Opinion: Tolerance vs. normalization
Ralph K. Ginorio
| June 14, 2022 5:15 PM
June 11’s “Pride in the Park” was largely a peaceable celebration of the participants' beliefs. Thankfully, neither Antifa, Satanists, nor what seemed to be the "Patriot Front" were permitted to turn a peaceful demonstration into a riot.
While disagreeing with many of the organizers' fundamental assumptions and contentions, I am very glad that their event largely went well. We must support Free Speech, especially that with which we personally disagree. If we embrace broad censorship and the demonization of our foes, we participate in the destruction of a freedom of expression that protects us all.
We must couple toleration with a forthright debate with our opponents. Otherwise, we risk our silence being misinterpreted as acceptance of the rectitude of their arguments. At our best, we Americans can engage wholeheartedly in passionate disagreements without becoming enemies bent on each other’s destruction.
So while absolutely disagreeing with them, I support my fellow Americans who wish to express their belief that sexual orientation is the definitive aspect of an individual’s identity.
To me, identity for self-aware human beings is a result of a lifetime of accumulated choices and experiences. I have many traits and characteristics. Some have evolved over time while others remain constant. None of them alone encompass my identity. For a sentient being, the whole is always greater than the sum of their parts.
I support the recognition that sexuality was once limited by the coercive power of the state. Some aspects still are, to serve the common interest. People are not allowed to have congress with beasts and adults are still not permitted to have relations with children.
However, the intimacy between two consenting adults of the same sex was until recent decades punishable under the law. I can sympathize with the desire to express pride that such laws are in the past. I agree that such laws led to the needless destruction of many lives. We are better off without them.
My greatest dispute with the advocates of diverse sexualities beyond the mainstream lies in the differences between what constitutes toleration, as opposed to normalization.
The traditions of almost every human culture and civilization around the world throughout recorded history, including in the Judeo-Christian West, are fundamentally heterosexual and cis-normative. While some past societies were more open to tolerate people whose lives did not neatly fit into male or female, no society until our own has ever seriously called into question the objective existence of masculine or feminine.
Nor has any large scale society permitted the relative innocence of children, and the normal development of boys and girls into men and women, to be disrupted because of the existence of people who break from these paths. Tolerant societies allowed nonconforming individuals acceptable latitude to lead fulfilling lives without assaulting the fundaments of gender norms and traditional family.
For example, certain North Asian tribes allowed a woman who wished to live as a man to declare her choice to become a “Will-Man.” Henceforth, she would be treated in every respect as a (usually smaller and weaker) man. Such a choice was made at adulthood, and was irrevocable.
I believe that those whose sexualities vary from traditional norms, such as homosexuality between consenting adults, should be tolerated by our broader society. On the other hand, I absolutely do not believe that such things should ever be fully normalized. I do not think that the elimination of male and female as statuses under the law and as definitions within daily life will help anyone, including homosexuals.
Typically, from 2-4% of any developed nation’s population has identified in census reports as being what today is called LBGTQ+. While the human rights and dignity of these people must be protected, in no way is this group representative of the wider population.
Social norms developed since the Old Stone Age, when all men hunted and all women gathered, should absolutely not be abandoned to create a false impression of normality. Harm is being done to real people in the wider society by our increasing inability to define male and female; to distinguish between the two in consequential situations like bathroom use, sports, prisons, and even the military.
Most seriously is the harm being done to pre-sexual children by a very few LBGTQ+ advocates in the name of full normalization. It is nothing less than child abuse to foist homosexual or transgender advocacy on innocent children.
Children tend to accept the words of an authority figure uncritically. It is that tendency which enables child predators to groom victims. Taking advantage of a young person’s confusion or emotional vulnerability to encourage them to make life-altering decisions before they are capable of really understanding the consequences of such judgements is wildly irresponsible and destructive.
The whole juvenile justice system is based on the notion that the brains of minors are not fully formed. Because of this, it would be unjust to hold minors accountable for their actions to the same standard of responsibility as an adult. The characteristic stages of human development cannot fairly, justly, or humanely be reconciled with the practice of encouraging vulnerable juveniles to take hormone blockers or to undergo irreversible gender reassignment surgery. Such matters should always be limited to adults.
Many powerful individuals and institutions have begun to conflate any expression that is critical of the full normalization of LBGTQ+ lifestyles as being hateful, homophobic and deserving of punishment. Many extreme advocates seem to want to criminalize any dissent of their orthodoxy as once homosexuality itself was criminalized. This is blatant hypocrisy and undermines the cause of universal human rights.
Within the broadest possible limits, we Americans should celebrate the free choices and characteristics of one another. We should be tolerant, but should absolutely oppose efforts to normalize unusual lifestyles at the expense of childhood innocence and our ability to function healthily as men and women.
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In Maine and then Idaho, Ralph K. Ginorio has taught the history of Western civilization to high school students for nearly a quarter century. He is an “out-of-the-closet” Conservative educator with experience in special education, public schools and charter schools, grades 6-12. He has lived in Coeur d’Alene since 2014. Email: email@example.com