Prejudices and restrictions are taking on new forms, and these distortions, arising from the non-globalization of phenomena and behaviors, create divisions, polarities and consequent unreasonable explanations about human behavior. We will exemplify.
Even today, many people (including researchers, physicians and psychologists) speak of homosexuality and heterosexuality as organic and genetic imposition, as unchosen attitude or unchosen sexual orientation. In this approach, two extremely problematic ideas persist: the first, in which there is a previous nature, prior to and determinant of the cultural construction of identity (sex equal to organism, nature and gender equal to identity and cultural construction); and the second, in which to choose is to exercise freedom, to exercise preference regardless of limiting contexts. Both ideas reaffirm secular prejudices, dualisms, and reductionisms about human behavior.
There is no human nature, there is no natural predisposition as determinant of behavior. Human behavior is not the result of “natural forces” and “instincts”, but rather of relational dynamics, relational needs and possibilities characterized by autonomy, fear, justifications, goals etc.
To view choice as an exercise of preference is contradictory, is understanding it as a priori, as commitment with motivations, situations, previous positions and, therefore, as conditioned behavior.
I think of choice as evidence. To choose is to be present, it is the imposition of dialogue. Whenever we participate we are choosing this or that, without pause for evaluation, without conflict, without dilemma. In this sense, we can even say that there is no choice, life is participation, evidence. To stop to choose is to verify the non-participation, the rupture, it means experiencing the scission and wanting to amend it.
Recently, a poster was circulated on social networks that aimed to criticize discrimination against people and groups based on sexual, ethnic, aesthetic prejudice etc. Despite the ‘good intention’, the poster conveyed the above-mentioned misunderstandings and even the highly biased idea that “what is natural” is imposed and justified in itself, whereas “what is chosen” is liable to condemnation and rejection.
Its sayings were:
“Things people do not choose:
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity
- Mental illness
- Color, Ethnicity, Race
Things people do choose:
- To be an asshole to people over things they do not choose”.
The confusion between natural and acquired, between biological and social, between individual and society is regrettable. All mixed in the blender of prejudice, since only within its scope is that biological immanences such as appearance, skin color, mental illnesses, physical disabilities are considered contingencies, circumstances that can be valued and equivalent to being able or not to be chosen - situations in which to place the possibility of choice is to deny them as human evidence.
It is not a question of having the right to be black, man, aboriginal or lame, but instead one is black, man, aboriginal, lame, and this is humanity with its diversifications. When one says that one must accept color, race etc. because they are not choices, this statement in itself is prejudiced. Moreover, the poster is generated in the scope of prejudice and biological reductionism, in saying that sexual orientation and gender identity are not chosen.
Sexual orientation is attitude, motivation, it is a relational datum experienced as participation or difficulty. Accepting affective motivations in relation to the other, its sexual implications, regardless of being of the same sex or of different sex, is an availability that allows to experience the motivations or, in positions of difficulty, prevents their living by fear, guilt, certainty of inadequacy and error in escaping from established standards. Individuals are free or limited to experience sexuality, regardless of gender difference or equality. Sexuality is not defined by anatomy, as much as pleasure does not result from anatomo-social conditions. In problematic experiences, human beings are remiss and limited to experience their sexuality, because for them this experience may be only a password to be accepted in a group, to constitute a family, to guarantee their future, to allow them to exercise their social frames and climbs.
To speak of gender identity as choice/non-choice is to go backwards, is to “lose the train of history” in a time where what is discussed and admitted is precisely that there is no gender, since it would only be a result of biased authoritarianism of male and female sexists. Identity is a social and psychological organization that is independent of biological sex differences, of being male or female. To admit gender identity, to say that it is not chosen, is to resurrect biased protocols of feminine and masculine, is tantamount to reducing everything to blue and pink.
Choosing or not choosing are not important referents. We cannot polarize and validate behavior in these respects. Choosing always implies commitment, and vice-versa.
Thinking about choice as participation, as availability and flexibility, allows us to better configure human possibilities, but we must not forget that every possibility can be contextualized in needs, and that the latter are limits that can allow transcendence - exercising possibilities - or can be polarizing limits of possibilities, structuring the reduction thereof to their configurational circumstances.
Everything can be chosen, everything can imply availability, participation or limitation, since, in the encounter with the other and with the world, contradictions, insertions and complements arise. Syntonies, dystonias and atonies structure the rhythm, the symphony of being with the other, of being in the world.