Belmont Club

It, Our Child

Beck Laxton and her partner Kieran, from Sawston in central England, referred to their son, Sasha, as “the infant” and dressed the youngster in ambiguous outfits to keep his sex a secret from friends and strangers. They decided to tell people the child’s gender after it became more difficult to conceal when he started pre-school.

“He,” if we may now call him that, was five years old when he learned he was a boy.

The wait isn’t over for baby Storm:

There’s nothing ambiguous about the baby’s sex. The parents know — as do brothers Jazz, five, and Kio, two, who somehow are apparently keeping their mouths shut. … When Storm was born, the couple sent an email to the rest of their friends and family that stated: “We’ve decided not to share Storm’s sex for now — a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation, a stand up to what the world could become in Storm’s lifetime (a more progressive place? …).”

The problem for teenagers in the ’60s was to “find themselves.” The problem for modern pre-schoolers is to find their gender.

Yahoo now offers a “common-sense guide to raising gender-neutral kids”:

1. Let your child pick his own clothes.

2. Eschew heavily gendered toys.

3. Don’t teach stereotypes.

4. Set a good example by not acting a gender part.

5. Don’t limit your child’s dreams of the future, etc.

Unless you raise your kids in a “gender-neutral” way you are failing in your duties as a politically correct parent … caregiver … guardian, whatever. Like optional infanticide, a child’s gender (you thought I was going to say ‘”your child” didn’t you?) is now a parent’s choice.

A Colorado family sued a school after administrators barred six-year-old Coy Mathis from using a girl’s bathroom:

Coy was born a boy but according to her mother she started expressing herself as a girl at the age of 18 months.

“For many transgender people, discrimination is a daily part of life. Unfortunately for Coy, it has started very early,” lawyer Michael Silverman said. “The world is going to be looking at the school (to) send a message to the world and teach tolerance, fair play and equal rights.”

There was a time when parents would have warned their male children against going into girls’ bathrooms dressed in a skirt. Today that’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

Ironically, though you can’t be born a girl or a boy, it is still apparently possible to be born gay.

Conversion Therapy, for example, “is a range of pseudo-scientific treatments that aim to change sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual” and is — rightfully — condemned as unnatural. One of the reasons it’s so “hateful” is that people can’t help being gay. Some of the evidence cited is fascinating:

Some studies have found correlations between physiology of people and their sexuality. These studies provide evidence which they claim suggests that:

–Gay men report, on an average, slightly longer and thicker penises than non-gay men.

–Gay men and straight women have, on average, equally proportioned brain hemispheres. Lesbian women and straight men have, on average, slightly larger right brain hemispheres.

–The VIP SCN nucleus of the hypothalamus is larger in men than in women, and larger in gay men than in heterosexual men.

For a moment, the vision of Nazi Dr. Alfred Ploetz with his rulers, calipers, and photographs of Jewish skulls suggested itself:

Some people are just born different

But again, this is also somehow impossible, because the advocates of modern tolerance are born benign. An ABC News article quoted New York University professor Jonathan Haidt as saying that liberals are born, not made:

He believes that when a baby is born, his tiny brain contains a few fundamental moral ingredients, including empathy, fairness, respect for authority and group loyalty. As a child grows, genetics and experience will make some of those moral ingredients more important than others.  …

“The big difference between liberals and conservatives is a trait called ‘openness to experience,’” he explained while quizzing passers-by in Times Square. “Some people on the left tend to like variety, difference, something that’s different. People on the right tend to like things that are more predictable and orderly, more conventional.”

Born Republican

The debate over nature vs. nurture has prompted ever more researchers to investigate the subject. One of the more interesting outcomes is that attitudes found in children have been taught, after all. In a study of whether children were “born racist,” researchers found that racist attitudes in some children were actually influenced by subtly racist attitudes in their “liberal” parents:

Vittrup was taken aback — these families volunteered knowing full well it was a study of children’s racial attitudes. Yet once they were aware that the study required talking openly about race, they started dropping out.

It was no surprise that in a liberal city like Austin, every parent was a welcoming multiculturalist, embracing diversity. But according to Vittrup’s entry surveys, hardly any of these white parents had ever talked to their children directly about race. They might have asserted vague principles — like “Everybody’s equal” or “God made all of us” or “Under the skin, we’re all the same” — but they’d almost never called attention to racial differences.

They wanted their children to grow up colorblind. But Vittrup’s first test of the kids revealed they weren’t colorblind at all. Asked how many white people are mean, these children commonly answered, “Almost none.” Asked how many blacks are mean, many answered, “Some,” or “A lot.” Even kids who attended diverse schools answered the questions this way.

More disturbing, Vittrup also asked all the kids a very blunt question: “Do your parents like black people?” Fourteen percent said outright, “No, my parents don’t like black people”; 38 percent of the kids answered, “I don’t know.” In this supposed race-free vacuum being created by parents, kids were left to improvise their own conclusions — many of which would be abhorrent to their parents.

It may turn out that the question of whether Sasha or Storm or Coy was born a girl or boy is inseparable from and intertwined with the issue of what their parents subconsciously wanted them to be, even if they were unaware of it.

So are we free? Can we safely teach our children anything without guilt? Or can we only safely teach them things if it’s OK? Or is the world irredeemably divided into archetypes with which we have to live?

The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99
Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99
No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99

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