Just Unevenly Distributed
The time for the parents to question this new regime and to resist it was 10 years ago. Failing that, now will do.
Any of us adults, especially we mothers who have grown children in our own bodies and have nursed them with the milk of our breasts, know that this experiment in social engineering is a cult. It is a cultish set of beliefs with rituals that will hurt most those least equipped intellectually or economically to resist or to bounce back after the damage is done. To quote another old feature from TV--this time a commercial: "you can't fool Mother Nature."
“I realized what this disciplinary power enjoined at the very instant I felt myself subject to it for the very first time. This was the source of the docility. We all understood implicitly in that moment “...
Or as Schopenhauer put it, “We forfeit three-quarters of ourselves in order to be like other people.”
Culture shifts always involve disruption--and eventually conflict. Because no matter how positive a cultural shift is perceived by the people who advocate it or the culture at large, there is never a sense of being "done" for the pioneers. That's why My Two Dad's is now quaint. Because that was insufficient. Unless successfully opposed, today's productions that feature multiple parents of the same sex, successful open marriages, adolescents in relationships with older people of the same sex, etc., will seem quaint and even old-fashioned. Because the work of remaking the culture is never done, and has no end point. Even after every last guard rail seems to have been torn down, there will be some new societally-destructive and self-destructive thing that must be pursued with single-minded vigor. At some future point, anyone who doesn't want the teachers at the government enlightenment camps euthanizing depressed teenagers on the spot (while demanding applause from the other students, and society at large, for their bravery) will be called a fascist and authoritarian.
That is, unless society as a whole eventually vomits up much the new enlightenment and makes it clear that there are guard rails, they will be enforced, and everyone is going to have to back up several feet (or several miles) to get behind them. Which I'm not at all certain will happen.
Still, there must be a serious risk of that happening--or there would not be such a strenuous effort from the utopian enlightened classes to censor and suppress questions, critiques, or any effort to say "maybe we should take a step or two back here".
The “simple herd instinct that acquiesces reflexively to whatever situation presents itself as normal by those in a position to define it” perfectly describes what it feels like to sit through the pronouns sharing and land acknowledgments that are now de rigueur in all theatre companies (and probably all arts organizations in general). My tactic has been to quietly and unobtrusively abstain from saying “my pronouns” when introducing myself, accepting the likely outcome that I’ll be perceived as, at worst, forgetful or naive. Not sure how well I’ll handle direct confrontation.
Speaking of rainbows, I was in Galway recently and met a leprechaun who accused the Pride movement of cultural appropriation. The wee lad had a point.
Wait, why do I not get “sporadic eruptions of the rawest carnality”? I’m in my 60s -- I can handle it. Well I could 10 years ago.
Here is an essay that is as revealing as it is long, by a 23 year old detransitioner who is doing the hard work of understanding and explaining why she decided she was trans and what ensued. She is thankful not to have undergone surgical mutilation, but clearly suffered greatly. What struck me was her realization that having made “friends” on Tumblr when she had few in real life, she came to hate her white, privileged “cisheterosexual” self and chose to become a victim.
As you wondered at the “rainbow” event, surely it’s got to be the case that many liberal / progressive parents feel a sense of unease but are afraid of speaking out, partly because no other liberal / progressive parents they know are speaking out.
In our hyperpoliticized society where the “other side” is painted as quite literally evil (Trumpers! Religious zealots! Antivaxxers! White supremacists!); where disagreeable words are understood quite literally to be “violence”; and where even small political disagreements can mean the end of decades’-long relationships, I can understand why none of us wants to be perceived as aligning, even a little bit, with conservatives on this or any other issue.
But it might help to remember that not every new progressive idea is a good idea. Eugenics. Lobotomy. Recovered memories.
When people we feel aligned with politically have a dumb new idea, it’s really OK to say so. That doesn’t make you a Trumper. That doesn’t make you guilty of “hate” toward the LGB+++ community.
If more of us spoke up, speaking up would become normalized again. Speaking up and being able to tolerate discussion and disagreement used to be a liberal / progressive value.
If we compare the sexualization of children — exposing them to ideological ideas about gender that are divorced from physical reality; exposing them to adults’ sexual practices — to other previously progressive ideas that now seem quaint, such as exposing them to the idea that some families have two dads, or some families have parents from different ethnic (“racial”) groups — you can easily see the difference:
Children will encounter such families in their daily lives. When same-sex parents or mixed-“race” marriages were a novelty, it was considered useful information to tell kids that “this is normal and OK; these families are much like yours.” These messages were need-to-know.
By contrast, though, what is the need-to-know behind teddy bears in bondage gear, or men dressed in leather crawling on all fours in a parade?
Certainly the answer is not “my kid might encounter bondage gear and fetishistic adults in everyday life, and I want him to know this is totally appropriate and fine” — because then you’ve got bigger problems than wanting to fit in with your political tribe.
The gender thing is a little harder, because now, with so much “affirmation” (aka, mind-f*cking) from all corners of society, kids are likely to know many, many kids who believe they are the opposite sex.
I guess the idea would be that we need to teach kids that being distressed with your body and believing yourself to be the opposite sex is healthy and fine, just as an earlier generation of kids were taught that families with two dads were healthy and fine.
But of course, by definition, “dysphoria” implies crippling emotional distress. Someone with crippling emotional distress is neither healthy nor fine.
Kids with gender dysphoria are much more akin to kids who are cripplingly dissatisfied with their bodies in other ways, such as kids with eating disorders.
Eating disorders have been with us for many decades but we don’t have kindergarten curricula celebrating that particular type of emotional distress and self-harm.
Why not? Because we know that type of extreme body-self-hatred and emotional distress and the resulting self-harm are not healthy and fine.
This is a completely different phenomenon from same-sex-parent families, who can be just as functional (or dysfunctional) as any other family. There is no component of crippling emotional distress or medicalization or “do X or die!” baked into same-sex or mixed-“race” relationships.
The very notion of “do X or die!” is a big red flag pointing to poor mental health.
Gender dysphoria is not at all analogous to happy, thriving same-sex families or happy, thriving mixed-“race” families. It’s analogous to eating disorders and other emotional distress. It’s not to be celebrated.
Or will pro-ana books be next on the kindergarten curriculum? Will there be binge-and-purge events at the next children’s play place in the name of acceptance? Because that would make as much sense as this.