A hearty belly laugh and an Evans-Manning Award to commentator Pinkjohn, an out gay clergyman who has no patience with the college kids in the “Progressivism’s Next Frontier” thread from earlier today. He writes:

These kids have too much g-ddamn privilege on their hands. As a gay old fart, I say “get a job!”

As an undergraduate in the early 80′s I studied gender and anthropology. It was fascinating and I learned a lot about the way different cultures “do” gender.

But back when I first came out, there was perhaps a greater diversity of ways to be men and women. The range of masculinity and femininity was fairly vast, from “Rosie the Riveter” types, female big rig drivers to Paul Lynde and Liberace on the male side.

Now, at the slightest deviance from the norm, these kids declare it an “identity” and want to have surgery. There are few butch lesbians anymore. They are all getting testosterone treatments and becoming men.

Never mind the condescension if you aren’t keeping up with the latest gender identity innovations. Last year I went to a major conference for the lgbt community. The over 50 crowd succeeded in carving out a space for ourselves. One common complaint was about how these undergrads and grad students looked down on those of us who paved the way for them, since we were fairly “retro” in our self-labeling, and not impressed with “gender queers.” We had little choice while they got it from a textbook.

As for lengthening acronyms, try this one on for size: POCLGBTQQGNCTSIA. (People of color, lesbian/gay/bi/trans, queer, questioning, gender nonconforming, two-spirit, intersex, asexual.)

Yes, I am a curmudgeonly old faggot. “Get off my lawn!”

Pinkjohn, did you see in the Times story where a group of these kids had jumped on their 60-year-old lesbian professor for telling them not to use the LGBTLMNOP acronym in their writing? They believed she was oppressing them. She said, persuasively, that she was just trying to help them write better English.

I could be wrong, but I think there are a lot of straight people who support gay marriage and/or other civil rights for gay folks, who nonetheless wonder where the line is to be drawn. Does supporting same-sex marriage mean that you can never criticize anything gays or transgenders do, or oppose anything they claim? There seems to be a “no enemies to the cultural left” mentality in the gay community, one that demands that anyone who wishes to do (almost) anything based on reasons of sexual desire or personal identity must be affirmed and supported. To police the margins of one’s movement is, in their eyes, to become a traitor to the movement. All movements have to deal with this, I suppose.

Twenty years ago, when I was helping cover the huge gay march on the Mall in Washington, I was really shocked by many of the things I saw. There were thousands and thousands of more or less average looking gay men and lesbians, down there marching. But there were also no small number of freaks. I think in particular about the man dressed like some sort of wood faerie, who had a large, leafy branch stuck up his butt. This guy was only the weirdest of a large number of weirdos down there that day. Also memorable: the contingent of extremely pale, obese young lesbians walking around topless.

I remember wondering at the time what I would think if I were like my gay friends, and many of the gay people on the Mall that day: basically middle-class normal, and just wanting equal treatment under the law. What would I think if America associated me and my cause with people who shoved branches up their backsides and paraded on the Mall? Or the 80-year-old leatherman walking around in nothing but leather short-shorts and rings through his nipples?

(By the way, look at the list of major demands the Washington marchers made in 1993. Notice what’s missing? Marriage rights. It was barely on the radar of the gay mainstream back then, though if you look at the full, detailed list of demands, it’s there. Still, almost nobody was talking about it back then. Andrew Sullivan’s book arguing for gay marriage, Virtually Normal, was still two years away. And today, you have people acting like the case for gay marriage is so bleeding obvious that only stone-cold bigots could disagree.)

I’ve mentioned before on this blog about a really interesting piece in The New Republic I read after the march, in which the writer, one Andrew Sullivan, praised The Washington Times for its coverage of the march. Sullivan said that TWT’s coverage had the singular virtue of being honest, because its reporters did not sugarcoat the march, and write as if the only people marching were bourgeois normals.

Anyway, I get the desire of many gay people to be accepted into the middle-class American mainstream — “virtually normal,” in Sullivan’s phrase. At some point, though, you have to accept middle-class norms, even if they’re stretched to include same-sex relationships. The kind of radical stuff those college students are into will never be middle class. I am certain that those radicals may not want to be middle class in the least, and are happy to be seen as pushing the envelope. But they can’t really act that way, and expect to be affirmed in their radicalism by the middle class mainstream (which includes, it appears, Pinkjohn, though correct me if I’m wrong). It’s childish. It reminds me of myself as a petulant teenager, wanting to dress in such a way as to tick off my dad, but then resenting him when he got ticked off by the way I dressed. It also reminds me of artists demanding an arts grant from the government to fund their projects denouncing the values of the same taxpayers giving them the handout.