats. Let the debate or discussion go on.

  4. Watching Hard says:

    Vasilca, your “logic” doesn’t follow. You should, perhaps, re-examine it. As for your last paragraph, I would assume that it’s based on the hard empirical evidence you possess that hardly any homosexuals in SVG want to get married. I suppose you may also reconsider your stance if it turns out that many homosexuals in SVG want to get married…

  5. Well said.  The homophobia that is present in West Indian society is saddening.  Really, who would willingly decide to be ostracized by their friends, family & society?  Who would chose to be called so many awful names, be subject to emotional, mental & physical abuse?  People whose sexuality is gay are born that way.  This point has always made sense in my mind and I don’t understand why some find it so hard to consider let alone accept.  I don’t recall a point in my life when I woke up and made a conscious decision to be hetrosexual, it just was!  In the same way, I don’t think a gay person wakes up one morning and goes “Hmm, I think I’m going to be gay.” No, that doesn’t seem logical in the least.

    Why does society insist on judging homosexuals on their sexuality?  Are heterosexuals judged daily about their consensual sexual relations with their partners?  No.  No one sees a need for that.  

    Some people enjoy kinky sex, some like oral sex, some rough sex, some like to keep things simple and unadventurous, some are born for adventure; human sexual desired are so wide in scope.  Some people enjoy these these varied activities with a person of the opposite sex, some enjoy them with a person of the same sex, some enjoy them with both.  Once it isnt rape, abuse or preying on children, why does it matter so much what a person’s sexuality is?

    The day will come when gays are afforded the same rights and protection as heterosexuals, just like the day came when Blacks were afforded the same rights as Whites.  And just like the latter case, their struggle will continue long after the rights are earned.  This is a turning point just as the feminist struggles resulted in a turning point in how societies the world over viewed women and their sexuality.

    Isn’t life tough enough without having to worry about one’s sexuality?  Let folks be who they are without having to worry about persecution.  

  6. For those of you who believe that being Gay is a Choice, when did the straight( heterosexual) decide to be straight… I am GAY!!!

  7. Dear Mr. Joachim

    The hidden spirit of homosexuality is cruel, heartless and destructive. This has been documented in history. The very laws of nature reveal that a man was designed to mate with a woman. I believe the scriptures that this is a behavior that the Creator hates with a passion. I pray that every individual bound with this behavior will seek deliverance in the name of Jesus

    Sincerely
    Mercedes

  8. Mourine Ramjeet says:

    Not because it is accepted in big countries like the US the US makes it right. A lot of things handed out to us by these developed countries are not best for us.
    I pray the day will never come with it will be decriminalized in SVG. Many of our young males are already falling by the wayside and for them to be able to openly flaunt this kind of behavior will only make things worse. Male adult prostitutes are already using young boys, can you imagine if they get their own way what will happen?
    I was not happy when Obama endorsed it.

  9. Ann-Marie Ballantyne says:

    Almost every time a person opens his/her mouth to speak against homosexual lifestyle and to show that God calls it “an abomination” he/she is accused as ‘hateful’ and ‘condemning persons’. There is nothing wrong with condemning the homosexual lifestyle. Condemning the BEHAVIOUR is not equal to hatred. I speak as a Christian. It is out of love, I have to show over and over that homosexuality is a sexual deviant behaviour. It is a choice. It is sad that Stephen wants to leave God out of the argument- for to do so is to be on the wrong track from start but it is also instructive because it shows that some people do not care about the Creator-God and what he has to say about it. Where does that leave us? Setting up the decisions of nations around the world(void of the knowledge of God and bent on totally removing His principles to set up their one-world government) as standard! What a society in making!…the legalisation of homosexuality opens the floodgates of immorality in any country…bestiality follows, paedophilia and all manner of sexual sins under the garb of ‘sexual freedom’.

  10. Ann-Marie Ballantyne says:

    Champions of civil rights struggles should find it insulting to hear homosexuals and their sympathisers compare gay-‘right’ activism to the 1960s civil rights fight to end racial segregation. A People fighting to have their God-given rights and freedoms respected and protected could never be equated to a movement seeking to have their sexual deviant behaviour legalized. Persons, like President Barack Obama, who continue to propagate such erroneous ideas, should remember that homosexuality is a choice. Being black isn’t!
    Homosexuality is not a right endowed to us by our Creator! It is important for us to be continually reminded that Rights and Freedoms are given to us by God and therefore are possessed by all peoples. The three fundamental rights are: right to Religious Liberty, right to life and right to private property. These rights have their attending freedoms- freedom of thought, belief, opinion, conscience, choice, expression, speech and movement. We are born with them. They must not be confused with abilities and opportunities. So for example, if a person chooses to steal, stealing is not a freedom. People often use their freedoms to do wrong things as is the case with the practice of homosexuality. Governments of some countries also provide immoral opportunities, through the legislative pen, for homosexuals to practise their lifestyle. They even seek to change the God-given definition of marriage. Their behaviour is anti-morality and therefore is not equal to rights and freedoms. In fact, such governmental provisions continue to lead to denigration and persecution of Christians and others who dare to criticise sodomy.
    Homosexuals continue to promote their behaviour throughout the world as seen recently in Russia where President Vladimir Putin is being chastised for his stance against it. On June 30 of this year, Putin signed into law a bill banning the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors”. Among other things, the law forbids the distribution of homosexuality -supporting information to children. Opposing the country’s law, homosexual activists call for a boycott of the 2014 winter Olympics and other actions which will negatively affect Russia. Did the civil right movement fight for the acceptance of such morally debasing behaviour? No! When Black Americans struggled for racial equality in the 1950s and 1960s they were fighting to break down a caste system of segregation based on race. What is the homosexual movement struggling for? To get their sexual deviant behaviour accepted and to silence their critics. Our own Sophia Young understands that well, after she stood up publicly about a week ago as a Christian against “same-sex Marriage” in San Antonio. The Gay activists did not consider the freedom of expression of this young black woman a civil right. “Martin Luther King did not fight for that”, they implied, as they sought to hijack his civil rights movement to shut up Christians like Sophia Young.
    However, Martin Luther King, Jr. did not fight for the legislation of immorality under the garb of freedom. Interestingly we are informed that King argued in his famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” that “An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.” Clearly, sodomy is out of harmony with the moral law!
    So, when homosexuals seek to get society to view their activism as similar to that of the civil rights movement, they need to know that they “cannot fool all of the people all of the time.” Civil right struggles and Gay ‘right’ activism CANNOT be compared!

  11. Mourine Ramjeet says:

    I think there is a flaw in the laws of SVG concerning homosexuals. I do not think it is relevant to Lesbians. I think if I am not wrong it only pertains to males and not females. Can someone clarify this please?
    Ann Marie I could not agree with you more.

  12. Stephen Joachim says:

    My thanks to Kenton for posting my IKTV presentation. I really appreciate all your comments to my presentation. It makes me feel that I am making a positive contribution and I am really pleased about the quality of your responses. My intention is to provoke thought, debate and discussion and it seems I have been successful. I know some of you disagree with me and I urge you to do some research on this topic.
    The point of my argument is that we need more civilized respectful debate. We face major challenges in SVG and all of us need to recognize this and start contributing our thoughts to possible solutions. We must be the leaders and not wait for others.
    If any of you have other topics that you would like me to raise and comment upon, please let me know.
    Finally, a friend of mine once told me that if you want to hide something from Vincentians, put it in writing! Thanks for proving my friend wrong! Some of us do enjoy reading. Keep up the excellent work Kenton!

    Stephen

  13. It’s such a complete waste of energy in trying to oppress groups of people when that energy could be focused instead on uplifting others and yourself in the process. All oppression is connected and is sourced in bigotry, which is a need to elevate yourself by stepping on the necks of humanity. No one wins this battle. Who is free and who is slave? People who consistently stand on pulpits and are vehemently opposed to something, oftentimes have a secret share in it.

    Sexuality is not confined to the bedroom, it’s who you are attracted to, who you love, who you want to share your life with. It’s not complex, we all want to be loved. I am gay and it’s a gift because it has taught me to be more compassionate towards others and to be a better person. When you try to marginalize me because of my sexuality I use it as a barometer to be kind and open to others who may be judged for simply being who they are. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks because no one can define me, I define myself.

  14. Some have questioned the comparison between the fight for gay rights and the fights of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. How can one argue that the hatred of people based on the colour of their skin – their race, is in no way akin to people being hated for their sexuality? How can one not see, as another human being, why this hatred is wrong. How can one not see why the struggles faced by homosexuals is unjust?

    Do you realize that in the same way blacks were not welcomed in some institutions, gays have faced the same thing. Do you realize that just as blacks were beaten, set on fire, raped, ridiculed, lynched and treated in so many barbaric ways, gays too have faced these things? Just like blacks were treated as sub-human, so too have gays been treated. In fact, homosexuals have been looked upon as being more lowly than blacks.

    So in other words, the civil rights movement was doing something positive for humanity on behalf the oppressed blacks. However, to do the same for homosexuals is inconceivable. Interestingly, the racist whites thought it inconceivable to treat blacks equally.

  15. I would refrain from a religious argument here. However, those that argue adamantly from a Christian view point are implying a number of things:

    1. That their religion is definitively correct.
    2. That all persons in society accept Christianity as their system of belief.
    3. That Christianity must be used as the yardstick for all societies (even where a theocracy does not exist).
    4. That marriage is a Christian phenomenon (although it has been around since pre-recorded history and therefore pre-Christanity; is part of just about every culture; and takes on various shapes including monogamous, polygamous, polyandrous, group, same-sex and temporary marriages).
    5. That if a religion says it is ok to hate and hurt people, then it really is ok to do so.

  16. As previously stated, Racism is not characterized by biochemical reactions. Estrogen and Testosterone imbalances are often the basis of sexual attraction, as are the secretion of pheromones, there is some science involved in attraction, it is not strictly a question of assimilation of societal attraction protocols.

    One cannot therefore equate Racism, Sexism, or class based discriminations to homosexual attraction. Some are indeed born this way and manifest classical opposite sex characteristics very early on. I submit in fact that socialization in its validating or invalidating capacity, often leads to the suppression of these attributes that are INNATE, existing prior to broad social exposure. Racism is not innate. It is appropriated attitude. The analogy is not analogous.

    This is a complex issue, I will concur that some choose to be homosexual for whatever reason. Hardly anything in life is predicated on a mere duality. Innate or chosen, both possibilities are valid and can occur simultaneously, granted the scale should logically tip towards the former (innate for most).

  17. I seek to address the premise of an (this) argument based on logic.
    Logic is a branch of mathematics that affords scientific discourse. Logic algebra defines a set of properties & rules for statements that can be assigned true or false. Unfortunately, to those who claim a scientific approach to the topic of gays, there is no real establishment of truthfulness or falsity of propositions proffered. There are numerous hints to scientific authorities and/or studies regarding homosexuality, but there is no real establishment of an argument that leads a reader to truths or contradictions.
    Interestingly, the arguments against condemning homosexuality are rife with counter-emotionalism! If I maybe emotional, I would claim without any proof that the universality or fullness of life is not founded on a minute subset of axioms of logic. Instead, life in its fullness is the union of all sub-systems of nature. Consequently, it maybe better for us to seek a balanced view of all foundations that serve human existence. Hence, there must be a space for the scientific, spiritual, sociological and moral/legalistic perspectives.
    In all the mathematical algebras I have encountered, there exists the concept of priority. When we amalgamate all our bases of full living, we must define and identify priority functions. I think the debate about homosexuality is increasing because there is a growing opposition to what was assumed to be a priority on the issue. But regardless of the debate, a fundamental question must be addressed – of what value is the homosexual lifestyle to human life? My deep philosophy is that humans only exist to share. Our quest to acquire all types of prosperity is an adventure to share our gains with others. The quality of our existence is thus a function of our sharing. Thus, what does the homosexual lifestyle offer to the quality of human life and development?
    To provide a very honest and profound answer to this question will force us to go beyond the simplistic arguments grounded in quasi-logic or logic itself.

    1. A most fascinating analysis. The author ought to appreciate the discourse this piece has generated.

      You postulate that humans exist to share and so seek prosperity to share with others. A standard that can be applied to every aspect of human activity. What does a candy bar or a prayer or a French kiss contribute to human life? I suppose they break the linearity of an otherwise linear life.

      My personal philoshy is influenced strongly by existentialist ideals, I do not believe in the preordained it is for me to define my existence. Motivation is that psychological fuel allowing us to define our lives, to the extent that the happiness derivative from “doing one’s thing” is a source of energy, I submit that homosexuality does indeed contribute to “….the quality of human life and development.”

  18. I love it when people who are against being gay compare it to how it is abnormal in the Bible. You mean to tell me, it’s the same Bible that says, if you’re born into slavery, then you should obey your masters.That if I walk down the street and saw a pretty woman, and I lust at her, it’s a sin. You mean to tell me, the same bible that says, I should eat cricket and locust or that children should be killed if they disobey their parents?

    The last time I checked, Christians should be living by the new testament and not the old one (unless you’re a Jew)……just a thought.

  19. Guys first I must say thanks to Stephen for his very through provoking commentary on the 2 D point program which shows weekly on Iktv. Seeing all your comments I will like to invite anyone who wish to be part of the 2 D point Commentary team to please contact me @ 4947000 or 4569100 as I will be happy to have you share you views on issues that you may think needs to be raise as Stephen dose every week on IKTV…All about you. Once again thanks for all your feed backs, thanks to Kenton (Iwnsvg.com) and thanks to Stephen for always raising issues that creatures discussion points! The 2 D Point Commentary comes right after all our news cast @8pm 10pm 7am 10am and 12 noon.

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