Guest Column — Stand Up For LGBT Youth; ‘There Is Nothing Wrong With Us’

By Jerry Javier

One day, shortly after school let out, I walked up to a table full of high school, and middle school students all waiting to get picked up. As I gathered by belonging from the crowded table I caught the end of a conversation which, at first seemed to be of no interest to me. I listened as a boy from the junior class informed everyone else at the table about how little he actually knew about human sexuality. He stated, “Well, gay people choose to be gay.” At that moment I was hit with the sad reminder that some people still think that being gay is a choice. Stunned, I asked, “Do you honestly think people would choose to be treated like second class citizens?” He replied, “Well, I don’t know how gay people think.” Not wanting to spend the next few minutes arguing with ignorance, I called over a young middle schooler who I knew had gay parents. I asked him, “Alex, do think your two dads both chose to be gay?” He replied with a confused look on his face, “What? Of course not. My dads were born gay. Duh!” After that nothing more needed to be said.

I am sometimes astounded when I remember that some people still think being gay is a choice. It’s like a slap in the face. When you are surrounding by people who are fairly progressive it can be easy to forget that there is an outside world that is full of people who are ignorant, and/or hateful. To anyone who is gay, lesbian, transgender, using their ability to understand others, or anything in between, it is obvious that being queer is not a choice. After all, who would deliberately become a target for hate? Who would deliberately put themselves in harm’s way? If being queer is a choice, then why aren’t there more straight people converting to homosexuality (that’s the gays’ ultimate agenda, right?). Many parents of LGBT children will tell you that they knew their child was queer, or “different”, from a very young age, long before our young minds could comprehend the ideas of human sexuality. My mother must have known I was gay when I insisted on spending $100 on makeup sets when my birthday finally arrived. How could the natural intuition of so many parents be so wrong about their own children? There are those who feel that the parents’ natural instincts amounts to nothing. It’s a choice after all. Unfortunately a greater understanding among everyone in our society takes time.

Some people might wonder why it even matters that some people think being gay is a  choice. In fact, the ideology that teaches that gay people choose to be gay is very dangerous. It allows people to persecute the LGBT community based on the belief that their sexual sin, and queer ways are a choice. It enables people to justify their bigotry and hate with the belief that the “sin” LGBT people and all queer people commit isn’t a result of the way they were born. And if someone is choosing to do something “wrong”, then their actions are punishable. If those who use religion to justify bigotry acknowledged that LGBT people were born gay then they would have to entertain the idea that the LGBT community deserve equality, and civil rights, because the person they are is no a result of choice. How can you persecute a group of people for something that is innate? In the mind of the religious followers the beating, and bullying of LGBT people is justified because the gays are choosing this way of life, they are actively choosing to sin and go against God’s will, and that makes punishment okay.

While some people feel that being gay is a choice punishable by cruel beatings, others view it as sickness that can be cured. This view sometimes spares LGBT people from violent reactions. It can spare LGBT people from a punishment just like we spare mentally ill killers from the electric chair, because both are considered to be sick. Both are considered to have done something that was out of their control. But when you treat something as a sickness it isn’t any better. Those who are convinced that you could some how pray the gay away, and “cure” someone, are sadly mistaken. You can’t pay the gay away like a terminal illness. You can’t cure someone if there is nothing wrong with them. What’s worse, and it is very sad, is when an LGBT person begins to believe that the way there were born is a sign of sickness. It was very disconcerting when gay people stood up and testified against the legalization of gay marriage in Hawai‘i. It is saddening to see people who have been told so many times that their being is wrong. And it’s even worse when other LGBT people actively try and deny other their rights because they believe the horrid lies that have been fed to them.

When it comes down to the plain and simple, saying that people are gay, or queer, by choice is a way of justifying the harm that is done to these people. If they are doing something wrong by “choice” then it’s okay to punish them, right? People may not understand that people like myself were born this way. But, one day people will acknowledge that being gay isn’t a choice. LGBT people will no longer be in a panopticon that promotes scrutiny of a person’s being. They will no longer be able to justify hate. They would no longer be able to call those who are different sick, or evil; because there is nothing wrong with us.

Jerry Javier, an LGBT teenager born and raised in Puna, is a senior at the Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science. He is also an aspiring advocate for LGBT youth.



7 replies
  1. NeighborWatch
    NeighborWatch says:

    One day..? Well don’t hold your breath. Blacks still haven’t found equality, women don’t have equality, gays won’t any faster than them. We live in a NOT FREE society. IF you have lots of money it doesn’t matter what you are. Unfortunately everyone is born ignorant and many choose to remain so all their lives, happy just learning off TV and movies where prejudices are promoted more often than not.
    MOST people don’t get educated even with a dozen years of school, which is the limit for the majority, IF that much. Many opt out and finish there schooling at the “School of Hard Knocks” and everyone knows that’s a sad school for enlightenment.
    Males are sheep. They fall into the ‘norm’ by dress and by manner. For 70 years the stupid white T-shirt has been a reflection of an empty brain. The military buzz hair cut is the de-humanization for the sheeple just trying “to be normal”. Like the base average is desirable. Watching, ‘super stars’ has become the model, being one requires too much effort.

    Be the super star that you are, ignore the lemmings.

  2. L
    L says:

    A pessimistic view, NW. While I appreciate your sentiment, did you ever think you would see a teen defending his being on a public forum? The world is definitely changing.
    Jerry, you are amazing!!!!!!!

  3. lisa
    lisa says:

    Jerry, you are more than an aspiring advocate. You are there. Thanks for being a voice for acceptance, not just tolerance.

  4. Ken
    Ken says:

    My wife and I and our 4 kids lived in city after city – moving from here to there – sometimes in 6 month intervals back in the late 70’s and most of the 80’s.

    We did settle in Denver, Co for the longest period – almost 3 years.

    Around the mid 80’s.

    At that time, our 4 kids were a Senior, Junior, Sophomore and Freshman in High School.

    One of my oldest son’s friends announced he was gay. My son had no issue, my other children had no issue, my wife had no issue, I had no issue and 99.9% of his schoolmates and their parents had no issue. His father had no issue.

    His mother, on the other hand, had big issues.

    As we did back then, most of the local kids “hung out” at our house.

    One summer Saturday Night, as was most cases in the summers, we had the typical barbecue with all our children’s friends and parents over.

    The mother of the friend of our oldest son took my wife aside and told her all her “issues.”

    The biggest “issue” she had was how could her son “choose” to be gay.

    My wife, who seemingly has the perfect approach to what some could call embarrassing social situations asked her:

    “Do you love your son?”

    The Mother says “why yes, of course.”

    My wife then asks, “Would you do anything for your son?”

    Again, Mother says “why yes, of course.”

    My wife said to her – “well, if it’s his choice to be gay, and you truly believe that, and you truly love your son, and would do anything for him, then why don’t you choose to be a lesbian – and try that for a year or so?”

    My son’s best friend’s mother broke down.

    And realized at that moment her son was gay.

    By nature.

    And an interesting side note.

    Son Number 2 married Son Number 1’s best friend’s sister.

    So, Mother is now Mother –In- Law!

    And fully understands the difference between nature and choice.

  5. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    Mahalo Jerry –
    Your braveness will go far.
    Two points I’d like to expand, first, homophobia keeps us all, gay and straight, unfree. Our children can’t be raised free if there is the constant ‘conditioning’ to make sure they ‘stay straight’, (i.e. the 3 yr old boy slapped, ridiculed, humiliated for wearing a dress or expressing other ‘girly’ behavior.)
    Secondly; can we please start with the assumption that gay sex is perfectly fine, regardless of whether one is born ‘gay’ or not. We all know people, and some of us are people who were born ‘that way’,
    but I don’t think that should be the ultimate rationale for
    LGBT rights and liberation.
    For true liberation it needs to not matter, whether I was born LGBT, or whether I simply choose non-straight closeness, there is nothing ‘nasty’ about my sexual choices. Period.
    Thanks again.

  6. NeighborWatch
    NeighborWatch says:

    No “L” it’s not pessimistic, it’s 50 years knowing how the person feels. I’m not gay, but I’m bi-gender. And I KNOW the majority of the public is ignorant on this and so many other subjects.
    I have lived in more places than most people because traveling was what I did for 20 years. Being excepted for being ‘different’ usually only happens in major cities where there is community of like persons. San Francisco, New Orleans, Key West, P. Town are/were meccas for gays and ‘others’. Detroit, Tucson, Akron or Cheyenne not so much.

    WHEN YOU, have your own life experience to speak from and not, my friend…. then YOU can call me pessimistic.
    My sister announced she was gay after my mom died and divorced her husband split up the 4 kids up and moved in with her girlfriend. Had she done that before my mom died I doubt she would have been Trustee of her trust.
    My mom loved all her kids but she was a died hard Rush Limbaugh fan.
    On a public form did I ever think I’d see a teen….
    Hello?, Google it, there are thousands of forms for all variations and inclinations these days. Not so 50 years ago.
    Still those are forms with like minded individuals, that’s NOT walking down the street.
    I believe a brave new world will be the NWO before I believe there will be general acceptance of all peoples, religions, races, genders and sexual preferences. Which are not the same.

    Biological sex and cultural gender happen irrespective of sexual orientation. To most all of that is too confusing so they make up crap like , “it’s a sin.”

  7. Jerry Javier
    Jerry Javier says:

    I thank you all for the feedback you have contributed to my articles. It is very enlightening, educational, and it makes me want to continue to write. 🙂

    I am currently trying to get enough scholarships, grants, and donations to pay for tuition at UC Berkeley. I’ll be headed there in the fall as a freshman! I hope to be able to go to the college of my dream and continue to write in the future. If you’re interested in contributing visit .

    Thank you again for your feedback. 🙂

    Jerry Javier

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