What are the obligations educational institutions have to young people in the LGBTQ spectrum?

Let’s start with that acronym — LGBTQ.  It stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning.  There are also adjectives that can precede LGBTQ, such as “Of color,” Black, African American, Asian, Hispanic, Disabled, etc., all of which create their own little sub groups within the LGBTQ group, which is itself composed of particulate matters.

All of you know that, being libertarian, I don’t care what relationships people form in their personal lives.  Having said that, Robert Lopez makes a good argument that the obligations we have to our children transcend our personal search for happiness, including love and sexual fulfillment.

I don’t believe in gay marriage, but that’s only because I believe it will lead inevitably to the type of clash between church and state that we’re seeing in England.  And no, I don’t see the First Amendment protecting religions from attacks by LGBTQ people who insist that a church must ignore its own doctrine and marry them.  We’ve already seen from the ObamaCare mandate regarding contraception and abortifacients that Leftists couldn’t care less about the First when it comes to protecting actual religions (which was the Founders’ goal), rather than protecting Leftists from religion.  I’m fine with civil unions, however, because I think the state can make whatever decisions it wants, even if they prove later to be stupid.

I’m also sympathetic to people whose external appearance is at odds with their self-identity.  I believe that hormones and other brain chemicals play a strong part in sexual identity and desire, and we all know that nature makes mistakes.  (Believe it or not, I was supposed to look like Heidi Klum.  Nature really messed up there….)

Lastly, I’m fully aware that LGBTQ people have higher rates of bad things such as drug abuse, alcoholism, depression, suicide, and spousal abuse.  I’m prepared to believe that some of these problems in childhood lead people to identify as LGBTQ; that some people are so terribly discriminated against because they are LGBTQ that they end up with self-destructive behaviors; and that there is something fundamentally unhealthy inthe urban LGBTQ lifestyle that leads people into self-destructive behaviors.

So we’ve established that I’m cool with people’s private desires, that I’m okay with civil unions, that I recognize that biology can treat people cruelly, and that I acknowledge a multiplicity of possible factors behind LGBTQ dysfunctions.  None of those factors, however, lead me to believe that our educational institutions have some overriding duty to serve all the needs of the LGBTQ community, or all of its racial or differently-abled subsets.  The LGBTQ community, though, does think that it’s owed this stuff and it believes further that our educational institutions, despite the university diversity staffs that can be bigger than the rest of school administrations put together, is failing to make the community feel good about itself:

Not only do queer youth of color deal with life-altering issues, says a new UCLA study, but schools and institutions are not adequately addressing their needs.

“GBTQ youth of color struggle with homelessness, poverty, family rejection and bullying,” says Ilan H. Meyer, the study’s principal investigator and Williams Institute Senior Scholar for Public Policy at UCLA, in a press release. “Yet, serious barriers exist to providing youth with culturally competent care.”

With a grant from Liberty Hill Foundation, Williams Institute researchers contacted L.A.-based education, medical, and social service providers, examining how the unique needs of queer youth of color are being met. What they found out wasn’t very good…

According to the study titled “Provider Perspectives on the Needs of Gay and Bisexual Male and Transgender Youth of Color,” various institutions are dropping the ball.

You can read the rest here.

I’m old-fashioned enough to have fairly limited expectations about educational institutions:  They should educate in an environment that doesn’t actively discriminate against people.  The facilities should be reasonably safe (no crumbling buildings, etc.), and the faculty should be good.  With younger students, the faculty should be attuned to obvious signs of abuse.  At the university level, it would be nice if the faculty was sensible enough to recognize troubling signs (drug use, extreme depression, anorexia, etc.), and kind enough to act on those observations, but I do not think that it should be a job requirement to have this awareness and decency, nor should the taxpayer have to fund administrations that function as social workers and psychiatrists.

Am I missing something?  Am I a societal sociopath or are the special interest groups in America demanding so much bath water that they’re killing the baby?  (And yes, that’s a fearsomely strained metaphor, but it takes me where I want to go.)

From the same people who brought you the constitutional right to privacy: “You have no privacy.”

In 1973, the United States Supreme Court created a federal right to abortion by finding that abortion falls into an unstated Constitutional dimension called “the right to privacy.”  (Note:  British and American common law has always recognized a right to privacy, but the Constitution makes no mention of it.)  Thus, in Roe v. Wade, the Court explained the constitutional protections for abortion as follows:

The Constitution does not explicitly mention any right of privacy. In a line of decisions, however, going back perhaps as far as Union Pacific R. Co. v. Botsford, 141 U.S. 250, 251 (1891), the Court has recognized that a right of personal privacy, or a guarantee of certain areas or zones of privacy, does exist under the Constitution.

[snip]

This right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or, as the District Court determined, in the Ninth Amendment’s reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.

With the Court’s pronouncement about the huge reach of the Constitution’s unexpressed “right to privacy,” Democrats, Liberals, Communists, and Progressives pronounced themselves satisfied.  The 10th Amendment, which once upon a time reserved to the states those rights not expressly delegated to the federal government, was meaningless.  If the Left thinks it should be in the Constitution, then — voila! — it is in the Constitution. Since 1973, therefore, Americans have believed that a person’s right to privacy is all-encompassing, and prohibits the government, as well as arms of the government, such as state founded or funded universities, from poking their governmental nose into anything that pertains to our own bodies.

With the exception of abortion, which is the most challenging issue because there are competing right’s (the woman’s and the fetus’s), most libertarians would agree with a common law (and therefore worthy of full respect) right to privacy, even if they would argue, as I do, that it’s tremendously damaging to the American body politic to pretend such a right is constitutional.  If we want a constitutional right to privacy, the Constitution spells out the procedure:  amendment, not judicial fiat.

Once they established this new constitutional principle, however, Progressives realized that they should have been a bit more careful in institutionalizing privacy as a core constitutional doctrine.  As they’ve discovered, the best way for a state to control individuals is through controlling their sexuality.  By asserting increasing state dominance over people’s sex lives (which is different a society enforcing traditional moral codes), the state can break familial bonds, destroy an individual’s sense of his inviolable self, interfere with core religious doctrine, and hand out sexual treats at opiates for the masses, all of which consolidate state power over individuals.

The problem for the Progressives arises if individuals are old-fashioned enough to believe that their sexuality is nobody’s business but their own. And no, traditional marriage is not necessarily proof that people are screaming their heterosexuality out loud. Having grown up in San Francisco, I’ve known of many marriages that involved agreed-upon sexual arrangements that had very little to do with traditional heteronormative behavior, and everything to do with people wanting to live their lives their way, free from prying eyes.

Progressive’s frustration with old-fashioned notions of personal privacy — the same notion that they promoted and cheered in Roe v. Wade — came to a head in 2008 at the University of Delaware.  In academia’s never-ending push to turn people into malleable little clumps of victim-hood, and class-, race-, or sexuality-based identity groups, the University of Delaware realized that it would need to force recalcitrant students to state whether they’re LGBT, GLBT, STR8T, BI, AC/DC, or LMNOP (oh, sorry, got lost in my alphabet soup there):

A female freshman arrives for her mandatory one-on-one session in her male RA’s dorm room. It is 8:00 p.m. Classes have been in session for about a week. The resident assistant hands her a questionnaire. He tells her it is “a little questionnaire to help [you] and all the other residents relate to the curriculum.” He adds that they will “go through every question together and discuss them.” He later reports that she “looked a little uncomfortable.”

“When did you discover your sexual identity?” the questionnaire asks.

“That is none of your damn business,” she writes.

“When was a time you felt oppressed?”

“I am oppressed every day [because of my] feelings for the opera. Regularly [people] throw stones at me and jeer me with cruel names…. Unbearable adversity. But I will overcome, hear me, you rock loving majority.”[1]

She is not playing along like the other students, and the RA confronts her using his “confrontation training,” but it isn’t working. He becomes so appalled by her resistance that he writes up an incident report and reports her to his superiors. After all, this is the University of Delaware, and the school has a zero-tolerance policy for anything remotely resembling “hate speech.”

This one-on-one session was not meant to be a punishment, some kind of mandatory sensitivity training for a recalcitrant student who had committed an infraction. It was mandatory training for all 7,000-odd students in the University of Delaware dorms. The sessions were part of a thorough thought-reform curriculum, designed by the school’s Office of Residence Life, to psychologically “treat” and correct the allegedly incorrect thoughts, attitudes, values, beliefs, and habits of the students. The ResLife staff considered students too intolerant of one another, too “consumerist,” and in dire need of reeducation to become responsible world citizens who could meet the planet’s environmental crisis and the requirements of social and economic “justice.”

(FIRE successfully mounted a campaign to force the University of Delaware to abandon this forcible effort to extract personal information from vulnerable freshman, but I use it as an example here, because it so perfectly encapsulates the Leftist attitude towards privacy and sexuality.)

Aside from having a girl-crush (but not an LGBT girl-crush, just an intellectual one) on the young woman who spoke of being opera-oppressed, I’m shocked, disgusted, appalled, etc. — the usual range of emotion a liberty-loving person experiences when an institution takes vast sums of money to control a young person’s life and future and then uses its coercive power to extort deeply private information from that same vulnerable student.

What makes this Progressive attitude even more distasteful is the fact that Universities claim to be all about privacy — at least when that privacy means isolating students from their own parents, despite a reasonable presumption that these same parents, unlike the vast, impersonal institutions, truly have their children’s best interests at heart:

College and University students have a right to privacy. In the United States, it’s called FERPA: the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. And there are a lot of rights and protections that you have as a student eighteen or over, and that you must respect as both a parent and a professor.

As a student, your grades, enrollment, assignments, and interactions with professors are all completely confidential. As a professor, I am not allowed, legally, to give out any information whatsoever about a student without that student’s explicit permission.

And, like practically all professors, I don’t. But this message is most important for parents, and for students who are worried about their irate parents.

Put another way:  your parent, who is probably paying for some or all of your education, cannot ask about your grades, but your university, which will have taken a minimum of $100,000 from you over the course of four years, while promising you a diploma with at least some market value, can force you to state your most private personal information.

I was going to end this post by saying the Left can’t have it both ways:  it either recognizes individual privacy or it doesn’t.  Then I slapped myself in the face and said “Don’t be stupid, Bookworm!  In Obama’s Leftist, narcissistic America, the Left can have it any way it likes it, both coming and going, as long as its demands drive the bottom line towards statism.”

Moderating the sexual revolution

Yesterday, I riffed on James Taranto’s post regarding whether the sexual revolution bell can be un-rung.  I don’t think we can go back to the way things were before — time does, after all, run forward, not backwards — but I do think we are still in a position to moderate its worst excesses.  With that in mind, I looked to the way the staid, even repressive, Victorian era followed upon, and was a reaction to the licentious rapacity of the Georgian period.

Taranto provided more food for thought, because he published an interview with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who spoke not only about ObamaCare but also about the sexual revolution.  I think Dolan’s thoughts are a nice complement to my ideas about re-elevating sexual morality to a public virtue (emphasis mine):

What about the argument that vast numbers of Catholics ignore the church’s teachings about sexuality? Doesn’t the church have a problem conveying its moral principles to its own flock? “Do we ever!” the archbishop replies with a hearty laugh. “I’m not afraid to admit that we have an internal catechetical challenge—a towering one—in convincing our own people of the moral beauty and coherence of what we teach. That’s a biggie.”

For this he faults the church leadership. “We have gotten gun-shy . . . in speaking with any amount of cogency on chastity and sexual morality.” He dates this diffidence to “the mid- and late ’60s, when the whole world seemed to be caving in, and where Catholics in general got the impression that what the Second Vatican Council taught, first and foremost, is that we should be chums with the world, and that the best thing the church can do is become more and more like everybody else.”

The “flash point,” the archbishop says, was “Humanae Vitae,” Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical reasserting the church’s teachings on sex, marriage and reproduction, including its opposition to artificial contraception. It “brought such a tsunami of dissent, departure, disapproval of the church, that I think most of us—and I’m using the first-person plural intentionally, including myself—kind of subconsciously said, ‘Whoa. We’d better never talk about that, because it’s just too hot to handle.’ We forfeited the chance to be a coherent moral voice when it comes to one of the more burning issues of the day.”

Without my having raised the subject, he adds that the church’s sex-abuse scandal “intensified our laryngitis over speaking about issues of chastity and sexual morality, because we almost thought, ‘I’ll blush if I do. . . . After what some priests and some bishops, albeit a tiny minority, have done, how will I have any credibility in speaking on that?'”

Yet the archbishop says he sees a hunger, especially among young adults, for a more authoritative church voice on sexuality. “They will be quick to say, ‘By the way, we want you to know that we might not be able to obey it. . . . But we want to hear it. And in justice, you as our pastors need to tell us, and you need to challenge us.'”

That hunger is the beginning of the Victorian revival.

A debate about young people’s behavior at CPAC highlights our culture’s inability to distinguish between things that are sexy and things that are vulgar. *UPDATED*

I’ve got sex on the mind today.  (How’s that for a great opening sentence?)  It actually has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with a confluence of posts and statements that came my way within the last couple of days.

It all started when Erick Erickson put up a post about the way in which the young men at CPAC were lining up to buy condoms.  (This distinguishes them from the lost, morally empty young women at Shippensburg University, who line up at vending machines to buy morning after pills.)  Erick believes that you cannot simultaneously stand for conservativism and act like a teenager under Progressive indoctrination:

We can be thankful that CPAC is not like the communications war room at Media Matters. But it should be much more than that. The young men and women who go to CPAC are often present or future leaders on their college campuses and within the conservative movement. They go to CPAC and are often on near equal terms at CPAC with people much older than themselves. Unfortunately, too many treat CPAC like spring break.

More than a few of the twenty and thirty somethings who go to CPAC seem to treat it like an extension of their college days doing their best to hook up before passing out. It’s not the majority to be sure, but it is a noticeable minority.

My friend Melissa Clouthier followed up on this by noting that the young men were aided and abetted in behaving badly by the young women, who were dressed more appropriately for nightclubbing than for political networking:

Second, have women so internalized feminist dogma that they see themselves in only two ways? Butch, men-lite wannabes or 3rd wave sluts who empower themselves by screwing every available horndog man?

Neither path is a way to self-love and respect, mind you. Both tracks will inhibit future success.

Women, if you’re at a conference where you’re learning to be a future politician or wish to succeed in the business of politics, dress the part. No, you don’t have to be in a business suit with pearls. However, modesty is a minimum.

Unsurprisingly, both Melissa’s and Erick’s posts generated a great deal of heat.  (I find David Swindle’s take the most interesting, insofar as he points out that an organization that tolerates street-corner women and rutting men is still barring GOProud.)

In my mind, all of these posts tied in with something I wrote the other day regarding Hollywood’s willingness to embrace Chris Brown (to the point of awarding him a Grammy), despite his admitting to having beaten his girlfriend, Rihanna, so badly that he ended up with a felony assault conviction.  Although I’m disgusted by the entertainment world’s stand, I’m not surprised.  In Hollywood, people are commodities, and none more so than women.  The adage that sex sells turned into a slight variation called “nothing but sex.”

Because everything that’s continuously thrust in ones face becomes boring after a while, and because Progressives as always anxious to break down traditional norms, in the last 40 years, “sexy” has been overwhelmed by “vulgar.”  For my purposes, these are the appropriate definitions for that latter term:

1. characterized by ignorance of or lack of good breeding or taste: vulgar ostentation.
2. indecent; obscene; lewd: a vulgar work; a vulgar gesture.
3. crude; coarse; unrefined: a vulgar peasant.

Vulgar is not sexy.  It focuses on the basest parts of the sexual appetite.  Before the sexual revolution, American women used to sell a little sex and a lot of mystery.  By doing so, they engaged men’s higher brain, not just their lower one.  And also by doing so, they reminded men that women were whole people, not just anonymous genitalia.  If a man wanted to unveil the mystery, he had to court the whole women.  Saying “Wanna f**k?” would get him nothing more than a well-deserved slap on the face.  Nowadays, that same question gets the guy some transient pleasure, and gets the girl a place in line at the Shippensburg vending machine.

Believe it or not, I’m not trying to make any moral points here, although I think that this is a pretty sad morality we’ve handed our young people, both men and women.  We’ve got women who don’t respect themselves, and men who don’t respect women.  Ultimately, a thinking, moral man is going to think less of himself too for using these pathetic creatures.  (Okay, so I am making a moral point, but I won’t beat it to death.)

What I really want to say here can be summed up in a single picture showing that, when it comes to “sexy” (not “sex,” but “sexy”), a minute of Rita Hayworth is a whole lot more attractive than an hour of Lady Gaga:

I mentioned at the start of this post that I was influenced, not only by things I’ve read, but also by something I’ve heard.  I’m very happy to say that this statement was a spontaneous utterance from my 9th grader.  “Mom,” she said, “I like the way I dress.  I wear attractive clothes, but I never show my belly the way the other girls do.  That’s just so vulgar.”

Bless her heart, my very wholesome young lady isn’t thinking yet in terms of sex.  Instead, in a refreshingly age appropriate way, she’s thinking about what’s attractive and what’s not. She’s figured out, just by observing her peers, that when you have a 15 year old with a muffin-top parading around in Uggs, shorty-shorts, a cropped shirt, and low decolletage, it’s neither attractive nor sexy.  It’s just vulgar.

Our young women think they’re marketing themselves in the best possible way, but that’s not the case.  They’ve been tricked into selling a big-box, below-the-waste product, rather than promoting the whole, wonderful boutique package that they are.

And wasn’t it our mothers who always told us nice girls, “Why should men buy the cow when they can get the milk for free?”  Today, too many young women (including the women at CPAC) have stopped making graceful mooing sounds and are just shaking their udders.

 UPDATE:  This post isn’t even five minutes old, and I’m already updating it.  Some email comments have led me to believe that readers think I’m piling onto the CPAC attendees with this post.  I wasn’t actually intending to do that, although the posts about CPAC certainly provided the starting point.

I’m just mad at a culture that trades charm and beauty for raw sex.  Sex has its place, but in social interactions, especially amongst young people, charm and beauty are the ones that I believe provide the greatest benefit for all participants in the dance of the sexes.  What goes on behind closed doors — as long as it involves consenting adults — is none of my business.

Apropos young people, I’ll just throw one thing in here that seems relevant to the discussion:  I’ve been commenting for years about the peculiar fact that, if you go to any high school campus, you’ll see a peculiar clothing divide.  In past generations, pretty much throughout history, teenagers’ clothing had a similar “look” to it, whether polished or scruffy, innocent or sophisticated.  Now though, the girls look like street corner hookers, with massive of amounts of revealed flesh and heavy make-up.  The boys, however, look like toddlers:  their hats are on backwards, their clothes are over-sized, and their shoes are untied.  This is as true today as it was ten years ago when I first noticed this trend.

I think this clothing chasm is very, very strange, and I honestly don’t know what to make of it.  All I know is that I want my daughter to look fresh and wholesome (so far, so good on that score) and that, when my son is older, I want him to bring home fresh and wholesome girls.

UPDATE II:  On right on cue in terms of my comments about boys’ infantile dressing, read the first item in today’s Best of the Web, about men felling behind women in various economic/educational measures.

The problem with identity politics is that humans defy simple classifications

I wrote yesterday about the softball players who were accused of being “not gay enough.”  I appreciate that the league in question has its rules — you must be gay — but the story still got me thinking about what constitutes being gay.  From there, of course, I started thinking about identity politics.  Let me walk you through my train of thought.

The day before this news story broke, a woman with whom I was speaking told me she believes her grandson is gay.  He’s only eight but, according to her, his movements are effeminate.  I know what she means.  I’ve known children like that.  I stumped her with a question, though:  “What if, when he grows up, he still likes girls?  Does that mean he’s gay because of his decidedly effeminate body language or straight because he wants to sleep with women?”  She was stumped.  Her labeling didn’t extent that far.

Humans like labels.  Without our innate ability to organize and categorize, because of the overwhelming amount of data we receive from the world around us, we would be dysfunctional.  You can imagine some distant hunter/gatherer ancestor standing paralyzed before a brown thing, unable to classify it as plant or animal, safe or dangerous, edible or poisonous.  That perplexed hunter/gatherer did not survive to pass down his genes.  The one who was able to classify the object correctly as a bush waving in the wind, a sleeping bear, or the entrance to a cave was the one who was able to be fruitful and multiply.  We are that well-organized person’s descendants.

Having an inherent ability, however, doesn’t mean that we have to let that ability control.  We are all capable of killing but, if we’re moral, we don’t unless we have to.  We’re hardwired for sex, but the vast majority of us can control our libidos.  We tamp down on our fight and flight instincts, too, insofar as we’ve figured out that a stressful meeting with the boss isn’t license to hit him or run away.

In the same way, I do believe we can control the rampant categorization that constitutes identity politics.  People are not labels.  They are the giant sum of their parts, their interests, and their values.  I have good friends who are gay conservatives, and I even know some Jewish conservatives.  I know Asians who are slackers.  These people are who they are, not what they are.

For a generation that was raised to shake off all the old stereotypes (and I still came into the world on the tail-end of the “Poles are stupid,” “Jews are greedy,” “Scots are frugal,” “Irish are shiftless,” “Asians are sneaky” tropes that were endemic in American society for so many decades), we seem awfully anxious to embrace stereotypes all over again.  It’s just that we’re embracing entirely new stereotypes that still manage to lock people into straight jackets just as tightly as the old ones did.

I’ll close this post with a story — a true story — just to remind us that humans, in their beautiful variety, regularly deny even their own attempts to lock themselves into neatly labeled boxes.

One of my friends was estranged from his father.  After many years, he made an effort to visit Dad, who was still living in the same old apartment.  What was new was the label over the buzzer.  Instead of saying “John Doe,” it read “Jane Doe.”  That was peculiar.  What was even more peculiar was the fact that Dad answered the door decked out in his deceased wife’s old clothes.  It turned out that Dad had spent his entire married (and parenting) life hiding the fact that he was a transvestite.  With his wife gone, he had come to terms with that fact, as well as with the fact that he was a woman trapped in a man’s body.  He was about to begin the long road of hormonal treatments for a sex change operation.  My friend, who is an open-minded man, was glad that his father was finally going to find some peace, and they had a friendly parting.

The long estrangement, though, made it so that it was some time before my friend again visited his father.  To his surprise, the label over the buzzer now read “John Doe.”  And even more surprising was the fact that his Dad answered the door attired in ordinary guy wear — jeans and a t-shirt.  You see, Dad had had another epiphany.  He was not a woman trapped in a man’s body; he was a lesbian trapped in a man’s body.  He’d also figured out that he had infinitely more success romancing the women he craved when he looked like man, than he did when he looked like a woman.

Clearly, John/Jane Doe was a person who suffered profoundly from a mind-body disconnect.  I’m grateful that he lives in a society that allows him (her?) to try to find some happiness.  It can’t be easy living that way.

Aside from it’s comedy-tragedy elements, though, this story reminds us that, when it comes to trying to slot human behavior into neat little boxes, it just can’t be done.  And to try to create vast social policies based upon those impossible and unreasonable boxes is an even sillier idea. That’s the beauty of a libertarian/capitalist system.  Subject to some government policing against fraud and abuse, and within the framework of a government fulfilling its basic health, safety, transportation, etc., functions, people are free, whether this means they’re free to live in City A as opposed to City B, to be a plumber or a professor, or to figure out whether someone else is trying to share their body with them.

There’s a deeper meaning to Michelle’s appalling fashion sense

I need help from you guys developing a thought.  The thought started with this picture of Michelle Obama in a deep-veed, fluffy blouse; a saggy sweater; a bondage belt; and the gypsy skirt from hell:

Michelle Obama bondage BeltAside from the fact that the picture pretty much puts the lie forever to the media’s desparate attempt to liken Michelle to Jacquie O, I think Michelle’s completely bewildered clothing speaks to something deeper about what society’s Leftist grip does to women’s self image.

I’m thinking about the difference between elegance and femininity, as opposed to a sort of trashy, hard-edged “feminism” that equates female sexuality, which can be beautiful and graceful, with Hustler-esque sex.  There’s definitely been a trend in the past years that cheapens, rather than elevates, women, and this trend has marched hand-in-hand with the radicalization of feminism.

Recall, if you will, that feminism was originally sold as a way to ensure that women got equal rights under the law and equal opportunities.  It’s now morphed into some shrill Leftist monster that says women should have sex like a porn star, be able to cry rape at will, get opportunities denied to men, ignore the plight of their truly oppressed sisters around the world, forgive rapists as long as they’re “good” presidents, get more than equal pay for unequal work, etc.  At precisely the same time women stopped being women and started being these weird Frankenstein monsters, the concept of attractiveness and feminity in clothing vanished — something I’ve bemoaned my entire adult life.

In other words, I think this picture speaks to something larger about the way women, for all their greater earning power and societal presence, have lost something over the last 30 years.

I know I’m old-fashioned, and getting more so with every passing day, but I’m pretty sure “viva la difference” didn’t mean you guys look like effete metrosexuals and we gals look like bondage vixens.

I side with the Muslims (and Christians) on this one *UPDATED*

The article only interviewed Muslim parents, but it’s clear Christians were involved as well.  These were the parents in England who pulled their young children out of school rather than have the children be subject to a month long GLBT indoctrination, er, education sessions — and who are now being threatened with government sanctions.

Let me state here what regular readers already know:  I am a libertarian.  I do not care with whom you sleep or with whom you fall in love.  I do not wish any ill on any people because of their sexuality.  I believe that there is a graduated scale of sexuality, with some people being completely heterosexual and some people being absolutely homosexual (I’ve known both kinds), and many people floating in the middle, amenable to cultural pressures (and I’ve known many of these too).

I am also a parent.  If my children are gay I will love them and wish the best for them, whatever their choices.  However, I don’t want them to be gay.  The gay culture is not a healthy one, with higher rates of alcoholism, drug abuse, sexually transmitted diseases and partner abuse.  This is something I’ve seen first hand, growing up and living in the San Francisco Bay Area, one of the most gay friendly environments in the world.  I don’t know why the gay lifestyle seems to carry with it more lifestyle problems, and I won’t hazard any guesses here.  Whatever the reason, it’s not what I hope for my children.

Therefore, while I believe it is extremely important that children are taught to be tolerant of people’s lifestyle choices, I do not believe it is up to the public school system to present a cheery perfect view of homosexual life that, quite sadly, is often at odds with the reality of the GLBT culture.  I’m concerned that, in addition to providing rah-rah cheer to that small number of children who are indubitably at the homosexual end of the sexuality scale, it will also provide a little too much encouragement to those who float in the fluid middle.  Additionally, given that these classes were aimed at 3rd and 4th graders, who have, at best, a hazy view of sexuality, these lessons struck me as teaching way more than the kids needed to know.

P.S. (and warning): This post is about children and education and sexuality and the state assuming the role of parent when it comes to teaching sexual values, especially to very young children .  If you wish to engage in gay bashing, do not do it here.  I will delete any comments I deem threatening or offensive or just plain crude on that subject.

UPDATE:  And, coincidentally, here’s an article from today’s Chron about the fact that lesbians have more health problems, both biological and lifestyle related.

The sexualized racism of New York Times women

I have been trying my darndest to ignore Judith Warner’s sleazy New York Times piece detailing the sexual fantasies liberal women are having about Obama.  On the list of things I really don’t want to know, this ranks right up there with the nature of Bill Clinton’s underwear.  These are presidents, for goodness sakes — statesmen!  world leaders!  Not Chippendale dancers.  Ick.

But aside from the ick factor, there’s something profoundly wrong about the whole article, and that is the way in which Warner and her cronies sexualize Obama and Michelle.  This goes beyond the ick-factor I mentioned in the previous paragraph, and moves into the very sick sexual ideas Americans traditionally had about blacks.

Anyone familiar with Southern history knows that black men were viewed as ravenously uncontrolled sexual beings who posed a threat to the purity of all white women with whom they came into contact.  Black men were attacked and even killed for the sin of looking at a white woman, as if their powerful black sexuality could float through the air and cause harm without even the necessity of contact.

Black women, too, were perceived in sexual terms.  The fact that all American blacks who trace their roots to the slave ships also have white forebears is itself a testament to the fact that white men saw black women as freely available to serve their needs.  And to get past the fact that they were raping these women, the white men came up with a story line of the lusty “negress,” hungering for sex at all times.  “I didn’t force her.  The mere fact that she is black meant that she was (and always is) asking for it.”

With those horrible images in mind, let’s revisit one of the nastier passages in Warner’s little opus:

There was some daydreaming too, much of it a collective fantasy about the still-hot Obama marriage. “Barack and Michelle Obama look like they have sex. They look like they like having sex,” a Los Angeles woman wrote to me, summing up the comments of many. “Often. With each other. These days when the sexless marriage is such a big celebrity in America (and when first couples are icons of rigid propriety), that’s one interesting mental drama.”

It may be rarified and envious, but the above passage is nothing more than a reprise of the old American theme about the sexual ravenous black “stud” and his lusty “negress” partner.  That this is true is evidenced by the fact that no other presidential couple — heck, no other political couple or even Hollywood couple — has ever been described in the same way.

In other words, I find this whole article offensive not just because I don’t like Obama, which renders him unattractive to me; and not just because I think it’s inappropriate to the self-proclaimed “paper of record” to chip away at the dignity of the presidency, but also because, no matter how one dresses it up, this whole line of thinking reverts to ugly stereotypical racial ideas about black people’s sexuality.