Mind the Gap

On a basic level, gay, lesbian, and transgendered teen age kids have the same basic complaint as straight kids. To the teenager, everything about adults results in the complaint “They don’t see, they don’t understand, they don’t care” attitude that makes teenagers want to scream.

Perhaps we could find common ground regarding toilet paper. There is bad toilet paper, good toilet paper, and great toilet paper. I mean who is that toilet paper supplier who sells the bad unpleasant stuff and who is the person who buys it? We are the public who suffer from thin rough toilet paper. When comparing thin, one ply, rough toilet paper you often encounter at rest stops on busy interstate highways with the plump two ply, soft quilted variety of toilet paper you usually find at a five star hotel, there really shouldn’t even be a question of which is better. It might be just one of a few things these kids can agree on with their parents. On the other hand, discussing the merits of good and bad toilet paper may be met with the same miscommunication between most teenagers and adults.

My partner just set up a new online casino business, where the business model involves earning a small fee from every bet (poker), or from the losses (all other games). This is a business that is dependent on successfully achieving high ranks for terms like “online casino” and “online poker” and many other terms. When his daughter learned that the affiliates ranking for “US slots” made their money based on the losses of players, she questioned the ethics of this business. No amount of arguing that the players were paying to have fun, that losses were part of the play, that all customers payed willingly, etc. could convince her that this was an ethical business. Many religions take the same view of gambling and forbid their followers from participating. Others often raise money by sponsoring a “casino night” event. Who is right?

Unfortunately, the miscommunication gap is not just caused by teenage angst. Most adults have either forgotten or conveniently idealized their own childhood, and approach kids’ problems (if at all) with an adult outlook that has been molded by years of ‘adult’ experiences.

Conversely, most teens lack the experience and perspective that age can bring; the ultimate result is that many discussions are between someone who doesn’t really want to listen and someone else who doesn’t really know what to say. However I think in regards to toilet paper there may be some grudging agreement. But when you add to that mix the subject of sexuality, you immediately have an additional layer of discomfort and inhibition. When the sexuality being discussed is in any way ‘alternative’ sexuality, you might as well add about three more layers.

Oddly enough, many of those same people on both sides regularly inhabit a social circle in which evading sexual subjects makes you seem abnormally prudish. The kids are talking about sex, the adults are talking about sex. In both cases, chances are the discussions are fairly casual, but cover many graphic details (for lack of a better phrase…). It’s only at the intersection of these circles in which sexual discussion becomes strained and awkward.

The overall campaign thus far has been to increase exposure, to force dialogue, to bring the marginalized into the light so that we can all get used to the subject. I approve of the goal, but I’m not convinced that it’s been a success. We’ve certainly succeeded in creating more places for like-minded people to close themselves off from everyone else, but there’s still far too much discomfort in the places where everyone must be together.

  • “Homosexuality is a Choice” – – this is the stickiest wicket of the bunch. You will find extremists on both sides who have studies and statistics that ‘prove’ their point. The closest thing to the truth is that Dr. Francis Collins, no less than the Director of the Genome Project, has clearly identified a genetic component to homosexuality. The catch is that it is not a light switch set to “gay” or “straight”; it merely provides a much greater likelihood – – which is enough of a gray area for anti – gay propagandists like the “American College of Pediatrics” to claim that homosexuality is not genetically – determined. By that logic, hair and eye color is a choice, too…
    • We will continue this later. I feel the irrational desire to punch a pediatrician… but that is not right. Not even if living a pediatrician lifestyle increases the risk of developing homophobia (and we’ve got the statistics to prove it!).

    This kind of discrimination is really disgusting.

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