Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Troubled Teens

In all of the discussion of LGBT etc. issues with regard to young people (AKA “minors”), I have yet to see a certain issue discussed. And no, I'm not talking about bathrooms and locker rooms, which have been dealt with at exhausting length and which, along with proms and dress codes, have brought public school systems to their knees (so to speak). And I'm not talking about traditional moral issues... or about the age-old nature vs. nurture debate, i.e. the question of whether people are “born that way” or become that way through environmental factors – upbringing, various forms of abuse (physical or emotional, or both), the influence of the media, friends, non-friends, bullies, rock 'n' roll, fashion, what have you. These are all worthy topics, but I can't add anything to what's already been discussed.

I am, however, talking about a political issue – but not about elections or candidates, or their “positions” with respect to the issue, or who they are counting on to vote for them. My concern is with politics on the “micro” level, and the response not of skeptics or of people who are “agin” the whole idea, or of people who would rather not talk about it and who hope the whole thing will go away. I'm talking about the response of what I will call the “well-meaning” community, and specifically of those in authority – which means, in the case of minors, parents and public school personnel, by and large (although I suppose this could be extended to include coaches, teachers, and instructors outside the formal education system).

The problem is not one of acceptance; let's take that as a given. I'm talking about too much acceptance – or acceptance of the wrong kind. And the motivation for this seems to be less purely humanistic than the perennial tendency to categorize, classify, and pigeonhole people in order to simplify life and make it easier for the Regime (however manifested at this level) to deal with and accommodate individuals – to, in effect, apply the rules of identity politics reinforced, as needed, by “psychological testing” and other practices of questionable merit. Another way of putting it is that the minute a certain group of individuals starts to manifest a certain trait or behavior pattern, they are no longer treated as unique individuals but as part of a class (which may be newly-minted for the purpose). They are provided with a ready-made label and earmarked for special treatment on the assumption that sexual orientation or sexual identity is like quick-drying cement – once it solidifies, it can be counted on to stay put, remain stable, and not bother anyone – and that the individuals involved are, once and for all, to be counted as members of a certain group, and never mind the complexities of the human psyche, and especially never mind that the human psyche, in all of its myriad manifestations, is subject to change – sometimes drastic change – particularly in the early years. At that stage of life, everything else is fluid and evolving; why shouldn't this be as well? But that's not good enough for the collectivist/totalitarian mind set, where labeling is paramount and essential to the pursuit of political ends.

For what is identity politics? It's a power game based on the premise that certain traits not only define an individual, but constitute the most important – perhaps the only important – thing about them. If you're black, you're black; nothing can change that, and that will define your class for life – and heaven forbid you should do or say anything that constitutes wandering off the reservation (as witness what happens to “black conservatives”). The situation is likewise if you're handicapped in some way (and pardon me for using what I consider to be a still-useful term). But these are things about which it can realistically be said that a person is “born that way”, or in the case of some handicaps, becomes that way and there is no turning back. But is this true of sexuality – of sexual identity? And, in particular, is it true of the sexuality or sexual identity of minors?

Put it another way. Does it make sense based on what we know about human psychology to jump on some early signs of sexual identity or “preference”, slap a label on the individual, and then expect them to somehow live up to their newfound “identity” -- to conform within the bounds of a certified non-conforming group (those bounds being pre-defined by the Regime)? Again, it's this societal compulsion to pigeonhole people and thus avoid all the messiness and complexity of having to deal with them as unique individuals. A grade-school boy starts playing with dolls or expressing an interest in fashion design. Leave him alone? Not a bit of it. He has to be “encouraged”, and reinforced, and directed along the path that the authorities have decided is his fate – his destiny in life. And if he sticks with it, all is well. But what if, a year or two later, he tosses the dolls into a box and quits drawing dresses, and develops an interest in football, auto racing, and guns? Woe is us! Oh, the humanity! Now he's a “problem”, and no one can quite figure out what to “do” with him (as if there is a compelling need to “do” anything). Or turn it around – football, cars, and guns first, then at some point dolls and fashion take over. Again, woe is us (but not as bad as the former case)!

Apply the same thing to girls. Today's “tomboy” might become next year's prom queen – or again, vice versa. Or – a kid develops a “crush” (another old fashioned term) on someone of the same gender. Is that the same as waving a flag which reads “I'm _______ and proud of it!” And this is just about observable behavior. Do we know what's going on inside the kid's head? We might ask, or they might tell us – but again, is this already set in stone or can it evolve? Do we care? Well, the system cares, because it depends on labels – on classes – on setting one group against another, because only in that way can the system step in and save the day, imposing a kind of deadening peace (AKA “diversity”) upon the populace. I've commented before – as have others – that “diversity”, while appearing to honor individual choices, is really a program to enforce a stifling conformity on another level – conformity to the system, and submission to all of its varied mechanisms for categorizing people. True diversity is not the flesh-and-blood equivalent of the “It's a Small World” ride at Disneyland; it's accepting human nature in its entirety, with all of the complexities and ambiguities that entails. On some level, we are all nonconformists simply because we're individuals – but this is the very thing that society does its best to stamp out.

I suppose that part of the problem is that adults in general have already forgotten (or suppressed) their own childhood and youth – how fluid things can be, and how ambiguous. They have also forgotten how overwhelming “peer pressure” (in whatever direction you like) can be – as well as the impact of fashions (in the broad sense), fancies, and fads. Kids really are a lot like Silly Putty – highly malleable, able to be bent and stretched every which way, and apt to take on impressions from their social environment. The growth process brings with it uncertainties and insecurities; this seems pretty much inevitable. A maturing person is not only a stranger in a strange land, but they are strangers to themselves as well. What they need, above all, is time – and not this bogus instantaneous “understanding” or “support” or advocacy that attempts to force them into a given identity, class, or category – or force them to stay in one that they may have adopted only for a season. And granted, it's a delicate balance. I think the key is to support the individual as an individual, rather than as a member of a class that they may or may not truly belong in, or even be interested in.

It was not that long ago that boys were naturally expected to take up the occupation or trade of their fathers – and that girls were expected to do likewise vis-a-vis their mothers, who were typically homemakers. Biographies are full of stories of young people who “rebelled” against that system; it seems that many interesting people did so, which is probably why they wind up having biographies written about them. And while conformity on that level is pretty much a thing of the past, at least in Western societies, what we are faced with now is a new conformity which is focused (the way the old system never was, or at least not explicitly) on sexual identity. And it's gotten to the point where people not old enough to drive, or vote, are being encouraged to undergo hormonal therapy or even “sex reassignment surgery”. I consider this an egregious form of child abuse. Not only has the labeling process become a major industry (in the political sense), but it is being translated into permanent, irreversible physical alteration – all, of course, with the total “support” and encouragement authorities and of society in general.

And there is no denying that, for many young people, this is precisely what they want, and what they think will solve their problems and make their life better. But again, we have the judgment issue – why trust people of a tender age to make a life-altering decision when we forbid them from making other decisions of equal (or even lesser) import? Why should the first adult “right” granted to children be the right to change their genitalia? It makes no sense.

I predict – and there are precedents for this – that we will eventually see lawsuits by adults who went under the knife (or had drastic hormone treatments, or both) as minors, but who realized later on that they had been exploited. If someone who is already an adult decides that this is the path they want to take, that may be a matter for discussion and debate, but at least the person is acting from a position of legal and, hopefully, psychological maturity. But to impose the same expectations on a person who is immature in pretty much every respect goes way beyond disservice; it's setting them up to be a victim of a political agenda that they have no notion of. Growing up, and life in general, leaves enough scars without offering young people up as sacrifices to a world view that doesn't value their rights and uniqueness as individuals.

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