Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Story Hour Triggers Some People

In response to the dire threat of drag-queen story hours, a bunch of states are trying to pass laws to make it illegal to appear in the attire of a gender other than the one you were assigned at birth. I am dying to see how it turns out. Though Republicans have enjoyed taunting people who can't define what a "woman" is, they can't define it themselves, and in fact gender is an empirically undefinable concept -- you got nothing to go on but self-report. A society adopts some self-presentation norms to signal individuals' roles, including ethnic and class norms, indicators of profession such as work uniforms or suits-and-ties etc., and norms that indicate gender, and somebody always has fun pushing against that boundary, whether it's earrings for men or tattoos for women. I saw the King of England on TV in a skirt the other day, and what do you think shaving is? Men have beards, women don't, that's how God made us. Will women be allowed to wear pants? What about men with long hair, like me? I cannot think of anything sillier to pass a law about.

And tell me, what is less threatening than a drag queen? Oh some have a dangerous sense of humor, their grasp of irony can be deadly, but really now. If you are concerned about "grooming" and the "safety of the children," then I'm not joking, you should do something about the church and the Republican Party. A guy in a party dress with false eyelashes is reading stories to kids at a library, how is that scary to anybody?

And now the Proud Boys and other violent groups are showing up with guns and disrupting the story hour. Hey, you're being trolled, guys. You're yelling cuss-words at little kids who want to hear fairy tales, do you see how that looks? You're scaring librarians, of all people. Ssshhhh. Everybody's having a good time and you're waving guns around and calling people hateful and nutty names. The whole situation is engineered to make you look stupid when you do that.

There is no detectable irony in the news that a newly elected Republican Congressman used to perform as a drag queen named Kitara Ravache. It's almost as if it doesn't really matter.

I can't even see what the issue is with drag queens, including drag queens reading stories to kids. I have never heard even a rumor of anything inappropriate at one of those events. The drag queens are there to entertain, it's fun, it's pretend, it's outrageous. I assume most are gay but that isn't even part of the deal, we can find photos and videos of a lot of straight men in women's clothing over the years, it's a standard schtick. Drag is not contagious, they aren't trying to recruit or convert anybody, it's just fun. They like pretending, they like dressing up, and everybody seems to have fun at these story hours.

Clothing is a cultural expression, it changes over time. There is nothing "biological" about any of it and God did not give orders in the Bible to dress in some way. Today's fashions and gender cues are not even "traditional." The culture decides what is appropriate but fashion emerges from individual choices and is not imposed by law, at least in a free country (ahem). Of course drag queens are intentional dress-code violators, the outrageousness is part of the show. Part of the fun of it is that it is at once shocking and also not harmful in any way. Some rules and laws exist to protect people, and ... some don't really do anything for anybody. The idea that the government wants to tell people how to dress is just amazing.

I used to think that it was a cheap shot to speculate that people who doth complain too much are dealing with their own personal impulses. There is a long tradition of anti-gay crusaders getting caught having gay sex -- we had one just last week, typical story. So it seems that, at least sometimes, these poor guys are thinking if it's not illegal, what will stop me from doing it? Whatever "it" is. Dressing in drag, maybe. Since I can't allow myself to do it, I won't allow anyone else to, either. And so these tortured moralists have to threaten other people for doing the things they can't admit they want to do.

Drag queens, by their very existence, remind us that cultural norms are malleable and arbitrary, we participate in them by choice and are actually free to be whatever we want to be. And freedom is threatening to some people.

19 Comments:

Anonymous Rudy and Donnie said...

Boys will be boys!

January 25, 2023 4:22 PM  
Anonymous homosexuality never produces life, two of 'em ain't ever a marriage said...

what the deuce!

I thought TTF was defunct...

January 25, 2023 9:21 PM  
Anonymous doing the time warp said...

"A guy in a party dress with false eyelashes is reading stories to kids at a library, how is that scary to anybody?"

warped is a better adjective than scary

January 25, 2023 9:23 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

11 months until Crismas :)

January 25, 2023 9:56 PM  
Anonymous infertile hetero couples never produce life, two of them ain't ever a marriage said...

Jim said "Drag queens, by their very existence, remind us that cultural norms are malleable and arbitrary, we participate in them by choice and are actually free to be whatever we want to be. And freedom is threatening to some people."

As I posted in the previous thread, many, many conservative men live in fear of experiencing same sex attraction or unconsciously displaying feminine mannerisms. It really is the case that many of them are thinking "If it's not illegal, what will stop me from doing it?" Contrary to what W/R/BA says, they really are scared of drag queens.

It's not the government's place to tell people what they can or cannot wear or what they can or cannot do with their bodies when they aren't harming anyone. This is just another step in the right wing authoritarian march to dictatorship, micro managing people's lives to enforce conformity to narrow and rigid gender roles that suffocate the human spirit of freedom.

The increase in bullying of LGBTQ youth in Florida makes sense when you realize that the people in their 30’s and 40’s who called us f****ts in high school are in charge in Florida and want their kids to be able to do the same without repercussions.

No one is pressuring school children to reject traditional gender expressions. The pressure is entirely the other way, children who don't want to adhere to stereotypical and traditional roles are being bullied and punished with the approval of the government while DeSantis forces schools to look the other way.

Children with non-traditional sexual orientation or gender identity deserve the same protection and support non-trans heterosexual children get. Let children be who they are, they and society will be far better off.

January 25, 2023 10:16 PM  
Anonymous Biden's a bum said...

"many, many conservative men live in fear of experiencing same sex attraction or unconsciously displaying feminine mannerisms. It really is the case that many of them are ...they really are scared of drag queens"

I don't think either of these is generally true

if you were to say many men fear that if they are too sympathetic to homosexuals, they will be suspected of secretly being homosexual, that may be accurate

but it's likely true whether they are conservative or liberal, secretly gay or not

and, unfortunately, they are sometimes right

but this has little to do with the opposition to having drag queens perform in public schools and libraries

most people find drag queens repulsive and don't think kids should be conditioned to view them as role models

drag queens are free to do as they wish but taxpayer-supported institutions shouldn't provide a venue for their performance to children



It's not the government's place to tell people what they can or cannot wear or what they can or cannot do with their bodies when they aren't harming anyone. This is just another step in the right wing authoritarian march to dictatorship, micro managing people's lives to enforce conformity to narrow and rigid gender roles that suffocate the human spirit of freedom.

The increase in bullying of LGBTQ youth in Florida makes sense when you realize that the people in their 30’s and 40’s who called us f****ts in high school are in charge in Florida and want their kids to be able to do the same without repercussions.

No one is pressuring school children to reject traditional gender expressions. The pressure is entirely the other way, children who don't want to adhere to stereotypical and traditional roles are being bullied and punished with the approval of the government while DeSantis forces schools to look the other way.

Children with non-traditional sexual orientation or gender identity deserve the same protection and support non-trans heterosexual children get. Let children be who they are, they and society will be far better off.

January 26, 2023 6:12 AM  
Anonymous Francisco Perales said...

The cognitive roots of prejudice towards same-sex couples: An analysis of an Australian national sample


Abstract

There are well-known correlations between low cognitive ability and support of prejudicial or non-egalitarian attitudes. This paper adds to existing knowledge by providing the first analyses of the associations between cognitive ability and attitudes towards LGBT issues in a non-US sample (Australia), comparing these across three measures of cognitive ability, and examining the separate, joint and interactive effects of education and cognitive ability. Findings from a high-quality, national Australian dataset (n = 11,564) indicate that individuals with low cognitive ability are less likely to support equal rights for same-sex couples. This pattern holds in the presence of confounds, is consistent across measures of ability, and is more pronounced for verbal ability. Education and cognitive ability affect attitudes through similar channels, but retain independent effects.

Introduction

Research conducted chiefly in the US, Canada and Western Europe reports correlations between low cognitive ability and support of prejudicial or non-egalitarian attitudes towards certain social groups (including ethnic minorities, migrants, women and people with AIDS), as well as related constructs, such as conservatism, ethnocentrism, authoritarianism, and dogmatism (Brandt & Crawford, 2016; Dhont & Hodson, 2014; Hodson & Dhont, 2015; Onraet et al., 2015; Stankov, 2009; Van Hiel, Onraet, & De Pauw, 2010). However, despite the significance and contemporaneity of the subject matter, few studies have specifically addressed the links between cognitive ability and attitudes towards LGBT issues.

Identifying the individual and social factors that contribute to the emergence and perpetuation of negative attitudes towards LGBT people and/or same-sex couples is important and topical. Even in highly tolerant societies, non-heterosexual individuals remain disadvantaged across life domains –including income and poverty, physical and mental health, labour market outcomes, and homelessness (see e.g. Institute of Medicine, 2011; Perales, 2016; Uhrig, 2015). The dominant paradigm used to explain the comparatively poor life outcomes of LGBT people, the minority stress framework, attributes these deficits to the day-to-day barriers and stressors non-heterosexual people face due to a hostile social environment, which diminishes their capability to function in society (Meyer, 2003). These stressors emerge from cultural and institutionalized heteronormativity, and are enacted by other people within society via discrimination and stigmatization. Individuals' behaviors follow from their beliefs (Kraus, 1995), and attitudes towards LGBT people predict how the heterosexual majority interacts with the non-heterosexual minority (Mereish & Poteat, 2015; Morrison & Morrison, 2011). Thus, identifying how individual differences such as cognitive ability influence attitudes towards LGBT issues is a necessary step to devising strategies that promote equality of opportunity by sexual identity.

This paper makes three contributions to the existing knowledge base: it provides the first analysis of the associations between cognitive ability and attitudes towards LGBT issues in a non-US sample (and the first focusing specifically on attitudes towards equal rights for same-sex couples), (ii) it compares these associations for three widespread and validated measures of cognitive ability (the National Adult Reading Test, the Symbol Digits Modalities Test and the Backwards Digit Span test), and (iii) it delves into the separate, joint and interactive effects of education and cognitive ability. To accomplish this, it relies on data from a high-quality, national Australian dataset, the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey (n = 11,564).

January 26, 2023 10:22 AM  
Anonymous Francisco Perales said...


--- Section Snippets ---

Cognitive ability and socio-political attitudes

Cognitive ability refers to a compendium of mental abilities that capture individuals' “psychological resources to process and retain knowledge, solve problems and master challenging tasks” (Dhont & Hodson, 2014, p. 454). Since Adorno's observation that ethnocentric people are less intelligent than non-ethnocentric people, (see Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswik, Levinson, and Sanford's 1950) a large and growing body of research in psychology, political science, and sociology has established that low...

The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey

The analyses use data from the HILDA Survey (Watson & Wooden, 2012). This is a household panel study which collects annual information from the same respondents over the 2001–2015 period. It is one of the largest panel surveys in the world and part of the Cross National Equivalent File. The HILDA Survey features a complex, probabilistic sampling design, and its sample is largely representative of the Australian population aged 15 and older. Information is collected through a combination of...

Bivariate correlations

Table 2 shows the bivariate correlations between the different cognitive ability measures and the 7-point measure of attitudes towards equal rights for same-sex couples. All correlations are highly statistically significant (p < 0.001). The three individual measures of cognitive ability are highly and positively correlated with each other (Pearson's r = 0.20 for NART-25 & SDMT; 0.36 for NART-25 & BDS; 0.32 SDMT & BDS) and with the composite measure (Pearson's r = 0.80 for NART-25; 0.57 for...

Discussion and conclusion

This paper has examined the associations between different measures of cognitive ability and prejudice against same-couples. A first contribution to the literature was expanding current knowledge on the links between cognitive ability and prejudice by considering a new outcome measure (attitudes towards equal rights for same-sex couples) in a new country context (Australia) using high-quality, nationally-representative data (HILDA Survey, n = 11,654). The findings are consistent with previous...

Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank Alice Campbell, Abram Todd, David Ribar, Mark Wooden, Walter Forrest, Janeen Baxter, Mark Western, Stefanie Plage, Chris Ambrey, Tony Beatton, Michael Courts, Rochelle Côté and two anonymous referees for helpful comments and suggestions. This research was partially supported by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course (project number CE140100027) and by an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career...

Summary:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0160289617303628

January 26, 2023 10:28 AM  
Anonymous The ability or willingness to get pregnant has never been a marriage requirement said...


I posted "many, many conservative men live in fear of experiencing same sex attraction or unconsciously displaying feminine mannerisms. It really is the case that many of them are ...they really are scared of drag queens"

W/R/BA said "I don't think either of these is generally true"

You are very wrong about that and given that closeted men like you wouldn't admit it if it were true, what you claim to think has little bearing on reality. Only half of gen zed identifies as exclusively heterosexual. As lgbt people have increasingly been accepted by the American public (over 70% support same sex marriage) the majority of people are becoming willing to stop hiding that they have same sex attractions as well - to the benefit of everyone's mental health.

One study found that 85% of of self described homophobes get sexually aroused when watching gay sex. In the time I was presenting as male I had heterosexual men regularly "joking" about wanting to have sex with me and making sexual advances. Note the Christian pastor who advised young men not to look at their naked bodies in the mirror lest they become sexually aroused by the sight. The "dirty" little secret of christian conservative communities is that they deal with a large percentage of their male members expressing same sex sexual attractions - like Jerry Falwell Jr enjoying watching his wife have sex with other men. This is very common, there are a great number of christian men just like Jerry Fallwell Jr., 65% of Republican men report fantasizing about their partner having sex with another man, there is a very long history of conservative politicians and religious leaders who attack and decry some sexual practices, and then get caught engaging in that very behavior.


"if you were to say many men fear that if they are too sympathetic to homosexuals, they will be suspected of secretly being homosexual, that may be accurate but it's likely true whether they are conservative or liberal, secretly gay or not"

Far fewer liberal men are worried about being perceived as gay than conservative ones. Fear of being perceived as gay is mostly a conservative male concern.

W/R/BA said "most people find drag queens repulsive and don't think kids should be conditioned to view them as role models drag queens are free to do as they wish but taxpayer-supported institutions shouldn't provide a venue for their performance to children".

You're confusing what you think with "most people". Males wearing traditionally female attire harm no one - this should never be restricted. Most people are fine with drag queens, it's the right wing authoritarian minority of Americans that is pretending this is a problem in order to justify perpetrating violence on their lgbt scapegoat. Drag Queen story hour is no different than having a clown show up at a child's birthday party. If you were to show an 8 year old a picture of a drag queen and a picture of a clown and ask them to explain how they are different they wouldn't be able to do so, drag queens and clowns are all the same to young children.

It's sadly ironic that bigots falsely claim drag queens "sexualize" children but they've never had any problem with the "Little Miss" beauty pageants where heterosexual parents dress up their toddlers in sexually suggestive outfits and heavy makeup and have them prance around on a stage for the entertainment of adults. If the conservatives had ever complained about that, or tried to stop that, it wouldn't be so hypocritical for them to suddenly be "concerned" about children seeing drag queens.

January 26, 2023 3:59 PM  
Anonymous Rump's 2024 running mate said...

Marjorie Taylor Greene's amendment failed 14-418

January 27, 2023 6:47 AM  
Anonymous the icy wind is howling out a name... said...


"You are very wrong about that"

Am I? If so, you sure had nothing that could refute it.

I just don't think very many conservatives "fear" either (1) experiencing same sex attraction, or (2) unconsciously displaying feminine characteristics

that's not to say there aren't some who experience same sex attraction or display some mildly feminine characteristics

I just don't either is really scaring anyone

for the subset of conservatives who belong to some traditional religious community (Christian, Catholic, Muslim, Judaism, et al), they may consider homosexuality sinful and will avoid acting on such impulses, but that's not something that could fairly be described as "fear" any more than the avoidance of any other sinful desires

"As lgbt people have increasingly been accepted by the American public (over 70% support same sex marriage) the majority of people are becoming willing to stop hiding that they have same sex attractions as well"

it's hard to say, because who knows how many actually experience such attractions, but it's likely untrue that the "majority" of them are discussing it are discussing it openly

"In the time I was presenting as male I had heterosexual men regularly "joking" about wanting to have sex with me and making sexual advances"

really? how often?

you must not have been "presenting" very well

"The "dirty" little secret of christian conservative communities is that they deal with a large percentage of their male members expressing same sex sexual attractions"

an assertion without any evidence

"Far fewer liberal men are worried about being perceived as gay than conservative ones"

not true

"Males wearing traditionally female attire harm no one - this should never be restricted"

well, it isn't restricted

but running programs for young kids involves making choices and it probably isn't appropriate to choose to expose the kids to guys with mental illness

"Most people are fine with drag queens"

that's a fantasy you have

most parents don't want to have cross-dressers serve as role models for their kids,

that's true regardless of whether the parents are liberal, conservative, or apolitical

"justify perpetrating violence on their lgbt scapegoat"

declining to have drag queens read stories to kids is not violence

"It's sadly ironic that bigots falsely claim drag queens "sexualize" children but they've never had any problem with the "Little Miss" beauty pageants"

I think most conservatives, as well as liberals, have negative views of those pageants

January 27, 2023 6:49 AM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

I said "As lgbt people have increasingly been accepted by the American public (over 70% support same sex marriage) the majority of people are becoming willing to stop hiding that they have same sex attractions as well"

W/R/BA said "it's hard to say, because who knows how many actually experience such attractions, but it's likely untrue that the "majority" of them are discussing it are discussing it openly"

Again, only half of Gen Zed considers themselves completely heterosexual. 64% of Republican men report fantasizing about seeing their wife have sex with another man - clearly the majority are becoming willing to stop hiding.

I posted "The "dirty" little secret of christian conservative communities is that they deal with a large percentage of their male members expressing same sex sexual attractions"

W/R/BA said "an assertion without any evidence"

Oh, it's most certainly not without evidence. 64% of Republican men (almost all christian) fantasize about watching their spouse have sex with another man. Clearly most Republican men have same sex attractions.

I said "Males wearing traditionally female attire harm no one - this should never be restricted"

W/R/BA said "well, it isn't restricted"

It hasn't been recently restricted but Republican politicians are introducing all manner of laws to restrict who can wear what when and wear. They're going back to the 50's and 60's where laws against "female impersonation" effectively made it illegal to be transgender. Conservatives hate freedom.

January 28, 2023 2:36 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...


I posted "Most people are fine with drag queens"

W/R/BA said "that's a fantasy you have most parents don't want to have cross-dressers serve as role models for their kids, that's true regardless of whether the parents are liberal, conservative, or apolitical"

Clearly most people are fine with drag queens, look at the huge popularity of Ru Paul's Drag Race and it's imitators around the world. Drag has exploded in popularity and that's why conservatives are freaking out about it. Drag shows abound, and many parents take their children to them. It's only the right wing authoritarians fearing their own same sex attractions who are opposed.

I said " it's the right wing authoritarian minority of Americans that is pretending this is a problem in order to justify perpetrating violence on their lgbt scapegoat.

W/R/BA said "declining to have drag queens read stories to kids is not violence".

Showing up at drag shows and shooting the participants and audience most certainly is violence. Violence is encouraged by right wing authoritarian propaganda saying all lgbt people are necessarily pedophiles and any effort to show support or acceptance for lgbt children is an attempt to lure them into sex. This is stochastic terrorism, Tucker Carlson tells his audience to "Fight back" against lgbt people every way they can and some take him up on it.

I posted "It's sadly ironic that bigots falsely claim drag queens "sexualize" children but they've never had any problem with the "Little Miss" beauty pageants"

W/R/BA said "I think most conservatives, as well as liberals, have negative views of those pageants"

B.S. - you never hear hypocritical conservatives object to them or oppose them, only drag shows and pride parades. Conservatives don't rant and scream about the "Little Miss" beauty pageants "sexualizing" children and call the participants' heterosexual parents "groomers", they don't show up with guns to try to stop them, they don't kill anyone at "Little Miss" pageants. Conservatives are using violence and the threat of violence to force every child to be heterosexual and to adhere to their narrow and rigid ideas of gender expression. Conservatives hate freedom.

January 28, 2023 2:37 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Most Christian conservatives fear sexuality that isn't rigidly controlled and directed. They teach their children that it's immoral to masturbate despite research showing it's a necessary part of good mental health.

Jordan Peterson advises young men not to masturbate "because there is nothing noble about it". The right wing authoritarian Proud Boys have a rule that their members are only allowed to masturbate to orgasm once a month and then it must be within three feet of a woman. Throughout history dictators have pressured young men to refrain from masturbation. This creates sexually frustrated young men, young men full of anger and resentment over their lack of sexual fulfillment, young men primed for violence, rape, and war and ready to do so in the name of a "higher" cause.

Human psychology evolved to help hunter gatherer tribes to succeed in an environment where there was occasional inter-tribal warfare. A certain percentage of males have a natural psychological tendency to want to wage war on their neighbours and rape the conquered women. Leaders keeping young men sexually frustrated can promote and trigger this tendency.

There are a growing number of incidents of incels mass murdering women. If they weren't taught that it's shameful and wrong to masturbate they could be experiencing a lot of the sexual satisfaction their leaders have coerced them to deny themselves. A single male can have a fulfilling sex life just by themselves through fantasy. When you masturbate you have any sex partner(s) you desire and the sex goes exactly according to your favourite script. In that way it can be better than sex with another person as that generally doesn't go exactly the way you fantasize about.

Speaking for myself, when I was full of testosterone I had a very strong sex drive and sometimes went several years without a sex partner. Was I sexually frustrated? No, not at all because I regularly used sexual fantasy satisfy my desires. Even when I had a partner, at times I preferred to masturbate because that always goes exactly as you want, with whomever you want and you can live out desires your partner might not be able or willing to fulfill. I never felt angry or jealous that some highly desirable female was out of my reach, I could have her however and whenever I wanted in my fantasy life.

Convincing young men not to masturbate can make those without a sexual partner deeply frustrated, angry and arouse their natural psychological tendency to want to wage war and rape conquered women. Jordan Peterson and right wing authoritarians like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers are grooming a generation of young men to feel angry, hostile, and entitled to sex with women. They are steering these young men to violence, they want to use them to seize power by force. They don't believe in democracy or freedom.

January 28, 2023 3:14 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Society best suppress anger, aggression, and violence, not sexuality.

January 28, 2023 3:31 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

The pandemic and the raucous political climate have taken a devastating toll on the mental health of LGBTQ youth — nearly half of whom have seriously considered suicide in the past year, according to a nationwide survey released Wednesday.

The rates of suicidal thoughts among LGBTQ youth have ticked upward over the last three years, according to the fourth annual survey conducted by The Trevor Project, a nonprofit suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth.

The survey comes at a particularly fraught moment for advocates of LGBTQ rights as Republican lawmakers push for rules that prohibit classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity, ban books featuring LGBTQ themes, curb transgender students’ ability to access gender-affirming medical care, participate in school athletics or use restroom facilities that match their gender identities.

“When we take a group of young people who are already very vulnerable to poor mental health and then we initiate these conversations,” the hardships compound, said Jonah DeChants, a research scientist at The Trevor Project. Not only are young people being targeted by these laws, but they also now have to wake up and log onto social media or turn on the news and hear elected officials talking about their identities in very misinformed, ignorant and in many cases very anti-LGBTQ perspectives.”

DeChants stressed that LGBTQ youth are not “inherently more suicidal” than their straight and cisgender peers. Poor mental health outcomes, he said, are the result of “minority stress” like social stigma and are not the direct result of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“It’s the fact that you wake up and you have to navigate a society that doesn’t want to allow you to love who you want to love or express your gender the way you want to express it,” he said. “That is what creates these poor mental health outcomes, not young peoples’ internal identity.”

The survey suggests a simple path forward that could shield young people from serious harm: Welcoming communities. LGBTQ youth who felt strong affirmation from their families reported attempting suicide at less than half the rate of those who lacked social support. Suicide attempts were also reported at lower rates among LGBTQ youth who found affirmation in their schools and broader communities compared to those who felt ostracized. Yet fewer than a third of transgender and nonbinary youth reported that their homes were gender affirming.

“The science actually shows that when communities push back against these attacks and choose to affirm LGBTQ young people — whether that’s talking openly about these issues and not banning discussions or books from libraries — those steps are actually potentially life-saving,” DeChants told The 74.

The survey also highlights the extent that LGBTQ youth are targeted with harassment and physical violence — attacks that ultimately heightened their risk of suicide attempts. More than a third of LGBTQ youth reported that they have been physically threatened or harmed due to their gender identity or sexual orientation.

The online survey was completed by nearly 34,000 LGBTQ youth in the U.S. between the ages of 13 and 24 between September and December 2021 — even before officials in states like Texas and Florida launched the latest round of policy attacks against LGBTQ youth.

Another recent survey, released in March and conducted by Morning Consult for The Trevor Project, found that a majority of adults oppose efforts to ban books or censor school curricula featuring LGBTQ topics. Just 1 in 3 adults expressed support for laws that ban gender-affirming medical care for minors. Reported rates of physical abuse, homelessness and hunger were also disproportionately high among LGBTQ youth, the CDC survey found.

January 30, 2023 5:38 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE PARENTS? NEW YORK TIMES FALLS INTO THE ANTI-TRANS ‘PARENTS’ RIGHTS’ TRAP

What do you call parents who side with the ADF, a right-wing legal advocacy group, against their own transgender teens? “Bigots” would be one valid response. So of course The New York Times recently published an article deeply sympathetic to the parents in question, playing up tropes associated with the anti-trans Right and so-called trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs) in what members of the trans community and allies have long since recognized as a troubling pattern at America’s “paper of record.”


The article, written by Katie J.M. Baker, focuses on the resentment some parents feel when they discover their children have been allowed to socially transition at school, using names and pronouns in the classroom that are different from those they use at home. In some states, such as California, when high school children don’t want their parents to know about their preferred names and pronouns, the sensible policy is not to inform the parents. In other states, such as Alabama, the cruel policy in place is to legally compel teachers and school administrators to out trans children to their parents should the children come out at school.

In a September 2022 announcement welcoming Baker to the Times as “a correspondent covering the social and cultural conflicts that divide the U.S. today,” Baker’s editors noted her “empathetic eye.” But empathetic to whom? When it comes to the matter of trans minors’ safety, Baker’s empathy seems to be lacking. Instead, her reporting gives pride of place to the resentment of parents who seem to think they have the right to control every aspect of their children’s lives—an attitude that often leads to the suicides of trans youth.

Baker seems concerned to reassure readers that these parents aren’t right-wing Christian zealots, so she uses diagnoses like autism and ADHD to invalidate a transgender teen’s understanding of himself before quoting his mother saying “It felt like a stab in the back from the school system” and, “It should have been a decision we made as a family.”

This is fine, Baker’s reporting indicates, because the parents “accepted their teenager’s new gender identity,” even if “not without trepidation.” His mother, after all, was just concerned that the school might be putting her child “on a path the school wasn’t qualified to oversee.” And if parents like her join up with the Christian Right to protect their “parental rights” and start voting for Republicans—as some of the mostly “liberal” parents interviewed for Baker’s report did—well, who could blame them?

While Baker focuses on such parents, her article quotes very few trans people. She does, however, quote a single “expert,” Erica Anderson, a transgender psychologist who has become the darling of TERFs and other transphobes for her willingness to side with them and against the rights and safety of trans minors.

Let me, as a transgender person, say one thing very clearly right now in response to those concerned that schools might be putting kids “on a path [schools aren’t] qualified to oversee.” No one puts anyone “on a path” to being trans. Being trans isn’t some contagious curse. And being trans is hard—increasingly so as the environment for trans people in the United States (and elsewhere) becomes more hostile. No one who decides to “try on” a transgender identity to be “trendy” or “edgy” is going to persist in it for long, because, again, being trans is hard.

January 30, 2023 6:20 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

The people who believe that a cabal of doctors, teachers, counselors, and assorted queers is out to “trans” their children are deluded conspiracy theorists. At best they may be ignorant and persisting in unacknowledged transphobia. When they’re parents of trans minors, they’re likely also motivated by a variety of factors that may include valid concerns about whether their children will be safe, less valid concerns about how their child’s transition will reflect on and impact their family socially, and misdirected anger over a sense that they don’t know their own child (often projected as insistence that they know the child better than the child knows themself).

“Parents know better” was, of course, one of the rallying cries of Margaret Thatcher’s Section 28 policy in the UK, which from 1988-2003 barred local government actors—including teachers and school administrators—from “promoting homosexuality” or teaching “the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.” This policy is now widely recognized as having done immense harm to gay minors, and we risk doing the same to trans minors—and indeed any and all LGBTQ and other at-risk minors—if we persist in treating “parents’ rights” to determine their children’s beliefs and identities as more or less absolute.

Homeschooling and Christian school survivors—many of us exvangelicals—have been arguing for years that the right-wing Christian insistence on the absolute authority of parents, and especially fathers, over children, allows abuse to proliferate. The deregulation of homeschooling and the lack of regulation of Christian schools that facilitates abuse is a cornerstone of the “parents’ rights” approach that supposedly “liberal” parents of trans minors are now openly embracing because of their unwillingness to face the fact that their children do not feel safe being fully open with them.

And there’s an irony here that Baker misses. Many parents who are upset that social institutions are privy to knowledge about their children are taking legal action to require schools to keep them informed. At the heart of their argument is the belief that schools shouldn’t dictate family relationships. Putting aside concerns about individuals’ autonomy, by forcing schools to betray their children’s trust these parents are in fact asking schools to make family decisions on their behalf. They’re suing to require their children to talk to them or to struggle alone.

January 30, 2023 6:21 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Rather than do the hard work of asking themselves why their children don’t feel safe and comfortable talking to them about things like sexuality and gender identity, they’re pressuring schools to force their children to do it or remain in the closet at school.

It may not be ideal for children to use names and pronouns at school that their parents are unaware of. Ideally, parents, teachers, and administrators would partner in a healthy way that nurtures children as they become themselves. But we do not live in an ideal world. We live in a world in which most American states enlist teachers and school administrators as mandated reporters because we know that far too many parents violently abuse their children.

We also live in a world in which many parents attempt to force children into roles the children cannot fit into, as exvangelicals or survivors of extreme childhood indoctrination of any kind can tell you. State intervention may not be possible in those cases, but that doesn’t mean that the indoctrination isn’t wrong and psychologically harmful, or that authoritarian religious ideology doesn’t easily provide cover for the kinds of physical and sexual abuse that we do deem appropriate causes for state intervention.

Schools should provide a supportive environment for children to be themselves—an environment in which bigotry and bullying are not tolerated. To report responsibly on the cultural battles playing out in state legislatures and school districts across the United States regarding the accommodation or forced outing of transgender students, one should empathize above all with the trans students. Instead of uncritically adopting right-wing tropes about parents’ rights, reporters should also explicitly consider the issue of children’s rights.

And instead of focusing on why parents may resent states and school districts that afford their queer minors safe spaces without explicitly informing the parents, reporters ought to ask why so many queer and especially trans minors feel unsafe coming out to their “liberal” parents. Anyone who’s ever been a teenager who felt like they couldn’t tell their parents something important should be able to muster up the empathy with ease. But apparently that’s too much to ask of The New York Times.

January 30, 2023 6:22 PM  

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