Saturday, March 21, 2015

Dealing With A Very Thorny Issue

Ryland Whittington

CNN has posted another interesting and controversial documentary titled “Raising Ryland.”

There are two ways to process such things; emotionally, which can be threatening to a LOT of people and lead to outright rejection and even anger, or more logically with an honest and open curiosity about HOW and WHY such anomalies occur.

CNN’s short film called Raising Ryland and a corresponding article titled “When Your Daughter Says, ‘I’m a boy’ ”, chronicles the story of Ryland Whittington and that child’s transitional journey. Ryland’s mother, Hillary Whittington says that Ryland would scream "I'm a boy" as soon as he started speaking, and showed an aversion to anything feminine.

Is it possible for a very young child to make such a life-altering determination?

I really DON’T know.

Is it true that, as some advocates have said, “Sex is genetic, while gender is emotional, or inside your head”?

Again, I honestly DON’T know.

Wow! Come to think of it, there’s a LOT that I’ve got to admit I really just don’t know about such issues.

In the CNN film, the Whittington’s decided to listen to their child and allowed young Ryland to “transition” to a male well before school began.

At first blush, my initial thoughts were, that “SRS (sex reassignment surgery) doesn’t change an individual’s genetics, just their exterior, so why put anyone through such a procedure when it doesn’t address the underlying genetics?” I also wondered if I COULD let a very young child make such a life-altering decision, given how often we all change throughout childhood.

Fact is, this can be a disturbing film because it’s such a disturbing subject, one that threatens or undermines what so many of us believe about gender, “social norms” and so much else that appears to give a sense of permanence to society.

One thing I strongly suspect, in fact, I believe, is that people DON’T choose to go through something like this any more than a person actually “chooses” to become homosexual.

When I’ve thought about this issue, I’ve come to consider that perhaps it’s the belief that such things are “deliberate choices” that brings with it so much revulsion and intolerance. I mean, if you believe another person CHOOSES to become homosexual, or simply CHOOSES to become transgendered, then you also probably believe those people are doing that to deliberately make you feel uncomfortable, to deliberately challenge the existing order, to willfully upend the apple cart, so to speak...BUT that view makes the issue “ALL about us” (the observers) and ignores the individuals actually going through such ordeals.

I tend to believe that homosexuality is innate, or inborn, just as is heterosexuality and I DON’T believe anyone would CHOOSE to become transgendered, they too appear to simply be “wired that way” and actually believe they were “born into the wrong bodies.”

The question is, regardless how uncomfortable such things may make us, HOW does another person going through such things actually harm any of us who are not?

Moreover, HOW does tolerating such people do any harm to any of us?

There is STILL a LOT that I don’t understand about this subject. I don’t understand the idea that “sex is genetic, but gender is in our minds,” and I don’t know if I could make the same decision the Whittington’s did, especially in light of reports like this one;

I am NOT very (at all) religious, and so I understand that my own views probably differ with those of the very religious. I accept that, AND I accept other’s right to vehemently disagree with me.

What I find horrifically ironic is the fact that there are so many “tolerance-advocates” out there who’d seek to punish others simply for NOT believing as they do...for NOT following some pre-conceived “politically correct orthodoxy” on the issues. I have NOTHING in common with those people. In fact, THEY have a LOT in common with the people they’d like to silence!

ALL of that seems very much akin to asking a group of Nazis to determine our free speech policies. When the purveyors of “tolerance” become just as intolerant as those whom they call “intolerant,” then true tolerance is all but a lost cause.

When I saw this CNN film my primary concern was over that child’s future happiness. Did a veritable toddler make the right decision?

Where the parents right in following their child’s lead?

Again, all I can say is...I really DON’T know.

I suppose time will tell.

I know what I believe, but beliefs can be right or wrong, depending upon input. As I said, I believe such things (homosexuality, transgenderism, etc.) are innate, biological, or chemical/hormonal, thus NOT “deliberate choices” people make. I also believe that EVERY religion (at least the Abrahamic religions – Christianity, Islam and Judaism) puts far too much emphasis on sexuality.

Again, that is merely my OPINION, and perhaps, in religion’s defense, it’s served to strengthen the traditional family, fortify monogamy and inculcate respect for traditional Marriage. If so, it has done so for eons, but all of that has been eroded by our “post-modernist world,” which SEEMS to be here to least for the foreseeable future.

It also seems that by OVER-emphasizing and criminalizing so much of human sexuality these religions have undermined their initial, or original message. Hard to say, especially for someone as non-religious as myself.

Here’s what we are faced with today, the QUESTION; “Is it too much to ask for some tolerance and dignity for those going through such personal issues (gender dystopia and sexual orientation)? Even for those of us who don’t really understand any of it, can we at least accept their humanity and, in effect, decriminalize those things we may have been taught to see as “indiscretions”?

That too, is probably up to each individual to answer for themselves.

It’s a thorny issue that will take some time to fully work out.

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