by Toni Pizanie
Proprietress of Royal Tobacconist
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
Choice & PFLAG
Frank Aqueno and I are supporters of PFLAG. We deeply appreciate and believe in the work that PFLAG does on behalf of the GLBT community. In a letter to T. Berry Brazelton, M.D. in the Times-Picayune, Frank says of PFLAG that they do "excellent work" and are "well-versed in parental concerns and misconception" to assist parents with their childrens' homosexual issues. Frank and I also applaud the PFLAG mission which is "to enlighten an ill-informed public" and "provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity."
Since 1994, Frank has been writing the local chapter to ask for education and equal time for those individuals who believe in "choice." Frank's letters and E-mails have been ignored. Yet, in March members and guests of PFLAG were lectured on the "born that way" theory that has as yet no biological proof. The advertised title was "Homosexuality: Biology or Choice?" Choice was not discussed. Where is the respect for human diversity when both sides of this discussion are not given equal opportunity to be heard?
To not respond to Frank's valid concerns just because you don't share his thinking is unprofessional and very unlike the officers and members of this chapter. Frank described this as "arrogant silence." His reaction is one PFLAG should understand considering their reaction to HRC when a PFLAG letter concerning Tgs was ignored.
After 20 years of research and study, Frank will quickly tell you that both "born that way" and "choice" are correct and should be openly discussed and accepted. I concur as do thousands across this country that belong to Queer by Choice groups. Were we "born that way" alone, there would be no Bisexuals.
I am constantly amazed by the large number of young Bisexual females that I meet on the Web and in clubs as well as older Bisexual females through the Center and social organizations. To deny my Bisexuality said one woman, would be to deny my children and the love I felt for their father when we were together. Or as Frank puts it, I'm not turning my back on half of humanity because of their plumbing. Love and sex should not be confused. When it is, we build separation.
There are studies that support the belief that all people are born Bisexual and during the period from birth to four years, choices are made according to environment. Yes, infants make choices. No, not like would I rather eat corn chips or potato chips? The choices are not cognizant. They are more like an infant crying when it wants food or a clean diaper or like the toddler that holds its breath to get attention.
TV's 20/20 did an interesting story on this subject of non-cognitive choices in children. Parents were concerned that their children displayed homosexual behavior in their dress or mannerisms. 20/20 has undertaken a 20 year study to see how many if any, are Gay when they reach adulthood.
Biology and sexuality is a new concept which started testing in the 1940s. To date, no study results have been replicated. Although it has never been conclusively proven, "born that way" is acceptable because it releases us from the guilt of "what did I do wrong." For many who believe in choice, we think of "born" as a heterosexual bias. Why aren't we doing tests to find out what makes people heterosexual or does it really make a difference?
The National PFLAG organization has published a booklet, "Why Ask Why?" Frank, like Socrates, believes that the unexamined life is not worth living. He wants to know why he is Gay and wants this information available to anyone who asks. There are other questions? For those of us who were once in a happy and fulfilling relationship with a member of the opposite gender, we would hope to better understand our own lives and needs. For those of us who believe in taking responsibility for who we are, we wish to understand the reasons that we are attracted to someone regardless of their gender.
We have the opportunity, according to Frank, to overcome the heterosexual labeling myths. I appreciate this thinking. However, I believe that we feel safe in tribes so we make up labels such as butch, fem, bear, etc. to be linked with our like kind. Are we serving ourselves with these labels? I've never thought so because labels simply inhibit our need for unity in the overall Gay community - male and female.
Frank was a panelist on the Donahue Show in 1992 speaking on behalf of "choice." He was also invited to be a guest speaker on Talk Live. He has been a lecturer at dozens of conferences and hopes that someday PFLAG New Orleans will invite him to be part of their speaker series. I asked the tenacious ACT-UP veteran why PFLAG was so important to him. The Children! They can't do anything for you and me but they can help/educate parents and young Gay people to embrace a positive attitude toward both groups of Gay people. There should be no shame or embarrassment by either "born" or "choice."
"I do not wish to change anyone's opinion," he insists. "I just want people to think, respect differences and be proud of who they are." He is correct on that point. I can remember how difficult it was for me to tell people who knew me before and then again after my marriage how very much I miss and loved Chuck Pizanie. We should never be embarrassed to love and share a ourselves with someone that loves us in return.
If you have never been attracted to or had sexual contact with the opposite sex, chances are that you could have been born Gay. I know that I made a choice and I'M glad of it. I sincerely hope that PFLAG will address this side of our homosexuality. Frank is a joy to listen to, a wealth of knowledge and respectful of diversity.
I have avoided the technical aspects of the "choice" information. You can read that for yourself at Frank's Web site: members.aol.com/QBCHOICE and if you wish to contact him via E-mail: FRANKAQ@aol.com.
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