OUCH, BOSSMAN, OUCH! Like Mike Tomasky, I'm no fan of knee-jerk political correctness. And while I'm in agreement with most of Tomasky's treatise on the racist name of D.C.'s beloved NFL team, the last sentence of his lead paragraph gave me a start: "And I can�t quite get behind the idea that people who choose to change their sex should be grouped, rights-securing wise, with people who were born gay." As TAPPED's resident queer girl, I feel compelled to respond.

We could argue all day about the mix of nature and nurture that makes a person gay, as science has yet to figure this all out. And if we were to add transgendered people into that argument, I would find myself arguing that transgendered folks most likely no more "choose" their state of being than do gay people. But all of this is beside the point.

I have long felt that gay leaders make a terrible mistake when, instead of just asserting their rights to live as they see fit, they add in the argument, "And besides, we can't help it." That caveat frames the debate in such a way as to say, if we could help it, it would be wrong, but since we can't, cut us a break. The point is, whether or not any of this is a choice is not the issue. The issue is a person's right to his or her essential identity. Religion is a matter of choice, and it is protected. Creed is a matter of choice, and it is protected.

Admittedly, I do have a particular stake in framing the argument this way; as a person of no fixed sexual orientation (the bacon in the GLBT sandwich), my exemption from protection by virtue of being able to "choose" a partner whose gender in concert with mine is approved by society leaves me pretty vulnerable. Either way, in 22 states, I can still be canned from a job for not being hetero.

Whomever a person chooses to sleep with, however she chooses to identify, and whether or not she chooses to become a "he," dear reader, neither picks your pocket nor breaks your leg, to borrow a phrase from Thomas Jefferson. I don't want special rights; I just want equality in the legal system.

--Adele M. Stan