Saturday, April 9, 2022

Who Is Looking Out For Gay Kids?

From Andrew Sullivan,on Substack, "The risks of imposing critical gender theory on young children":

It seems to me that any books that teach kids to be compassionate and accepting [children’s books and curricula that used in many schools and recommended by groups like the Human Rights Campaign, etc.], and aware of different ways of being human, are a positive thing. I don’t doubt the good intentions behind them. Having some materials for a genuinely trans child is a good thing. But teaching all public school kids under the age of eight that their body has no reference to their sex is a huge development — and news to most American parents. And encouraging toddlers to pick pronouns like “ze” and “tree” is not exactly what parents send their kids to public school for.

These teaching materials aim to be inclusive of the tiny minority of trans children — but they do this by essentially universalizing the very rare experience of being transgender, and suggesting that everyone’s gender is completely independent of biological sex, and trumps it in any conflict. The only way to help trans kids feel better about themselves, this argument goes, is to tell the lie that their experience is everybody’s experience. We are all varieties of trans people now, choosing our sex and performing our gender.

But, of course, we’re not all varieties of trans; the overwhelming majority of humans, including gay humans, experience sex and gender as completely compatible — when they think about them at all. And our species is sexually dimorphic. When pushed to defend the idea that humans are not a binary sexual species, critical theorists lean on the “univariate fallacy.” That argues that any single exception to a rule completely demolishes the rule. If there are any exceptions to every human being male or female, even if they are a tiny percentage of the whole, then there is no sex binary.

But that’s bizarre. That a small percentage of people are attracted to the same sex, for example, does not invalidate the rule that humans are overwhelmingly heterosexual — and if this were not the case, humans wouldn’t exist at all. Gay people are the exception that proves the heterosexual rule. The much smaller number of trans people, likewise, does not disprove that the overwhelming majority of people are completely at ease with their biological sex. It actually proves it, by showing the terrible psychic cost of being otherwise. (Trans kids and adults deal with huge mental health challenges, and commit suicide at staggering rates.) Intersex and DSD people are not a separate species, or some kind of third sex, no more than people with Down Syndrome are anything but fully human. They are a variation in the sex binary.

For most kids, of course, this stuff will probably be taken in stride. They’ll play with pronouns, feel at home in their bodies, and go on to express their sex as humans always have. Life itself will disprove these weird theories. And if some of this new gender gobbledegook encourages them to be more accepting of others unlike them, of boys who wear dresses or girls who love football, it may well do a lot of good.

But for troubled kids with gender dysphoria — or at least some discomfort with being a boy or girl because they don’t seem to fit in very well with their straight peers — there’s a much greater risk. I’m worried about kids with autism, kids from very dysfunctional families, kids with every sort of mental health issue that needs to be unpacked before judgment is made. I’m worried that gay kids could absorb the idea that what is different about them is not that they are attracted to their same sex, but that they may, in fact, be the other sex “inside.” Most kids with gender dysphoria turn out to be gay in adulthood, as the discomfort disappears with puberty. (That’s certainly my own experience.) But these young gay kids are being subtly taught, at a deeply impressionable age, that they may be in the wrong body.

Among the most important things a gay boy needs to know is that he is no less a boy because he is attracted to his own sex. The proof of this is his own body. Removing the body from any conception of sex takes this away from him. And if he were ever to act out the idea of being a girl, the current treatment is immediate affirmation, puberty blockers, then female hormones and sterilization. Letting him be, or supporting him in his male body, or allowing him to fully experience puberty and grow up gay, is less and less where the emphasis lies.

We have accumulating evidence that lesbian girls in particular are susceptible to this suggestion — as we see transition rates soar beyond anything previously known in teen years, and as the number of detransitioning women grows in number. This unavoidable tension between messages that are good for trans kids and those that are good for gay kids is absent from the debate — in part because the woke conflate both experiences into the entirely ideological construct of being LGBTQIA++. But no one is LGBTQIA++. It’s literally impossible. And the difference between the gay and trans experience is vast, especially when it comes to biological sex.

Here’s where that difference counts. Gay people have had to struggle to own their own sex and their own bodies; while trans people have had to struggle to disown theirs. On this core question, our interests are, in fact, diametrically opposed.

Activist trans groups like HRC or the ACLU may thereby be unwittingly putting gay children at risk, misleading them about their sex and their bodies, putting ideas in their head that in the current heated atmosphere could easily lead to irreversible life-long decisions before puberty. And none of this is necessary. It is perfectly possible to look out for the very few genuinely trans children, without revolutionizing everything we know about the human body and biology. It’s possible to be welcoming to gay kids without insinuating that their real problem could be being “in the wrong body.”

And one of the core elements of gay male culture — the celebration of the male body, its unique qualities, and its sexual power — is effectively diminished. It’s diminished because we are told that being a man is now a feeling inside your head rather than a fact about your body, from the first wave of testosterone in the womb onwards. All that gay male physical sensuality — the interaction of male bodies with one another, the passion for biological maleness — is reduced to an arid, gnostic, inside “feeling” unrelated to the body at all.

At some point, gay men need to face down those who deny the biological differences in the human body that make homosexuality possible. If there is no sex binary, there is no homosexuality. We are not some third sex; we are one of two sexes: men. Our sex is not just in our head; it was not merely assigned at birth. It is in our bodies and minds shaped by testosterone since the womb, bodies that seek sex and intimacy with other male bodies shaped by testosterone in the womb. That the former gay rights movement would now seek to deny this is just one sign of its collapse into woke degeneracy. That some gay rights leaders are now telling gay men they should force themselves to be attracted to vaginas, or that we have to have a pronoun sticker on our jacket to remind people we’re men, is an outrage.

I have a feeling that some in the forefront of this revolution know there is a large body of silent opinion among gay men and many lesbians that deeply believes in sex differences, cherishes and celebrates the male and female bodies, and does not see gayness as connected to transgender experience (which is not to say that transgender experience is any less valid). Gay happiness depends on our owning our own sex, not denying it. And biology is our friend. There’s no reason gay kids should not also understand this. And be spared the mandatory indoctrination into a postmodern homophobic lie.