By Michael Stodola Special to Published Apr 18, 2012 at 6:04 PM

On an Easter trip back home in Nebraska, I’m in my brother’s backyard sitting by a fire and chit-chatting about life. Somehow our conversation turns into an area between politics and lifestyle, and he casually made a very definitive statement about homosexuals "choosing to be gay." I’m paraphrasing, of course, not having recorded the conversation…

"I’m sorry. What?," I ask.

"People choose to live that way," he returns.

"I’m sorry. WHAT?!," I ask again.

"It’s a lifestyle people choose. They want to be gay," he explains.

As if it were an illicit drug, or some other lowly vice, it was his opinion that "these people" were engaging in homosexuality, and could stop if they would just "straighten up." I was flabbergasted. (I’ve never used the word "flabbergasted" so correctly before.) And in another discussion with a different "Christian" relative here at home, I heard, yet again, the same opinion. Yes, flabbergasted x 2.

Now, for the sake of argument, let’s table homosexuality for now.

Attraction, as a rule, doesn’t ask permission. We, as animals, have no control over whether or not we love crab cakes, or John Coltrane songs, or BMWs. We employ our senses to see, taste, touch, smell or hear something, and we like it or we don’t. Most of the time, we can’t explain why, either. I love scuba diving. My wife hates scuba diving.

And speaking of my wife, the moment I first saw her, she was sitting at the bar at Von Trier’s. I came in after a Brewers game and sat next to her. We had a Guinness and talked about film, Cindy Sherman and advertising and I knew I would be sitting next to her for the rest of my life. I was head over heels.

I had no choice in the matter.

To choose what to love or desire is to be manufactured. Plastic toys are manufactured. Humans, as you well know, have diverse tastes and styles and those preferences are sewn into our DNA before we pop out of the oven. Sure, liking certain things can be enhanced or developed, like the appreciation of red wine or a Björk album, but we are who we are.

We love whom we love in our hearts and souls. To attempt to regulate relationships for yourself or anyone else is futile, not to mention cruel. And to the naysayers: Pedophiles or other desperate people don’t "love" the objects of their lust, they stalk them in an attempt to satisfy a need. Homosexuality is not a disease. (Disclaimer over.)

I talk a lot about branding from a corporate perspective and being true to what defines your organization. And like that branding I develop at my day job, we all should embody and embrace the truth within our personal lives. Say it loud. Say it proud.

Michael Stodola Special to
Michael Stodola is the Creative Director at Boelter + Lincoln – a Milwaukee advertising agency. He loves his job, but not as much as he loves scuba diving, crab cakes or playing with his kids. His favorite thing is sneaking off for dates with his hottie wife. Born and raised in Nebraska, he’s been calling Milwaukee home for well over 10 years. After Michael’s impending death, he’d like to return to this world as your next American Idol®.