Who Would Choose This?

I know earlier today I said I had no sympathy for Senator Larry Craig. Unfortunately, I suppose I’m just something of a softy, and after delivering a statement just a little while ago, I think I’m beginning to cave.

Courtesy Crooks & Liars:

I think it might have been the tears that got me. I don’t know, there’s just something about watching a grown man cry that really gets me where. What’s worse, I think, is knowing that this man has been accused of homosexuality since at the very least the eighties.

The way I see it there’s only one of two things that could be happening. On one hand, there’s the possibility, allbeit very small, that indeed Craig is as straight as they come, and due to an unusual string of circumstances, has had charge after charge of being a homosexual leveled upon him.

In this respect, I don’t find his desperate pleas that he’s not gay particularly endearing, like it’s some kind of disease. In a way I find it kinda reprehensible.

In the more likely scenario, though, he really is gay, and he is trapped by a large number of factors to battle this internal identity for all he is worth. Again, I don’t find his actions particularly endearing, there is no talk of trying to be accepting of homosexuality and homosexuals, merely just more denial.

I have to stop and wonder as to the turmoil going on within the Senator’s heart right now. To be one thing, to have that thing hated, to not be capable of changing it or fixing it, to hating one’s own self.

This, inner conflict, my friends, is what eventually led me to believe that homosexuality is not a choice. I’ve never seen homosexuality as being a bad thing, I suppose that’s just how I was raised. But coming to that concept that homosexuality is imprinted upon us without our decision is no less a significant revelation.

And it all comes down to a very simple question. Who in their right minds would ever choose to be gay? I don’t mean this in the sophomoric “ew gross” fashion. We like what we like, and I’m convinced that we have little choice in many of these things.

What I mean is, who would willingly choose the self hate, the persecution, and the riddicule? Matt Shepherd, a twenty-two-year-old college student had been picked up by two men in a renowned gay bar, driven out to the middle of nowhere, tied to a fence, and beaten nearly to death.

He eventually did die, and his funeral was picketted by the odious Fred Phelps and his “flock” who have become widely known for their picketting in the name of God and His abhorrence for homosexuals.

While gays and lesbians often find epicenters of tolerance, understanding, and acceptance, this still does not undercut the struggle that they must face.

Whilst in the closet, there is the inner turmoil that they must face. There is fear of being “outted”, there is the tendancy towards self loathing in “living a lie”, and there is the constant drain of not being able to live your life as it really should be lived, of not having what and who you want.

But the whole reason homosexuals live like this is understandable given the mortifying possibilities coming out of the closet presents.

Take the highly public incident of Alan Keyes and his lesbian daughter, Maya. In 2004, Keyes was waging a losing battle against current presidential candidate Barack Obama. During that time, Keyes made it more than clear how he felt about homosexuality.

Illinois Republican Senate candidate Alan Keyes has labeled homosexuality “selfish hedonism” and said Vice President Dick Cheney’s lesbian daughter is a sinner.The former talk show host who has made two unsuccessful runs for the White House made the comments Monday night in an interview with Sirius OutQ, a satellite radio station that provides programming aimed at gays and lesbians.

After saying homosexuality is “selfish hedonism,” Keyes was asked if that made Mary Cheney “a selfish hedonist.”

“Of course she is,” Keyes replied. “That goes by definition.”

Now, imagine the horror for young Maya with a father who says this of those who share her sexual orientation. And yet she had the strength and fortitude to make public her orientation, and suffered the consequences.

Maya Keyes loves her father and mother. She put off college and moved from the family home in Darnestown to Chicago to be with her dad on a grand adventure. Even though she disagrees with him on “almost everything” political, she worked hard for his quixotic and losing campaign for the U.S. Senate.Now Maya Keyes — liberal, lesbian and a little lost — finds herself out on her own. She says her parents — conservative commentator and perennial candidate Alan Keyes and his wife, Jocelyn — threw her out of their house, refused to pay her college tuition and stopped speaking to her.

So again, I ask you, who would choose this?

I’m not gay, but my brother is. When he came out a couple of years ago, he was lucky to find a family that loved him and accepted him for who he was. Admittedly, our mother freaked a little, but I think what bothered her was not so much that she had issues, but that she wasn’t as accepting as she hoped she would be should something like this occur.

To her great credit, she never once stopped loving him, and she never once questioned him or condemned him for his homosexuality. Any personal misgivings she may have had were discussed in private with me.

But again, as I say, my brother was I think incredibly lucky.

Not like Maya.

Not like Matt Shepherd.

They were each in their own way victims of intolerance and to a degree ignorance. The same kind of ignorance that has ultimately guided the shape and course of the entire Craig scandal as it develops.

I cannot condone his actions or words. I can’t. He is a senator of the United States, and therefore a considerably powerful man. It is within his power to foster understanding of homosexuality, to change the state of the nation for the better, and yet he chooses to foster homophobia, even in the face of his own likely homosexuality.

Gay or straight, he had a responsibility to make things better and dropped the ball.

And yet, as I watch him crying with a bundle of microphones in his face, I still can’t help but feel sympathy. I can’t walk in his shoes or feel what he’s feeling, but I think I know enough about the entire issue to know that whatever he’s going through, it must be incredibly hard and it must hurt an awful lot.

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