It is persuasive to think that gay people are ‘born that way’, appealing to basic principles of tolerance, while reassuring the majority that support for minority rights will not impinge on their own prerogatives…. It reassures people more won’t choose to jump ship from traditional society. It is also about believing that gay people cannot help the way we are and therefore should not be on the receiving end of prejudice.
The positive side of the nature, or essentialist, argument… can mean that heterosexuals having difficulty coming to terms with a loved one or colleague who is gay can rest assured that it is not catching; and for those who make the laws, policies and rules, thinking that ‘gayness’ is an inherent condition means that any sanctions against it are pointless…
The nature line also gives the impression to bigots and sceptics that no one would actually choose such a lifestyle, and that everyone who is gay just can’t help it, otherwise they would be straight.
Obviously, the argument that being lesbian or gay is a choice gives the bigots an opportunity to argue that we should be made to live a straight life. After all, goes the logic, if one can choose to be gay, then one can choose to be heterosexual.