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Where Have You Gone, Ann Landers?

Ann Landers never had to deal with questions like this (Lorelyn Medina/Shutterstock)

Nope, nothing wrong with this culture at all. A confused mother writes to The New York Times‘s advice column:

I’m the mother of an amazing teenage daughter. Our relationship is close, but recently things have gotten complicated. She came out to us as pansexual when she was 11. I was concerned about her labeling herself at such a young age and being bullied.

Came out as pansexual at age 11. Hoo boy. I’d bet cash money that this mother is not remotely worried about bullying; she was rightly worried that her daughter was weirdly and inappropriately sexualizing herself at a young age. But she can’t say that in her culture, because we are crazy people. More:

She met a transgender child in summer camp, then a few others, and helped them through some tough times. I was proud of her for her compassion and did not restrict her friendships, though she wasn’t allowed to sleep over at anyone’s house.

Fast forward to age 15. After several heterosexual relationships and a few girl crushes, she wants to date a transgender boy. My older Latina mother, who lives with us, disapproves. I also feel uncomfortable. She goes to a small private school where she would be labeled by some, although there are friends who would understand. I’ve told her we need to meet the person and if her behavior starts to be affected adversely we would react accordingly. Our daughter feels it’s unfair that she has more restrictions placed on her dating than her brother.

I know it’s her life, but I don’t like her hanging out with these kids, some of whom don’t go to her school. A few are really odd in appearance and seem to focus very narrowly on gender issues. I worry that I’m being shallow and judgmental but want to do what’s best. How much of this is experimental teenage stuff and how much is who she is? What should I do to support her? My mother thinks I am crazy to “allow” her new relationship, but I don’t want to lose my daughter’s trust.

Mother of a Free Spirit

Read the whole thing to see the advice they give. Tl;dr: “Repent, you bigot!”

I bet that poor abuela is losing her mind, watching all this.

Who will write The Ice Storm of the genderqueer generation?

UPDATE: Reader Zapollo offers this thought experiment:

Hey, Rod, you’re not that much older than I am. Remember how the big thing back when we were young was for kids to claim they were Satanists? There were even different flavors and degrees of occult involvement, for kids (like yours truly) who were just looking to piss off their parents but were still too spooked by that stuff to go full Pentagram.

Now imagine that all of the great and good and wise leaders of our culture totally, 100 percent had the back of kids wanting to “explore” Satanism and Satanism-lite. Imagine every major media outlet and cultural spokesperson in America was trying relentlessly to shame our parents into letting us go crazy. “You are a BIGOT for insisting your child conform to your religious prejudices! Why, it’s JUST LIKE a parents forbidding INTERRACIAL DATING. You don’t want to be a RACIST SCUMBAG, do you, parents?”

Imagine that even Christian church leaders were cheering this on, going as far as holding black masses to create a “safe space” for devil worshipers.

Good thing nothing like that could happen today, huh?

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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