Sunday, February 13, 2011

Born This Way?!

If one more person says to me that I cannot help the way I am, we are going to have a problem.

If one more person tells me this, I am going to do something I will probably live to regret. But then I’ll only end up getting arrested and with my luck, I’ll have a defense attorney who tells the jury, “Do not send Katy to prison! After all, she cannot help the way she is! She was… [drumroll, high hat, Ba-Ba-DUM!] BORN THIS WAY!”

Like there was this one time. It was me, and it was Jack, and that guy with the cauliflower ear who wouldn’t drive you to the airport, and Rufus, and Eggplant and the Glob. I’m not sure who else was there, but Cauliflower Ear Guy was definitely doing the driving.

We were in the van. Plenty of room.

I remember this because Cauliflower Ear Guy kept turning around, all the way around in his seat so he could look me in the eyes when he talked and I thought we were going to run a red light. But we did not run a red light, which only goes to prove that either God loves morons or some lights in Houston never turn red.

And I was drunk or I was stoned, or most probably both, so I did not pay attention to how we got onto the subject. But then there I was, in the van, and he was turned around in his seat looking me in the eyes and he said, “But Katy! You owe it to the com-mun-ity! You have a talent for words, so you have to explain to the rest of the world how we are BORN THIS WAY!”

That’s when I asked to be dropped off right there and then, even though we were all the way down Richmond and Greenbriar and I didn’t have my phone. Well, I didn’t so much ask to be dropped off as I shouted, “I don’t need some Hyde Park queer telling me how I was born! Release me from this Sodomy Wagon this very instant, or so help me…blah blah blah.”

 They got the general idea.

There is a cultural meme that has gone pandemic in recent years, and it states that gaity, lesbiality, and trans-whatcha-got-ism is genetic. That Daddy stood too close to a microwave the night of that hot date with Momma and hoakum, stoke’em and bam! Instant beautiful bouncing Cher fan.

Somehow or other, this whole “BORN THIS WAY” thing is supposed to make everybody else cease and desist in their joke-telling and their institutionalized-discrimination-ing. No one will be nervous around me in the showers at the gym if only I can show that this is what them lawyers like to call an “immutable characteristic.” As though the genetic argument ever worked for American blacks or the fatties or… I don’t know… Canadian “Star Trek” fans.

What I always tell people – and what I would have told Cauliflower Ear Guy that day if I had not been too drunk or too stoned or most probably both – is that it’s not just that the “BORN THIS WAY” mantra is never going to work on the Sarah Palins and Trent Lotts and Benedict XVIs of the world. It’s that it’s insulting, to boot!

Here is the thing: It took me better than a decade, multiple therapists, thousands of diary pages, several debilitating habits, a couple suicide attempts and a couple dozen fist fights to decide what worked for me in my human relationships. I have enough mental and physical scars on me because of it to make THREE whole Katy suits.

Now you’re going to waltz on in here and tell me we could have skipped right to the climactic reveal with a Q-Tip, some saliva, and a high-powered microscope?

You are denying me the importance of my life experience. Hell, you’re practically negating the whole concept of free will.

Pull this goddamned van over this instant, Cauliflower Boy; you and me are going at it, mano a dyko.

If – and they always like this phrase – you people do not stop this nonsense and stop it straightaway, then you will leave me no choice but to declare my undying love for my bedpost and demand recognition of my relationship based on my genetic predisposition. “Yes, you see this gene sequence right here – A, T, G, G, C, A? – we see that all the time in bedpost lovers…”

The DNA Mafia
claims credit again.
And sure, I’d have to put up with all sorts of crap, because Leviticus 12:69 clearly and unambiguously states, “Behold, I am the Lord thy God, and I say unto thee that thou shalt love thy bedpost but thou shalt not LOVE thy bedpost (if thou knowest what thy God means), for it is an abomination and would force thy God to smite thee heartily.”

I’m paraphrasing, I think…

The bedpost lovin’ thing would be great, though, because we’d get to have our own nightclubs and an annual parade, and the Reverend Fred Phelps wouldn’t know what hit him. Yeah…

Anyway, I had some sort of point in saying all of this, initially. I forget now…

Oh yeah: You can call me broken. Just don’t call me “BORN THIS WAY!!” And if one more person says to me that I cannot help the way I am, we are going to have a problem…


  1. Bless you for this. You've said it all, and very well.

    But of course we really were born this way. That is, we were born human. So we get to make choices. We get to decide things. That's where the fun is.

  2. I could see making the choice to be a lesbian. I mean, women are sexy, beautiful and feel nice to touch. I don't really get why anyone would want to have sex with a guy.

  3. I should probably be the bearer of the bad news that Lady Gaga just released a song called "Born This Way."

    Please don't hurt her!
    She can't help how she is. She was born that way.

    (Also, is Dana really the same height as you?)

  4. For the first time in my life, I was hit on by a member of the same sex a couple of weeks back. It was an interesting experience, but noticeably uncomfortable even though it was only over the phone.

    The first thing I did was to do a mental test on myself, to see if the emotions of the moment lead me to have any of the homophobic fears and aggressions that would lead me to shave my head, light up a torch, and go beat up that person with a broomstick. Nope. That would be too much work, and not much fun for a Friday night.

    Frankly, what’s the difference in getting hit on or rejected by any sex? We are either interested or not. Of course we are predisposed to be interested in certain things over others, and humans in general are genetically born to seek the opposite sex. But no one’s life is 100% pre-programmed by some chromosomes and void of chance and self determination. All forms of life have been intricately shaped and intertwined with its surroundings. When the first fish crawled out of the sea, there might have been other fish who yelled, “damn weirdo” or “nahh she’s just born to leave the sea.” But the pioneering fish could be shrugging her shoulders while quipping, “yeah but nobody up here is having me as supper, dumb-asses!”

    I want more same-sex friends like everyone else under the sun, but the fact is that their spouses got more leverage than I do over the use of their time and energy. So even if we are interested in something, doesn’t mean we get to do it, primarily due to all the constrains we have in our “normal” lives. It is therefore more likely for those who live on the edges of human society and thus outside of its norms, for sometimes little fault of their own, to be exposed to and shaped by and intertwined in the abnormal life events and the resulting behaviors.

    For every Nancy Kerrigan, there is guaranteed to be a few Tonya Harding around. And if we can all find and marry our soulmates in life, and not be taken away by the many ills and temptations in the world, then there wouldn’t be so many heartaches, divorces, or homosexuals. But the world is more cruel and random than we like, challenging our morals and resolves all the time.

    I therefore think that the more important thing to discuss and work on is about how we can help ourselves and help each other fix and make up for what’s broken in our lives. Isn’t it?

  5. Sheesh, you seem so angry. I guess maybe you were born that way.

  6. Thanks, Apuleius! I read some stuff by B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) a few years back. And he basically says that everything we ARE and DO is predetermined – we’re basically automatons to events that came before. And I thought even if my genes and prior experiences DO determine what I do today, I can’t KNOW that. It would destroy the idea of free will. So even if it’s true, we have to pretend it’s false. Nobody wants to be told they’re a robot.

    Christopher: I hope that you at least occasionally meet women who do not feel the same way.

    Hi, Dex! I’m a veritable giant, so of course I am way taller than Dana. I’m taller than the average 2nd grader, too. Ask me about the weather up here…

  7. Hi, 5464. Yeah, it seems easy enough to me to say, “No, I’m not interested.” Most if not all people will accept that. I know former CNN/MSNBC/Fox guy Tucker Carlson said he was once hit on while in the bathroom and went back in to beat the guy up later(!), but… Just say no, you know? I think in general, though, genes kind of give you a specific RANGE to go with – like a specific set of colored crayons. I might not have a red crayon at all, but I might have a yellow one. That would mean: a) I CAN’T end up using the red I don’t have, and b) I might or might not end up using the yellow I do have.

    Kev D: If they could get a picture of the double helix of my DNA, there would be little hands sticking out, flipping you the middle finger. I’ve got mean genes. Mean gay genes…

  8. Here’s a proverb you might like:

    A tea house owner greets a reclusive guest he hasn’t seen in a long time, “well how have you been?”


    “Well it can’t be that bad, can it?”

    “It’s hopeless, everything is hopeless.”

    The tea house owner becomes really concerned, and he puts forth an earnest effort as he counters, “but you have to treat a dead horse like a live one, right?”

    The guest looks up, quips as if it is the plain old truth that everyone should have known, “a dead horse can’t be brought back to life, and a live horse will sooner or later die.”

  9. well thanks for the lesson on what not to say. my sister is gay and I must (unknowingly) insult her regularly.

    We all come from different places...
    what triggers me is when people say "I'm going to kill myself" (I being a mother who's son ended his life) please don't make a joke about killing yourself.

  10. 5464: I hope I’m not that pessimistic. I’m probably a pessimist around optimists and an optimist around pessimists. In both cases, I would refer to myself as a “realist,” and in context, I probably am – realism being a counter-weight to whatever the people around me believe.

    Green Monkey: Some people are much easier to offend than others. I hear the “Born This Way” argument mostly from LGBT folks themselves, actually. … But yes, suicide is one of only a handful of topics I don’t think I’d joke about in a blog. Blogs have anonymous readership, and I think you have to know your audience specifically to approach that topic.

  11. justin bieber is human? are you sure?

    this has left me terribly disillusioned. all this time, i thought he was a fembot, hell bent on world domination.

    i was half right, anyway.

    here's my favorite stuff from your post: "Release me form this Sodomy Wagon!" and the label gay, gay, gay.

    and whatever other disagreeable hogwash cauliflowa boy might have spouted, he got one thing right - you do have a talent for words.

  12. Hi Kage… I was reading yesterday where Rolling Stone Magazine interviewed Bieber and started asking him about abortion. Apparently he spoke out against it, but the right answer would have been, “Why the hell are you asking me this?”

    And thank you for the compliment! I’ve had a couple other blog pages over the years, in former lives, and people seem to read them and like some of it, even when I write long and drawn-out pieces. I think “Lesbians in My Soup” is going to be more of a low key affair, which is great because… this stuff can get time-consuming!

  13. Hey, I like the blog. Following.

    BTW, I was born straight. At least I think I was, anyway. Never tried batting for the other team. The way I see it, a penis, like boiled broccoli, is not something I have to try in order to figure out that I don't like it. My brother-in-law, on the other hand, loves to indulge in that. Power to him. It gives him and my lady (his sister) more to bond over (gross).

  14. Welcome aboard!

    Since 1907, the government has been broadcasting high frequency sounds that turn people straight.

    I understand why – they need people to procreate because they need more taxpayers.

    But you must be affected by the sounds, whereas I am not. It doesn’t make me any better than you. Okay, maybe a little better, but don’t sweat it.

    If the government ever turned their contraption OFF, though, you’d be all over that broiled broccoli.

  15. So are you born THIS way, or are you doing THIS all on your own free will?

    I used to believe about your demons. But today I learned about the true creator and keeper of your demons. The prayers are now blasting outside of my windows. I hope you will find your prayer one day that will give you the peace and happiness you have long wanted.

    You are always welcome to come back home when you are finally ready. But for now, stay safe, be good, and go FEEL the senses and the meanings of life that you have searched yet refused to accept all your life.

    What happens next is far less important than what is happening at this very moment, isn’t it. So do you actually know what is happening in this and every other moment of your life?

    Life is good, you know, you have it, you live it, and YOU make it with your own thoughts and actions. We therefore wish you think better and do better for as long as you shall live.

  16. Hi, Anonymous. People who FIND what they’re looking for tend to… become less interesting, less honest, and sort of hardheaded.

    I’m not sure what the hell you’re trying to say here, but I will say this: I don’t know a damn thing. When I write, in order to SAY anything at all, I sort of have to take a position. But I could come right back and take the other side. I don’t want a position to feel neglected!

  17. huh. Lots of food for thought but I can see why the term 'born this way' would be insulting for you, having struggled through life, it's like your decisions are negated by natural seletion. Pretty dumb. Thanks for the eye opener (very funny too:) Love your humor.

  18. Hey, Katie!

    Yes: The only characteristics I would call “genetic” are those things I’m ashamed of. Like being lazy or listening to 80’s music or something.

    Everything else was all my doing.

    Speaking of laziness, it’s been more than a week since I wrote this blog. I need to get off my ass and post a new one…

  19. I don't have a clue tbh. Nature vs nurture? It's probably a combination of both but who really knows.

    For me however, it all comes down to the prospect of having shit on my dick or having an aqeous translucent fluid on my dick. That and whether you like pillow talk and a pretty face or not.

  20. @gman: Whatever floats yer boat, man. But when I do something brilliant or stupid, I like to believe that I somehow decided to do it myself, and not that my genes had GGAT instead of GAAT.

  21. As a big Lady Gaga fan, I love the whole Born This Way thing as a weapon against bigotry, but I can see you're point.
    It's nature and nurture that make our core, and then there's free will.
    The whole argument seems moot and one sided. I like that you see a bigger picture.


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