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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Turning Our Kids Gay: Nature or Nurture (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Turning Our Kids Gay: Nature or Nurture
Aros
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I have always supported gay rights. I have always supported gay adoption, and I am utterly against discrimination based on sexual orientation. I think we have an obligation to our children to encourage them to be accepting and to explain (at an age appropriate level) homosexual lifestyle when they ask (because they've seen gay couples).

But I do find this article disturbing, and it got me thinking:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/Amelia/my-son-likes-boys_b_1927869.html

So, a common argument is that homosexuals are born gay. I understand the argument, and there's scientific proof that adult brains are wired with a sexual preference. But from everything we know about sociology, there's at least some influence from both genetics and upbringing.

There's also the (very liberal) argument that human attraction doesn't have a gender bias. That we could love an individual regardless of their gender. And yet the implications of this argument only reinforce the role of nurture and socialization in regard to sexual orientation. If we aren't truly gender biased (to even a small degree), orientation will be formed by social norms, cultural icons, and formative role models.

Now, I'm not opposed to gay role models in the media. I'm not opposed to socializing with gay couples and their families and promoting diversity and acceptance. But I think that when parents (as in the article) support bias at such a young age, whether heterosexual or homosexual, they are encouraging -- and probably influencing -- normative sexual identity. Can't we just let a seven year old be a seven year old without buying them pro-gay clothing? Are Glee and other programs that glorify homosexuality appropriate for pre-teen children?

I don't oppose exposure of same-sex couples to children. But I do oppose any sexualization of children; they're children and shouldn't have a sexual orientation. Would I let my pre-teen children watch Glee or Modern Family? Maybe before. Now? I'm not so sure.

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Stephan
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I don't see how it could possibly be any different than having them watch entertainment with straight relationships.

My 3 year old is growing up with the daughter of a gay couple (one has been my best friend since high school). I think it is amazing. In her young eyes, there is nothing unusual about having two dads. Modern Family and New Normal only reinforce this truth.

Glee does sexualize teenagers. But so do countless other shows, even on ABC Family. Guess what? Teenagers have sex. It is just honest story telling.

I have always felt that someone being straight or gay can be both nature and nurture. My friend has always been gay. His partner on the other hand had a very bad experience with a woman at a young age. Maybe it played a part, maybe it didn't.

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BlackBlade
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I think Aros is more objecting to sexualization period. I would suspect they'd find Bratz to be just as bad for kids. Additionally they don't want parents using their children as pawns in their philosophical demonstrations. Your son thinks men are handsome, that's fine. Don't ballyhoo how proud you are and how totally not opposed you are unlike other parents who just smirk when their 7 year old son comes home and says he's found the love of his life.

Turning your kid into an icon is not good parenting.

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AchillesHeel
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I don't think that we are so specifically gay or straight. Human history is rife with all sorts of things that would make a nun blush, but one particular fact is that humans are almost always attracted to humans. Whether they be big or small, tall, short, this way or that way, we like to do fun things with people who want to do fun things with us.

"What are you, gay straight or bi?" as if we can only be one. Modern designations are woefully behind on human nature, we are attracted to certain traits and we like it when someone who embodies those traits is interested in us. There are violent machismo type guys in prison who have monogomous relationships for years with openly gay men, but never consider themselves gay. They are just appreciative of a feminine man, given the option between a woman and an effeminite man they would most likely choose the woman. Does this mean that they were taught to be gay? or that they were born with some underlying neuro-programming that activated when heterosexuality would lead to celibacy? No. They simply find themselves in a situation that provided little to no judgement for the actions, and found comfort and kinship where they could.

I am willing to argue that heterosexuality and homosexuality as exclusive traits is a social education, being attracted to someone whom you find to be interesting and extraordinary is perfectly natural.

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Aros
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
I think Aros is more objecting to sexualization period. I would suspect they'd find Bratz to be just as bad for kids. Additionally they don't want parents using their children as pawns in their philosophical demonstrations. Your son thinks men are handsome, that's fine. Don't ballyhoo how proud you are and how totally not opposed you are unlike other parents who just smirk when their 7 year old son comes home and says he's found the love of his life.

Turning your kid into an icon is not good parenting.

+1

Kids should learn that there are many types of emotional relationships. They shouldn't be exposed to sexual innuendo of any type, though. And using a child as a posterboard is damaging to both society and the child.

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Samprimary
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make everyone bisexual
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kmbboots
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How do you avoid heterosexual innuendo on TV?

And, as the author mentioned, it is not really about sex when you are 7. It is about fantasy and romance. Little girls pretending to be princesses who marry the prince or who play house isn't about sex; why should it be about sex when a little boy dreams about marrying Kurt? I wanted Bobby Sherman to be my boyfriend (and ohdearlord he is almost 70 now) but I wasn't imagining sex.

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Aros
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quote:
Originally posted by AchillesHeel:

I am willing to argue that heterosexuality and homosexuality as exclusive traits is a social education, being attracted to someone whom you find to be interesting and extraordinary is perfectly natural.

And if this is the case, the bigots have a powerful argument about other people "turning their kids gay". As much as I am in favor of gay rights and promoting the fact that gay teens and adults should not be marginalized, the thought of other people (including the media) socializing my children into alternative lifestyles (gay, biker, street gang, circus, etc) makes me uncomfortable.

Hmm. I guess parents have the right to socialize their children however they want. And I have the right to limit my children's relationships and exposure to the media. But I still think that buying a seven year old boy a shirt like that is wrong due to sexualization.

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kmbboots
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Does socializing children into non-"alternative" lifestyles bother you?
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Samprimary
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bisexual and compersive
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Aros
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Does socializing children into non-"alternative" lifestyles bother you?

No. Why would it?

I think as parents, we all want our children to become successful, well rounded adults. Everyone has the right to rear their children as they will. My choice is to raise my children to conform to societal norms and have a professional career, making a good income. Not everyone has this goal, but I think it's a noble one. I was a severe non-conformist, and I believe that it impaired my ability to achieve meaningful success in the long-term.

I am responsible for the socialization of my children. Not you. Not the state. If I don't want to allow my children to watch movies that glorify gang membership or running off to the circus, that's my choice. Sexualization aside, and assuming that they CAN be socialized to be gay, I would also restrict their socialization to heterosexual norms when possible. Does that mean I won't speak frank about same-sex relationships (in a non-sexual manner) when they're exposed to it in public in the media? No. Does it mean that I'll tell them it's wrong? No. Does it mean that I won't allow them to have friends whose parents maintain same sex families? No.

But it does mean that I will make the choice to avoid media that glorifies a homosexual lifestyle and espouses gay role models, where their defining trait is homosexuality (as opposed to other positive character traits). Captain Jack Harkness (Doctor Who and Torchwood) is a heroic character who happens to be gay. He isn't heroic BECAUSE he is gay. And I don't have a problem letting my kids watch Doctor Who because of it. Because it is heroism that is being emphasized -- NOT SEX! The characters in Glee and Modern Family are defined as gay -- they are stylized representations of a sexual lifestyle with very little character otherwise.

Of course I want my kids to be normal. Doctors, lawyers, or engineers. I would prefer that they not be clowns, starving artists, soldiers, police officers, or homosexuals. Because it would make their lives difficult. But if they are teens or adults, they can make their own choices, and I will support them 100%. If they are born gay, I support their DECISION to live a gay lifestyle with all my heart.

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kmbboots
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Just checking to see if socialization was the issue or if you had a problem with homosexuality. You have answered my question. Apparently, it is the latter.

As for depictions of homosexuality in mainstream media, they aren't any more sexualized than depictions of straight couples or families. There is more attention paid to the difficulties of being considered less than normal. It is you, I think, that sees being gay as being all about sex.

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Aros
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Just checking to see if socialization was the issue or if you had a problem with homosexuality. You have answered my question. Apparently, it is the latter.

As for depictions of homosexuality in mainstream media, they aren't any more sexualized than depictions of straight couples or families. There is more attention paid to the difficulties of being considered less than normal. It is you, I think, that sees being gay as being all about sex.

Nope. As I said, characters (or people) that happen to be gay are fine. But I consider characters that are nothing but cardboard cutouts for sexual stereotypes or innuendo are wrong for my children -- gay or straight.

I think that Glee and Modern Family use homosexuality as a hook. Doctor Who and Ellen Degeneres don't. I'm all for promoting inclusion. Just not glorification. I guess the difference can be subtle for those promoting their agendas rather than focusing on the subject at hand.

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kmbboots
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"I would prefer that they not be clowns, starving artists, soldiers, police officers, or homosexuals."

How is that not having a problem with homosexuality?

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Shanna
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Nitpicky but Captain Jack Harkness isn't gay. He's doesn't identify as someone who is attracted to same-sex individuals. He'd probably be closer to omnisexual. And yeah, there's a difference. Just like how you shouldn't call someone straight if they're bisexual and just happen to be in an opposite sex relationship at the time.

On a personal level, the part where you said you wanted your kids to be "normal" and not have difficult lives, it hit me hard. I've been through this argument with my own parents a dozen times over. And you know what made my life difficult? It wasn't having a job that made me happy but kept my expenses tight. It wasn't being in a biracial relationship in the deep south. It wasn't getting stared at for my tattoos and my hair color.

The hardest part was feeling like my parents didn't approve of me. Or in your words, wouldn't think I was normal. I was happier than I'd ever been in my life but there was so much pain coming from my confrontational relationship with them. Thankfully, after many years, we've repaired that damage and nothing makes me happier than knowing that they just see me as their daughter.

The idea that you would rather your children be normal than happy, it breaks my heart. And if you don't know think they're picking up on your distaste for the "non-normal," you are seriously mistaken. It would be a shame if they spent years hiding parts of themselves for fear that you'd see them as imperfections.

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Bella Bee
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I think in their heart of hearts, most people don't really feel 'normal' even if they appear to be so to the world at large.

It's way more important, IMO, that as Shanna says, kids feel like it's okay to be different, since at some point they'll probably feel that way, even if it's just because of 'normal' problems, like being ginger, or asian, or shy, or clever, or religious, or atheist, or a virgin, or... whatever their friends or classmates aren't.

If they know that there's no judgement there, they'll at least know that their parents will never think badly of them, no matter what. It was heartbreaking for me, to see a friend of mine hide an important gay relationship from her beloved parents, and hiding a vital part of herself from them, simply because they had never told her they would not disown her. In the end, she told them and they dealt with it fine - because she was their daughter. They could have had many more years of trust and happiness, if they had been more open and less judgmental of others.

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Aros
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
"I would prefer that they not be clowns, starving artists, soldiers, police officers, or homosexuals."

How is that not having a problem with homosexuality?

I don't have a problem with clowns. I wouldn't have a problem with my children being a clown. But life would be more difficult for them, so I don't want them exposed to media glorifying a difficult lifestyle that they might not choose on their own accord.

quote:
Originally posted by Shanna:
Nitpicky but Captain Jack Harkness isn't gay. . . .

Yes, nitpicky and wrong.

Gay (or homosexual): of, pertaining to, or exhibiting homosexuality.

Because heterosexual is our biological and social norm, exhibiting homosexuality makes him gay. Bisexuality is gay too.

quote:
Originally posted by Shanna:

On a personal level, the part where you said you wanted your kids to be "normal" and not have difficult lives, it hit me hard. . . The idea that you would rather your children be normal than happy, it breaks my heart. And if you don't know think they're picking up on your distaste for the "non-normal," you are seriously mistaken. It would be a shame if they spent years hiding parts of themselves for fear that you'd see them as imperfections.

Nope, I didn't say that I wanted them to be "normal". Again, the subtle difference in context. I said that I wanted them to be socialized toward societal norms when it comes to gender roles. There is no "normal" when it comes to individuals, is there? But under patterns of normative socialization, I buy boys action figures and girls dolls. I encourage boys toward sports and girls toward dance. I encourage boys to be gentlemen and open doors, while I encourage girls to appreciate gentlemen. Because it makes socialization easier. Because it's psychologically healthy to conform to one's peer group.

If my son wanted to play with dolls, I wouldn't have a problem with it. If my daughter grew up to be gay, I would fully support her. But children are not sexualized -- they aren't gay or straight (probably another controversial bit, *shrug*). Again, I just don't want to expose my children to media that glorifies sexual gay archetypes as role models. Gay is normal. So are clowns. But I don't want YOU encouraging my kids to CHOOSE a difficult lifestyle. If that's who they are, so be it.

Just saying. . . .

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kmbboots
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"Because it's psychologically healthy to conform to one's peer group."

No. It isn't. It really isn't.

How exactly do you reconcile, "if that's who they are, so be it" with your attempts to socialize them against it. And with your belief that people are what they are socialized to be?

Most importantly, attitudes like yours are a big part of the reason why it is so damn difficult to be gay in this world. Gay role models make it easier.

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Rakeesh
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It can be. It's certainly not as a rule. The ideas you're expressing, Aros, as you express them plainly endorse 'the way things are now, for as long as we can, because it's easier'. Which is just fine for those people not only inclined to stick to the middle, but who also wouldn't be happier some other way as well.

Buy a boy an action figure if he wants one, likewise girls with dolls, but don't kid yourself that children don't notice what is expected of them (by, say, their earliest gifts) and adapt. You acknowledge this yourself in your post, indirectly.

When they're older, try and find out rather than encourage if they boy would prefer dance or football, or if the girl would prefer soccer or ballet. If you're right about the way gender role adoption works, then nothing is lost-kids will generally adopt the norms that are normal now anyway.

Speaking more generally and not to you specifically Aros, I think much of the concern over how these things are taught is an unconscious awareness that they really *aren't* so inborn as we tell ourselves.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Aros:

I think that Glee and Modern Family use homosexuality as a hook. Doctor Who and Ellen Degeneres don't. I'm all for promoting inclusion. Just not glorification.

Dude, heterosexuality is constantly and ceaselessly glorified. There is no non-extremely-problematic argument for restricting this from specific things possibly alt-sexuality related because you would not want your children to be homosexual. Which is what you are essentially proposing.
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Bokonon
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One side note. Glee is NOT honest story telling. Glee (which I watch regularly) is one of the most conceited TV shows ever imagined!
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Wendybird
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I think we all come "pre-wired" and nature is a strong pull but nurture influences our behaviors often more strongly than nature and often in good ways. For example, someone can be prewired to get upset quickly and fly into a rage - nature may demand a violent response. But nurture steps in and reminds them that violence is not the appropriate response.

I think there is too much sex on tv period. Doesn't matter the orientation. Its just too much all the time. There used to be lines drawn. Prime time television was intended for adults. Now we see teen and even tween shows that have storylines that push the boundaries.

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Stone_Wolf_
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What's all this fuss I keep hearing about sax on television? Why don't parents want their kids to see saxophones on television? I thought the John Coltrane concerts were just lovely, now, if they only show saxophones on television after ten o'clock at night, the little babies will all be asleep and they won't learn any music appreciation. They'll learn to play guitars, and bongo drums and go to Africa and join these rock'n roll outfits and they won't drink milk! I think there should be more saxophones on television and less reality TV, it's terrible the way...


Um, that's SEX on television. Not SAX (ophones).


Oh, well that's different. Never mind!

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Rakeesh
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The truth is, however much we Westerners complain of the decadence and excess of our media (and I'm one of them)...well, however awkward it is to admit it, we *do* as a group of cultures want our media highly sexualized, highly commercialized, highly sensationalized, with a heaping helping of violence.

The people that used to 'draw lines' about what would appear on mainstream television are still there, but they were never the real reason those lines were drawn. The lines were drawn because the viewing public would get peeved, as a group, if say someone was bloodily beaten half to death on 8pm weekday programming, and then hit up a strip club or dialed up a booty call. Not only would the public not watch it, but they would express their discontent in other ways-such as favoring stricter censorship.

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kmbboots
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Whether or not there is too much sex on TV is a good question. What I object to is the notion that because a particular program has gay characters or portrays homosexual relationships it is somehow more about sex.
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Aris Katsaris
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The famous Japanese magical-girl anime "Cardcaptor Sakura" had zero-sex, I think it had even zero-kissing actually -- nobody goes further than hand-holding or hugging; and yet there were clearly depicted gay relationships and gay attractions. The main protagonist (Sakura) is still a grade-school girl; her older brother (at highschool) was in a relationship with a male fellow student (Yukito). Both Sakura and a male friend of hers (Syaoran Li) are both initially crushing on Yukito too. A female friend of Sakura (Tomoyo ) is also implied to be unrequitedly crushing on her.

All of these are just normal elements of the background -- Li's crush on Yukito depicted as no stranger that Sakura's crush on the same.

But *of course* when Cardcaptor Sakura was translated to America, it was given the name "Cardcaptors", every trace of a homosexual relationship or attraction was ruthlessly stamped out, and the series was reedited so as to make the boy *Li* look like the protagonist, and the girl Sakura be the side-character (every episode that didn't involve Li was removed, the episodes were reordered to begin with Li's introduction, while the original first episode that introduced Sakura and her family was made into a flashback)...

My point: Shows definitely don't need to be more about sex when they have gay characters. But American censoring opposes gayness itself, it doesn't oppose sexuality.

[ October 03, 2012, 06:10 AM: Message edited by: Aris Katsaris ]

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Stephan
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Whether or not there is too much sex on TV is a good question. What I object to is the notion that because a particular program has gay characters or portrays homosexual relationships it is somehow more about sex.

Agreed!

Regardless, the proper fight should be about violence on television. I am pretty much against censorship, and think parents should just unplug the tv if they don't like it. But violence on tv makes a lot more sense to me as a battle. George RR Martin said in an interview how odd he finds it that people get upset about the sex in his books, but not the violence.

I never understood why 24 could get away with prime time with the horrors it showed, but the whole country was up in arms about a barely visible breast in a "wholsome" family violent sports game.

Sex gets NC-17 ratings, Texas Chainsaw Masacre type movies get R ratings.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Does socializing children into non-"alternative" lifestyles bother you?

No. Why would it?

I think as parents, we all want our children to become successful, well rounded adults. Everyone has the right to rear their children as they will. My choice is to raise my children to conform to societal norms and have a professional career, making a good income. Not everyone has this goal, but I think it's a noble one. I was a severe non-conformist, and I believe that it impaired my ability to achieve meaningful success in the long-term.

You should listen to the part of yourself that regrets your former non-conformity, and *not* act on that regret to any degree without first seriously considering why you are doing what you are doing. This is just practical advice: you are more likely to produce results you don't want that results you do, unless you fully understand why you do things.

For instance, my father was an extreme conformist. This left him bitterly dissatisfied with himself. His attempts to encourage me towards non-conformity were, at best, confusing for me. I don't think he ever understood why we didn't get along- but I think it was because he terribly regretted that I was so much like him. What you might find is that your children take after you in ways you don't expect, and will be hurt to find that these are things about them that you don't appreciate, or that even disgust you. You need to remember that they aren't you.

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Synesthesia
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A boy is more likely to meet girls in a dance class than at foot ball, I'm just saying.

I like how open minded that parent sounds. It probably is possible to be aware of your sexuality at the age of 7. I really wasn't interested in such things until I was 20. It varies. Glee seems a bit too adult for a child that age, but there are many folks who identify as gay or bi or trans that said they knew from the very beginning.
So if that is the case, no amount of making them watch Leave it to Beaver will really change that. I really don't see why being gay is such a big deal. Just by being alive and human people will find reasons to torment you and tease you, but this is no reason to not live as yourself on your own terms. I say screw conformity. It's not always a healthy thing.

Also, why is sex more of a big deal than violence? I really would rather see boobs than blood any day of the week.

And I am really not sure if normal even exists. Do you know how stressed out doctors and lawyers can get? Their lives are not pieces of cake.

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JonHecht
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Aros, if it makes you feel better, I totally understand what you're saying. You are fine with homosexuality but don't want your kids to suffer undue hardships if they are not, indeed, gay. Only someone who is ignorant of how the world works would think that someone who lives an alternative lifestyle, regardless of one's opinion of the lifestyle itself, is not subject to diminished life prospects.
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Synesthesia
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You can be on the straight and narrow and still end up with a frustrating life. We just have to live it the best way we can and raise hell a bit more so it changes.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by JonHecht:
Aros, if it makes you feel better, I totally understand what you're saying. You are fine with homosexuality but don't want your kids to suffer undue hardships if they are not, indeed, gay. Only someone who is ignorant of how the world works would think that someone who lives an alternative lifestyle, regardless of one's opinion of the lifestyle itself, is not subject to diminished life prospects.

Especially if they know that their parents wish they were more "normal". The best way to make the lives of all kids easier and better is not to be part of the problem.
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JonHecht
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Nothing he nor I said denied that. Aros said that he would fully support his child if he turned out to be gay. This does not mean that one should actively encourage a lifestyle that increases the probability of a frustrating life. He never said that he would *discourage* it. There is a difference.
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kmbboots
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What difference is that exactly? Withholding encouragement from a child is pretty discouraging. Giving a kid a football when he wants dance classes is not supporting that kid. It is letting that kid know that there is something wrong with him for wanting dance classes.
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Synesthesia
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That is true. Plus a kid can totally be heterosexual and want dance lessons. Seriously, dancers can not only get all the girls but lift them in the air. With football you get to bang against sweaty men and watch them run around in jockstraps. Which is more gay again?
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JonHecht
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Aros didn't say that he wouldn't support the child wanting to do dance if he so requested. If a child spontaneously decides he wants to dance, there is no reason not to encourage it--clearly it's what he wants to do. Surrounding the child with tv shows in which all the characters are dancing and studying dance at a time antecedent to his desire, however, is a distinct and extreme form of encouragement. It is this form to which I suspect Aros is opposed.
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MattP
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quote:
ISurrounding the child with tv shows in which all the characters are dancing and studying dance at a time antecedent to his desire, however, is a distinct and extreme form of encouragement.
That seems a bit contrived. Is anyone doing this? Is it even possible? Surely just watching Glee and Modern Family and is not going to turn anyone gay, especially given the fact that the characters in these shows are used as often as punchlines as role models. Real gay role models that have fame and fortune and only incidental gayness, like Ellen Degeneres, seem to be a much greater "risk" to me.
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Aros
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quote:
Originally posted by JonHecht:
Aros didn't say that he wouldn't support the child wanting to do dance if he so requested. If a child spontaneously decides he wants to dance, there is no reason not to encourage it--clearly it's what he wants to do. Surrounding the child with tv shows in which all the characters are dancing and studying dance at a time antecedent to his desire, however, is a distinct and extreme form of encouragement. It is this form to which I suspect Aros is opposed.

Yes, this is correct. And my daughter is the active one, in karate lessons, beating up boys, playing with Legos. And she dresses up her male cousins as princesses. And I take pictures and laugh with them. I don't discourage anything. But in a vacuum, I'd be more likely to buy a Barbie doll for a girl. And you would too.

The point of this thread was to voice an idea I had that I didn't feel had been discussed before. As unpopular as it might be. And I appreciate the counter-points, though they make me feel that some people haven't been reading my posts thoroughly (or maybe I haven't been succinct enough). But I think what it comes down to, is that I am uncomfortable with any portrayal of sexuality in public. I think before the age of 13 or 14, sex should be like Santa Clause -- a secret that society keeps to protect children.

Why am I uncomfortable? Most gay roles in media are sexualized. It's the whole "we're here, we're queer" mentality. Characters aren't identified as people -- they're identified as gay, and it brings up the sexuality question. Ultimately, I would have just as much of a problem (probably moreso) with straight characters promoting heterosexuality (NPH in How I Met Your Mother, haha, he's awesome). But it seems that every gay character exists only to push the gay agenda, which is (like it or not), centered on sex.

Point again being that some characters are incidentally gay, and some are just pseudo-progressive sexualized stereotypes (Cam on Modern Family -- though don't get me wrong, it's one of my favorite shows, and it has helped my parents become more accepting of the gay lifestyle). I won't let my kids watch Glee, and I won't let them watch How I Met Your Mother. One promotes the gay agenda, and the other promotes the straight. But neither are appropriate for children.

And yes, I am uncomfortable with the article. I think that a gay couple raising a child is great. But I think letting a young child watch Glee is irresponsible. If the child has already been sexualized and thinks he's gay, that's fine . . . but pushing the agenda with overtly homosexual shirts is borderline child abuse (mostly for safety reasons). But I'd say the same for an obliquely-sexual "straight" shirt.

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kmbboots
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How are, for example, the gay characters in "The New Normal" centered on sex any more than a straight married couple?

People, I think, are reading what you write, but what you write is very inconsistent. You start by writing that you are "utterly against discrimination based on sexual orientation" and yet wanting your children to be " socialized toward societal norms when it comes to gender roles". How is that not discriminating?

And, to burst your bubble (because it needs it) somebody had better let your kids in on the "secret" of sex before they are 14!

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Rakeesh
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Aros has said, and reiterated, that if a child of his were to start adopting non-conforming ideas and attitudes with respect to gender roles and sexuality, he wouldn't discourage them...but prior to that, 'in a vaccuum', he would encourage them towards the middle, towards conformity.

Well, alright, I can easily understand why anyone would adopt that policy, but let's not pretend either that this is in fact an encouragement of the norm and discouragement from other things. If you go into a store and head to the action figure section and tell your son, "Pick a toy!" before they've expressed an interest in action figures (a bit contrived, but then so is much of this discussion), then no you haven't forbidden him from an interest in a set of crayons or some sort of starter chemistry set or an easy bake oven, but your preference is nonetheless plain.

If your default stance is to pivot towards the norm, to present it first, to discuss it more, to speak more fondly of if, then a kid will need to be that much MORE into an outsider activity or gender role before they can come to it. So let's be open about that, is all I'm saying.

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Synesthesia
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Uh, Aros, I have several problems with your comment.
First of all, gay agenda? What the heck is a gay agenda? Most gays just want to stop being tormented. I'm only 35% gay and it would be nice to have a choice when it comes to marriage and the same benefits. I see nothing wrong with allowing tax paying citizens to have those benefits.

Second of all, protect children from what? Sex is a normal part of being a human being. It's where we come from. It's more damaging to teach children that they were bought here by the stork than to explain in a non explicit way about the birds and the bees. I'm not saying show children porn because that would be gross and wrong and give them an idea of sex that isn't healthy, but you don't teach children to grow up with a healthy attitude about sex by teaching them that it's something to fear and something we have to hide from them.
I don't think a 7 year old should watch shows like glee and such, but not even because there's gay people on it.
Urg. I also hate the phrase gay lifestyle too. Really, being gay isn't just about sex and having sex anymore than being straight is. It's not like straight people are chasing each other down the streets trying to get everyone in their bed with them.

Plus, children HAVE to know how to protect themselves from predators and teaching them cute names for genitals and not explaining the basics is NOT going to help with that.

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Rakeesh
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Oh, a couple of other things. One, the way to minimize the diminished prospects of those who embody 'abnornal' gender roles or sexualities probably doesn't include a pervasive campaign of consistent acknowledgment that their life will be harder and it should, if they can find it within themselves to be less open and still be happy, do so for their own sake.

Two, I'm not sure how on Earth the 'We're here, we're queer!' 'mentality' can be said to be driving portayals of homosexual characters. It's not gay producers and directors and actors that decide how gay people will be portrayed in the media, they're largely straight. They largely market to straight people, and attempt to show them what they want.

Which means that what you criticize isn't due to the WH,WQ mindset but rather the conviction by so many of the rest of us that that's so vital to being homosexual. Gay people don't have to make their lives about their homosexuality-we take care of that ourselves.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Whether or not there is too much sex on TV is a good question. What I object to is the notion that because a particular program has gay characters or portrays homosexual relationships it is somehow more about sex.

As the following comment by Rakeesh reflects, this is probably more an ideal than reality. Just because a program has gay characters, it "shouldn't" somehow be more about sex, but somehow it often does.

quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Two, I'm not sure how on Earth the 'We're here, we're queer!' 'mentality' can be said to be driving portayals of homosexual characters. It's not gay producers and directors and actors that decide how gay people will be portrayed in the media, they're largely straight. They largely market to straight people, and attempt to show them what they want.

I'm reminded of the Sherlock episode (otherwise an awesome show) which was full of British stereotypes of Chinese people.
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kmbboots
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How is, again, "The New Normal" more about sex than, for example, "Mike & Molly"?
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Mucus
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I don't watch either of those. (DS9, however, is notable for only having gay characters show up either from the mirror universe, or IIRC one of the Dax stories where it only comes up when it is necessary as the focus of the story)
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dkw
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Not teaching kids about sex until they're 13 or 14 is a terrible idea. I know girls who got pregnant before that, all with older boyfriends, and at least one of whom didn't know that what she was doing was having sex. Her parents told her not to have sex, but never taught her what it was, and her much older boyfriend used some euphemism to label what they were doing so she never identified it with what she'd been told not to do.

Besides which, puberty is generally between 9 and 12 -- are you really suggesting not explaining to kids what's going on with their own bodies?

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Synesthesia
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Yes, if you don't explain it to them and teach them someone else will! Someone nefarious! It's another reason why that breaking a lamb's leg story makes me snarl. You don't have to show them Sex in the City, but it doesn't hurt to explain it as being a normal, healthy part of who they are that they should be responsible about. Like driving a car.
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Aros
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This is fun. Unfortunately I tend to oversimplify. Let's see if I can course correct.

So, the nefarious "gay agenda". Fully support it. I think that the "gay lifestyle" has to be very much in the public eye to break down current societal norms. It's basically a repressed minority that requires a zeitgeist to change the minds of bigots who are ill-informed and fighting only over the word "marriage". I do think, however, that many are a little too aggressive about it. But, yeah, it's necessary to fight the prejudice. Regarding this, I've seen parades and signs that are lewd, public nudity, etc. Does that really help the cause? Adult themes should be kept in adult venues. It's about equality -- not homosexuality. I'd take my kids to a march for equal rights for gays, certainly. Would I take them to a march for "Gay Pride", where signs are inappropriate and dildos carried as a badge of pride? No way! Argue that this might be the minority that makes the cause look bad, but this is the minority that sticks in the minds of conservatives. That said, I think gay stereotypes can work better than a frank dialogue with a lot of adults (Will on Will and Grace, Cam on Modern Family), but it's sad to see characters not being much more than stereotypes. Just saying.

Will I have an ongoing, age appropriate, dialogue on sex with my kids? Certainly. Do I want the media targeting sexual innuendo to kids under 14 (common in a lot of Nickelodeon and Disney shows, even)? Nope. Does that clarify? I said that society shouldn't bring it up to children. That doesn't mean that parents shouldn't be parents.

quote:
Originally posted by Synesthesia:

I don't think a 7 year old should watch shows like glee and such, but not even because there's gay people on it.

Me either. It's inappropriate for innuendo, whether gay or straight. Children need to see loving relationships, yes, but they shouldn't feel that teen "head over heels" love stories and promiscuity are the norm. That may be fine for teenagers to see, but not eight year olds. And I let my kids watch a few shows with gay people in them, that has nothing to do with it. Is it my fault that most shows with gay characters have sexual innuendo? I want to see all minorities as normal characters without them having to be the "black one", the "gay one", or the "nerdy one".

I think a lot of kids shows are borderline inappropriate as well (iCarly, Wizards of Waverly Place) when it comes to teenage relationships, especially on shows that are marketed to younger kids. I love that shows like Once Upon a Time can be more chaste than stuff marketed to kids.

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Aros
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On a side note, I don't have a problem with violence marketed to kids. Is that odd? Maybe it's because I'm a product of the eighties. But in my anecdotal experience, it's more often the kids who weren't allowed to see violence / R-rated movies that are curious and act it out. I believe that children exposed frankly to media violence learn more ably to distinguish between fantasy and reality.

Maybe it's because I'm Utah and see this extremism, where Mormon kids have to hide violent movies like porn.

Haha. iCarly is a little risque. But Terminator 2 is cool. I do think that kids are more likely to emulate sex than either violence or language.

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Stephan
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From everything I have read, both teen pregnancy and violent crime is down nationwide (though with increases in certain hotspot areas). Sex and violence on tv is more widespread then ever, so I really don't think there is a connection for either one.

However, as a teacher of students who are emotionally disturbed violence in games and movies definitely appear to have some type of impact. My newest student is out all week because he went to his parents and threatened to bomb his house. In class he just sits and mumbles about guns in his favorite games and movies for 6 hours every day.

I have no doubt that something else is causing this, and that movies and games just give him something to draw from.

As for tv turning a kid gay? No way. That has nothing to do with nature or nurture. One hour a week of Blaine 22 times a year is not going to "turn" a kid gay. If anything, like in the article, it would simply be a positive role model for a kid who is being told by everyone around him that there is something wrong with him.

I am also offended by the thought of being afraid of those who are gay on television because they go against the "social norm". This country is a melting pot of cultures. There is no social norm. I was a Jew at a Catholic High School. Should I have converted to fit in?

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