Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Where the Ripples End, Nobody Knows...

We all know that change send ripples out over the pond of society. Any shift in paradigms; any newly adopted popular perspective will have unpredicted effects. That said, the increasing acceptance of homosexuality among the populace raises many questions beyond the obvious ones associated with individual systems of morality.

Before I discuss this, let me guard against any weaknesses in my own writing skills. This is not meant to be a judgement on people's sexual orientation. (For the love of God [literally], the Pope even said, recently, that he is not one to judge another for being gay.)  It is simply an observation of how acceptance of homosexuality changes things...

For instance, one day, as I am sadly wont to do, I was watching an episode of the TV show "Cops." (Heck, I'm a writer, okay? How can I resist seeing these people? -- people I would never otherwise have seen in my life? -- like, dudes who do crack and run naked around their neighborhoods claiming that God told them to steal food off of everyone's barbecue grill?) In this particular episode, a woman was going to be searched, so they called a female officer in to do it. It occurred to me that, in a world with changing attitudes toward sexuality, if I were a doer of evil deeds (or a beater-up of my wife because she got in the way of the TV during the Eagles game) I would probably start using the violation card, no matter who they got to search me. I guess anyone could have used this in the past -- sort of accused someone of being "deviant." But now that "deviant" is no longer the way many see alternate sexual orientations, what will happen when criminals refuse to be searched? What is to stop men from saying, "I'm gay. I want to be searched by a woman" or, "I'm bisexual - I refuse to be searched." What's to stop them from claiming violation and harassment when they are patted down by a male officer. (And, of course, vice-versa with female n'er-do-wells.)

How about bathrooms? (Again, please remember, I am bringing this up in all seriousness -- it is not meant to be glib or sarcastic.)  Why divide them into men's and women's? (Though, I do suppose there are bathrooms, even in workplaces, in which they are combined -- just stalls, no urinals for the guys.)

This morning, as my son and I crossed paths in the kitchen during our morning rituals, I asked him how gym class went yesterday. (He is in sixth grade, now, and they have to change clothes for gym. He was a little uncomfortable with this and he said so before school started. I gave him the old speech about how he would be among all boys, so it wasn't a big deal -- the the same "gear," and all that.) When I asked today, he said it was "fine." In their locker room, apparently, they have separate changing stalls. That struck me as really weird and probably extremely financially wasteful. But...there is is... (I looked it up -- one place had locker room privacy screens for $275 a piece. That's about $6,000 for a gym class of 20 kids. But I will guess the locker room is outfitted for at least 30, which would be almost $9,000. Not a giant part of a school's annual operating budget, but...that's a lot of computers or iPads or -- perish the thought -- books. )
Giovanni Cariani

Was this done with a growing sensitivity to the shifting attitudes toward sexuality; to the feelings of young boys who might be coming to grips with homosexual feelings?

I think (though I might be wrong) that is was Plato, in The Symposium, who argued the merits of homosexuality on the basis of sameness: since, he said, men don't get attracted toward differences in physicality, their love is more pure; more intellectual. The argument of sameness, for either men or women, will certainly have to stand up if we do away with same-sex facilities. But, love and "attraction" are two different things and being groped by an attractive officer is what it, as they say, is.

Confusing stuff.

The one thing that drives me mad in the debates about things like gay marriage is those who argue, moronically, that it is a simple issue -- a basic kind of thing. Any change in popular attitude is going to have far-reaching effects. Truth is, in a heterosexual-centered world, my son's school district might not have spent thousands of dollars on dividers for the locker rooms. This is a simple fact (if my speculation as to the reasoning behind the dividers is valid), not a judgement or a wish for "the good old days;" for, in those "good old days" many good people, who happened to be gay, were mistreated, hurt and even killed for no good reason. No sane person would want to go back to that. So, it's good that this is likely to stop happening with increasing acceptance.

But the fact remains: a changing view changes things we can't anticipate: the proverbial ripples. Could we possibly be headed into an era in which police searches can't be done in the field? Imagine the impact of that...

If nothing else, it will be interesting.

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