The Analysis paper: The Gay Option

The Analysis paper: The Gay Option

“The Gay Option” is a compelling and persuasive text written by Stephanne Fairyington. The writer’s thesis is that the issue of gay and the entire LGBT should be argued from the perspective of choice rather than biology. Fairyington argues that gay activism should move away from the argument that homosexuality is innately determined (biological perspective) to the view that human beings can choose between options. He observes “until homosexuality is cast and understood as a valid choice, rather than a biological affliction, we will never rise above our current status” (50).

The writer uses various strategies and techniques that are intended to appeal to the audience for persuasion. The writer uses the strategy of parallelism.This is where the writer rhetorically frames words to come up with structural similarity. This strategy is evident in the first paragraph. She starts “I came out to my mother in a letter. I was 28. I was born this way, I wrote” (50). The writer starts other sentences with “I” and this is only evident in the first paragraph. This means that she used it as a well calculated strategy. Further, the writer has used figurative language such as the use of metaphor as a technique in the text. This is a technique that involves the use of indirect comparison for seemingly unlike things. Metaphor also encompasses the substitution of one thing for the other to suggest similarity. This is evident in the first paragraph- “If there were a straight pill… I’d swallow it faster than you can say the word gay” (50). This is what the writer had told her mother when she was 28. The writer also uses metaphor where she likens description of homosexuality as biological to “drowning in a sea of self-disgust, desperately grasping for a heterosexual lifeboat to sail my way out of it” (50). The language in this last sentence is also figurative.

Another technique and strategy that the writer is using is rhetorical question. The text has many expressions that are meant to be question but not worth immediate answers. She for example asks “but would my mother have been as sympathetic and tolerant if she thought I had a choice in the matter?” There is also evidence that the writer has used enumeratio technique in her text. Enumeratio encompasses listing of problems, factors, causes, conditions and so on in a way that is visible that they being listed. In the text, the author lists the reasons for Born Gay model of sexuality (51-52). She starts with first…second…third and this shows that she is using enumeratio technique. The strategy of chronology is also used by the writer. This is description of situation, event or phenomena in sequence or chronological order. On page 51, she recounts how the discourse on sexuality has been conducted. She starts with the 1970s, then the 1980s and 1990s. She does this to show how the discourse has changed over time.

The writer uses the identified strategies and techniques for various reasons. She for instance uses the hook-up strategy to catch the attention of the readers. She uses the story to show how successful the advocacy for homosexuality has been since the use of the model of choice than biological determinism. She for example shows in the end that her mother accepted homosexuality on the perspective of choice rather than the previous perspective of nature that she had used. In addition, the writer uses figurative language- metaphor and simile to keep the readers on.

The writer is making a convincing argument because of the style/techniques she is using, the tone and the facts. She has also built credibility (ethos) and appeals to the readers’ emotions (pathos). She is also illustrating (part of techniques) using very salient examples of change like that of her mother. The writer is also convincing because tone in the text. The tone used in the text is earnest (intense and sincere) and erudite (learned and polished/scholarly) and this contributes towards convincing the readers. She uses facts (logos) or factual statements such as claiming that everyone has choices and decisions. Credibility (ethos) is built in the text by recourse to other scholars and authors such as Kinsey by incorporating their ideas into her text. The virtue of being victim of non-acceptance also builds the writer’s credibility. She appeals to the readers’ emotions (pathos) by for instance showing the sorry state of her mother and how she came to accept her daughter’s lesbianism. The writer also builds a common ground (Rogerian argument) with readers as a way of persuading them. She for instance says that all people desire and can desire to have many things including religious affiliation.

Further, the Toulmin argument- claim of policy is used by the writer to persuade the readers. She cites that biological explanation of sexuality makes it (sexuality) firm and absolute as race or sex hence being covered in civil rights legislation. Toulmin argument- warrant is evident in the text. The writer argues that advocacy for sexuality should be pegged on the perspective of choice rather than nature, otherwise LGBTs “will never rise above our current status” (50). The unstated warrant is that arguing from biological perspective contributes to poor LGBT advocacy.


Works Cited

Fairyington Stephanne.The Gay Option. 2010. Accessed 31 January 2015<>







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