In the LGBTQIA+ community, it’s common knowledge that being queer is not a choice. We don’t sit down and ponder who we want to be attracted to. But for some reason that’s beyond my understanding, many straight people feel the need to ask “Why are you gay then?” This question is rude and very personal; can you imagine how they’d react if you asked them the same question? Nevertheless, “We’re born this way!” is a strong, common response and it’s not an unfair one. However, I’d like to add a qualifier that claims. When “we” represents the queer population, the quote should read “We may or may not be born 100% this way, depending on the individual.” (Of course, this is a hypothetical situation- no one should feel the need to answer that outrageously personal question.)

Please, before you label me a bigot, take a second to see my point of view. I’ve been attracted to all genders since I was a child. I used to consider myself fully and equally pansexual but then I suffered some horribly abusive situations with a couple of men. Ever since that dark time, the thought of being sexual with men just isn’t appealing anymore. Every day I find myself being less and less attracted to men, yet still fully attracted to women. This isn’t meant to be a sob story, but it’s a very strong example of trauma or experiences having an impact on a person’s sexuality. If I were abused by women, I’d probably be less attracted to them and more to men, proving that experiences can alter sexual identity. I believe that one must be born with same-sex attraction, that can’t be learned or taught. But sexual attraction to a gender can fade, at least from my observations, due to experiences. This isn’t to say that trauma is a qualifier for being queer, but it shouldn’t be completely written out of the equation.

You may argue that in my situation, my sexuality didn’t change but only my preference. That may be true, but the case that experience can alter sexual orientation even in the slightest is there.

Whether a person was born with their sexuality or they have developed a part of their sexual orientation through their experiences, they should still be taken seriously. A queer person’s orientation shouldn’t be taken lightly just because they’ve been through trauma. No one else besides the individual should know or even care how their sexuality was developed. Lastly, no one should look into anyone else’s sexuality’s origins but their own. It’s healthy to be self-aware, but it’s just plain rude and even a little weird to be that concerned with someone else’s orientation.