Who Is Declaring This “War On Gender?”

What’s with this trend on the right of fighting against the wars we’re supposedly waging on the left? Every year, the viewers of Fox News are treated to Bill O’Reilly’s insane antics over his made up “war on Christmas.” Those of us who want equal protection under the law are constantly accused of waging a “war on religious freedom.” Now, in the midst of the raging debate over Trans people using the washroom, a bunch of very vocal people are fear-mongering over a supposed “war on gender.” A war on gender? What?

It’s pretty easy to tell who knows what they are talking about and who doesn’t when it comes to gender issues. For example, if you think we are all born as one gender or another, you are confused about the difference and relationship between gender and sex. If you think that all Trans people identify as the gender opposite their assigned sex and seek physical transition, you have obviously never bothered to learn anything about Trans identity; and if you think there is a war on gender, you have failed to listen to those of us who have been trying to explain this to you ad nauseum.

I’m going to take a different approach to this today, by saying that the acceptance of Trans identities, and the openness with which we listen and understand, reveals a beautiful truth about humanity. What the right has failed to realize, perhaps what many of us on the left don’t even realize, is that our movement is changing conventional wisdom on the human condition. What we have always thought, or known, about ourselves is not diminished by this, rather it is enhanced by the realization that we are much more complex than we ever imagined. As LGBTQ+ people become more emboldened, more confident in coming out and living their authentic selves, we learn more about our species. The movement sweeping our world is not a war on gender, it’s a revolution of discovery!

The bible, used by the right to justify opposition to progress, is not a textbook. It does not speak truth to the human condition, and the view(s) of humanity contained within its pages is simple and rudimentary, with little nuance. We are more complicated than that, and to embrace humanity is to try to understand that complexity. Passing judgment is something we do naturally, but when we depend on an ancient text to pass judgment in the ‘now,’ we do ourselves, and those we are judging, a terrible disservice. To insist upon this method, and to ‘double down’ on what we know, or even suspect, to be insufficient, is the very embodiment of willful ignorance. This is the problem in the church today. Too many people just don’t care enough. Too many people prefer to cast aspersions instead of seeking truth, because seeking truth, and attempting to understand it, is hard. It’s much easier to take what they have believed for so long and cling to that as infallible. What a horrible injustice it is to reject the fulfillment of discovering more about the world around us.

So I ask those who say we have declared war on gender: who is declaring this war on gender? I am what many of you would mistakenly call a “gay activist,” am I declaring war on gender? The only war on gender is the one you have made up. Just like Bill O’Reilly and his war on Christmas, you are fighting a figment of your imagination. There is no war on gender, we are merely learning. We are embracing new knowledge, preferring not to sit stagnant with ancient beliefs. Refusing to accept the ever-expanding library of knowledge about who and what we are, in favour of a belief that diminishes our complexity is, quite frankly, insulting. Why are you so threatened by the rejection of gender roles? Why are you so threatened by the notion that a person can be born in the wrong body? Why are you so threatened by a person who is biologically one sex, but whose brain is organized as both male and female? Why do you refuse to even try to learn about the reality of a gender identity that doesn’t fit the male-female binary at all?

Do you know how much we suffer? We live on edge, constantly having to check our words for fear of what we might let slip, and to whom. At 34 years old, nobody should be afraid to come out to their parents … but I was. Do you know how demeaning it is, how utterly dehumanizing, to be afraid to show your true colours, to be afraid of physical attack that too often ends in the deaths of our peers, and do you know that the suffering we endure is entirely your fault? Ideas based on religious beliefs and convictions, picked like low-hanging fruit from the pages of scripture, have been applied to social conventions with devastating effects. Those who hold these are to blame for the pain we endure. If those ideas were not pushed and insisted upon, if everybody embraced the beautiful diversity of the human condition, we wouldn’t have these problems. The issues we face are not internal, they are brought about by the exclusionary and restrictive norms and practices of tradition. My struggle, for example, is not with myself; it’s with the consequences of living openly as myself.

Think about that last statement for a minute. If you still can’t imagine any reality other than the make-believe one where me and my cohorts have declared war on gender, you’re not worth wasting any more time on.

It’s Not “Gender Confusion”

When talking about Trans issues, despite having no knowledge of Trans issues, many evangelical activists like to use the term “Gender Confusion” (or “Gender Confused”). It’s time this was confronted. When people like my favourite evangelical Dr. Michael Brown use this term, it feels like nails on a chalkboard to me. Now, for the record, the reason he is my favourite evangelical is because he is so adamantly outspoken about LGBTQ+ issues, even having written several books on us, but has so little knowledge it’s actually comical. As laughable as his work may be, however, he wields a certain amount of influence, and so do his colleagues. People need to know that Trans identity is not a matter of confusion.

Terms that minimize the validity of LGBTQ+ identities always tend to stem from the same premise – “It’s wrong because God.” The term “Gender Confusion” is inextricably linked to the idea that “God doesn’t make mistakes.” Indeed, “man and woman he created them” is right there in the Bible, and it makes sense that a believing Christian would take that to mean we are all born as one or the other. The obvious problem with this is that people are trying to pin down God’s plan … a plan that is supposed to be unknowable.

So how are we to know what God’s plan is? While it’s true that Genesis lays out the plan for procreation, how do you make sense of people who are born infertile, or those who are intersex? Did God make mistakes with those people? You wouldn’t say so, would you? You would say that they were born that way on purpose, a part of God’s plan, the reason for which we cannot know; and the reason you would say that is because you can’t deny physical evidence … but it’s easy to deny what you can’t see. Gender identity is invisible, and when it enters the discussion, God’s plan is no longer a mystery. All of a sudden, the plan is known, God doesn’t make mistakes, and Trans people are merely “confused.”

Does this not look like faulty logic to you? Is it not the height of arrogance to claim a faith in an unknowable God, and have the convenience of changing the narrative to claim to know exactly what he wants when it suits you? Is this not exactly what we mean when we talk about religion being used to justify hatred or dislike? Gender variance is unseen, it has an element of mystery, and instead of trying learn about it, how cowardly it is to grab your holy book and impose your own biases upon it.

It would be troubling indeed if Trans identity was a product of confusion. To come out and live openly despite the dangers of doing so, to struggle through the rift between social ideals and self, to live in constant fear, to fight for proper healthcare … all due to confusion? We don’t attribute women’s issues to confusion when many women face similar struggles, so why do it with gender identity? Granted, the doctrine of original sin allows for such confusion, attributing it to our fallen nature, but once again we have the application of personal bias to reach a desired conclusion.

Take a moment to consider these questions. Could Trans identity be part of God’s plan? What if the struggles faced by Trans people are due to human social bias, a bias that God did not ordain? All Christian denominations teach that humans are flawed and fallen, what if our dislike of difference is the flaw? Maybe Trans identity isn’t the problem. Maybe the problem is the use of the Bible to justify condemnation. Maybe … just maybe … you’re wrong.

At the end of the day, we are here, we are very real, and many people are going to have to learn to deal with that. Trans identity is broad, it is many things to many people, and if you are not willing to ask questions and accept that diversity is a wonderful thing, I feel sorry for you. You may be confused, but we are not. Trans identity is not “Gender Confusion.” Ask and learn, or bask in your own ignorance. Either way, we know who we are.

 

An Open Letter To Franklin Graham

While combing through the news this week, I came across a story about how Franklin Graham, in the midst of a vile attack on the LGBTQ+ community and our fight for civil rights, has called Transgender people “predators and sexually perverted.” When are these evangelical preachers going to realize that their actions against people they fear are completely contrary to the teachings of the man named Jesus they claim to follow?

Mr. Graham:

So I’m a predator and a pervert, am I? I identify as Genderqueer, which puts me under the Trans umbrella, and at 34 years of age, I have never preyed on anybody for any purpose; nor have I ever had the desire to do so. Your hateful diatribe against me and those like me reveals a willful ignorance (you do, after all, have access to education on these issues), a fragile ego that feeds off of demeaning and degrading others, and an un-Christlike heart. You should be ashamed of yourself.

As a child, I was in awe of your father. Billy Graham and his message was ever-present in the charismatic and evangelical movements of the time. He was a powerful speaker, and I was convinced that he was ordained by God to spread the gospel. I later came to see him as a charlatan, a man who is not only dishonest, but deliberately deceptive, a man who played on the hopes and fears of people while tugging at their purse strings. You, sir, are just like him. The difference, though, and this is what makes you worse, is that you are actively campaigning to deny basic human rights; and using vile degrading language in the process.

I suppose, Mr. Graham, that you are actually quite proud of yourself. You did, after all, win your last battle to keep discriminatory policy on the books (referenced in the link above), and you are no doubt thrilled that a dozen states still have unconstitutional sodomy bans in place (as of 2014, and to my knowledge these have not changed). But while you insist upon making it difficult for us to be recognized as human beings, and as you carry on this disgusting crusade, listen carefully when I say that you are going to lose. You see, what was once a secret, what used to be dangerous to say, is no longer taboo. Of course in some conservative places, it is still dangerous to say that you are gay, Trans, or even an ally, but in most places it’s now safe to come out. The genie, as they say, is out of the bottle, and it can’t be put back in. We are out, and in the face of oppression we stand proud. That pride is why you will lose. We aren’t going anywhere, and we sure as hell are not backing down from a petty, vindictive, arrogant person like you.

I want to suggest that you sincerely try to learn about who and what we are, about the challenges we face, and about the legitimacy of Trans identity. I want to tell you that at your age it’s not too late. I want to encourage you to find it in your heart to stop fighting against humanity … but I’m almost ashamed to say that I don’t actually care if you do any of that. I am very proud of how I handle my advocacy. I am proud of my insistence on civility, my discretion with labels and ‘name-calling,’ my honesty … but I’m sick and tired of people like you. Since you’re so honest about wanting us to be treated like second-class citizens, and about wanting to deny us basic human rights, here’s a bit of honesty from me to you. I want to see you fail. I want to see your ministry investigated, to have your tax-exempt status revoked, and I want to see you fall out of favour with those who you and your father have been cheating and stealing from all these years. I want to see every piece of legislation you fight against passed, and everything you fight for struck down. And if everything I want happens, it still won’t be enough. Why? Because I could never wish enough ill will on you to match the pain and devastation you want to see levelled against us. I don’t want you put in prison for your beliefs. I don’t want to see you physically assaulted. I don’t want to see you homeless. I don’t want to see you subjected to unconstitutional restrictions on your rights and freedoms. I could never match your hatred for me, because I don’t have it in me to feel that way toward another human being.

Mr. Graham, you may think I’m a predatory pervert, but I encourage you to look in a mirror. I don’t prey on people, nor do I use them … but that’s exactly how your father got rich. I don’t publicly talk about my sexual preferences … but you seem obsessed with the preferences you imagine I have. I fight for people who are taking their own lives … while your fight is the reason they take their own lives. Stop calling us predators and perverts, Mr. Graham. You’re obviously projecting all over yourself.

 

Reigning In Political Correctness

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld is rumoured to have recently said that political correctness is destroying comedy. I disagree. Stand-up comedians are active players in shaping cultural attitudes, and their jokes about rape, misogyny, and domestic abuse, are not helpful or funny. Their homophobic, transphobic, and biphobic jokes are also not helpful or funny … but we laugh anyway because it’s just comedy, right? I’ve been uncomfortable with this for quite some time, and as far as I’m concerned if you can’t get up on stage and be funny without demeaning other humans beings, then you shouldn’t be on stage. Political correctness isn’t destroying comedy, it’s destroying the type of comedy that nobody should have found funny in the first place. But while a very good thing in many ways, has political correctness gone too far? Well no, but also yes.

We live in a time when tensions over division are high. Political correctness is necessary in order to have dialog that is equal and non-offensive. It’s a good thing in that it levels the field, so to speak. The problem is that with high tension comes high sensitivity, and high sensitivity can affect our judgment.

Political correctness has some of us to the point where we jump without knowing the facts of a given case. I’m guilty of this too, but sometimes a straight woman’s tongue-in-cheek comment about her girl crush on Ruby Rose is not a “look how progressive and edgy I am” moment … and sometimes it is. Sometimes a crime committed against a person who happens to be a member of a minority was motivated by something else … and sometimes it wasn’t. Sometimes an asshole is an asshole, and calling them out on it has nothing to do with race, religion, or identity. We need political correctness. It keeps us in check, and it’s useful in calling out bad behaviours. What we must stop doing, however, is finding fault where there is none. Call out those who are at fault, but think first. There’s a lot of false accusation going on, and it’s not pretty.

Let me explain that I’m not talking about taking things lightly. A lot has been written on this site about the power of words, and at times I’ve been told that perhaps I’ve taken things further than they should have gone. I disagree of course, feeling that I’ve always made a good argument in support of my position, and I’ve always been careful to split those I address into two groups. (1) Those who are at fault, and (2) Those who are not. For example, I’m careful to use “evangelical Christians” instead of “all Christians.” I say things like “this doesn’t apply to all, but to those who …” or “if you are one of these, my problem is not with you” (or something to that effect). The issues we address are not to be taken lightly, but they must be issues. It takes a lot of energy to fight social ills, and making an issue where there isn’t one is a waste of that energy.

The full definition of “politically correct,” according to Merriam Webster online, is “conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated.” I agree with this 100%, and Outspoken Ally is about eliminating that very language and those very practices. We don’t extend that, though, to attempting to eliminate what isn’t there.

Every time we jump to false conclusions, the stigma against political correctness grows. We have to use it properly. Call out what’s there, and know what it is before you do. Failing to do that just shuts down communication, closes minds, puts up walls, divides us further. We are politically correct because it is morally correct. Let’s reign it in and use it to its maximum benefit.

Biblical Justifications For Transphobia

Transphobia is a huge problem. Murder after murder, suicide after suicide, our trans friends and family are dying due to a tragic fear of what people don’t understand. The religiously fuelled orgy of ignorance, bigotry, and aggressive action continues to plague us. As we push for social equality, trans youth are suffering in the shadows, in the hallways, in our homes, and in our schools.

Now, it’s pretty easy to find the scriptural basis for things like homophobia, at least what’s perceived to be a scriptural basis, but the biblical foundations of transphobia are not so clear. Despite all the biblical analyses and supports one might use for justifying a bias against trans people, there are really only 2 passages – and they provide very weak support at best.

Psalm 139. This Psalm is all about how God knows each one of us infinitely more than we know ourselves. At verse 13, we read “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb,” and at verse 16 “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
What Psalm 139 is saying, in a nutshell, is that God knows everything about each of us because we were lovingly created according to his will. The idea that a person’s assigned sex could be out of sync with their gender identity is completely unacceptable to somebody who holds fast to Psalm 139; for if God created us according to his perfect will, our sex couldn’t possibly be wrong. Of course, every sermon I’ve listened to about this equates sex with gender, and sexual orientation with gender identity. Given this failure to understand basic terms, it’s really no surprise that some people would use Psalm 139 to justify their condemnation of what they don’t care to understand.

Oddly enough, Psalm 139 could also be used to justify acceptance of trans people. If, as is taught, we cannot know the thoughts or motivations of God, how can we say whether or not he created them just the way they are? Is gender not a social construct? Are we not flawed due to original sin? Isn’t it possible that we have imposed false social norms that were not part of God’s original plan? Psalm 139 says that God knows everything about each one of us because he created us. It doesn’t say anything about initial intent. From a biblical perspective, it may very well be that the very existence of the trans label is entirely our fault; and contrary to what God intended. Genesis lays out a differentiation of sex in the Garden of Eden, but not of gender. It could be that gender fluidity was the original idea and we screwed it up.

Deuteronomy 22:5. “A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this.”

So, Deuteronomy is generally believed to be Moses’ restatement of the law originally given to the Israelites by God, in Exodus and Leviticus – approximately 40 years prior. This is questionable of course, given the fact that the laws in Deuteronomy are better described as continuations rather than restatements. In any event, this condemnation of wearing the clothing culturally assigned to the opposite gender is ridiculous. An all-knowing deity who concerns himself with what clothing we wear is extremely petty indeed, and dare I say it, quite human. One would think that if somebody had the entire universe to take care of, what clothing we wear would be quite low on the list of priorities. I think it’s a pretty safe bet that Moses injected his own displeasure with ‘cross-dressing,’ and attributed it to God. If this verse is to be taken as a condemnation, along with Psalm 139, the scriptural basis for transphobia is extremely weak.

As with discrimination of any kind, it’s just not reasonable to believe a single word of the ‘justifications’ for it. Even if the Bible came right out and said “trans people are flawed, unnatural, immoral, and must be fixed,” it would still be wrong. There are over 2,000 religions in the world, and we have one chance to make a life. Any book that says we are to waste that life trying to condemn and ‘fix’ the diversity around us, isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

How about trying to understand? Ancient holy books were written before anybody knew much about anything. Instead of treating the Bible like a manual, how about we accept that much of it is no longer relevant, and work to come together? You can have your faith, but believing in the infallibility of the literal word of scripture renders you useless in a civilized society. The Bible isn’t entirely irrelevant, but condemnations of things we now know to be natural belong in the same category as every other biblical thing we no longer support (ie: slavery, not eating shellfish, avoiding mixed fabrics, stoning our children, etc). We need to accept that things change as we learn, and we need to embrace that knowledge. We need to embrace one another.

You may be upset over my choice of words and my insistence on de-legitimizing scripture, but that’s kind of the point. Scripture is being used to kill trans people. It’s being used to justify murder, and it’s being used to justify the abusive action driving trans people to suicide. Criticism is 100% reasonable here, and in my opinion I haven’t been critical enough. When the Qur’an is used to justify war and suicide bombings, people are all over it. When the Bible is used to justify violence and hatred toward minority people, we are supposed to say “oh, that person has problems, the Bible is a book of love.” And then, of course, we’re reminded that we have to “respect everyone’s beliefs.” Personally, I’m sick of this. I will not respect anything that doesn’t deserve respect, and I don’t particularly care if it’s your belief or not. If your belief is harming others, or causes you to dislike them without rational justification, it is worthy only of contempt.

Without scriptural support, without anything but your personal bias toward the unfamiliar, how do you feel about trans people? Believe me, answering that question can be one of the most fulfilling things you ever do. It gets to the core of how you view humanity, and that is a profoundly beautiful thing.

A Note Of Encouragement

I want to offer a short note of encouragement today. As a heterosexual man, I have never had to come out as LGBTQ to my family or friends. As an ally, I continue to do as much as I can to learn and understand how difficult the process is; and although I can never understand it entirely, I know it’s one of the hardest things a person must do. National Coming Out Day just passed, and as I read through the posts and articles, I was moved to write an encouraging word to those dealing with alienation, guilt, and fear over revealing their sexual orientation or gender identity to those closest to them.

There is a large community of LGBTQ people and Allies to surround you with positivity and affirmation should you need it. The feelings of isolation associated with revealing such a deeply personal aspect of your identity need not overtake you. We are here. We love you. We accept you. We celebrate the freedom that comes with telling the world “this is who I am.” With each new person who digs deep and finds the courage to come out, the world changes for the better. You are important. You matter. Many in the LGBTQ community have been where you are, they understand what you are experiencing. The Allied community stands firm with them, and we offer support in every way that we can. For my part, I fight the religious foundations of anti-LGBTQ bigotry because you shouldn’t have to. You deserve the opportunity to own your identity, free of ridicule or condemnation. Nobody has the right to deny you that.

To those struggling with the isolation, ridicule, contempt, and scorn of others either before or during the coming out process, I wish with every fibre of my being that I could take your pain away. Unfortunately, all I can do is offer my undying support and encouragement. The alienation, guilt, and fear will eventually pale in comparison to the confidence and gifts that you will be able to share with the world. Owning one’s identity is a powerful thing. Take it, it belongs to you. If you fall, we are here to help you up. If you cry, we will lend a shoulder. If you celebrate, we will celebrate with you. If you fight, we are by your side. This is your journey … but you don’t have to take it alone.

Undeniable Condescension: “It’s Just A Phase”

Today, I am going to talk about the condescension in the words “it’s just a phase.” This particular phrase is one of the many that I take exception to, as it is quite often used in reference to my own dedication to social equality and ongoing battle against fundamentalist Christian doctrine. The real problem with the phrase, however, goes far beyond its use in regard to me and my work. The real problem is that “it’s just a phase” is too often used in regard to the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBTQ teens. These young people who are subject to extreme social stigmas, increased risks of violent attack, and often die young as a result of murder or suicide, are further marginalized by their parents and loved ones, who callously avoid any attempt of understanding by dismissing their very personhood as “just a phase.” I’m going to talk about the use of this phrase in my own life, and then I’ll discuss the use of it in regard to LGBTQ people. We must all understand why the use of “it’s just a phase” is one of the most hateful things any parent or family member can say about a relative who is LGBTQ.

From our earliest stages we grow and develop, and it is through that development that we learn the consequences of our experiences and actions. Learning about consequences, of course, requires one to engage in the behaviours that spark the consequences in the first place, and so we go through behavioural and emotional phases. I have gone through these phases myself, of course. As a child, I wanted to be a cowboy, then a police officer, and then a firefighter. I decided later that maybe I would be a banker, or perhaps a famous rock star. I spent my teenage years angry at the world, suffering from the delusion that I was always the smartest person in the room and nobody understood me. As a sailor, I indulged in many things that need not be spoken of, and as a university student, I gained new and wonderful perspectives on humanity and the natural world. These were phases, times in my life in which I experienced things that led me to my own unique understanding of the world around me. All that I am now was shaped and influenced by those phases. Through them, I have defined my sense of self, my values, my convictions, and my entire identity. I now know who I am and what I stand for, and although my future experiences will continue to re-shape my world, my sense of self and purpose is no longer in flux. The thing about maturity is that it comes after those phases, and is necessarily the point at which you know very confidently who you are. Now, I have been accused quite often and quite recently of “just going through a phase.” There are many people who naively think that my departure from the church and dedication to LGBTQ rights is some sort of rebellious period, and that I’ll eventually get over it. Those same people are also quick to dismiss my level of education on the subjects of religion and culture. “It’s just a phase.” At 33 years old, I find this type of condescension terribly insulting. I can, however, handle it. After all, it doesn’t really matter if people think that my worldview is a phase. I may be insulted, but nobody is attacking my personhood. What I believe, what I hold dear, and what I value are all the result of what I have learned. When I am accused of going through a phase, I am not being devalued as a human being. “It’s just a phase.” While this phrase doesn’t devalue my humanity, it is very different for the LGBTQ teen who is accused of the same thing in regard to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

I have lost count of how many times I have read, heard, and watched as somebody has accused an LGBTQ teen of “just going through a phase.” There are countless status updates on social media written by young people who are lost, confused, and terrified because their families dismiss them with this offensive rhetoric. Our teen years are difficult as it is, and this kind of dismissive attitude only makes things unnecessarily worse. It takes courage for an LGBTQ teen to come out to family. After all, there is still a lot misinformation out there. A lot of people don’t understand just what sexual orientation and gender identity are. They don’t understand that being homosexual is just as natural as being heterosexual, and they certainly don’t understand the complexities of what it means to be Trans. This can cause a lot of friction in families, and it is up to those families to alleviate that friction by educating themselves. It’s not necessarily their fault that they are ignorant on the subject, but it is their responsibility to leave ignorance behind and learn as much as they can. Dismissing your child, when they have just summoned all of their courage to tell you something deeply personal and important, is one of the worst things you can do. Parents and family members who act this way quite frankly make me sick to my stomach. With all of the information available to us, dismissing the heartfelt reveal of a young person coming out as “just a phase,” is unacceptable and disgusting.

To be quite honest, my patience is wearing thin on this one. Ignorance will always be a part of our world, but is it not important that we understand each other? I don’t expect anybody to research these issues and make it their life’s work like I do, but I do expect them to read something. Does anybody go through their entire week without hearing LGBTQ issues in the news anymore? Wouldn’t it make sense to determine that it’s obviously an important issue that maybe we should all know a little bit about? The reason that so many people are closed off and bigoted is that they think they already have the answers. They are, in effect, plugging their ears and continuing to believe the fear-based misinformation that religious charlatans have been feeding them for decades. The existence of ideas like “homosexuality is curable,” “an immoral behaviour,” or “just a phase,” proves this point, as does the complete lack of knowledge out there about gender identity.

Ultimately, whether we want to admit it or not, these outdated and willfully ignorant attitudes are contributing to suicide and murder rates. They are contributing to pain and suffering. Shame on us for allowing this to go on for so long. With every young life lost due to ignorance, we gain more collective accountability for not having done enough to keep it from happening. “It’s just a phase.” Let’s work to put this repugnant idea in our past where it belongs.