Homophobic, Transphobic and Creepy!
The suggestion that conversations about LGBTQ+topics are “adult” is hypocritical in the extreme, and betrays a deep ignorance of contemporary culture.
Content warning: contains discussion of “adult” themes in explicit language.
Yesterday I wrote about (aka eviscerated!) the crude premise that children should be protected from all awareness of LGBTQ, and to highlight the harm done by such presumption. I was pleased — delighted, even, in a bitter-sweet way — by how many responded with tales of lives blighted by lack of information: how glad they were that young people no longer faced such enforced ignorance.
But there was a second strand: the assumption that LGBTQ is a thing only adults can or should know about. Inevitably, you’ll link this to THAT tweet and the individual that kicked this off. That, though, would be wrong. Because as attitude, it is far from unique: is, rather, pretty commonplace amongst a certain set of social commentators.
“A twelve-year-old is a child”, they claim: allowing them to know they might be LGBTQ+ makes them adult. This is not the own they think it. Rather, it is homophobic, transphobic and creepy as hell. Hypocritical, too. Along the way it displays such ignorance of common culture that you wonder what world those pushing such lines actually inhabit.
Let’s deconstruct. The sentiment boils down to a view that “adult”, when used of LGBTQ+, is synonymous with “sexual”. Sure: there’ll be some shuffling of feet as those advocating this position pretend otherwise. So, pause: and contemplate popular culture as it is targeted at young people. And by young people, I mean children as young as 4 or 5.
Babies! That’s what many of them pretty much still are. And what’s the first thing so many little girls get to play with? Miniature, plastic babies! Toy dolls, some of which lie there inanimate and creepy, like Chucky’s comatose little sister, while others scream and cry and wet themselves in awful facsimile of real life.
Now, I didn’t get much of a sex education when I was little, on account of it being the early 70s, and most folks still believing that babies appeared magically from under gooseberry bushes. But I have learnt a bit since. I have noticed babies don’t tend to happen without a little bit of horizontal shuffling. Fucking, yanno! When you talk to 5 year olds about babies, you’re actually starting a conversation that ends in fucking. But that’s not creepy or “adult”, because …well, because!
From earliest years, we push “adult” narratives at children. For wider society, that is fine if we sugarcoat them. Dress them in fine concepts like emotional attachment. Fine, too, so long as they are normative. If you cannot see just how “adult” these themes are, then what have you been reading?
And what’s that other thing we tease little girls with? Oh, yeah: love and marriage. As though enough women weren’t falling for abusive relationships without wrapping the whole shebang up in pink ribbon and dusting it off with a sprinkle of glitter. I’ve written elsewhere of issues I have with traditional romantic narratives, ex Hollywood and the entertainment industry.
So I will simply add that against the promotion of such “adult” narratives to those who we intend to be “real” women in later life, the fact that the worst we do to young boys is get them all excited about toy guns (aka introducing them to the concept of murder) is positively progressive. I say bring back the real fairy stories. The original stories wherein Cinderella’s sisters have their eyes pecked out by crows, and the Prince wakes Sleeping Beauty not with a kiss, but by raping her.
At least there is some grim(m) honesty to them!
As for gender identity, what? Do these people imagine boys and girls aged 4 or 5 do not have a strong sense of their own gender? Do they honestly believe that if you took any random 5-year-old lad and sent him to his first school day in a pink dress and pigtails, he’d not throw a most almighty strop and refuse to go?
I so know this, having made the mistake, some years back of picking up a pair of jeans in a charity shop and attempting to tempt my then six-year-old son with them. “No way!” he grumped.
“The stitching!”, he lectured me, like some classroom dunce.”It’s pink!”
It wasn’t. More a sort of pastel red. But hey! Point made. Beyond question! Aged six, he saw himself as boy, male, young man. The mere thought of being “transed” provoked open revolt.
There’s the thing. From earliest years, we push “adult” narratives at children. For wider society, that is fine if we sugarcoat them. Dress them in fine concepts like emotional attachment. Fine, too, so long as they are normative. If you cannot see just how “adult” these themes are, then what have you been reading?
So much for the hypocrisy and the creepiness.
But I promised you homophobia. Transphobia, too. Both are present in abundance. Because the suggestion is that talking LGBTQ+ to children implies foisting adult themes on them. This is rooted in a sense that you cannot discuss any of the things that you discuss with their straight cis sibs without it being sexual.
So sure, you can talk love and marriage with a young’un with zero acknowledgment that you are setting them on a path that leads inevitably to erotic tonguings and lashings of whipped cream, while kidding yourself that you are not. But woe betide anyone that dares contemplate talk of LGBTQ+ relationships. Or even existence. Because LGBTQ+ identities are only sexual!
No gay, lesbian or trans individual can possibly be who they are without simultaneously fantasising bare-backing, or pleasuring themselves before the nearest mirror, in gold lamé and sequins.
And if that evil slander does not tick all of the boxes — creepy, hypocritical, homophobic, transphobic — I don’t know what does!
This piece is inspired by a recent much-publicised that to label young people as LGBT+ is to treat them as “adult”. You can read more about the story here. Inspired by, but by no means limited to, since this view is very commonplace, shared by many in the mainstream and religious-leaning media.
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