17 September 2007

Where's the Lifestyle by Bernard Muscat, MGRM (Times of Malta, September 15, 2007)

Joseph Aquilina (God Hates Sin, September 4) chose to inform us once again about his barrage of misconceptions regarding homosexuality. He has not yet, however, answered my letter of July 16 in which I asked him to enlighten us as to when and how he made his wise "choice" of "becoming" heterosexual.

Did he choose his sexual orientation after deep thought and elaboration? Did he balance the pros and cons of being straight as opposed to being gay, and finally chose to settle for the orientation that fits sweetly into "God's plan"?

Mr Aquilina also uses other haphazard and misleading terminology. He defines homosexuality as "a lifestyle". Why do straight people have "lives" and gay people "lifestyles"? The words we use to describe these things often affect the way we think about them. This issue has nothing to do with lifestyles. Examples of people with "lifestyles" would include a rave party reveller, a skateboard enthusiast, a workaholic, a rapper, a vegetarian, an avid surfer or a tattoo aficionado.

As a gay man in my 20s, I can assure Mr Aquilina that I have no "lifestyle" which is any different from that of my peers who are straight.

I go to work every day like they do, play football like they do, read as much as I can, travel whenever possible, and so on. Being gay is only a small part of who I am.

And yet he prizes me with this "lifestyle" tag, which I could easily do without. Allow me to ask, is heterosexuality also a life-style?

If Mr Aquilina should decide to let go of his ill-conceived views on the topic and actively seek to get to know gay and lesbian people personally, he would discover, much to his possible surprise, how extremely normal we are. He would maybe appreciate that gay people have many of the same hopes and dreams, challenges and fears that all other people have.

Maybe it's about time we start judging people not on whom they love but on whether they love.

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