If not for the fact that many of us grew up already steeped in the Born That Way narrative, I think more people would see this as the massive insult that it is. In this view, being [insert marginalized identity here] is only okay because they didn’t choose it, the poor things, they were born that way, and if they could change it, they would! Few liberals will say this out loud, but even tolerant people often maintain the belief that marginalized identities are inherently inferior and that of course those people would choose to be normal if they could.

That is insulting and oppressive.

It’s also why so many people, marginalized and privileged alike, are so uncomfortable with the idea that trauma can alter identities that are presumed to be congenital. Many deny that such identities are valid at all, which is how you get comments like, “Just because you had some shitty boyfriends doesn’t mean you have to turn lesbian!” or “Just because you had a bad experience in church doesn’t mean you have to become an atheist!” My first thought was always, Well, they didn’t have to, but they did…

Miri on identity.

The “born this way” narrative is useful but, for what it’s worth, I don’t think it should be the be-all-and-end-all of identity politics, particularly when you start talking about things like sexuality and gender.

Honestly, I think if your so-called “acceptance” of other people’s difference is hinged on an argument that basically boils down to “the poor dears can’t help themselves” then, yeah. That’s… maybe not so accepting?1

  1. And also possibly explains a lot of, say, TERF-esque hate against drag queens, for example, now that I’m really thinking about it. []