On Being Straight (A Thought Experiment)

I must have been born straight. For as long as I can remember, I have been attracted to the opposite sex. I can’t explain why this is. It is visceral, a part of me. I could no more convince myself to stop being straight than I could will my lungs into gills.

Still, many people these days think being straight is unnatural.

Gay friends have tried to “help” me with my “problem.” And I know they mean well. Sometimes they quote the words of holy people who have said that heterosexuality is wrong. “Man was made for man and woman for woman,” they recite from books written thousands of years ago, calling it a perennial truth. But back then, all men were treated like property, and people lived brutal, tribal lives. We select and interpret constantly from the past. I’d like to think that what’s everlasting, even spiritual, is based more on love than condemnation.

People sometimes insinuate that my two dads were unsuitable role models, not gay enough to be “real” men. Or they suspect some woman must have come along and “corrupted” me in my youth. Some people think being straight is a club you can be “recruited” into (and therefore leave). It is not just about sex, or shock value. I am not rebelling against anything or anyone. I am trying, in fact, to be most fully who I already am.

I would like my marriage to my lovely wife to be recognised as legitimate, and for people to see past our different genders, to us as a family. I never wanted to stand out. Not like this. My wife and I hold hands in public, not because we are looking for a fight, but because we want to hold hands. In some countries, I could be violently killed for being straight. It is law. Sometimes it frightens me to be who I am in this world. And yet the alternative–to pretend to be gay just to fit in for awhile–is a worse kind of death on the inside.

Who I am is straight. Except that as soon as I write this, I know it is not true. Who I love and how is only part of who I am. Isn’t variety good for the world? And aren’t my straight wife and I good for it, too? We contribute to our community just as much as two men, or two women, would. We are kind and friendly and productive. We even recycle. Yet constantly, this feeling that some people will never accept us as we are. I am not sorry for who I am, for who we are together, but I’m sorry that not everyone will see past us being two people of the opposite gender who are in love.

I am straight. I am myself. And, like you, I am trying to be happy.