On the question of transgender and peer pressure, reader Axxr writes:
I’m a longtime (and recently wavering) atheist, but I have had a very devout evangelical friend of many decades. He lives in Oregon. He couldn’t afford to send his daughter out of state for college. But he wanted her to go to college and experience the income and class benefits that had eluded him (as a GED holder) throughout his life.
As she visited colleges in the area her senior year, he confided in me that he was very worried that her faith would be severely tested in college, based on what he was seeing on visits. They finally settled on a state university a couple of hours away, the most milquetoast of the bunch from the political activism perspective.
Yet after the first few months of her freshman year, once he had visited several times, he confided in me that he was sure that she’d disavow her female gender soon. The pressure, he said, was too much, and from all angles—peers, instructors, campus organizations and media, etc. “Non-binary” was a taken-for-granted ontological reality, and to question it was bigotry. To fail to realize your own “non-binary-ness” was self-hatred rooted in bigotry.
Sure enough, by her junior year, she was a “non-identifying queer,” neither male nor female, and an activist. Their relationship is now essentially nonexistent, as she sees him to be a “Nazi.”
Now I knew this girl from birth. She was every bit the stereotypical girl child, all the way through her teens. This is not someone that had always been an odd fit for gender norms; this is the princess-and-fairies-and-pink girl who absolutely reveled in such things—until she entered a milieu in which every important figure, from authorities to equals, told her that she had been a hateful bigot for loving them for years and years and years.
And she was alone, on campus, in a new place, needing to make new friends.
And they picked this university because it seemed the least extreme. How should he have separated her from this? It would seem that nothing other than avoiding university altogether under their circumstances would have fit the bill.
Yet in today’s world and economy, particularly if you’ve grown up working-class, it’s a tough pill to swallow that one should advocate a life of economic precarity for one’s daughter in order to help her to keep the faith.
And would it have worked anyway? Or would she simply have ended up in the same place anyway, only blaming her father even more for trying to keep her out of university?
These aren’t just tough times for Christians; to my eye, they’re tough times for anyone who believes in tradition, in empiricism, in the enlightenment, or in the concept of virtue.
All of these things are now bigotry, and in many milieux (particularly those that are of greatest economic benefit, in an economically precarious world) it is a strong majority that believe this.
All are welcome to comment, but I would especially like to hear from readers who are not religious believers, but who sympathize with what Axxr writes.