Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Age of Sexual Confusion

It's often said that women like to bear baby girls, while men want male heirs. In our increasingly confused social environment, adages like this are still probably most common, but have come under pressure from people who have become so ethically "neutral" that they're more afraid of imposing sexual stereotyping on their children, than they are of risking psychological harm to them by insisting that they not be "aware" of their own sexual "identity" until puberty.

Growing up at any time is a difficult process. Psychologists don't yet fully understand how nature and nurture function together, to produce the sense of sexual identity we define as male and female, from one culture to another.

Our biological identity is fixed from conception, and current science doesn't permit us to alter that, except through some violent interdiction. Sex change operations to alter the body don't really change the sex of an individual; they obliterate the obvious traits, but can't make you into something you aren't, physically. Born a boy, you will always be a boy, no matter what you "think" you are psychologically, no matter what you want yourself to be during your life.

In traditional societies of all kinds, deviations* from the standard sexual identities are always rare, because the order required to make society work tends to discourage hybrids (sexual deviants). There is no ethical purity to any stricture regarding proper sexuality, but the recognition of the irreversibility of sexual identity is an acknowledgement of the rigidity of nature's biological format: In nature, there are some instances of sexual "variation" against the bifurcation of sexual reproduction and types, but these are not typical, and they certainly do not occur among the higher mammals.

Those who may wish to challenge traditional stereotyping of male and female sexual types must address the fact of biology, before attempting to address the issue of variant sexuality, and how it might be considered a valid alternative identity in the real world. At what age does sexual identity become templated in the individual? Quite early, of course. By age 5, at least, most children realize they're either boys, or girls, and understand the sexual differences in their bodies.

Sexual identity carries a host of complex associations and biases regarding behavior and capabilities, which are common to any culture. Challenging these, in the interest of breaking down traditional stereotypical roles, or of validating sexual deviations, is one of the minor preoccupations in our modern world. Research tells us that there has always been deviant behavior among individuals, tolerated, to a greater or lesser degree, but often scorned or even actively prevented, even outlawed.

In the West, there has been a trend over the last 75 years, to loosen the restrictions regarding deviant sexuality, and its attendant behaviors, to legitimate variant types and to remove the restrictions, in the interests of tolerance, permissiveness and individual right. This has involved questioning the bases of traditional sexual stereotyping, of de-mythologizing and de-constructing male and female archetypes, to make it appear that the presumptions about male and female identity are not only not hard-wired in all individuals, but that training, as a form of ethnical behavior-enforcement, may no longer be preferable, or even permissible.

Which apparently is how the couples in Canada and Sweden, reported recently in the news, prefer to approach the question. They wish to "withhold" the sexual identity of their children from the world, in order to prevent the psychological imprinting or prejudicial behavioral reinforcement, which treating their children would cause. These parents want to prevent their children from becoming sexually profiled, until some later time, such as early or late adolescence. This, presumably, will permit the children to grow up "neutral" with respect to their sexual identities.

But every child will follow the training they are subjected to. A child raised as a boy, will think of himself as a boy. A child raised as a girl, will tend to think of herself as a girl. Children raised to think of themselves as different than their biological identity, will certainly experience a sense of disequilibrium or contradiction, at some point. But children raised in a sexually "neutral" environment, are being subjected to a state of non-identity which may cause the greatest sense of confusion of all.

Opinion in the scientific community is divided about whether sexual identity is "hard-wired" in the brain, or is the result of training or disposition. Most agree that it is a combination of the two. Some small percentage of people will be born with a sense that they belong to the opposite sex from their biological, physical selves. Some will believe, from a very early age, that their sexual proclivity is against type, and will seek and be gratified in some kind of monosexuality (male homosexuality or lesbianism). This has been verified historically.

Children can't "decide" to become one sex or another, without some kind of training. They may "feel" one thing, but how they are treated is paramount in how they perceive what they are, and what they may become in maturity.

The two cases reported in the news seem extreme examples of one kind of ethical response to sexual stereotyping. These people have become so defensive about the probable harm which can be done to children through stereotypical training, that they've attempted to restrain the traditional training from occurring in their children's lives.

Sects and religious groups and utopian societies in history have often set about to try to live by different codes of conduct, to raise their children in a restricted setting, apart from the rest of the world, because they may believe that the traditional way is wrong, or harmful. The rejection of sexual stereotyping in traditional society may now be encouraging the development of a new kind of involuted social behavior, in which parents choose to wean their children away from thinking about themselves first as sexual beings with specific roles and identities. Is the discouragement of sexual typing among children a good thing? Is it proper for parents to raise their children in an environment of sexual neutrality, even while they (the parents) are living sexual lives which may be completely private, though confirmed in their own minds and hearts? Is there a secret "sub-text" of prejudice which such parents wish to impose on their children, i.e., that mono-sexuality is a valid alternative, one which the children are in effect being encouraged to consider, apart from society's traditional identity-preferences?

Is growing up a process that can, or should, be freed of all prejudice regarding sexual identity? Could any society in which such sexual neutrality was public policy, function? What is the consequence of making sexual identity so "neutralized" that people are literally confused about what their sexual behavior should be? Whose interests are served by fostering an environment of sexually elaborated alternatives?

What are the societal limits of legal intervention in the matter of children in families? How far should society--through legal entities--be allowed to interfere or intercede in the process of the raising of children? Do children "belong" to their parents, until they become legally "adult"? Is it within the purview of government to decide what's best for children, and what should be allowed within the family unit? This has been a hot question for thousands of years. In America, we have sought to balance the demands of individual human rights (of people at any age) against the claims of family, church, citizenship and so forth, with mixed success. Parents may have particular and deep preferences regarding the proper raising of their children. What is society's role in determining what is the proper home environment for children? In democracies, public education, and public health agencies, are deliberately designed to foster the production of educated, healthy, well-balanced, and free, individuals. But is the recognition, or designation, of one's sexual nature (and sexual performance) a part of society's responsibility?

In medical science, we have definitions of normality which are constantly being reexamined and redefined. We now accept that homosexuality is a recognized alternative choice which is not to be treated as a harmful illness or crime. We still have laws against sex with minors, sex with animals, and certain bestial acts, including those involving bodily injury, torture. Certain behaviors are regarded as technically abnormal, which are to be discouraged. Society's attitudes towards what is "normal" and "abnormal" are, however, in a state of flux.

In a state of nature, we know that human groups do engage in many behaviors which are considered inappropriate under civilized conditions. Sex among minors, and between minors and adults, is common in tribal cultures, and it was certainly common among our ancestors, going as far back as we can verify. When the median life-span was less than thirty years, the begetting of children began, out of necessity, at a much younger median age. As culture has developed, and the mean age has increased, we have tended to think that sexual awakening, and sexual activity itself, should be postponed until later. We believe this, I think, partly because we regard sexual maturity as an aspect of responsible knowledge and behavior in a civilized context. To seize the life of an individual at too young an age, we believe, robs that person of some of the time and opportunity to form a whole, individual personality. We think personality is not fully formed until the late 'teens. The right to bear arms in service to country, to engage in permitted sexual acts, and the right to consume alcohol and drive, are all measures of society's regard for the age of reason, the age of consent--in short, the age at which an individual has acquired the necessary consciousness of the consequences of full participation in society.

This is another way of saying that society has ethical rules and assumptions about behavior. To view society's--or government's--role in determining the ethical outcomes of its members, only in terms of legal "rights" which inhere in each separate individual--apart from the consequences of such inviolable "freedoms"--to honor a lower and lower standard of "tolerance"--seems a poor recipe for policy.

Allowing parents to keep the sexes of their children a "secret" until they see fit to "reveal" it to the world is a very peculiar kind of behavior. Should society have a duty to preserve the "rights" of children who may be subjected to various kinds of punitive or damaging control by their families--is a very touchy question indeed. In the interests of protecting the health and welfare of children, society does intervene, within its limits. One way society can enforce its will, in matters relating to the raising of children, is through public education. Another is through public health initiatives. But children may attend private school, or be home-schooled, and the parents may withhold permission for children to participate in inoculations, or medical examinations. The rights of families and parents must be respected and honored too.

Does society have a part to play in directing the progress of sex education and sexual behavior among children, adolescents, as well as adults? We now routinely conduct sex education units in public school, for which permission is still required. Most of the formal barriers to accepted sexual deviations have now been removed, at least in the U.S., Europe and much of the rest of the world; though, important exceptions still exist--for instance, in Muslim countries.

How should we regard the attempt by some families to provide children with a neutral sexual orientation? What are the benefits of doing so? Has anyone thought about this, or tested it? Is making a child feel neither male nor female a good thing? How is it beneficial? Is the real strategy to make children feel that they can "become" anything they want, regardless of what their actual sexual nature is? Is it appropriate to teach children that sexual distinctions are a matter of purely individual choice? Is that an actual alternative for children or adolescents? Or is it more likely that those advocating such settings really want to foster more sexual deviation?


* I'm aware that my use of the core words deviation, or deviance, or deviant may sound prejudiced. However, psychology and psychiatry both still define behavior according to norms of accepted numerical variations: Normal and abnormal is still a reigning distinction in the human sciences. I am not suggesting that someone who "deviates" from the accepted scientific norm is "abnormal" but merely using the word in its classical sense, a departure from the usual, or predominant. Anyone may deviate in behavior--that is not to suggest that this deviation is necessarily evidence of anything wrong or reprehensible. It may simply be different.


jh said...

ok i'll bite


it appears that you have accepted the freudian paradigm of behavioural labelling...that our behaviours are definitive in marking our social bearings

the church does not believe this
the teachings on sexuality if one were to take the time to read them
presume everything when it comes to sex there is nothing hidden from the moral teaching yet every human is regarded as the image and likeness of god and this fact resists the boxing in of a person's identity

millions of people have made choices to forego sexuality as it plays itself out in the world...millions of people have made choices about what they will be from a sexual point of view...millions of people have recognized that it is indeed important and necessary to battle against "natural" inclinations..activities taken out a natural context can cause great harm...one act of adultery or abuse can cause great harm to all kinds of people...children...parents....
friends and not because people involved are not open minded it's more a matter of a feeling of being violated - for some reasonable expectation being dashed to pieces like cheap glass...millions and millions of peopel have lived out their marriage commitments in boring adherence to a higher ideal than human nature provides on its own...and they've done it with integrity

we must avoid believing that human will plays no part in the pursuit of pleasure and well being

context is crucial
the epistemological context for chrisitan living is that the goal of perfection in life is not unattainable - we need help of course - but can strive to transcend the "givens" even the deviance

thus social moral theology from a christian (catholic at least) perspective does not allow for typifying persons - we stop at "person" - everything else is up for moral dispute but it is not meant to limit or contain the identity of a human person

i'm sure there are "gay" priests and "lesbian" leaning nuns but it only becomes an issue when there are actions or if a person wants to parade it in the streets - it's the behaviour not the person that is at issue - the understanding is that we are sexual creatures but never are we far from reflections on the concupiscent nature of our hearts

catholic teaching takes seriously the notion that sin happens

people rarely speak of how dirty sex is any more i mean really
isn't it best to keep it well contained in a noble structure like marriage...marriage between a man and a woman is the only viable social norm for sexual physical freedom...celibate living carries a whole other distinction ( sort of deviant in its own right) but is impossible really without some sort of decision for charity and greater purpose...zen buddhism approaches the matter in similar terms...merton and the dali lama agree that celibate living for its own purpose is a waste of time and energy a pathetic waste...thus you'd have to willing to prove that the activities of countless religious men and women has done little to improve or inform the world about something important...you would have to disprove the awareness of great freedom that many spiritual writers have acclaimed

we all make decisions based on our awareness of the world and ourselves and we can make decisions which contradict our best (or worst) interests and inclinations - an alcoholic makes a decision to stop drinking at some point - it may be imperfect but it is a decision


jh said...

if you allow for the decision within society to completely define oneself according to a few moments of sexual behaviour you allow for something you may not be able to control...like AIDS...few people tend to acknowledge that it is a disease born out of very unhealthy sexual practices...much like the standard ones we grew up with and were told to fear

a married person with a family has extraordinary moral concerns which are important for living in the world

lesbians have been making lesbian decisions based on their political proclivities for years now...and this may have little or nothing to do with the way they were brought up or their natural inclinations
...i mean the audacity of saying i will be a lesbian but i will also mother a child...i think it is healthy to steer children very far away from that sort of inanity

the morality of sexual teaching presents a standard in catholicism which holds to chastity as the virtue the ideal - always strived for always falling short yeah yeah yeah - and also says that it is possible to live a chaste life...for the sake of a higher understanding of the perfectibility of the human person...chastity in marriage referring to vigilant integrity with regard to the spouse

if god is dead anything goes
that's the only other moral choice as i see it...unless people are willing to base their social ethical principles on narrow and superficial puritanical norms

all the deviants should be able to walk in the parade...why draw the line anywhere

we live in a time when we exist under the delusion that because we've worked this stuff out in the world of modern psychology we have a foot up on previous generations who knew so little...and we are inundated with images which more or less inure us to any sort of sensible appreciation of the human person...my take on the modern cultural scene is that never in the history of civilization was there this much intensity associated with moral turpitude...so many clinging to such unhealthy things with such vengeance such adamancy...i guess since technology renders most of it invisible it doesn't matter any more...satan grins

at least a little humility should dictate our selfunderstanding-
pride and pleasure are such volatile chemicals..when mixed to high concentrations they burn and tear the soul like nothing else

i completely dismiss a society which affords freedom to define oneself based on freudian types
much as i dismiss clothing fashion as an insignificant activity one with absolutely no social purpose or benefit...we could decide to do with out it but we don't

i take an interest in your aesthetic take on many things curtis
i would be laothe to live in a society mapped with your principles however

i for one am in need of visceral ritual experience which helps me to remain cognizant of my littleness and the scintillating mystery of reality

admonished to enter
through the narrow gate
grace and truth in attendance

so much to say so little time
and space


J said...

Birds and the bees, nature vs nurture, organism and environment: the thing is, Sir F., the sorts of empirical claims you make require substantiation. Whether we agree or not, the psychological mavens--the APA--removed homosexual activity from it's official list of "Deviancy" years ago. But I agree there is an issue re education. Some parents might not care to have some Bay Area-ish educators (and granted, westside Ellay) informing their little Biff or Bunny that like....Bay Area alternative lifestyles are "normal."

In other words, blame San Francisco liberals.

Curtis Faville said...

Guys, I see these latest reports of parents proudly proclaiming their intention to keep their kids' sex a secret in the context of disturbing trends towards irresponsible parenting. These people are going out of their way to de-nature sexuality, and put their kids into a sort of neutral zone of sexual non-preference. My intuition tells me they're actually Gay, and want to privilege the possibility of Gay-ness in their children. Is this their right? Should kids be raised this way? And if now, who can stop them?

Keeping your kids' sex a secret is insanity.

This has been my concern from the start. Raising kids in households where aberrant sexuality prevails is a recipe for problems. Gay and Lesbian people should have all the freedoms in privacy the law can provide, but influencing children--either in school, or in the home--to choose difference is wrong. Children need a "normal" environment--if they turn out Gay or Lesbian, that's fine. But they shouldn't be persuaded to choose that from the beginning--which is precisely what seems to be happening.

jh said...

in some places the age of consent is 14

i believe i am in agreement with you when i indicate that raising a child in a homosexual relationship presents anyone who might comment with an ultimatum...i disagree with this as a somehow neutral phenomenon based on the notion that the adults are healthy...just as healthy or emotionally moreso than nonhomopraxispeople...my disagreement is that a situation like that cannot be neutral for it presumes to have complete social acceptance when it does... now that could be difficult for a young person....simply to suggest that a person is "gaiye" by a principle of behaviour is dubious at best

today adolescence lasts into the early thirties does it not

in fact a traditional birther relationship of mom and pop is arguably more stable and more neutral...than anything anyone else has tried to devise

once you open the text up for interpretation based on personal proclivities each assuming the right to be right the you have a sort of lowkey social frenetic disorder which could explode at any moment

that's the partial reasoning behind the idea in RC circles of the family as the sacramental paradigm of social sanity

there are far more options than freud or jung allow

i recall in the 60s and 70s seeing all these jung people man and women dressed exactly alike and their hair done exactly the same way in an effort to sort of neutralize gender distinction

all this whacky shit that came from 20th century exploration into the insubstantial aspects of human being...has anyone ever located the subconscience...dreams might be nebulous reminders of the last day as much as some integral insight into human understanding...other than my wet dreams i never gave much consideration to the symbolic significance of dreams

wet dreams
like distant memories of
profound songs

i've said it before
some of your thinking seems to direct itself to basic catholic themes curtis

pandoras box is open and i think it's going to need a roman catholic lid if its ever going to attain to a place of human dignity

my sense is the liberality with which we presume to accept variations on human relationships permitted with humanistic and positivistic fervour is a short term experiment

we are either contorting ourselves to force our terms of adjustment on the society we live in or we are directing our intellectual awareness to something much greater than our awareness
or we are perhaps drugging ourselves just to get through the day...sometimes the latter approach looks as viable as anything else

it's all looking rather macabre even without drugs maybe with drugs it all starts to look normal..a drug adled mind being most compatible with the madness orchestarted by the godless in a godless society

our deepest nobility consists in our living lives that are continually being opened up to the mystery of existing at all

it's a very strange dispensation and i accept very little of it
sorry to blast in with churchy stuff...all quite as heavy as your opinion here...but that is where i am at

gender schmender
i want none of it
because then the freaks get to be on top
and i don't want the freaks on top
i want carl sandburg and wendell berry to be the social studies teachers

something in capitalism craves the continued pronouncement of aberration as the standard...nothing ever is allowed to settle into that's the way things are

i'd go so far as to say that our muslim brothers and sisters have an essential insight one to which we are perennially blind... i think i would like to live in a city where you have to understand that adultery has consequences for someone...dire consequences...here it's just another comic strip...with an eventual lawsuit in the mix...or a pathetic act of revenge...intimate arfare indeed


J said...

Sir F: not sure if you're blocking/ignoring me or messages didn't get through (I suspect the former). Dissent's important.

Given Freudian-Darwinian premises why not g*y kids? A nice suburban lesbian couple with a girl (created from artificial insem., say) might quite reasonably decide to raise their daughter to be lesbian. Not insisting, but exposing her to the...lifestyle from early age, giving her the poems of Sappho (maybe in original greek)...Ellen show, writings about les. politicians-- the career of Tammy Baldwin...or that one SF politician...Midgely?-- etc. We might find it..distasteful, immoral, ugly--even blasphemous (as jh apparently does) but Im not convinced it's the most evil thing in the world. Given that many str8 girls are exposed to gangsters, thugs of various races, or violent rednecks, a choice to be lesbian..or bi might in a sense be reasonable.

You sound rather prudish at times, Sir F, specially for a bay area beat-literature type (or former beat). Nearly...Kirby O like

As far as jh's rather moralistic posts go, I mostly disagree. Seeing samesex people in public (ie, jh in west ho-wood!) can be a bit alarming, but usually the g-people are professional sorts, often college graduates (though many tend to be alcoholics, actually, and one's best to avoid the downtown queers...).

Ive had lesbian neighbors who were quite pleasant and responsible. You would probably prefer to have them as neighbors instead of rednecks or gangsters or mormons. So I think your views are a bit retrograde, jh....moreover...why did Deus allow for the rise of ...the pagans? Blame Him.

Curtis Faville said...


Is it possible to misunderstand on purpose? I think so, based on my experience on the internet.

Have I ever said, anywhere on my own blogsite, or in the comment boxes of anyone else, that I think that homosexuals or lesbians should not be accorded the same rights to privacy and cohabitation which heterosexuals enjoy?

What I do disagree with, is homosexual or lesbian parenting. My position is based on psychology theory regarding "normal" maturation of children. I'm not a scientist, nor a psychologist. I have read in the field. I'm as entitled as anyone else is, to an opinion regarding public policy and the formation of law and regulation. I think "mono-sexuality" (by which I mean all kinds of non-heterosexual identity, behavior or life-style) constitutes a very small minority of the population.

What I see with increasing frequency is an attempt on the part of some to legitimate the permission of, even to celebrate the increase of, mono-sexual options/choices--with all the privileges attendant thereto.

It's clear that some proportion of the Gay/Lesbian identity occurs as the result of conditioning. Early conditioning would certainly include Gay/Lesbian parentage. The children of Gay/Lesbian family relationships, are subject to only this one kind of model (or archetype). I believe this is potentially harmful. We can argue about that.

But we aren't going to argue about whether I "respect" Gay/Lesbians or Gay/Lesbian couples. I've advocated permanent relationships among Gay/Lesbian couples for decades. But I do not support the legalization of Gay/Lesbian marriage, IF that automatically carries with it the privilege to conceive or adopt children.

I don't agree that Gay/Lesbian couples who may be perfectly friendly and responsible and sweet necessarily therefore are entitled to be parents. I believe that's a privilege they should sacrifice as a condition of adopting the Gay/Lesbian identity.

J said...

Some gay people are probably not qualified to be parents. Then ...some christian/jew/muslim people are not qualified to be parents either. May Osiris help the children of fundamentalist bapticks or mormonics (or extremist muslims, ortho-jews, opus dei catholics, etc).

You tend to ignore context, Sir F. At any rate, I don't agree that non-hetero people should be excluded from being parents as you suggest. I doubt most modern psychologists agree either. Perhaps some traditional, uptight Freudian sorts might. But that's a minority. It's a case by case basis-- two lesbian professionals might very well be qualified to be parents. Good ones. With the males, it's perhaps slightly different but your reactionary views are hardly the final word. Economic standing and the prospective parents' education/background may be a better indicator of what will be a good home, rather than the parents' sexuality (and most psychologists tend to agree with that--however offensive it may be to religious zealots).

Curtis Faville said...

Evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, I can't think of any reason why your opinions should carry more weight than mine. Little research has been done into the field of monosexual parenting and its consequences, because it's been largely ignored--or forbidden. We seem to be entering a new era in which the probable consequences of very new and different relationships are being advocated and "forced through" with little or no forethought. People stand idly by and say "well, Gay/Lesbian people are just nice, law-abiding folks."

Have you ever experienced monosexual households in person, first-hand? Ever known people who'd been raised by Gay/Lesbians? I thought not.

Arguing "for" Gay/Lesbian parentage at this point is a little like arguing "for" the legalization of illegal drugs, with the fall-back that straight people (like drug abusers) are just as bad parents anyway. It's a negative argument I don't buy.

Knowing how to become heterosexual is just as problematic as anything in life. Being faced with the additional complexity of having parents who are very different (a small minority) and almost certainly defensive and angry about heterosexuals generally, at the same time, is a recipe for problems.

Before jumping up to defend your position, why not do a little reading in the field? Children emulate their parents. If your parents are Gay/Lesbian, you will emulate Gay/Lesbians. Is this a good thing? If only 5% of the population is "born" Gay/Lesbian, how does being subjected to that help the typical child/adolescent to achieve mature identity?

The actual result of this expanding permissiveness will be an increase in the opportunistic, recreational Gay/Lesbianism sex and paring among our young. Is that a good thing?

J said...

You're not reading my posts.
Ive already made it clear that Im not entirely comfortable with male samesex couples raising children (and have some qualms about f f). But you seem to think psychological experts--or is it religious clergy? or a popular vote?--shall make the decision for like society as a whole--a rather dubious perspective. So like baptists can breed away but those nasty queers can't adopt children? Why? You're still assuming some deviancy--(really it's probably not a big deal in SF or LA).

The drug analogy doesn't hold either. But Im for legalization anyway. Heroin--it's your right as a rational citizen (ie, the irrational don't have that right).

The burden of proof is on you, either way, and at least in CA, you're in the minority (psychologists do generally allow it). I do know of a lesbian couple who adopted a girl. That happens quite frequently--especially where you are.

Moralists such as yourself generally don't quite understand the scale of ...real atrocities. Some leather boys adopting a kid might offend the neighborhood churchies, the Favilles, or seminarians. But then, the churchies work at Northrop or something building civilian-killing drones, or jets, nukes,etc--a real atrocity (e.g. the House demopublicans just approved of a 700 billion dollar DoD budget, expected to pass the Senate soon. That's Eevil quite beyond what you are concerned with).

Curtis Faville said...


Again, you're mischaracterizing my positions and we're talking at cross-purposes.

We can talk about these matters without seeming as if we're "ignoring" higher crimes and misdemeanors, right? I mean, we're talking about Gay/Lesbian parentage, not drones in Afghanistan. You need to stay on topic (on point).

On a scale of values, I don't rate individual sexual variation very high--unless one is put in the position of having to defend one's sexuality against "experts" who want you to submit to sexual slavery (of a kind). Intellectual capitulation is always the prelude to seduction.

But when it comes to kids, I'm partial. I was personally abused as a boy, and my son was also the target (and victim) of a pedophile in high school. We could argue about the impermissibility of adult-child relationships, but I still have a problem with Gay/Lesbian parentage. The Romans mythologized their ancestors as having been raised by wolves. There's the famous relief of children suckling under the wolf-bitch's belly.

Don't knock it if you haven't tried it; but don't try to tell people who have, what it's all about. You're all wet.

J said...

No, that's a non sequitur--(not to say the usual moralist assumption that samesex people are more prone to pedophilia--). Im against child abuse, Sir F, and sorry to hear about your experiences and those of your son. I know of similar stories ( usually involving preachers and priests).

My point is that you don't really have an argument, apart from ...you don't like it, or even it disgusts you, or per jh, it's.....Eeeevil (yet IIRC Dante placed the "sodomites" quite some distance above corrupt clergy, politicians,usurers, bloodthirsty generals, etc). The psych people allow for samesex adoptions for most part (at least in CA). Now, fundamentalists, trad. catholics, and muslims might not approve at all. But....that's a religious viewpoint--and not entirely worthless--yet not really logical.

Craig said...

I know someone who was conceived by AI, born to a lesbian mother and raised by a lesbian couple. He learned who the sperm donor was the year he finished high school. The sperm donor was someone I knew in college who went on to become a local television celebrity. The kid turned out fine, as far as I can tell. He's now a grad student working on a doctorate in sociology at a big state university. The program he's in has a website and it appears he writes grant proposals to get funding for research into alternative models of the traditional family. His field is called Population Studies.

Curtis Faville said...


I think what bothers me about your comments isn't that you disagree so much, but that you tend to trivialize other people's positions through crude generalizations and off-color swipes. You seem to have a big cynical chip on your shoulder.

As citizens, we have the right to consider and discuss these issues openly, and without fear of reprisal. That's partly why I tend to err on the side of openness in moderating commentary.

This is a matter I've studied and thought about--and written about extensively elsewhere. To characterize my position as motivated by some crude prejudice or revulsion is really unfair and inaccurate. I would happily take this discussion offline, if you were so inclined; because it's really too complex and involved to hash out here. At bottom my position has little to do with personal feelings, but is based on notions of political accommodation, and the long-term issues of mental health among children. And I do have personal knowledge--which, again, I'd be willing to share privately, but not in this public space.

One has a right to make public assertions and to advocate positions without being accused (as a taunt) of prejudice. That's the strategy of people who simply want to shut you up, and aren't willing to address questions openly. If Gay/Lesbian parentage is harmless and/or not the public's business, then let's examine those presumptions. My feeling, again, is that a refusal to address is probably evidence of fear or avoidance or simple political maneuvering. If you've bought into the idea that Gay/Lesbian parentage is harmless, then you've been persuaded by the propaganda (IMV).

The "burden of proof" isn't on me, but on the advocates of the expansion of marriage legislation, which simultaneously expands the definition of parentage. It's up to them to explain and defend their position that same-sex parentage is deserving of the same protections and privileges as heterosexual parentage.

Controlling debate usually involves getting the other side to accept your definitions and contexts before the discussion even gets going. The ground-rules for a fair discussion require that we set aside assumptions about why serious people may be questioning the legitimacy of a given issue, and presume good intentions from the start. I've said I believe in the right of Gay/Lesbian couples to co-habit privately, without prejudice, and that they should not be persecuted. But I draw a line there. This has nothing to do with "prejudice" based on sexual distaste or any of that. It's to do with the health of children raised in non-traditional households. Another example of poor training, for instance, is the English public school system, where boys are subjected to all kinds of rude experiences. That's another example of poor training.

As a society, we have the right to raise issues about the mental health of children, and the conditions that should be facilitated by legislation and public policy. Facilitating Gay/Lesbian parenting is one such issue. One can have a rational position without resorting to prejudice or bigotry.

J said...

the long-term issues of mental health among children.

Data and evidence then, CF. Some samesex couples might not be great "parental material", as I said--and was not merely belittling you. Yet some might. Your generalization would not hold all the time. Then.....shouldn't all prospective parents be subject to psychological screening of a sort? Institute some behavioral screening for parents and....many humans, str8, or not, would be declared unfit. And do you trust the institution of clinical Psychology? I know quite a bit about it, CF--and don't.

jh said...

a college pal of mine served as a sperm donor his lesbos friend choosing hthe turkey baster appraoch to natural selection but she conceived a daughter and the girl i've seen her lately is surviving definetly showing the cultural imprint of mom and mom dada has some connection but not much i'm not sure the girl knows or cares who her father is

it would appear that the human mind has performed contortions equal to that of any bonafide yogi
in order to adapt itself to the social phenomenon andn i further believe the larger tendency is rooted in chemical warfare but i won't go into my conspiracy theory here for there's a good chance the cia is already in on this
phuq 'em

the human person is loaded with resiliency even the most desperate creature tends to want to survive

like i say having some absurd aberration of nurturing may be an advantage in a world courting aberration like a commercial freetrade zone...theyir making it into startrek i'm covinced people sitting at these damn computers talking on ipods sending nude photos of their girlfriends being gay as it were

curtis' point is not so much can a person grow up in a homohouse and be OK it is more connected with the question Do we want to have this as an alternative model can society benefit

i will insist that it is important for men and women girls and boys to have concentrated one gender education at least for a period all this o everyone is the same in the school built by carnegie everyone is the same girl or boy (except boys don't bleed everymonth) O i guess girls don't either anymore we have chemicals for that...wisdom would hold that girls are inclined by energy alone to supercede most self respecting males...we being far more inclined toward being couch potatoes and poets and fishermenn....bring back the deadbeats
that's what i say

i think it's all a sell out it's a culture that knows what the best thing is and knows that the best thing is attainable and knows humbly waht benefits afar not just close to personal survival...we can do much better we have the intellectual tools to think beyond humanistic rationalism and reductionism and people will be better off if we do

this way everyone is on line to be marketed somehow

ultimately everyone must be greeted with love no matter where they come from or what they've done with themselves

it is not so much that we should strive to be like one another in thought but that we might recoognize one another as from the same disturbed human family

i don't want to be around people
with sexual peculiarities
it's hard enough being around so many monks
i like nice families and normal couples and men and women who grow old together and religious people who are at least making the effort to approach all this in a dignified way

jh said...

how does a person be happy
is "i need to be happy and i get to define happiness and i have the right and freedom to be happy the way i see being happy....even if that means disrupting paradigms and telling the world to phuq off"...is this the only way to approach the human challenge of being well on the earth ?

met recently a young phrenetic male who took a women's study course and calls it gender studies this poor bloke looks emasculated i am sorry he's been through the wringer the girls have left him flubbering in the windstorm of human relations like a drugged cat tied to the clothesline...this poor bastard does not know himself in any meaningful way he bowed down to gender studies and feels completely justified in being obnoxiously and nervously out of touch society has made a place for him he's a metromalesexual or som mething like that tres hip but i want nothing to do with the scene i view it as hopelessly corrupt

another yong man a perfectly intelligent drug addict cannot find bearings at all except in tatoos and piercing wants to be in with a girl in the worst way all the girls are strange being lady gaga or untouchable beach dollies

i view the contortions of the young as being much stranger than what we went through in the early 70s it's a culture i guess we have to assume some sort of responsibility for for these are the children of our peers

but i never subscribed to the protestant work ethic or the laizzez faire sociology of the humanists i was always uncomfortable with it even in college when sex was becoming a worry free free for all i found it somewhat horrific

more inclined to the boring tedium of a well kept household with nature always in mind

never liked images or poems or novels or essays or any of that stuff associated with the new human liberation...it all strikes me as pathetic


everyone needs to find their own way up the mountain as it were


shearing took blindness to a new heighth nobody saw it quite like he did
what an ear
i only have recordings to go
but great late night sounds

more george shearing that's what the young need these days

visual verification

WV - balcal

Curtis Faville said...


Conceptually, I think we have to accept that heterosexual marriage--as an institution underwritten both civilly and religiously in the West, over the last 2+ thousand years, is a preferred alternative. We know that extended family arrangements, and matrilineal households are marginally workable, in the absence of a male figure, for whatever reason. Not preferable, but possible. With relationships which challenge heterosexuality, the situation is much different.

There is no question that problems of all kinds arise in heterosexual relationships, and marriage as a viable institution has been under assault from all sides for a couple of generations. Divorce rates are up, illegitimacy is on the rise, teen pregnancy, abuse, abandonment--all the miserable shit. But none of that changes the essential fact that the nuclear family is the most successful and productive social arrangement in the history of civilization.

The objection may seem conceptual on its face. For a child to mature naturally, proper model archetypes are required. Without an adult male in the house, boys tend to be fucked up. The same often holds true for girls who lack a mother figure. Two mothers, or two fathers relationships are unbalanced. Children raised in such households are 10 times more prone to psychological abnormalities in development than the children of straight hetero households--even when there are problems in the marriage, or some degree of breakage.

I'd be interested to see methodical studies of the children of same-sex couples, how their adolescence plays out. Do these kids end up thinking that Gay/Lesbian relationships are preferable, and/or do they "inherit" their parents' distrust of the heterosexual world? That kind of minority reactionary phobia is quite common among all kinds of excluded groups--it seems we're on the verge of creating a whole new excluded class, the children of G/L parents, who are taught to suspect the whole heterosexual culture, and grow up thinking they should be G/L themselves.

But the point of my post was the parents who want to withhold the sexual identity of their children, in order to delay the effect of sexual self-knowledge (and attendant "prejudices"). I regard that as a form of child abuse, in the same sense that I regard Gay/Lesbian parentage. Such children are at greatly increased risk of abnormal development in adolescence and adulthood.

J said...

Such children are at greatly increased risk of abnormal development in adolescence and adulthood.

Perhaps, though that depends on what you mean by "abnormal"--either way, do you have a study/citation to establish/verify your claim?

Actually your view sounds crypto-theological and moral rather than clinical, CF. Does free will exist anyway...or a soul? If you agree to religious premises, then OK-- your views make sense, sort of. Lesbos and sodomites make the wrong choice--and will be in perdido. Then so will many other humans--including hetero. A Sarah Palin or Limbaugh will be residing in a cheap district of the malebolge. Helltown, y'all

From a strictly secular--physicalist view, however, Im not sure. Some end-goals might be better than others--yes, lets condition kids to be hetero. But even that might not always work out--you might condition them to be upright WASPs and to raise families, and yet a few go astray. But if they're intelligent, and sane, ...why can't they have kids? (Or maybe they're gulag meat..Favillewitz). You again assume deviancy without proof/evidence.

Curtis Faville said...


As I stated in the original post, the theoretical and clinical definitions of abnormal sexual stereotypes have been in a state of flux for quite a while. Same sex ideation has been recognized for a long time as a minority variation. But recognition does not imply approval. The Gay/Lesbian segment has never comprised more than 5-8% of the population, and there is disagreement about whom that group should include. Indeed, there is general disagreement about whether Gay/Lesbian identity is merely a life-style, or some more profound, psychological/genetic predisposition. And then there are those who say that simply doesn't matter--it's all about "freedom of choice" etc.

You say--

"From a strictly secular--physicalist view, however, Im not sure. Some end-goals might be better than others--yes, lets condition kids to be hetero"

You're imputing motive to me here that's way beyond anything I accept. I'm not advocating that we "condition" kids to be hetero. I'm suggesting that kids need to be raised in a family where both kinds of archetypes are "available". That puts the choice into the hands of the child. Kids raised in same-sex households (where there is a live sex thing between the "partner/parents") will be deprived of the example they need to be one or the other. Kids "born" to be Gay/Lesbian in a heterosexual household can make that choice--they're different. But kids born in a "different" household are clearly being prejudiced towards a minority identity--and a minority identity that is presented as a viable challenge, even a preference. Dig?

By definition, a child "born" Gay/Lesbian doesn't really have a choice, if you buy the "nature" argument. But in a same-sex household, there's a natural, powerful bias to make kids in those situations "expect" to be just like their parents, i.e., Gay/Lesbian. I have personal knowledge of this--anecdotal evidence, to be sure, which is why I tend to think the advocates are really pushing this as a way of building constituencies. A lot of G/L people will say they think a lot more people are "really" G/L or Bi- and they want to push that agenda.

If I were a parent today, I certainly would object to, for instance, a G/L gym teacher, or a G/L Social Studies, Civics or English teacher. I don't like the idea of people lecturing (my) children on the advantages of open marriage, G/L marriage, G/L lifestyle, G/L parenting, or any of those "tolerant" positions. I don't want G/L identity "celebrated" as if it were a superior option. You hear G/L community advocating that we honor and love and greet that option, as a form of civil right and multi-cultural diversity. That's BS.

I really prefer the don't ask/don't tell policy in civilian life, too. There are certainly Gay/Lesbian individuals throughout society, but they don't get up and proudly proclaim their identity. If we keep moving in the direction we have been, there will be a "Gay/Lesbian Celebration Day" in the public schools, and kids seeking the advice of a Gay/Lesbian counselor will be told that, for instance, male anal intercourse is just fine, "if it feels right." If all that sounds inflammatory, think again. In America we have a recent history of granting reparations on a grand scale. How far do we want to go in "encouraging" the emancipation of a minority defined by its sexual recreation and "lifestyle" choice?

J said...

I really prefer the don't ask/don't tell policy in civilian life, too.

Yes...for the most part. Actually I oppose allowing non-heteros in combat positions (as do most military people)

Did you vote for Prop. 8, Sir F? I wager you did. Even those people who disapprove of samesex unions (and churches are not obligated to bless alternative unions anyway). should realize what an ugly crypto-theocratic policy 8 is--not unlike Germany in the 30s.

Curtis Faville said...

Actually, I avoid voting as much as possible. The Republicans rule this neck of the woods--to such a degree that none of the Democratic voters have a prayer. But the real reason I do so is to avoid being thrown onto the jury panel lists. Jury duty is very honorable, but I prefer to avoid it. This way, I never get called, and hence do not have to break the law by not responding to the summonses.

I suppose I would have voted for Prop 8, but not, as I've been repeating for your benefit, because I'm against Gay marriage in principle--though I think legal claims for benefits need to be curtailed, not encouraged--but because of its wider implications (legal parentage and adoption privileges). This is consistent with my position. If we could splice parental and adoption rights away from Gay Marriage, I'd vote for it.