Thursday, March 7, 2013
A parent's task is straightforward: you're issued with one small, squalling animal (or multiple thereof) and the sole item on the task list is to turn it into a civilised human being. The way you carry out the task is up to you, but one thing you can take as guaranteed is that there will be a certain amount of unpleasantness involved. That's because small, squalling animals generally lack interest in being turned into civilised human beings so your task will inevitably bring you into conflict with your child on many occasions. As the parent, it's your view of the child's best interest that must prevail, or you'll end up with a large squalling animal at the end of the process, rather than a civilised human being.
"So far, so what," you say. "Stop stating the obvious." Well, apparently it isn't obvious any more. If you had your kids within the last 20 years or so, you'll have encountered parents via childcare or primary school who seem to look on their task as something more like acting as a servant to the child and following its instructions. Consider for example Kathryn and Jeremy Mathis, the parents of a "transgender" 6-year-old. According to news reports, the then-male child Coy Mathis at the tender age of 18 months old declared himself a girl, and the parents, having consulted medical "authorities" on the subject of what a girl is, have treated her as a girl ever since.
I recall that my kids as toddlers made a great many declarations regarding ways the rest of the world must alter itself to suit them, but it never occurred to me to take those declarations as commands. And it failed to occur to me not because I'm a prick who hates anyone else getting a say in what happens (no, seriously), but because I'm aware that a 2-year-old isn't as well-suited as an adult to make decisions that will have profound consequences for his/her life.
Mr and Ms Mathis are not aware of that, or at least I assume they aren't, because it's hard to imagine them being aware of it and then allowing a 2-year-old to command them to change his gender for life. Because that's what they've done - regardless of what the long-term outcome for Coy Mathis would have been if his parents had had two brain cells to rub together and had just told him his dangly bits declared him not a girl so suck it up, she is now transgender, not merely in her own mind but officially in the form of an ID and passport, and publicly in the world's news media. It's like a particularly elaborate and exquisite form of child abuse.
Coy is in the news because her school decided she wasn't to use the girls' bathroom any more, on the basis of having inappropriate weeing tackle. Which is shitty behaviour by the school - we're talking 6-year-olds here, after all. But the Mathis' response to this setback betrays a truly remarkable level of self-deception: fearing that the school's action might prompt mockery and bullying, her mother said: "It was going to set her up for a lot of bad things." Oh, it isn't the school that's set your daughter up for a lot of bad things lady, not the school by a long way.
Further background info at http://abcnews.go.com/Health/colorado-transgender-girl-banned-grade-school-bathroom/story?id=18607443