Tim Niles: What is ‘lifestyle’?

May 23, 2013 

What is ‘lifestyle’?

The last line of Steve Ruinsky’s May 17 column “ ‘Tolerance’ isn’t good enough,” is, “Words matter.” And it is the most important part.

The fact that Ruinsky understands the importance of words is why I was so surprised he chose “lifestyle” to include in the piece. Lifestyle is a coded word used by the anti-gay contingent to imply that sexual orientation is a choice.

Everyone, gay and straight alike, makes lifestyle choices. But none of those choices includes one’s sexual orientation.

The dictionary defines lifestyle as “the habits, attitudes, tastes, moral standards, economic level, etc., that together constitute the mode of living of an individual or group.” If someone contends that there is such a thing as a “gay lifestyle,” then it logically follows that there must also be a “straight lifestyle” that all heterosexuals participate in. What is a “straight lifestyle”?

The LGBT community has just as many different lifestyles as the straight community. There are members of the LGBT community in all walks of life enjoying various lifestyles. Please be more careful with the choice of words.

Tim Niles

Raleigh

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