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The sexual right doesn't really believe sex is a gift. - Elf M. Sternberg
The sexual right doesn't really believe sex is a gift.
Now that I've talked about the non-social causes of sexual orientation in children and teens, and how the right wing is using a well-funded think-tank paper with no peer review and no vetting by third-party social scientists to beat up on queer youth, I actually want to talk about the other issue in Todd Herman's rant. Herman makes a huge deal out of the fluidity of sexual orientation. Without saying so, he wants his audience to believe that queer kids can be made to grow up to be straight adults.

He wants his audience to believe it's "leftists" who fund Gay Straight Alliances and teach school counsellors and sue for Title IX acceptance of trans kids on schools, and all of that is making more and more kids reconsider their heterosexuality.

I'm here to tell him that he's correct.

For many people, sexual orientation is highly fluid and remains so. Here's the secret: we've known this for a long, long time. I reached my majority in the mid-80s and collected all the queer and kinky samizdat I could get my hands on. And the open secret is that we all knew. We knew then, we know now: There are lots more people who would openly explore homoerotic experiences and non-traditional sexual expression if the shackles of traditional gender roles were removed.

At which point, of course, the right wing quotes Chesterson:
There is the modern type of reformer who goes gaily up a gate and says, "I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away." To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: "If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it."
The problem with this quote is that we do know why the gate is there.

Unplanned pregnancy and the threat of disease are technological barriers; we have found our way to manage both of these most of the time. Prior to the 20th century, they were managed by controlling the whole human being, often violently. Fear of this violence coincided nicely (at least for those in power) with ensuring the integrity of one's family.

Fear sucks. Fear of disease, fear of unplanned pregancy, fear of violent reprisal for not being heteronormative, these are not moral values. Morals are only worthwhile when they are held positively, and the queer moral state is one of commitment and responsibility: life without commitment, life without responsibility, life without honoring the work the world has brought us, is empty of meaning, insignificant and debased.

We knew. We knew this would happen. The conservatives were right all along: there was indeed a worldwide queer conspiracy to normalize romantic attraction without prostrating ourselves to the twin poles of absolute masculinity and absolute femininity. Masculine and feminine are simply descriptions; they hold little moral value in and of themselves. Commitment and love have moral value.

Where Herman sees a chance to drive home a wedge, I see a promise where one sex is not empowered over the other, and where, for those so inclined, features other than the hardware between one's legs dictates the conscience to decide who is worthy to share in our physical affection.

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