Nature v. Nurture

It was not too long ago when I started contemplating on how it all began–my so-called being bisexual bordering lesbian. (I prefer not to label it, really.)

Nature. Some people believe that homosexuality is in-born for there are boys and girls who figure on their own, at an early age for others, that they like playing toys or wearing clothes meant for the opposite gender better than what is meant for theirs. And even without exposure to homosexuals (as in the family, with friends, or the media), they find early or later in life that they get attracted to the same sex which validates their sexual orientation.

Such is the case for my second cousin, my closest of all who I grew up with. We were the only playmates in the neighbourhood. He lived with his mentally ill father and grandmother up to his teenage years. The earliest I can recall, he was already effeminate. I remember he would wear his lola’s lipstick, bag and shoes when we played bahay-bahayan. He’d play with my dolls and could improvise doll houses, Barbie’s clothes and “food” for luto-lutuan from almost anything he could get his hands on. He’s good in drawing too and would give me portraits of our favorite Sailor Moon characters. I’m not sure though when he finally acknowledged that he was gay because some time in his 5th grade, he told me he had a girlfriend (who I never saw). I realized he might have just made that up for he kept on being taunted by our uncles in the compound as early as 1st grade for being bakla.

Nurture. Others perceive that being gay is developed through one’s environment like when he is given dolls instead of robots or when she is dressed up with a boy’s clothes instead of a girl’s. Moreover, mingling with gays and lesbians or growing up in a community that “breeds homosexuals” (i.e., all-boys and all-girls schools and LOL at that) could also turn a person into one.

As for me, I had Barbies and Polly Pockets as a kid and can borrow my second cousin’s toy cars. But I didn’t enjoy any of those. I was poor at role playing. I can’t adlib. I didn’t know how to make up stories. I was also disinterested in machines and didn’t know how to play with other kids. What I really had fun with most of the time, if Sailor Moon wasn’t on TV, were pencils, crayons and paint. Sometimes, rubber bands and teks. (Was I in the gray area as early as childhood?)

Then I went to school. After a year in a co-ed nursery, I went to an all-girls Catholic school which became my second home for the next 13 years of my life. It was there when I began liking girls. I was in fifth grade then and had set my eyes on one girl in the campus. She was a soft butch, I guess, the typical heartthrob of a basketball team girls in schools like mine would fall for. I didn’t tell anyone back then, even my closest friends.

It was nice to find that I have friends who also liked girls later on. I felt safe knowing I wasn’t alone. So it was in 6th grade when I started exchanging letters with my friends in other sections. Our correspondences were mostly about our crushes in school. We updated each other every single day. But one day, my mom found those letters in my room and confronted me. Angrily, she asked if I was a lesbian. I said no and made up excuses. (I know, I’ve learned how to invent lies eventually.) I dreaded what she could do to me–I thought she might ask me to quit school or transfer me to another one. And now that I remember, I should’ve been the one raging for the intrusion of my privacy. But, anyway.

I tried un-liking the girl for the sake of consonance. I decided to be straight. Was I successful? Not quite. Did I still write letters with the same topic? Yes. But this time, I was more careful. I kept everything in a box and locked it in my closet. And as time went by, I’ve just become more and more interested in girls and less in boys.

So is being gay a decision? No, it’s not, the same way that heterosexuals did not choose to be straight and falling head over heels for someone isn’t a work of the mind. Again, it is either you’re born with it or you’ve developed it. It just happens. But whether to acknowledge or suppress it is your decision. It’s a decision of who you want to be happy. Unfortunately, in many situations, it’s black or white, you or them. You can’t have the best of both worlds, as the saying goes.

Regressing to the topic, while there is enough evidence to support that nurture is what holds true for me, memories from my childhood (which I prefer not to share) could also prove that I was born gay like my cousin. But up to this point, I’m still unsure.

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