National Post Barbara Kay: Gay advocate unwittingly encourages idea that children can be taught to be gay

National Post - Thursday March 5th, 2015


The headline of a recent Washington Post  article was provocative, as it was meant to be: “I’m gay. And I want my kid to be gay too.” Writer, CNN political commentator and ardent feminist Sally Kohn set off a national firestorm of criticism with her admission that she would prefer that her daughter be gay like her than heterosexual, because she thinks being lesbian is a “an asset and a gift.”

So far Kohn’s six-year old daughter shows no signs of following in her mother’s footsteps, in spite of a household filled with gay-themed books and admonitions, when she plays “family” with a mommy and daddy to consider playing with two daddies or two mommies. In fact, “she’s boy crazy” and even has a crush on an older boy in her school bus. Kohn says she confided her discomfort over this to a friend, who responded, “Bet it wouldn’t bother you so much if her crush was on a girl.” Well, hats off to Kohn for her frankness (“She was right.”). Still, that does not excuse in her attitude what some of her more virulent detractors call “child abuse,” but what I would merely characterize as reverse evangelism. She vaunts in her own behaviour what she would condemn in a heterosexual parent.

Being Democrat and Jewish are choices, based in values. You don’t choose sexuality.

Kohn joined Anna Maria Tremonti on CBC’s The Current  in company with gay writer Jerry Mahoney and lesbian journalist Susan G. Cole to discuss the article. It was amusing to observe the contrast between the ebullient and confident, but intellectually superficial Kohn, and the quietly thoughtful, excruciatingly polite, but critical Mahoney and Cole. Kohn’s position is ill-considered. She thinks wanting her daughter to be gay is “like wanting my kid to be a Democrat, like wanting my kid to be Jewish.” Well, uh, no, as Mahoney explained: being Democrat and Jewish are choices, you see, based in values. You don’t choose sexuality.

Cole concurred, and gently expressed discomfort with the notion of even trying to influence sexuality. The two mature people in the room clearly understood that Kohn was heating up a political stew that most thinking gays would prefer remained in the freezer: namely, the idea that children can be recruited into homosexuality through gentle persuasion in the same way as they are recruited into any other belief system.

In 2011, internet journalist Daniel Villarreal advocated queer acceptance by writing in the online publication Queerty: “I and a lot of other people want to indoctrinate, recruit, teach, and expose children to queer sexuality AND THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.” The article was entitled, “Can We Please Just Start Admitting That We Do Actually Want To Indoctrinate Kids?”

Villarreal does not speak for the LGBT movement, and was subjected to a wave of criticism for his incendiary remark by his peers, but since his “admission” dovetailed so perfectly with the settled conviction of many social conservatives that modern sex education curricula are but thinly veiled strategies for recruiting children to homosexuality, it was a marketing triumph for all skeptics who see ideology rather than objective pedagogy as the driver for early and explicit sex ed.

Underlying the emotion on both sides is the looming and frustratingly unsettled question: Is homosexuality inherent or a choice? Those who consider homosexuality a moral sin naturally prefer to cast it as a choice. The politically correct answer, though, is that gays and lesbians are born that way, case closed, so don’t even think about judging or trying to change them. Yet science has failed to give a definitive answer either way. Nevertheless, it is culturally settled that heterosexuals who consider themselves “enlightened” – nowadays including a great swath of conservatives – embrace the right of gays and lesbians to complete social parity with heterosexuals. Homosexuality is experiencing its first Golden Age – at least for those who live in urban western centres.

However, the gold in the Golden Age may turn quickly to tarnishable gilt if it turns out that homosexuality can be inherent or a choice, as some gays, like Daniel Villarreal seem to believe it is. Progressives can roll their eyes at evangelical Christians who say homosexuality is “catchy,” but here is mainstream writer Sally Kohn pretty well announcing that she believes it is, and that’s a good thing. Does that mean the equally politically incorrect Daniel Villarreal is not an outlier, but merely bold enough to voice a belief held by many other more prudent activists? What if their belief is based in reality, and homosexuality can be inculcated through indoctrination? Even the most enlightened heterosexual parents may not take kindly to the idea that a few ideologues in, say the education departments of the nation, harbor that belief, and even that agenda. I imagine most parents are on my wavelength (with apologies to Yiddish writer Sholom Aleichem): It’s no shame to be homosexual, but it’s no great honour either. If it is a choice, apart from any other considerations, most heterosexual parents would naturally prefer the choice most conducive to natural procreation.

Sally Kohn isn’t too swift, but maybe that’s a good thing too, since it opens the door to what should be a legitimate topic for discussion. She probably didn’t set out to give comfort to every homophobe and sex education skeptic in America and beyond. But she did.

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