I’m no fan of Dr. Keith Ablow, the bigoted conservative FOX News “health advisor.” If I had any other reason to despise his views and opinions, his latest musings on Chaz Bono and ABC’s Dancing With The Stars “controversy” is enough to kindle my activist flame. The good doctor instructs parents not to let their children watch Bono compete on the television show. His reason:
Many of the children who might be watching will be establishing a sense of self which includes, of course, a sexual/gender identity. Some will be girls becoming comfortable with dramatic changes in their bodies. Some will be boys coming to terms with integrating the dawn of manhood with exquisite feelings of vulnerability. Young viewers will include tomboyish girls and sensitive, less stereotypically “masculine” boys. They will also include children who have sustained the losses of loved ones and are wrestling with depression, perhaps wondering who they are absent their deceased mothers or fathers.
The last thing vulnerable children and adolescents need, as they wrestle with the normal process of establishing their identities, is to watch a captive crowd in a studio audience applaud on cue for someone whose search for an identity culminated with the removal of her breasts, the injection of steroids and, perhaps one day soon, the fashioning of a make-shift phallus to replace her vagina.
It is a toxic and unnecessary byproduct of the tragic celebration of transgender surgery that millions of young people who do watch “Dancing with the Stars” will have to ponder this question: Maybe my problems really stem from the fact that I’m a girl inside a boy’s body (or a boy inside a girls body). Maybe I’m not a tomboy; I’m just a boy! Maybe I’m not just being bullied because I’m a sensitive, reflective young man interested in flowers, not football. Maybe I’m not just uncertain about my sexuality. Maybe I’m a girl! Maybe all this angst and suffering I’m feeling as I emerge into puberty and pass through it isn’t just because I’m changing, but because I should change completely—and have my breasts removed or my penis amputated!
I wish I could say I was making this up, but the good doctor is nonetheless serious in his assessment that celebrating Bono and transgendered surgery will somehow corrupt young minds into thinking surgery will cure their own uneasiness about their gender. He also said this country should essentially shun the likes of Chaz Bono:
By broadcasting, applauding and mainstreaming the journey of a very disordered person who endured, and likely will continue to endure, real suffering based on extraordinarily deep psychological problems, we suggest that that journey is a smart—even heroic—one to take.
The truth is that Chaz Bono should be empathized with and treated with dignity. Any contribution he makes to the world should be applauded as it would be for any other person.
But Chaz Bono should not be applauded for asserting she is a man (and goes about trying to look like one) any more than a woman who believes she will be happier without arms, has them removed and then continues to assert that she was right all along—her self-concept was that of a double amputee. Now, all is well.
Chaz Bono should not be applauded any more than someone who, tragically, believes that his species, rather than gender, is what is amiss and asks a plastic surgeon to build him a tail of flesh harvested from his abdomen. If only a plastic surgeon would acquiesce, all would be well.
You all can read the rest of the filth on your own since I refuse to litter and weigh down this post with anymore bigotry. I must admit, I was a little amused by this “controversy” when it first came to light. I sense a little bit of desperate wrangling among conservative, family values as they are coming to grips that they’ve lost the culture wars. This sort of “news” that Bono will compete on the show and their outrage/opposition to this is one of many last-ditch efforts to assert their relevance in the culture wars.
Along with painting Bono and millions of other gender dysphoria sufferers as people hell-bent on pushing their “alternative lifestyle” onto mainstream American, what I also find offensive about Dr. Ablow’s piece is his belief that children would automatically suspect Bono had some sort of surgery and would immediately begin peppering their questions to their parents about the surgery and how Bono transformed himself into a man. In all honesty, would children and adolescents even know that Bono was once a woman and now a man? Are their skills of picking out those who are transgendered that great? When I look back on my youth, I would not have been able to distinguish between someone who did or did not have surgery. It was something I just didn’t look for.
Social conservatives love to hide behind their concerns for the children to espouse their hatred and bigotry and Dr. Ablow’s most recent opinion exemplifies this fact. Feigning concern over the well-being of children, adolescents and teenagers is an easy way to get anyone to listen to and believe in your bigotry. It worked when white supremacists and pro-Jim Crow whites in the south expressed concern about little white girls going to school with little black boys. Thousands of parents supported segregation for the fear their children would be poisoned by the black children, specifically by the supposedly inherent sexual deviance of black boys and the licentious, wanton sexual appetite of black girls.
It is my hope parents use Bono’s appearance as an opportunity to expose their children to diversity and to others who may not look, believe and act as they and their peers do. It is my hope that parents will use this opportunity to plant in their children the seed of acceptance and tolerance in order to stop the cycle of bigotry and intolerance that’s being implanted into the minds of our youth by way of pop culture and peer pressure.
Sadly, I wish I could say Dr. Ablow’s opinion is the exception to the rule. It is not. I wish I could believe most parents will indeed use this moment to teach acceptance to their children. Most parents will either pass along their hatred or ignore the topic altogether, leaving their children to pick up hateful attitudes and opinions from casual comments in their households, by their friends or from a media that normalizes cisgendered appearances. Acceptance of transgender individuals remains at a historic low compared to the acceptance of gays, lesbians and bisexual people. Transgender folks are even shunned, disrespected and looked down upon by Gay, Inc. and its followers. Transgender and transsexuals are often gawked at and mocked for refusing to conform to cisgendered prototypes.
The outcry over Bono’s appearance is yet another example of our latent and conspicuous bigotry and how far we still have to go as a nation to become the inclusive and accepting people we fool ourselves into thinking we are.