“Fertility Equality”

This ethics topic has been lying around on my office floor—literally—for more than a month now. I have not known what to do with it. The New York Times—it is for occasional articles like this that I subscribe to that habitually unethical paper—published an article in July headlined (in the print version) “The Right To A Baby?” It appeared in its “Thursday Styles” section, which specializes in elite trivia (the other piece on that section’s front page was about tattoo artist and dog groomers who make house calls).

Here is the first part of the article:

While plenty of New Yorkers have formed families by gestational surrogacy, they almost certainly worked with carriers living elsewhere. Because until early April, paying a surrogate to carry a pregnancy was illegal in New York state.

The change to the law, which happened quietly in the midst of the state’s effort to contain the coronavirus, capped a decade-long legislative battle and has laid the groundwork for a broader movement in pursuit of what some activists have termed “fertility equality.”

Still in its infancy, this movement envisions a future when the ability to create a family is no longer determined by one’s wealth, sexuality, gender or biology.

“This is about society extending equality to its final and logical conclusion,” said Ron Poole-Dayan, the founder and executive director of Men Having Babies, a New York nonprofit that helps gay men become fathers through surrogacy. “True equality doesn’t stop at marriage. It recognizes the barriers L.G.B.T.s face in forming families and proposes solutions to overcome these obstacles.”

The movement is led mostly by L.B.G.T.Q. people, but its potential to shift how fertility coverage is paid for could have an impact on straight couples who rely on surrogates too.

Mr. Poole-Dayan and others believe infertility should not be defined as a physical condition but a social one. They argue that people — gay, straight, single, married, male, female — are not infertile because their bodies refuse to cooperate with baby making.

Rather, their specific life circumstances, like being a man with a same-sex partner, have rendered them unable to conceive or carry a child to term without medical intervention. A category of “social infertility” would provide those biologically unable to form families with the legal and medical mechanisms to do so.

“We have this idea that infertility is about failing to become pregnant through intercourse, but this is a very hetero-centric viewpoint,” said Catherine Sakimura, the deputy director and family law director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “We must shift our thinking so that the need for assisted reproductive technologies is not a condition, but simply a fact.”

Fertility equality activists are asking, at a minimum, for insurance companies to cover reproductive procedures like sperm retrieval, egg donation and embryo creation for all prospective parents, including gay couples who use surrogates. Ideally, activists would also like to see insurance cover embryo transfers and surrogacy fees. This would include gay men who would transfer benefits directly to their surrogate….

Observations:

  • I see this as an excellent example of how a threshold decision in an ethical analysis of any new idea is whether bias and the automatic prejudice human beings tend to have against any new concept—basically the “Ick Factor”—is making a fair analysis impossible. It’s hard to do; our tendency with such ideas is to think, “That’s ridiculous!” and  stop there. But of course, that was the original majority reaction to many ideas that were revolutionary at one time but that represented the progress of ethics, which is evolutionary by nature and necessity. We always are learning that there are things we thought were right and “natural” that were, in fact, wrong, and that some concepts that society viewed as wrong for centuries were either neutral or benign.

That process is what ethics is.

  • The problem , as many have observed, is that it is almost impossible to judge an innovative or truly revolutionary idea at its inception. Ethics Alarms is full of tales of visionaries and contrarians who changed the world after being initially rejected as danger to civilization or a lunatic. History is also the tragic story of how many revolutionary ideas were really as terrible as those who first heard them thought (or more terrible), and the carnage they caused before society figured it out.

Marxism and Communism are such ideas.

  • Other ideas don’t make any sense at first hearing because they don’t make any sense. “Defund the police” is one. I am quite confident that an entire article in this month’s Harvard Magazine is devoted to another, the brainstorm of Harvard Government professor Michael Sandel that meritocracy is cruel and wrong. He has written a book called “The Tyranny of Merit,” and, like so many progressives today, his complaint is that reality is unfair, and we should ignore it, or pretend that “it isn’t what it is.” Why should the smartest individuals run things, he asks. Why should the best students be admitted to the most prestigious schools? Why shouldn’t idiots have as much success and influence as geniuses?

There are limits to how open-minded I will be, because I have sock drawers to organize. There are some ideas that we react to, at the outset, well, like this..

  • Is “fertility equality” one of those? I’m willing to hear a counter-argument, but I am inclined to say yes. Those who assert new rights are often really saying that they want something that they would like everyone else to pay for. Note the shifting and deliberately misleading rhetoric in the section quoted above: the inability to “have a baby” is not the same as being prevented from having a family. Most people can adopt a child, and those who can’t usually shouldn’t. There are also many children who need adopting. I know same sex couples who have adopted. The obsession with having one’s child carry  specific DNA is emotional, not rational.

If my son had my DNA, nobody in my home would be able to fix my computer or tune my car.

  • When I read sentences like, “Mr. Poole-Dayan and others believe infertility should not be defined as a physical condition but a social one,” I have to regard it as a con, like someone saying that all it takes to be black or a woman is to decide you feel that way. If you are infertile, you are infertile because your body can’t participate in the reproductive process without major outside intervention. That’s the hand you were dealt, and it’s your job to play it, not my job to pay for a new deal.

Get thee to an adoption agency.

  • I know I’ve been ragging on the Left a lot lately, but then it deserves it. This “movement” appears to be another one fueled by Orwellian language deception and, like the theory of Professor Sandel, a strange obsession with the idea that governments can fix every problem, or that they should.

In the end, I have to conclude that “fertility equality” belongs in the same trash bin of bad ideas as animal rights, height equality, letting children vote, open borders, and hiring people because of their color. The fact that once people felt the same way about giving women the vote and letting gay people get married doesn’t make these ideas any better.

31 thoughts on ““Fertility Equality”

  1. I see this as an excellent example of how a threshold decision in an ethical analysis of any new idea is whether bias and the automatic prejudice human beings tend to have against any new concept—basically the “Ick Factor”—is making a fair analysis impossible. It’s hard to do; our tendency with such ideas is to think, “That’s ridiculous!” and stop there. But of course, that was the original majority reaction to many ideas that were revolutionary at one time but that represented the progress of ethics, which is evolutionary by nature and necessity. We always are learning that there are things we thought were right and “natural” that were, in fact, wrong, and that some concepts that society viewed as wrong for centuries were either neutral or benign.

    That process is what ethics is.

    Here, I will contradict you, and the reason I do this — one of them — is because we are in a very strange and dangerous period of time in culture and in civilizational life and it is as a result of your radical ideas, essentially the idea-structure of modernism, that have brought this about. Therefore, if I am interested in correcting or reversing the radical deviancy of the age, I have to start at the level of idea and try to understand how this has come about.

    Obviously, you are not a philosopher with any link or connection with metaphysical notions. The religious revelation of Christianity, for example, is a revelation of metaphysical notions. That is, that metaphysical notions imposed themselves into the human being’s mutable world through the revelation of men tuned into that *reality* or that way of conceiving and perceiving. In contradistinction to this you are, rather obviously, atheist. There is no *god* for you and there is no conceived *divine authority* and there is no *metaphysical authority*. Essentially, your perspective is entirely modern and of an ‘Enlightenment’ variety. Rationalistic and also scientific and yet — this is important — with a strong romantic strain. And I mean romantic in a specific sense which is understood historically and philosophically.

    You are clearly linked with *revolutionary* tendencies and they are and will always be of the Enlightenment sort. They will also always be anti-metaphysical, and for you that is where an *ick factor* kicks in. The very notion of an existing and pre-existing metaphysics — a sort of revealed discipline of metaphysical content — is anathema to the way you think and see. The entire notion of conceiving of, and receiving, and submitting oneself to a *higher metaphysical authority* is not only undesirable but inconceivable. And for this reason, quite naturally and also *necessarily*, you have no choice but to become involved — to unite with, to get involved with, to be moved along by — revolutionary currents. In one way or another.

    To say *this is what ethics is* is not a true statement. Because I not only conceive of an ethics that arises out of metaphysical a prioris, but believe that they are necessary. You on the other hand (and when I say *you* I do mean a grand plurality of persons linked to and supporting revolutionary trends) have no such a prioris. And thus you define ethics as a discipline of defining and legalizing mutable realizations within a strictly material plane. Simply because there is no such thing as ‘spiritual plane’ or ‘spirit’ or an a priori and ontological metaphysical plane. But it must be said that it is precisely in that realm (of metaphysics) that all man’s religious mythologies and conceptual orders had their origin. It must be said, and it must be explained, that *you* (a new civilizational order) are among the first among humankind to define a non-metaphysical order of being. One must see how this connects to the American system and I mean this in the sense of American progressive radicalism. It also has to be seen and explained that your general platform of ideas and perceptions are uniquely *northern* and fit into a specific American viewstructure — and that this is tied, beyond any doubt at all, to other general progressive and also revolutionary trends. And yet you are, in your way, a conservative within a general radical orientation. Yet someone else, with your general orientation and viewstructure, could easily step into more overt and dynamic forms of radicalism.

    This is of course why I say that we do not need to look *over there* and *at them* to discover the source of *what is going on in our present and why* but rather to *turn the lens of examination around* and to focus it on ourselves. We are radical agents. We have constructed this world. We are the source of its problems. And we both are carried along and influence others to get carried by these radical trends and currents. If we are going to stop *them* we first have to do this internally.

    My object is to counter-define to your non-metaphysical and materialist (ethical) philosophy. But here is the oddest part: this is what is being attempted, in crude forms, as America (and parts of the world) attempt to return to a *genuine conservatism*. Meaning: a conservatism grounded in metaphysics, and not the perversion of metaphysics that has led to modern Neo-Conservatism and that ugly brand of pseudo-conservatism that has one sector of America in its grip. And importantly: which serves radical progressivism essentially.

  2. “But what about gay men?” Captain Aguilera said. “Why aren’t we on equal footing? The whole process made me feel like giving up my dream of becoming a parent.”

    I read the NYTs article. It is not exactly an ‘ick factor’ that kept me almost from not finishing it — I admit to being fascinated with outlines of social deviancy because it illumines our present — but because I observe that once we have stepped out of a conceptual order that is circumscribed by metaphysics, we step into a Clown World where any feeling or desire, no matter how *unearthly* and outrageous, is rendered possible, and therefore to strive for it becomes an acceptable goal.

    Once this begins there is no stopping it. Now, this is indeed what has happened in this late and decadent phase within Americanism. Just as the article describes, as in the examples from Israel, once these radical notions have infected people, and when they then are supported and carried out by *major corporations* and simultaneously supported by government agency, it is not long before these radicals begin to dictate how our societies will be conceived of and governed. There is a define *dystopian* element here as these major companies have vast and unprecedented power-of-influence.

    And again: this is indeed what we are witnessing today all around us. The radical trends and currents are cresting in our present. And at the same time there are those who — somewhat clumsily — are trying to recover genuine conservative ideas and notions. Yet they too are often quite involved in certain forms of radicalism. That defines the *battle* going on out in the streets and also within the political realm.

    • I wish to dedicate this post to The Small Stuff. Though she once spoke of eating pumpkin bread with chicken soup — I admit I was scandalized for a number of days — I did finally get over it.
      __________________________

      Jack wrote: “The problem, as many have observed, is that it is almost impossible to judge an innovative or truly revolutionary idea at its inception. Ethics Alarms is full of tales of visionaries and contrarians who changed the world after being initially rejected as danger to civilization or a lunatic. History is also the tragic story of how many revolutionary ideas were really as terrible as those who first heard them thought (or more terrible), and the carnage they caused before society figured it out.

      “Marxism and Communism are such ideas.”

      What I would like to discourse on this morning is the larger issue and the larger setting of the incident outlined. What we notice about the incident is that these people, people without the necessary generative organs, seem to make a case against society and to imply that society keeps them from attaining those goods that are part-and-parcel of liberalism’s promise. There is a sense of being short-changed and indeed of being *oppressed* to some degree. What is sickening when I read this article and encounter people like this is precisely the degree to which they act like clamoring children. They are made at Nature essentially for not providing them what others are given. But here is the oddest part: essentially they demand of the State that it *make things right* for them. They demand of the liberal state that it do this and that is the key here.

      Jack says that Marxism and Communism are revolutionary ideas that have revealed themselves as destructive. That may be so. But what we are dealing with in Our Present is in a sense the ripening to the point of rotting of the Liberal State and also of Liberalism. The proposal that liberalism made is in its name itself: a liberation, a freeing. And that may have been so with original and classical liberalism. It intended to create a social and cultural environment within which people and groups with very different outlooks & even goals might share a communal space. It could be said to have been an alternative to the hard and even harsh rule of one particular life-outlook, religious philosophy, or political ideal. That is to say that within a classically liberal society — America and Europe in most senses — all kinds of people could live together and each person, sect, faction, group could exist unencumbered and in this sense uncontrolled by any other. Obviously, liberalism is defined by a given State and it requires a State — a strong state in fact, an empowered state — to provide these liberal and *freeing* circumstances.

      This liberal state — this only just became clear to me — and the state that liberalism sought to attain was described by Fukiyama as ‘the end of history’. Why? Because all social organizations up to this point were conflictuous, controlling, harsh in various ways, demanding, because they were founded on rather strict ideological grounds. If not this group then some other group rebelled against that circumstance and sought *freedom* from it. The End of History is when a liberal state comes into existence and establishes a platform where all people, all groups, can successfully live together in a sort of *harmony*.

      But the thing that needs to be paid attention to is that this State must necessarily become an enforcer of this strange liberal neutrality. The State is not supposed to have an ideology to impose or to enforce and yet, as it turns out, the Liberal State becomes highly impositional. By nature, and by its design, it must take issue with any faction that has a strong stance. Liberalism therefore turns against ‘traditionalist identifications’ be they of a religious variety or any other variety. It is ‘the end of history’ insofar as it offers a value-less *space* into which people and groups come to be whatever they want to be, and yet the core value that is presented, or perhaps the final outcome of a strong liberalist environment, is the destruction of Value, the undermining of those systems which had defined what is valuable, what is important. It actually required a specific — often religious — outlook to define values. This is definitely true in our own Occident history. But with the advent of Liberalism everything is put on the same level as being equally valuable (or valid) but in fact equally irrelevant.

      And so Hyper-Liberalism (which I assert is what we now live in) has very very strong links to nihilism. The Liberal State does not have an apparent ideology, but when you examine it you see that it has a tyrannical will to do away with any strong pole or tendency that challenges it. Now, it also has to be mentioned that we live in an outcome of liberal trends in which the State has become interpenetrated by what is referred to as *corporate interests*. This is very complex. And there alongside these vastly powerful corporate structures there is also the Entertainment Industry (“Hollywood”) which has become something far more relevant, and far more determining, within the context of an immensely powerful Liberal State than ever could have been envisioned.

      So — and though I agree — you say that Marxism & Communism are *bad ideas*. That is true. But if we are to understand Our Present we are going to have to begin to learn how to take a critical look at what on the Dissident Right is referred to as *liberal rot*.

      Now we live in a time where *things come apart at the seams*. We live in a time where Liberalism as a life-ideology that can bind people, or define life, and guide people, no longer functions. It is true that the evidence of the outrageous excesses of this Liberal Rot is everywhere in view — here I refer to one incident and also symbol, that being Transvestite Story Hour. I need to have an illustration and this will do quite well. Such an event could only happen in an advance and sickly Hyper-Liberalism. Yet it must be said that there are dozens if not hundreds of examples that could be presented. Transvestite Story Hour just condenses them all into one that is particularly obnoxious. If this is what you can allow to be done to your children, you are indeed lost. Yet a person strongly wedded to strict Liberal philosophy actually celebrates this event! End of History indeed!

      So we have to address — we have to see — the larger conditions in which we live. It is not the *small detail* (not the ‘small stuff’) that we should focus on, but the Larger Picture. And if we can see the Larger Picture we can then interpret and understand — catalogue — the smaller, transient detail. The Larger Picture is of course the decay of Liberalism into Hyper-Liberalism: and this is our present.

      What we call The Politics of Identity is really a liberalist’s term. Because any identification that upsets the *harmony* of bland liberal life (a sort of meaningless non-life at its worst) must be understood an inimical to Liberalism itself, and to the Hyper-Liberal State. But I can assure you — and I do assure you — that at the very least the Dissident Right is in no sense amenable to doing away with identity. That is, *genuine identity* or identifications of value. That is the reason it defines itself as ‘salvific’. At the very least it recognizes that there is such a thing as Liberal Rot and the rotten souls of liberals. It has to take a contrary stand. But it must be said that everywhere, and in different ways, various people are seeking, actively, antidotes to liberalism’s meaninglessness and nihilism.

      My Dear Children: Thank you so much for reading this through! I am on your side despite your paranoia and misprision. 😂

  3. I agree with this statement:
    “When I read sentences like, “Mr. Poole-Dayan and others believe infertility should not be defined as a physical condition but a social one,” I have to regard it as a con, like someone saying that all it takes to be black or a woman is to decide you feel that way. If you are infertile, you are infertile because your body can’t participate in the reproductive process without major outside intervention. That’s the hand you were dealt, and it’s your job to play it, not my job to pay for a new deal.”

    With that said, if egg donation and surrogacy is permissible to heterosexual couples and same sex marriage is permissible I see nothing to deny a gay couple the right to enjoy the same medical options as a heterosexual couple might. I thought the whole point of pushing the right to marry a same sex partner was so that they could enjoy all the rights and privileges afforded to hetero couples. Maybe I am just simply confused as to why this fight over gay marriage took place.

    Perhaps the question we should be asking is should society bear the costs of ensuring the nuclear family remains intact which could include surrogacy for gay couples and the costs of getting children in need of adoption adopted into those nuclear families.

    Make no mistake. I am not saying the arguments proffered by Mr. Poole-Dayan are valid. Allowing something is not the same as demanding the costs be shifted to others. Social justice, if there is such a thing, should mean that which is just for all persons living in a society not just giving some new benefits to a few whose costs will be shared by the many.

    • Yeah…. This is the right take. Like I said below… I wouldn’t want to pay for fertility treatments for anyone, but making the process illegal? I don’t understand where that came from. Especially in New York.

    • Another factor to consider is surrogates themselves. They aren’t a renewable non-human resource and there must be rights and regulations in place. Already there are issues like surrogates deciding they want to keep the babies or women in poorer countries becoming “professionals” and being exploited. My concern is they get lost in the shuffle with all the focus on others’ “right to fertility”.

      • Very true, this desperation to deny reality by trying to out stubborn it is getting sad. I can’t fly by flapping my arms, no matter how hard I wish it, even if I managed to convince others through cosplay. I missed my window of opportunity, that’s just my bad luck. I would not be fair to demand that thousands of people have to fund MY pipe dream. They have their own dreams to work for, too.

        And surrogates come with their own corruptions too. The surrogate has to give up the infant that they murtured for months. If they can change their mind from a ‘deal’ how is that fair to the hopeful parents? It’s a tragedy for someone no matter how society decides to intervene. Before now you were just SOL and you had to accept it earlier by adopting or fostering. Intervening to force tragedy on someone else cannot make a truly equtable answer until there are gestational pods like Bujold’s Vor books.

    • But as far as I know, there is nothing barring them from doing what they want right now. The problem is that it would be expensive. This article is demanding that other people should pay for it, that is the point. A gay couple can contract with a surrogate, purchase and embryo, have it fertilized, and have it implanted in the surrogate. But that is going to cost and cost big.

      Why stop at gay couples? Why can’t single men have this as well? Why discriminate on marital status?

      • Why not a corporation? Since a corporation is a ‘legal person’? Corporations are granted extraordinary rights that exceed those of natural persons. I see no reason in the world, in our advanced Hyper-Liberalism, why a corporation cannot hire, fertilize and become the ‘parents’ of natural persons. It has all the resources to raise them up, educate them . . .

      • This article is demanding that other people should pay for it, that is the point.

        It is, in fact, a hidden argument for socialized healthcare. If insurance is required to cover infertility treatments, everyone’s insurance will go up to cover that cost. This will make private insurance impossibly expensive, hence the need for a public take over. After all, equal access is now a right, according to the argument, so the private market’s failure to provide requires publicization.

        • I’m sure this will be pushed as a “social justice” issue and that the government not paying for such endeavors is “systemic inequality.”

  4. Okay, let me offer a hypothetical here. Say that I long to be a professional ice hockey player. It’s my dream, something I’ve always imagined would bring me fulfillment. But even though I have SOME talent, I’m not a natural.

    To succeed in professional sports, you need several things: talent, great coaching, and a LOT of hard work both on and off the ice. That hard work and practice CAN help to overcome a deficit in talent, but it comes at a significant cost.

    Ice time is really expensive (as is the coaching and the equipment). Players who make it to the NHL start playing pretty much year-round by the time they’re in their early teens – travel teams, clinics, regionals, etc. Promising prospects can be signed by NHL teams in their mid-teens, but continue playing at junior and college levels for a bunch of years longer until they’re ready for their shot at the equivalent of a AAA team, at which point they get a (small) salary in addition to the gear, coaching and ice time.

    Is it society’s responsibility to pick up the freight so that I might succeed in achieving my dream?

    • This would itself be an outrage, yes. Consider that you and a hockey player differ only in accidents rather than nature. Your example is far less extreme than the article, and I think this was your intention – to engage with it as though the idea is worthy of debate and debate honestly and effectively.

      I prefer to acknowledge that the notion that a man and a woman differ only by subjective categories is itself an attack on the existence of truth and that the ones engaging in it are the enemies of humanity. They should be given no quarter, and their absurd notions should be regarded with overt contempt. Every compromise made with them in the past should now be revoked because they are now at our throats demanding our very lives, to die at the hands of a mob which will never be prosecuted or to be prosecuted for defending ourselves from a rampaging mob. To acknowledge the war the enemy is waging in fact, while calling it by another name, is the virtue of veracity. Contrariwise, to entertain the thought that their war is a protest or a tea party, because those are the terms they use, or that a man is a woman or that a squirrel is a fish or that a name is more real than the thing it names is a rejection of all truth per se in the name of a peace which is only called peace, and getting us to do that has been their goal all along, murderers from the beginning.

      Instead, we could reject the whole modern liberal experiment altogether. After a long and careful observation of its results on society, we can conclude that our “ick” response was correct from the start, and that we only lacked the philosophical skill to name its errors at the front end. You can’t argue with results.

  5. Speaking from experience, for gay people, the understanding that you will never have kids with the person you care most about is one of those realities that it’s tough but necessary to come to terms with. There were a couple times in my life that I thought to myself: “Self, maybe you can make it work. You want kids, right? Maybe test the waters, see if you can do what gay people did for hundreds of years: Grow a beard, and fake it till you make it.” Failed. Miserably. Learned.

    I personally wouldn’t get a surrogate. Or perhaps at least, not yet. It seems like a really strange arrangement and it’s just a little bit too far out there for me. But I absolutely understand the drive, and if people want to try. If people want to pay for the attempt… I fail to see the harm. I don’t think that this should be taxpayer funded…But I don’t even see the argument as to why this should be illegal.

    Which is what New York State did last month. Even the state confuses me… If this were a deep red state with all kinds of family values voters, the fact that gay people were trying to pay for babies would probably turn them off, a more reasonable objection might be in the parallels between surrogacy and prostitution, though you’d hope that lawmakers would be able to figure out that they were different enough things…. But New York? I feel like I’m missing something, and I don’t have a clue on even where to start looking.

  6. I can’t be objective, as it took technical measures for me to become a biological parent, along with my partner.

    Many Intersex people have the same issue.

    In some cases of 47,XXY a punch biopxy of one of the testes, and surgical disection out of the few viable sperm is needed, for in vitro fertilisation.

    More often with other syndromes, extraction of gametes from glands via needle biopsy and syringe for in vivo fertilisation is all that is needed.

    Involuntary sterilisation has been regarded since the Nuremberg trials as a gross violation of human rights, despite being commonly practiced in parts of the US for decades afterwards. It still is, but now requires a court order and ethics review, just as amputations are performed only when medically necessary, not as punishment.

    These facts might give some clues as to what decision should be made regarding the question at hand, Again, I must recuse myself.

  7. The Murder By Death clip always makes my day. (One of my favorite movies while growing up … had it on audio cassette tape from television and listed all the time…..)

  8. Whatever happened to good old fashioned gay guys who sneered at heterosexuals as “breeders?” I hate to go all Archie Bunker, but I’m beginning to think those were the days. Why aren’t gay guys content to be gay? I suspect if I’d married my college girlfriend, the two of us would be childless, by choice. She is childless, even though she’s been married her entire adult life to one guy. I thought being gay meant you could be, you know, gay, instead of weighed down by all the bourgeois, hum-drum nonsense of being respectable and having annoying, cloying little rug rats. Who can afford season tickets to the Met if they have to raise kids?

    • I have a couple of theories around where perceptions like this come from, mostly having to do with the relative noise level and excesses of 80’s gay subculture… I could explain it in detail if you wanted.

      But suffice it to say that during the “we’re just like you” marches, we meant it. We are, mostly, just like you. The deviants dressing up in gimp gear and beating eachother with wiffle bats at pride parades represent a fraction of a fraction of gay people. We have the same drive to have kids, just a frustrating inability to have them with the people we love.

      • I think my observations of that date further back, HT. Probably the ‘sixties in high school and college. Or maybe further back to Oscar Wilde, the Bloomsburys, Gore Vidal? Take your pick. Maybe the younger generations are different.

        The most devoted couple I know is comprised of a gay guy in his early seventies whose older husband has dementia. I’ve never seen anyone more devoted to a spouse. He’s also a cooking machine when it comes to providing for his husband’s grandchildren. He’s essentially a gourmet grandmother for them. My lesbian piano teacher (now just a friend) is now divorced from her wife who had a daughter, now a senior in high school. The two gay couples I met through my piano teacher are now divorced. (I always thought, “What follows gay marriage? Gay divorce!”) I’m not sure these gay couples have been any less successful than heterosexual couples, but my piano teacher seems to run through relationships at a brisk pace. I remember her once saying of a person she was interested in that she (the other person) “didn’t want to take a walk on the wild side,” so they probably didn’t have much of a future. There just seems to be an underlying conflict between domesticity and not-domesticity. And yes, my seventy year old friend, also a piano teacher of mine, just despised the annual gay pride events in Amsterdam. He avoided them like the plague. He’s not at all interested in being flamboyantly gay. Of course, he fled to Holland in the ‘seventies. He’s pretty conservative. Not a run of the mill gay liberal. He even thinks Trump has been unduly savaged (he’s an American expat) by the media, not that that would cause him to ever stop his New Yorker subscription. Hah.

        My cousin, who has at least one gay son (I think the other is in miserable denial — their father was gay), was of the opinion that the Act Up people and that whole group of groups had to be outrageous to get their point across. I never bought that.

        • You know, HT, I don’t think “The Human Rights Campaign” and the other groups behind the gay marriage effort did anyone any favors by having various choirs (Hollywood actresses of the younger generation) go on and on about how wonderful gay guys were to the point where the movement seemed to want everyone to think gays are actually superior to heterosexuals. It was as if we all had to first acknowledge that gays are superior to heterosexuals, then we could proceed with legalizing gay marriage. I found it very annoying, at least.

          Cheers.

          • When I was younger and more prowley, I used to go to parties. I was in Fort McMurray at the time, and a local gay organization liked to hold events at an arena to raise a little money and give people a place to be themselves. You could definitely tell the difference between people who were comfortable and people who weren’t. During my second party, I met a 50 year old man who had never told a soul before that he was gay, but some of his family had recently died and he realized how much of life he had missed. He was not comfortable. I can’t even imagine 50 years living that repressed. He showed up to the party in a three piece suit. Great conversation, and he came out of his shell eventually, I still send him cards at Christmas. The same night, while I was visiting the head, the most awkward 20ish year old I’ve ever seen leaned on the wall beside me, and told me either he was taking me home that night, or committing suicide. 24 year old me had no idea what to do, so I (I shit you not) wished him well with that, zipped up, retreated, and immediately told one of the organizers what happened. I feel bad about that one. I mean, aside from the obvious attempt at emotional manipulation, I’m sure that he was also really bloody lonely, I don’t think he needed someone to go home with so much as he needed help. It’s hard…. Particularly when your family isn’t receptive, to navigate… everything, and it leads to some really weird people.

            I only bring them up because I met probably thirty people at that party and ended up going home with one of them (not that one), and those are the two I remember.

            Your mileage may vary. Part of being Just Like You is that some of us are weirdos or assholes. I will say that in your average group of 100 people, 3 will be gay. And most of us look and act so much like you that you just don’t know. Those assholes end up representing us because they’re loud and flashy and obnoxious, but they really shouldn’t.

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