Thursday, June 30, 2011


We hear a lot about whether other people's choices about what to do with their bodies is "natural."

Two cis women, or two cis men, for that matter, who have sex with each other are held to be "unnatural" because they can't reproduce without scientific help and a donor of some kind.  Heterosexual couples who don't want children are called "unnatural" because apparently everyone should want to pass on their DNA regardless of whether it's actually a good idea for them to do so.  Women who like sex are "unnatural" because sex is really just for heterosexual couples and, in that context, it's just supposed to be all about men's satisfaction; women are just supposed to lie back and think of dinner or jewellery or marriage or whatever else it is that the man is supposed to have given them in payment for sex.  (Pardon the pun, but fuck that.)  People who are in polyamorous relationships are called "unnatural" because everyone knows that no normal human being has ever been able to love more than one person at one time.

And perhaps the most vitriolic rants about the "unnatural"-ness of people's desire and decisions to do as they please with their own bodies are levelled against people who, for one reason or another, don't stick to society's still-rigid ideas about what women and men should be.  Trans people, Genderqueer people, drag queens and kings, tomboys, girls who like science, boys who like the colour pink, and anyone who subverts the concept of gender or (as in the case of the child whose parents refuse to reveal hir gender to the rest of the world, many people in which seem to be disturbingly interested in knowing what kind of genitalia said child possesses) completely throws the concept out the window...all of them are dismissed and even attacked for being "unnatural."

As if being "natural" were the only yardstick by which we can measure whether it's right or wrong for a person to be doing something.

Being yourself to the best of your ability to do so is a hell of a lot more natural than playing golf, but I've never heard any big moral outcry against people who hit the links.  (Jokes about doctors who golf when they're supposed to be working don't count and are not welcome.)  Making music isn't natural.  Wearing clothes isn't natural (though it's a good idea when it's cold outside, and if you try not wearing clothes outside of your own home or a nudist colony, you normally run a very heavy risk of being arrested or otherwise punished in most societies).  Space exploration isn't natural.  Watching TV, driving cars or riding bikes, domesticating animals, agriculture, science, medicine, any concept of justice we've been able to form, pretty much all of the Arts and Humanities, playing sports, cooking our food, even (Dare I say it?  YES!) involvement in religious and/or spiritual activities...all completely not natural.  Granted, some similar behaviours to some of these things do exist in other species, but for the most part, these things (especially in combination) are things that only humans do.  We're unlike any other species that currently exists on this planet.

To be human, in short, is to be extremely unnatural.

So don't talk to me about whether someone else's choices regarding their own lives and bodies are "natural".  Unless you want to renounce everything that humans have made and done, which would include any and every luxury you've ever enjoyed in your life (even the most basic things like the clothing that replaces the fur we don't have and the languages that let us communicate with other humans), then as far as I'm concerned, you have no right to look down on other people for being "unnatural."

They may be unnatural...but as long as you're a human being, so are you.

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