Thursday, November 11, 2010

Should parents prod their kids to gender conformity? Will Marine Corps scuttle DADT repeal?

Jeneba Ghatt has a piece in The Washington Times online, “Can parents steer their children’s sexual orientation?” link here. The article really doesn’t address that so much, as to whether parents should encourage kids to be themselves (especially when it comes to gender conformity and dressing at events), or to conform to expectations of society (it seems sometimes to keep from being bullied). For this newspaper, the tone of the piece was surprisingly gentle.

Demands for gender conformity seem to come from a "moral" belief that everyone must be able to carry out prescribed social responsibilities (related to gender), regardless of personal choices.  That is definitely the impression that iI got growing up in the 1950s. It's the "if I have to do it, you have to do it" style of thinking.

One of the problems that let me to the debate on gays in the military, is the idea that you can’t be fully equal or fully free unless you can step up and take the same risks and responsibilities as everyone else. In that respect, the recent survey results specifically about the Marine Corps, with its unusual demands for cohesion, raises an existential question: do the sacrifices of bravest components of society set the tone for what should be expected of the rest of us? Is that what “fairness” means? Remember, totalitarian systems are usually concerned with the idea that no one should benefit from someone else’s unseen sacrifice.

I remember stirring things up on a bivuouac hike in Basic in 1968 by saying "The Marines are tougher than the Army".  I just blurted out what came into my head, even in the Army.

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