Sexual orientation as a choice?

So I was just pondering the statement that “straight” people don’t choose to be straight. Of course, the über-religious will say that’s because it’s the natural order of things…the way we’re created. But if someone is physiochemically wired a certain way, doesn’t that imply that God either makes mistakes or that God is a watchmaker rather than a timepiece? To avoid that theological quagmire, they equate homosexuality with sin and since sin necessarily depends on choice, sexual orientation must therefore be a choice as well. It seems to me that the blindly religious are spending way more energy trying to avoid the theological heavy lifting than it would take to just sit patiently and meditatively for understanding to come. Theophilosophy shouldn’t weaken one’s faith; it should strengthen and deepen it. As an axiom, a sovereign deity cannot err and all people must have the same free will. So shouldn’t it be the case that if heteros don’t choose to be hetero, homos don’t choose to be homo?

Gender Equality in the Shadow of 1960s Civil Rights

The outside temperature reached 103° F one recent July afternoon in south Georgia. I once experienced even hotter temperatures in Spain a decade ago, but the gulf humidity here is a beast of a different kind. I bounced to a thrift store in search of extensively used (i.e. breathable) medical scrubs. Little did I know that this simple mission would ignite a profound inquiry into gender equality.

I did not find scrubs suited to my quest, but hanging right beside the roundabout was a plain, charred olive A-line miniskirt. It struck me as an even better heat-buster and the skirt looked so sensible and professional as to remind me of my days in the corporate offices of a large regional bank. Gender equality afforded women the option to wear pants many decades ago so what was stopping me from enjoying the comfort of a skirt? As progressive as that bank was in its employee policies, I think management would have fairly and intellectually considered the prospect. Unfortunately, I suspect my subsequent world of public academia is not as capable of cerebral contemplation on issues of gender normativity.

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Why I Wear Skirts

One roastingly hot July day in 2016 I decided to wear a skirt and I haven’t looked back since. Sure, I see the curiosity in others’ eyes and on their faces, but it is surprising how few people actually ask me about it. This is, after all, the deep south far from international megatropolises like Miami, Los Angeles, and New York where cultural anomalies might be more commonplace. Perhaps my fellow southerners just want to avoid the appearance of rudeness, and I respect that. Even so, a few days ago a local librarian lamented that I had not blogged my experience and this led me to think that just maybe the public at large might be interested in my personal reasons and my social message.

As a starter, I deny that skirts are exclusively feminine garments. The American celebrities Jaden Smith, Marc Jacobs, and Jared Leto regularly wear skirts and skirt-like garments, as do countless Scotsmen, Japanese, Indonesians, Fijians, Samoans, and roughly one billion Indian and Arab men.

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On Striving for Gender Neutrality

I once experienced a freak Saharan heatwave with highs over 40° C while studying in Madrid. It was a dry heat, though, and very different from one recent 103° F July afternoon in south Georgia. I bounced to a thrift store in search of some well-worn (breathable) medical scrubs and that’s when I saw it: the plain, charred olive A-line mini. It struck me as the ultimate heatbuster and looked so sensible and professional that it triggered a brief flashback to my days in the corporate offices of a large regional bank and I wondered, as progressive as the bank was, if I would have been permitted to elect its female dress code. On second thought, I have no desire to cross-dress, but shouldn’t gender equality give men the option to wear skirts just as it gave women the option to wear pants many decades ago? As counterintuitive as it might be, I suspect the bank would have been much more cerebral than most universities in contemplating such questions. This being a summer break, I decided to test the waters and having donned various skirts for three weeks now, I reflect upon deeply disconcerting truths.

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Anoche, Cuando Dormía

Cursando en la Universidad de Alcalá en 2002 con la Dra. Susana Cavallo, tuvimos la tarea de buscar y recitar un poema que «nos conmoviera». Luego de una larga búsqueda, una amiga madrileña me sugirió el siguiente escrito por Antonio Machado.

Anoche, cuando dormía,
soñé, ¡bendita ilusión!,
que una fontana fluía
dentro de mi corazón.
Di, ¿por qué acequia escondida,
agua, vienes hasta mí,
manantial de nueva vida
en donde nunca bebí?

Anoche, cuando dormía,
soñé, ¡bendita ilusión!,
que una colmena tenía
dentro de mi corazón;
y las doradas abejas
iban fabricando en él,
con las amarguras viejas
blanda cera y dulce miel.

Anoche, cuando dormía,
soñé, ¡bendita ilusión!,
que un ardiente sol lucía
dentro de mi corazón.
Era ardiente porque daba
calores de rojo hogar,
y era sol porque alumbraba
y porque hacía llorar…

Anoche, cuando dormía,
soñé, ¡bendita ilusión!,
que era Dios lo que tenía
dentro de mi corazón.