Monday, January 11, 2010

Insensitive remarks on gender confusion resulting from silly remarks in the promotion for the movie "Straightlaced: How Gender's Got Us All Tied Up"

It's hard to tell exactly what the point of the gay documentary: "Straightlaced: How Gender's Got Us All Tied Up" is, but judging from remarks by the promoters of the movie, it's about the "problem" of "gender boundaries." Somehow this "problem" helped bring about the suicide death of a Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School boy, and the way to deal with it is greater "acceptance of differences."

Merlene Davis of the Lexington Herald-Leader doesn't miss her chance to promote the movie, which was shown this weekend and sponsored by the Central Kentucky Council on Peace and Justice. Here's her description of the movie:
On Saturday, several ­organizations are hosting the first local screening of "Straightlaced: How ­Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up," a documentary that explores the pressures teens endure to conform to ­accepted gender boundaries. That film is dedicated to Hannah, who was one of the 50 young people ­producers ­interviewed to gauge the restrictions society puts on teens in defining their ­masculinity or femininity. [emphasis added]
That's Merlene, who is presumably female, although she could apparently have been something else had society decided differently.

The film is about a boy named "Josh," an openly gay student at Lexington, Kentucky's Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School who committed suicide and a fellow student name "Hannah" who was his friend and who later died in a car accident. Josh is described as having a "flamboyant personality," which attracts the negativity of his peers. It's never stated outright, but you get the definite impression that Josh's death is to be laid at the feet of anyone who has a traditional view of human sexuality.

Here is the description of the film on the Kentucky Theatre's website:
The message of the film is one of acceptance of others regardless of their dress, sexual orientation or desire to wear a particular color, said Woloch. That epitomizes what Hannah stood for. “In the movie she said people ask her why she was friends with Josh, and she said, ‘Why not?’” Woloch said. “These are stories of kids who identify as gay, straight, bisexual or whatever,” she said. “It’s about the biases we have and the determinations we make based on nothing. Hers was just acceptance and love. Acceptance for who they are.” [emphasis added]
What, exactly, does "acceptance" mean here? Is this, like, some neutral kind of acceptance that just means I'm supposed to recognize and respect others as human beings despite the fact that I think their lifestyle is abnormal and in many cases self-destructive (and in some cases just silly)?

Wait. Self-destructive? How could I say that? That's so insensitive and intolerant. Am I not ashamed of myself for saying this?

Well, actually, no. I know that in modern liberal secular society, which has constantly championing social policies that contribute to the disconnection of people from real cultures and real relationships, we are supposed to have compassion for people we don't know. This is one of the premises behind all the rhetoric about so-called "global culture." Which, by the way, not only doesn't exist, but can't.

I'm sure, if I had known the boy, I would have felt very sorry for him--for a number of reasons. I'm sure his parents too are understandably distraught and grieving. If I knew them, I'm sure I would feel equally sorry for them. But I didn't and I don't.

And he did, after all, kill himself. If there's something more self-destructive than that, I guess I haven't figured out what it is.

So does this "acceptance" simply mean being respectful of someone's humanity, or is it more on the order of I'm supposed to deny the basic principles of the Good the True and the Beautiful because they are right and I'm wrong?

I'd like to think it is the first, but I have the sneaking suspicion that it is really the second. In fact, the evidence for the accuracy of my suspicion is right there in the description. What are the beliefs of traditionally-minded people? They are "the biases we have and the determinations we make based on nothing." In other words, the views of those who think that males are not designed to be masculine and females are not designed to be feminine are to be accepted by those who disagree with them. On the other hand, those who think males are designed to be masculine and females are designed to be feminine are "biases based on nothing" and are to be rejected as unacceptable.

In other words, we use the language of moral neutrality to hide the fact that acceptance only goes one way. If you reject traditionalism, your views should be "accepted," and if you are a traditionalist, your views are not to be accepted, and furthermore you are to be characterized as intolerant in the process. If Group A rejects the views of Group B, then Group A is intolerant. But when Group B rejects the views of Group A, it is actually an exercise in tolerance despite the fact that it is no different in kind than the rejection exercised by Group A.

You agree with me, okay? But I don't have to agree with you. That's how the game works. Are you ready to play?

And what about these"determinations we make"? It doesn't take long to figure out that the people promoting the film want us to think, first, that it is only those evil, biased, intolerant people who, in having the temerity to think that males are males and females are females for a reason, are the only ones who make determinations. But is that true?

What about the "determinations" the promoters of the film make in regard to sexual orientation? These are people, after all, who think that gay people are born that way. I can't think of any belief more determinative that the belief that homosexual are born homosexual.

But, of course, we say that homosexuals are born that way when it suits our politics, and then conveniently ignore or deny it when it doesn't. In fact, as I have said before, it is a strange anomaly characteristic of the modern liberal mindset that it claims that everything, including gender, is culturally constructed and then turns right around and claims that homosexuality is inborn.

Go figure.

And are the determinations of those of us who unaccountably think that boys are born boys and girls are born girls really "based on nothing"? How about, oh, I don't know, ... nature? That, after all, has been the belief of cultures time immemorial. If you don't agree with it, fine. What's your argument against it? You got something more than--dare I say it?--a bias?

According to the promo for the film, which features a bunch of confused teenagers trying to articulate, like, something about gender, ya know, the basic premise is that gender is just as subjective as the colors and the clothes you wear. And, apparently, like your clothes, your gender can be chose and changed at will. In other words, people aren't really born male and female.

Now, put your finger on that page to hold your place and turn back to the earlier chapters of this whole debate over gay rights and read the chapter on how homosexuality is inborn. Whoa! Gender is not inborn, but homosexuality is? How can this be?

It is just one more measure of the crack-up of the modern secular mind that people who can't figure out whether they are male or female should be the first ones to demand recognition for "who they are."

HT: Richard Day


One Brow said...

Is carrying a purse masculine? I was called gay for so doing when I was younger. Since I never worried that much about other people's opinions then, I laughed it off. For other people, it's not that easy, and the behaviors that bring on the taunting are not so easy to change. It's hard to change your voice timbre, and for many people to change their muscle mass, but being thin and having a high voice earned some kids scorn in my high school. Personally, I see no contradiction between those traits and being masculine, and it sounds like that is the point of the film: what does it mean ot be masculine, and how does society enforce the traditional notions thereof?

859.Shooter said...

I guess that would leave us with the question of where we get our idea of masculinity. To me, it doesn't matter what color of close you where, or what activities you chose to involve in (there are exception in this case). So where do you get your standard for masculinity and feminity?

KyCobb said...


Its real simple. Just mind your own business. Noone is going to tell you that you have to wear a dress or you can't sleep with your wife. Just accord others the same courtesy. BTW, I find the callous tone of your post concerning that child's death absolutely appalling. Are you not familiar with the second greatest commandment of God? Its not "don't be a pansy".

859.Shooter said...

why are you demanding of Martin what you arn't doing yourself. You are clearly not minding your own busness. I never understood why people use that expression. Esspecially when he is commenting on a publicly viewed movie about a publicly known topic....So why arn't you telling the people who made the movie to mind their own busness?...and yes, I think Martin is familiar with the second greatest commandment of God, in fact I believe he mentioned it. It's to love you neighbor. So would the loveing thing to do be to overlook a good friends selfdestructive behavior? I don't think indifference is a form of love.

859.Shooter said...

Sorry, I misspelled "wear" in my first post....just thought I would correct myself. :)

KyCobb said...


Suicide is self-destructive behavior, as Martin mentioned. Who a person chooses to love or what they choose to wear is their own business and noone elses.

859.Shooter said...

I guess it would all depend on how you would describe self-destructive. This is where our opinions differ. Self-destructive, to me, means not being true to who you have been created to be. Homosexual or lesbian lifestyles, believe it or not, are very destructive. Men and women are different for a reason. No, there isn't a limit on who you can love, but sexual intrest is not the bases for love by any means, that is just infatuation.

Oh, I wanted to mention that I appreciate you answering back. I think it's good that this can be descussed, but I don't mean for anything that I say to be offensive. If it ever comes accross that way, I apoligize.

Thomas M. Cothran said...


"Who a person chooses to love or what they choose to wear is their own business and noone elses."

You might want to actually argue for this.

KyCobb said...


Its pretty much self-evident, as long as we're talking consenting adults and clothes not loaded with high explosives!

KyCobb said...


Some people are homosexual, whether you like it or not. Society can't force them to be heterosexual, and they can't learn to be happy loving the people you think they ought to love. No amount of lecturing from you is going to convert them to heterosexuality. And if you want to talk about self-destructive lifestyles, there are plenty of heterosexuals with those. Just look at Steve Nunn and the many other abusive heterosexual relationships.

Thomas M. Cothran said...


No, it's not self-evident. The vast majority of human ethical thought and jurisprudence contradict your assertion. It's a modern liberal sensibility, but nothing more. The consenting adults standard is both arbitrary and false. Political communities have an interest in their citizen's behavior; even private behavior.

859.Shooter said...

Again you seem to be throwing the word love around. How do you even describe love (just curious)? And yes there are very destructive heterosexual situation, there is no doubt about that, but that has no revelance on what we are talking about. Yes, some people are homosexuals, and no, personally I don't like it. Do you like the fact that some people are child molester's? you could say that it is just a sexual preference....oh, but it's not between two consenting adults. Ok. What if there is consent from the parents? What if one of the parents is the molester? You say that society can't force homosexuals to change, but we are forcing people not to be sexual preditors. Why?

Richard Day said...


I responded at Kentucky School News & Commentary: