Top Leaderboard, Site wide
July 24, 2014
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
Help us grow by sharing
and liking Truthdig:
Sign up for Truthdig's Email NewsletterLike Truthdig on FacebookFollow Truthdig on TwitterSubscribe to Truthdig's RSS Feed

Newsletter

sign up to get updates


Gaza as Sarajevo




War of the Whales


Truthdig Bazaar
‘A Billion Wicked Thoughts’

‘A Billion Wicked Thoughts’

By Ogi Ogas (Author), Sai Gaddam (Author)

The Prison Letters of Fidel Castro

The Prison Letters of Fidel Castro

by Fidel Castro (Author), Luis Conte Aguero (Epilogue), Ann Louise Bardach (Introduction)
$11.86

more items

 
A/V Booth

Richardson: Being Gay Is a Choice

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on Aug 10, 2007
Richardson

Gov. Bill Richardson dropped a bomb in what was billed as the first gay debate on Thursday, saying of homosexuality, “It’s a choice,” which is for gays the equivalent of saying there was no Holocaust. Melissa Etheridge was so perplexed by his response that she cut him off to say, “I don’t know if you understand the question.”

Watch it:

Advertisement

Square, Site wide

New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

By DanL, November 17, 2007 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment

sorry. wrong url. here is the right one :

how to become straight report

Report this

By DanL, November 17, 2007 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment

You can always choose to live a straight life,
and develop your straight side, as i did with the
how to become straight report

Report this

By racheljjyy, October 28, 2007 at 11:36 pm Link to this comment

I am a gay male, want to find gay friends. If you are interested in me, you can contact me via http://www.gaymalecenter.com. Thank you!

Report this

By Paul, September 14, 2007 at 8:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you think its a choice then your not gay or straight your “bi”.
Remind folks of that and this argument will go away.

Report this

By Chuck, August 18, 2007 at 8:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So Greg, If someone struggles,  comes to a conclusion and comes out of the closet or stays in, or decides that one lifestyle or another is what they want to do then you are *not* ok with that?

Your orientation may be black and white to you but if it’s not that way with everyone then they are not authentic?

I don’t think that is any of your business and I think more choice should be allowed by all the scolds on the left and right.

Report this

By Greg, August 18, 2007 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The last time you fell in love with someone was that a choice?

It might be a choice to get married or not, but your attraction and falling in love are not really conscience choices. Being straight or gay is about whom you are sexually attraced to and fall in love with. It is not just about having sex.

Report this

By Konstanz, August 18, 2007 at 12:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I attended a small gathering of individuals in Waterloo, Iowa, on August 15th, 2007,celebrating State Senator Jeff Danielson’s birthday and had a conversation there with Bill Richardson. In our conversation we started talking about making blunders and he said to me, “Talk about blunders, one of the biggest ones I ever made was saying that sexual orientation is a choice. That was a complete mistake because I don’t believe it is a choice. I believe that one’s sexual orientation is genetically determined.”

At the time I found it an interesting comment but had no idea the controversy surrounding it until I started reading up on Richardson on the web, which led to reading this blog. Please, folks, give this guy a break. Please help me in getting the truth out there. For starters, Wikipedia should correct this mistake on the main section about Richardson without people having to read the correction in the “comments” section.

Report this
mackTN's avatar

By mackTN, August 15, 2007 at 8:32 am Link to this comment

It’s hard to believe that an educated person could make a remark like that.  And, even if one’s sexuality or skin color were a choice—so what?  Who cares? 

I can’t imagine choosing my sexuality.  I’m not attracted to people of my own sex. 

Either Richardson is ignorant or he’s pandering—both disqualifying him for the office he’s seeking.

Report this

By Douglas Chalmers, August 14, 2007 at 8:53 pm Link to this comment

#94846 by RAE on 8/14 at 9:47 am: “...Just adding a bit to BruSays posting… I really have no idea why so many “straight” people go to such lengths to build walls and make enemies of those who are or who think differently from them. I have a theory though… that there are a LOT of “straight” people who have more than just a litte “gay” in their natures. THEY’RE TERRIFIED THAT IF THEY TRY IT, THEY’LL LIKE IT! The sky will then fall in….”

People who build “walls” have fears. Its a kind of siege mentality. Why is this not new? Literally because that is exactly what people suffer emotionally in times of war. Each war brings a successive wave of wall-building and shoring up individual fears. Thus collective attitudes become crystallized.

Thus those attides are then said to be the “normal” response. It is actually the ‘fight or flight’ primitive brain-stem reflex become rampant. Stepping outside of that becomes forbidden - literally. Then you have more fear and “terror” becomes an easy way of controlling and manipulating people. It is a learned response!

Report this

By Greg, August 14, 2007 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For all the heterosexuals who think being gay is a choice ...

Prove your point by being gay for a day. I dare you.

Report this

By BruSays, August 14, 2007 at 6:06 pm Link to this comment

To Rae:

I loved your “Just because YOU don’t like broccoli doesn’t mean no one else should” analogy. It’s perfect.

As to straights building walls… In my own experience I see a pattern. Without exception, those I’ve known or heard about who take the “let the faggots burn in hell” position on homosexuality are broken, bitter, maladjusted, and poorly educated people. Without exception, those I’ve known or heard about who take the “it may not be for me but live and let live” (or, “I don’t care for broccoli but that’s just me”) position are confident, happy, well-adjusted, and educated people.

To Ardee:

Thanks for the welcome back. I gotta say I was getting a little tired of bloggers (on another issue) who seem to confuse “I know you are but what am I?” tit-for-tat name-calling as serious dialog that somehow contributed to an advancement of their ideas.

Too often in my view, a blog bogs down under the weight (and boredom) of this back-and-forth silliness. Time to move on.

Report this
RAE's avatar

By RAE, August 14, 2007 at 10:47 am Link to this comment

Just adding a bit to BruSays posting…

Sitting on the fence usually does give one a better view. This is nice. Come Saturday night, if you’re horny, your chances of getting laid DOUBLE!

This “advantage” comes at a cost, of course. It’s uncomfortable and you can really only manage to sample the “grass” on either side… you never get to really romp and revel in either field.

Intolerance and discrimination, like hate, MUST BE TAUGHT either directly by the philosophies of many organized religions, or by one’s experiences. Building a set of biases based on your successes and failures while living your life is one thing. At the very least they’re YOUR biases, not ones drummed into you by someone else’s agenda.

If you’re a straight person and wind up in bed with a person of the same sex you NATURALLY “won’t get no satisfaction” and likely will avoid that situation the next time. You’ve taught yourself that isn’t what you need. That kind of personal learned bias is just fine… FOR YOU. Just because YOU don’t like broccoli doesn’t mean no one else should.

I really have no idea why so many “straight” people go to such lengths to build walls and make enemies of those who are or who think differently from them. I have a theory though… that there are a LOT of “straight” people who have more than just a litte “gay” in their natures. THEY’RE TERRIFIED THAT IF THEY TRY IT, THEY’LL LIKE IT! The sky will then fall in.

Report this

By ardee, August 13, 2007 at 7:51 pm Link to this comment

Rowdy, thanks for sharing and for proving the idiocy of some people…....good on ya!

Brusays,
welcome back and a fine post for your return.

Report this

By BruSays, August 13, 2007 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

I don’t know one gay person who chose his or her sexual orientation. I don’t know one straight who chose his or her orientation. One is born with ones sexual orientation.

The “choice” we make is when and how we recognize that orientation. With straights it’s relatively easy…you just go with the flow so there’s no apparent choice at all. With gays, it’s much more complicated given societal pressures against that orientation. Yet still, sooner or later, they find their genetically-based orientation overwhelmingly strong and so they eventually choose to recognize that fact.

Societal and family pressure can be so strong in its disapproval that many make the ‘switch’ after marriage; many never make it at all. Some transform this societal disapproval into self-hate and some (usually those with unclear or maladjusted sexual identities) go the route of homophobia.

“Sexuality” is often confused with sexual orientation. That gays can have straight sex or that straights can have gay sex does not confirm there’s a continuum in sexual orientation, just that there’s a lot of movement across the broad spectrum of Sexuality. A gay man having sex with a woman doesn’t confirm him as bisexual anymore than a straight man having sex with another man labels him as bisexual. Each remains firmly grounded physically and emotionally as homo- or heterosexual.

One would think that the best of all worlds would be a bisexual orientation yet research has shown this to be one of the most conflicted of all. For this reason I believe that only bisexuals actually make anything we’d recognize as a “choice.” That this choice is made at all is testament to the difficulty of this orientation; though physically capable, the emotional toll is tough on their partners as well as on themselves. So, with rare exceptions, they choose one orientation over the other as their primary orientation.

All in all, an interesting conversation. Bottom line, of course, is that tolerance comes only when ignorance is shown the door.

Report this

By rowdy, August 13, 2007 at 11:32 am Link to this comment

i’m a “gay” man. i’m 60, i have been with the same male partner for 30 years. before him there was a woman partner for 10 years. this weekend i visited my nephew at work. he manages a strip club. one of the dancers thought i was “hot” and she and i had sex last night. my lover didn’t care as we have always had an “open” relationship. so i ask all the KKKristian nutcakes;where do i fit into your backward neanderthal stereotypes? i guess i am just plain immoral. i believe if another person, male or female wants to do it with me, i should oblige them. for me, being gay is a choice but i can play for both teams.

Report this

By Cannonball, August 13, 2007 at 7:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@Ardee, I’m afraid you stole the award off Dosa’s hands with your intolerant, uneducated,  disrespectful comment. You are to be blamed, and I don’t want to slide on the offenders’ side by shutting up to your unacceptable manners. Why don’t you apologise and plainly explain why you think that Dosa’s opinion (as much as I agree with you) is wrong?

Report this

By ardee, August 12, 2007 at 8:16 pm Link to this comment

#94148 by dosa on 8/11 at 9:51 pm
(Unregistered commenter)

There is no scientific proof one way or the other. All view points should be heard in the market place of ideas including the one from Baptist minister Fred Phelps his godhatesfags.com - he has it chapter and verse.

Congratulations dosa, for the absolutely stupidest and unthinking commentary of the month. You win the prize hands down! Tell me Bozo, when exactly did you make the conscious choice to be heterosexual, assuming that you are in fact. Was it the same time you decided to be among the dumbest persons on the planet?

Report this

By carlito paquito, August 12, 2007 at 6:47 am Link to this comment

sad:( and to think i thought i liked him from a distance…okay, mr. richardson, then, all indians, (not the 7-11 ones)cannot stay away from gambling and booze. How does that sound.  My brother is gay. I think I know more about his world than you chubby.

Report this

By dosa, August 11, 2007 at 10:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is no scientific proof one way or the other. All view points should be heard in the market place of ideas including the one from Baptist minister Fred Phelps his godhatesfags.com - he has it chapter and verse.

Report this

By Douglas Chalmers, August 11, 2007 at 6:53 pm Link to this comment

#93927 by Paolo on 8/11 at 5:54 am: “...Actually (as if often the case), both sides oversimplify the issue…. blanket statements….... I’m sure everyone who reads this post has known someone who is absolutely, one hundred percent, biologically gay, and has been for as long as anyone can remember. Then, there are people who engage in the gay sex for a period of time, then stop. ......Then again, there are those who absolutely never participated in homosexual sex. Then again, there are those who consistently participate in both homosexual and heterosexual sex…. Clearly, it depends on the individual….”

Oh, lets ramp this up a bit, ha ha. Sexuality is hormonal. That is, the basic sexual identity is first of all genetic - the XX or XY chromosomes form female or male (XY is the female variant known as “male”).  From then, the endocrine system in different people produces differing levels of hormones like estrogen and testosterone.

Both males and females have a combination of these two sexual differentiating hormones but in differing amounts. Also, people of the same sex have differing mixes of the two hormones and also differing amounts of other essential hormones. Thus nobody is identical in even a hormonal sense - not even for the same gender.

So, as you say,  Paolo, “it depends on the individual”. One can go on from there and differentiate general body types endogenous and exogenous, thin or solid. The one thing for sure is that there is very little difference between all of us but we still seem to want to harass each other over one aspect or another. It all merely comes down to “natural selection” and each has an eye for the partner of one’s own preference - based on whatever one wishes to base that “choice” on.

Now, we’re back to choice again??? Ha, ha, ha…....

***********************************************************

#93993 by samuel burke on 8/11 at 10:24 am: “...he is willing to allow for the rights of homosexual partners in a democratic society….... melissa and the homosexual lobby is intolerant of the right to form your own opinion….”

Oh, not really, samuel. He actually seemed confused on what he was addressing. “Choice” is not an issue as regards rights for homosexuals - it is, though, for women as regards abortions. This guy didn’t even seem to know quite what “homosexual” or “gay” meant. Perhaps we need to have the abortion debate over again as well - just for the politicians and their obviously equally dumb advisors???

***********************************************************

#93952 by RAE on 8/11 at 8:13 am: “...How about those who choose to NEVER have sex with anyone? Someone once posited that these folk are the only true perverts….”

I don’t know about “never” having sex but chastity is an option and it does have its own rewards. It is kind of insular, though, but that is not always a bad thing. At different stages in one’s life, withdrawing from sex-based emotional involvement with another person helps to stabilise one’s own inner self. Just as being in a relationship produces certain emotional benefits, the opposite is also true as long as the result is positive. Try it some time!

Report this

By chrysostom, August 11, 2007 at 6:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I wonder…would the pro-life become pro-choice if they could somehow discover their unborn child were gay?

Report this
Paolo's avatar

By Paolo, August 11, 2007 at 4:31 pm Link to this comment

Hmmm. This seems to be a reasonable discussion of a complex and emotional issue. I just don’t think you’d see this on Bill O’Reilly’s website.

I was going up and down the radio dial the other day, and tuned into Rush Limbaugh for a few minutes out of morbid fascination. He was pontificating about Mike Gravel’s comment regarding gays in the military, in which he pointed out (correctly) that ancient Greek armies (particularly the Spartans)tolerated and perhaps even encouraged homosexuality among the troops on the theory that this would make the men more willing to fight to save one another.

Limbaugh, needless to say, just couldn’t believe this.

As some have pointed out on this site, societies that tolerate homosexuality may have somewhat more of it, in that those on the “cusp” between homo- and heterosexuality may be more inclined to try both if society does not forbid it.

In the case of the Greeks, they tended to be very tolerant of various types of sexual expression. I think we can all agree that this did not prevent that society from contributing enormously to world culture.

Report this

By Enemy of State, August 11, 2007 at 3:25 pm Link to this comment

RAE, we are probably in agreement -or close to it. Like all things enforcing reasonable hygiene on a population needs to be done in moderation. It is too easy for us humans to go overboard when trying to affect others behavior.

Report this
RAE's avatar

By RAE, August 11, 2007 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment

My goof… Enemy of State pointed out the error of my posting…

I made the assumption that “we all” (society) expect each individual to use common sense and reasonably responsible behavior in the conduct of his/her life so as to not put in jeopardy the lives/lusts of others.

It was beyond these “basics” that I suggested that the who/how/what of our social intercourse is nobody’s business but those involved. “Society” has no right (in my universe) to dictate/demand a FREE individual adhere to some predefined/legislated limits on choices of the heart.

The issue in this particular forum focusses on the non-heterosexual population’s restricted right to freedom of choice and participation. It is my firm view that “government” has no mandate or authority to deny full services to any law-abiding citizen. If the various religions, which are essentially private clubs, wish to discriminate then it’s their right to do so within their congregations.

So, EoS, expecting/demanding people “take precautions” is a fair request. Only why stop at our sexual behavior? I, for one, would prescribe severe penalties for anyone suffering from a COLD and/or HACKING COUGH caught IN PUBLIC not wearing effective protection. What’s fair treatment for one “germ” should be fair for all, don’t you think?

Report this

By Enemy of State, August 11, 2007 at 12:40 pm Link to this comment

I think the people that say its not a clear cut issue are on the right track. Many people may have a propensity of attraction that is greater to one sex than the other. If that propensity is not overwhelmingly strong, then they are free to choose.

  RAE: I disagree about it being none of societies business. Society should demand “epidemiological responsibility” from its members. That basically means that we ought to demand that people take precautions so as not to spread STDs. This means using protection AND limiting the number of partners, and being careful in the selection of those partners. This basic societal need doesn’t have anything to do with religious morals, just basic public health.

Report this

By samuel burke, August 11, 2007 at 11:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

so melissa asks him whether he thinks that homosexuality is a choice or whether its part of the nature of these individuals…

he responds that its a choice and she cant accept his answer….who is being intolerant?

she cant accept his answer….
he is willing to allow for the rights of homosexual partners in a democratic society.

its a choice to be able to choose what you believe and its intolerant to not allow someone to believe what they do choose to believe.

melissa and the homosexual lobby is intolerant of the right to form your own opinion.

Report this

By Chuck, August 11, 2007 at 10:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think Kinsey’s idea is well accepted that most everyone is a mix of straight and gay and a few people are completely straight and a few are completely gay.

So it stands to reason that in this polarized society,  people have to choose their identity, whether to be in the closet, and their politics about it. A better society would allow more self definition and more flexibility for everyone to find their place on the spectrum of straight and gay.

But it also means that the the religious right is correct in that society can be pushed somewhat in a direction towards tolerance or intolerance or toward advocacy. It could be trendy to be gay and a few borderline folks would choose a gay lifestyle when they might live straight in a less tolerant society.

This drives the fundies nuts and they want to do everything possible to punish advocacy and feed intolerance to mold society to their liking.

I think Richardson would favor tolerance and freedom,  he just didn’t have time to give his full understanding.

Report this
RAE's avatar

By RAE, August 11, 2007 at 9:13 am Link to this comment

I fully agree with Paolo - and even that excellent summary is incomplete.

How about those who choose to NEVER have sex with anyone? Someone once posited that these folk are the only true perverts.

If I live to be 1000 I’ll not understand what all the fuss is about. How does who I choose to have sex with or who I want to have sex with become ANYONE else’s business (except my partner, of course)?

This whole argument is as irrelevant and silly as having an argument over what kind of breakfast cereal a person prefers or what line of work they want to pursue. It’s just nobody’s damn business.

Report this

By Bob In Pacifica, August 11, 2007 at 8:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

At this late date to writeoff sexual preference to a matter of simply “choosing” is pretty lame and uninformed at the very least. I guess that Richardson isn’t very bright either.

If the topic comes up again perhaps Mr. Richardson can give us a explanation as to his process of choosing to be hetero. His process is such a personal choice will help the voters to understand how he would make choices on other issues.

Report this
Paolo's avatar

By Paolo, August 11, 2007 at 6:54 am Link to this comment

Actually (as if often the case), both sides oversimplify the issue.

In something as complex as human sexuality, it is almost always wrong to issue blanket statements.

I’m sure everyone who reads this post has known someone who is absolutely, one hundred percent, biologically gay, and has been for as long as anyone can remember. Then, there are people who engage in the gay sex for a period of time, then stop. Surveys show that most males have participated in homosexual activities at some point in their lives. The majority of them, however, stop doing this. Then again, there are those who absolutely never participated in homosexual sex. Then again, there are those who consistently participate in both homosexual and heterosexual sex.

Clearly, it depends on the individual. Some people are exclusively gay and have no choice in the matter. Others choose to engage in gay activities for a period of time, and then give it up. Still others choose to engage in both heterosexual and homosexual sex. In other words, there are about as many versions of sexuality as there are people.

To issue a blanket statement that gay people NEVER “choose” to be gay is just as wrong as saying that gay people ALWAYS “choose” to be gay. Both statements are examples of over-simplification.

Report this

By Douglas Chalmers, August 11, 2007 at 4:41 am Link to this comment

Choice? Maybe the thought that “homosexuality” had something to do with “abortion”.

Report this

By vet240, August 10, 2007 at 10:32 pm Link to this comment

What we have here is an example of a person wanting to be president at any price doing some serious (pardon the pun) sucking up to the religeous right and left.

Humans will stop at nothing to feel superior to others. They’ll damn you for being a different color, a different religeon, a different nationality, a different political party or even the sexuality others were born with,  even if it means damning their own children.

Not one of these candidates, or anyone else for that matter will say they thouroughly investigated the various sex life-styles and settled on Hetro.

I certainly did not investigate, nor did I “choose” to be Hetro. I was born this way!

Report this
RAE's avatar

By RAE, August 10, 2007 at 10:08 pm Link to this comment

Oh I did it again… what I meant to say is…

I conclude the only folks getting screwed by the ignorance in the system are those who are NOT ignorant.

Oh hell, what does it matter? Those who want to deal with facts will do so. Everyone else, the majority it seems, just makes it up as they go along sells their BS to the gullible masses. And it works.

Report this
RAE's avatar

By RAE, August 10, 2007 at 10:04 pm Link to this comment

How do people this ignorant of the basics such as the human sexualities garner enough support to get elected to public office?

The only answer I can find that makes any sense is that those who are voting to elect are EQUALLY IGNORANT, at least in this area.

So, I conclude, the only folks NOT GETTING SCREWED in this system are those who are NOT IGNORANT.

And you wonder what’s wrong with our world.

Report this

By theeldergod, August 10, 2007 at 9:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Maybe he meant some nights HE chooses to be with a man,some nights a woman.The man is clearly an idiot.

Report this

By Requiem for Logic, August 10, 2007 at 8:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If only [my] sexuality were so simple.

If had said being straight was a choice, would that invite such furor?

I thought not.

Report this
 
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
 
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 
 
 
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Publisher, Zuade Kaufman   Editor, Robert Scheer
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.