Dear Abby | Florida

Dear Abby to Bigot: Gay People Are 'Born That Way'

History repeats itself, and as the saying goes, those who don't learn from it are doomed to repeat it.

PhilipsEchoing the famous 1979 letter in which Abby told a writer who took issue with the same-sex "weirdos" in their neighborhood that they "could move," a couple in Tampa, Florida moved into a new neighborhood and took issue with the two same-sex couples in the local social circle.

Despite being welcomed by everyone, when it was time for the new couple to host a gathering they deliberately excluded the same-sex couples, citing not wanting to compromise their "values" (of which "love thy neighbor as thyself" is evidently not one), and are now perplexed by the sudden shunning they are experiencing from the rest of the community. 

Abby took the time to set them straight, so to speak, starting with the direct statement, 

[R]egardless of what you were told in your previous community, a person's sexual orientation isn't a "lifestyle choice." Gay people don't choose to be gay; they are born that way. They can't change being gay any more than you can change being heterosexual.

While never being cruel, Abby takes them to task and lets them know that they have a golden opportunity here and not to blow it.

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  1. I like this new Dear Abby.

    Posted by: Cary Chauvet | Feb 22, 2014 9:46:06 AM

  2. It's always lovely when a well-recognized, well-respected columnist has an opportunity to disseminate some common sense about "values" to conservatives who might actually be receptive to it. You've gotta figure, if those folks are reading her column and even asking her for advice, they've found some worth in what she says and are more likely to listen.

    Posted by: sparks | Feb 22, 2014 9:49:38 AM

  3. Ah the hypocrisy of feeling bad about being treated they way they treat others. Screw Christers.

    Posted by: Steve | Feb 22, 2014 9:53:18 AM

  4. I expect the good Xtians were serving up shellfish while wearing cotton and poly blend slacks and were probably on their second/third/fourth marriage (cause marriage is sacred!).

    Posted by: bkmn | Feb 22, 2014 10:20:53 AM

  5. The bigots should get used to shunning, it's going to be their future.

    Maybe they really DO reap what they sow.

    Posted by: jonnathewoodswoman | Feb 22, 2014 10:58:40 AM

  6. You may want to remember that Abigail Van Buren has always been a pseudonym. The original was Pauline Phillips, who started writing in 1956 and fully retired in 2002. Her identical twin sister, Esther, wrote the advice column Ann Landers.

    From 2000 to 2002, Pauline co-wrote Dear Abby with her daughter, Jeanne, who took over the column completely in 2002.

    Posted by: Gregory in Seattle | Feb 22, 2014 11:19:34 AM

  7. This is the kind of education campaign about gay people that should have happened in America 50 years ago. Being gay is no more a "lifestyle choice" than being left-handed is a "lifestyle choice".

    Posted by: Kieran | Feb 22, 2014 11:50:25 AM

  8. good response, but abby's three-word 1979 response was priceless

    Posted by: woody | Feb 22, 2014 12:20:55 PM

  9. Too bad its false information. All humans are born bi sexual but differ in the amount of attraction toward the sexes. It's a moral choice to act on it, and this is why such a big deal was made in the past when people were ignorant about basic science and made crude associations about right and wrong.

    No longer are left handed people put to death (or as recently as 1950s in USA forced to write only with the right hand).

    Or epilepsy, diabetes, and malaria caused by bad air and sinful living (1800s).

    Or having a spell put on you by enemies to make you sneeze. (1600s Massachusetts).

    This is why the people with twisted religious beliefs that having sex outside of marriage only for the purpose of childburtg is sinful know that they themselves make a choice not act on their natural attraction to the same sex. WE NEED TO PUSH BACK ON THE MORAL ARGUMENT. IT'S MORAL AND NATURAL TO BE ATTRACTED TO ANY SEX YOU PERSONALLY WANT AND YOU SHOULD HAVE EQUAL RIGHTS AND RESPECT.

    Posted by: steve talbert | Feb 22, 2014 12:47:03 PM

  10. Why is Dear Abby getting so much attention here? Because she is serving up talking points we want to hear?

    Posted by: will | Feb 22, 2014 1:01:13 PM

  11. The Dear Abby and Dear Ann columns are mixed bag of real, fake, hoaxes, repeats and very broad advice, but at least the editors (the columns are not written by a single person) were always generally gay supportive, or at least after Rock Hudson died of AIDS. There were some mixed messages before that.

    Posted by: anon | Feb 22, 2014 1:28:43 PM

  12. Good answer!

    And I'm laughing at "Unhappy in Tampa's" complaint that "I don't feel we should have to compromise our values just to win the approval of our neighbors." Yet, somehow she thinks her neighbors should compromise THEIR values just to win the approval of the new bigots on the block.

    Posted by: Fox | Feb 22, 2014 1:41:17 PM

  13. I felt her response should have been more harsh, as it softpedalled their bigotry....

    ...but it could have been a lot worse....

    Posted by: TonyJazz | Feb 22, 2014 1:46:52 PM

  14. Great response, but I have this feeling the letter was made up. I guess it doesn't matter since it's not serious journalism.

    Posted by: Scar2 | Feb 22, 2014 1:54:22 PM

  15. @Talbert.. You may have been born bi-sexual. I was definitely not. Just as a left handed person uses the hand that is "right for them".
    My "moral choice" was to be heterosexual. But as I grew older, that "choice" just did NOT work for me.
    I can definitely tell you that it is not a choice for some people. Your choice to say what you wrote was your choice; but please do not make your thoughts a law for everyone else. That would make you a bigot.

    Posted by: Peter | Feb 22, 2014 1:55:09 PM

  16. @Steve Talbert: I agree 100% with Peter. You may have been born bi-sexual, but I was not. I could not force myself to be attracted to a woman, although I tried at one point.

    From some random web page, I found this in an FAQ on bisexuality:

    Q: Didn’t Freud think we’re all bisexual?
    A: Not quite. Freud thought we were all born bisexual, and may develop a preference later in life. Further studies do not support this, but most people have had at least some level of feeling for both genders at some point in their lives.

    Posted by: Neil | Feb 22, 2014 3:56:21 PM

  17. I was a writer to Dear Abby about a dozen years ago as "Hurting in Houston" whose family disowned my partner and I when my parents moved into a Florida gated community and announced we were no longer welcome because they feared their social standing. Some of you probably remember this as Abby's answer created a bit of a national furor when she took my side. She also called me personally twice to check on how we were getting along, and sent me a packet of the supportive letters she had received on the topic. I can assure you, the letter she just published was real, as they all are. She has no need to make this stuff up as she receives thousand of letters each day.

    Posted by: Mikey DallasM | Feb 22, 2014 3:59:48 PM

  18. Sexual orientation is not a choice. BUT it is not genetic either: you are not born with it. It is framed in the brain wiring, very early on in infancy for various and uncontrollable factors. The “born that way” leads to pseudoscience, the most you can find genetically is things that marks sexuality at large, not specifics of whom people are attracted to.
    Sadly this is becoming a useful meme because it is EASIER than having to explain those factors to dumb bigots, but nevertheless it is dangerous. We gays do not have especial genetics, -that even some could deem aberrations- we are equal, our sexuality is not a choice but is not contained in our genetic information. The early stages of infancy are of the utmost importance to many traits in personality that are carried along a person’s life, that’s where the serious focus should be in. Not to “correct” anything by the way, just to stop blabbering pseudoscience.

    Posted by: SAYTHETRUTH | Feb 22, 2014 6:40:40 PM

  19. Talbert:
    It is just a meaningless play of words. You can say every color is both black and white. Black color is a color with zero percentage of whiteness.

    Posted by: Simon | Feb 22, 2014 7:47:25 PM

  20. @Saythetruth: There is new research out which has concluded that being gay (in males anyway), is about 35-40% genetic from what they have learned so far. Found in the region known as Xq28, and in a second genetic region, on chromosome 8.

    It also depends how literal you are about defining 'genetic'; as the chances of being a gay man are also proven to increase by 28-48% for every older brother one has (even if they are raised separately), it's something that happens in-utero. This may not be genetic, it may be hormonal, etc, but all evidence is definitely pointing to sexuality being determined before birth, not in the early childhood years onward.

    Posted by: Samuel | Feb 22, 2014 7:50:00 PM

  21. WILL/BLAKE needs to get a life.

    Posted by: EYEROLL | Feb 22, 2014 10:23:01 PM

  22. Thanks to everyone here for correcting steve talbert and SAYTHETRUTH so I don't have to.

    Too bad TR has the worst antiquated commenting system of any blog on earth.

    Posted by: emjayay | Feb 22, 2014 10:41:23 PM

  23. You can not want it to be true, but the human bush is predisposed for having sex with both sexes. Emotionally is different because emotions involve moral choices as well. The example of a guy having sex with a woman then a guy and finding out they like guys better is proof of that, not an example of how that is wrong. It's bot pseudo science its just a fact of biology. Same with all primates. Particularly bonobos monkeys.

    Posted by: steve talbert | Feb 23, 2014 8:13:40 AM

  24. Human body. Lol with the bush.

    Posted by: steve talbert | Feb 23, 2014 8:14:10 AM

  25. I didn't say people should be forced to be bi sexual or that everyone will be but that our bodies are made specification to allow it. Who cares if its a choice or not. We should all the equal choices. Choosing gay, bi, or straight in terms of how you put your body to use should be equally respected.

    Posted by: steve talbert | Feb 23, 2014 8:19:07 AM

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