My Lifestyle Choice

Can someone please tell me what makes a lifestyle choice "gay", why it's so disagreeable and why no one uses "lifestyle choice" in regards to heterosexuals?  Because I don't get it.

Like, you wanna know my lifestyle? I live in a house in Northeast Los Angeles with two great friends. I wake up in the morning, eat toast with unsalted creamy almond butter and honey and drink hot green tea. I take a shower then go to my full time job. I come home, write a little, then repeat.  On the side, I write, direct and produce film.  On weekends, I try to reserve one night to myself, watching a movie or laughing at internet memes.  On the other night, I hang out with my friends and pray that doesn't entail actually leaving my house, or at least doesn't involve being in a crowded, night life-esque space (though sometimes it does ugh but very sparingly). I rarely drink, I don't eat animal by-products, and every few months, I work out consistently before inevitably falling off the wagon.

And oh, when I get a crush, it's on a woman.

So when you refer to my innate, default sexuality as a "lifestyle", it's a little off-putting and alienating.  Say that I live a vegan lifestyle because nothing I put in my body contains animal by-products, sure.  Say I live a nerdy lifestyle because more time and money that I'm willing to say goes to Harry Potter, Star Wars and the like.  But I don't understand what a "homosexual lifestyle choice" is supposed to entail.  Is it because of how many snapbacks and flannels I own? It's totally that, isn't it?

Look, I've only ever heard the term "lifestyle choice" used with negative connotation, used to demean the existence of people who are gay. No ally or queer person themselves has ever been like, "my lifestyle choice is gay!" unless they were inundated since birth with the homophobic doctrine of the 40s (or the modern day South, let's be real - I grew up there so don't even start with me). It's implying that we've made this very conscious decision to pursue what detractors consider to be a deviant path and thus live an entirely different life from the straights, solely defined by our sexuality as a result.

And if it seems like the queer population is more invested in being queer than straights are being straight, it's because we're reclaiming our identities after they have been demonized and kept from us for so long! When you struggle your entire life with a part of yourself that you've been constantly told is negative, so you do everything you can to hide and deny it, when you've finally gotten to the point where you can embrace it as something positive, you want to celebrate it! You want to be with people who understand your experiences because theirs are similar.  When you are forcefully denied something for so long, then of course the second you're allowed to have it, you're going to go to the utmost with it - at least at first.

So if there is a gay lifestyle, it was created by straights. But the term still seems absurd for me, because spending time with other queer people and celebrating your own queerness hardly constitutes an entire lifestyle.  When it comes down to it, the way I live my life is defined more so my geographical location, income, age and career - not my sexuality.  

But I will say, in a vacuum, I would literally have no problem with the term "gay lifestyle" because there's nothing wrong with a gay lifestyle! Just coming from a diction perspective, the term just seems a little inaccurate, but there's also the fact that very few people ever use it to mean something good. But you know what? If I'm living a gay lifestyle, then heck yeah! If being in a relationship with a woman automatically means that I'm living a gay lifestyle, then okay! Sign me up. But I know y'all be using "lifestyle" to invalidate the beauty of my relationships, so that's where my main problem comes in, because y'all ain't looking at Mr. and Mrs. Jones and commenting about their “straight lifestyle choice.”

And I promise you the average lifestyles of a gay couple and a straight couple in the same demographics look very similar except for who is in the couple, so to use that term to distinguish one versus the other is absurd.

So as much as I actually kind of do want to yell out, "Hell yeah, I'm living a gay lifestyle and there's nothing wrong with that!", I feel like it's a sort of mute statement, because the way I live my life doesn't seem all that different than my straight friends. We just use different dating apps.

No matter what, though, the "choice" part is still a little weird to me because it's inaccurate. I feel like I'm needlessly hammering in an already argued point, but the only thing I chose in all of this is to embrace it and be out with it, but I assure that if I didn't choose those things, I'd still be very gay and living a very miserable, suppressed, dishonest and closeted life. But you know what, fair enough, maybe I did make a lifestyle choice by deciding to be out and authentic to myself and the world instead of trapping myself in an awful sham of a marriage to a man who I couldn't emotionally connect with and whose penis I was disgusted by and in that case, I'm glad I made my choice because ew.

But I didn't choose to be gay, which the same kinds of people who regularly use terms like "lifestyle choice" tend to not realize, so I'd appreciate people stop referring to my life as a "gay lifestyle choice" to imply that I made this very conscious decision to be the way I am, as if it's a path straight to hell that I willingly embarked on.  It's not any of that.

But. If being gay was a choice, I'd still choose it (except for when I'm going through exceptional cases of heartbreak - then I'd choose to be asexual and aromantic). I absolutely would, because there's nothing wrong with it! It's not easy, but the empathy, community and character that comes with being apart of a marginalized demographic is invaluable and integrates you into an immediate family in a way that I wouldn't have otherwise experienced.

Jk I'm black and a woman, I would totally still experience it, but the more communities I'm in, the more empathy I have, the better. Bring it on! This is my lot in life, and I will embrace it. And I believe it's only ultimately contributed to the person I am in a positive way in the long run.

Also, women are amazing, so.

I really went off course with this post. Just be mindful when using "gay lifestyle choice" because words have more meaning and connotation than we often realize. At least know exactly what you're saying and implying before you say it, and make sure it's accurate because words have power. Don't disrespect them.