But it is relatively recently in human society, and still not universal, that sexual preference is protected by being put in an "inherent" category rather than the "personal choice" category ...
I don't know what "inherent" or "personal choice" mean to you, but as far as I know there's no convincing evidence showing a particular etiology of sexual preferences (end even if those did exist, it wouldn't necessarily shed any light on "choice"). I'm not even aware of a convincing argument that sexual preference is a meaningful category. None of the models I've read even attempt to account for all of the diversity.
I think "choice" is irrelevant here. To be sure, the term "choice" can be useful
as a descriptive shorthand
(and I use it myself in that sense), but it has limited independent ontological content. The real reason that we shouldn't judge people for their sexual preferences is not because the preferences are "inherent", but because those preferences don't say anything negative about the person in question, and in particular do not reflect adversely on that person's character. A characteristic being "inherent" is a fragile basis on which to build protection for individual rights, not only because of the philosophical difficulties with choice
, but also because acting
on sexual preferences is itself a choice
, and therefore a theory of rights based on "choice" protects only the preference and not the actions. The "choice" theory can't even deal with certain formalistic arguments
against equal rights in the public sphere.
I briefly weighed in on the weight debate back on October 4, 2015
, and my position has not changed since then. I think it's in poor taste to criticise people for their weight, but my analysis does not rely on "choice" or lack thereof. Instead, I just think that weight by itself
doesn't tell you anything interesting about a person (not without a whole lot of other information), and therefore it is objectionable to criticise people for it without understanding the full story. Even if we assume that obesity is associated with poor willpower (a topic on which I express no comment), it's not necessarily present
poor willpower but possibly only past
poor willpower, and furthermore, it is really just one particular species of poor willpower that does not readily generalise to other life activities, or even to any
important life activities outside of eating. The willpower involved in controlling how much food one eats involves a very specific set of biological effects which may not be the same effects that are relevant in other situations, such as in financial situations.
The weight issue is further complicated when the subject is a woman because, in general, our society heavily regulates appearance and beauty standards for women in a way it does not do for men. I found the phrase "fat chick" to be problematic because, in context, it seems like a pretty clear example of a patriarchal pejorative phrase designed to sanction a woman for straying from male-crafted standards of conventional physical attractiveness. The phrase was not just a neutral factual description. If that was the goal, a phrase like "the woman in the first photo" could have been used. No such unmarked phrase was used because the goal was to enforce beauty standards, not just to uniquely identify the person in the picture.