In 2006 I had an essay on teaching about sexual orientation published in a book in the “Opposing Viewpoints” series.

Upper Michigan, 2019-9

I had almost overlooked that in 2006 an essay of mine was officially published by a trade publisher (not self-published). It was published under my nickname (then pen-name) “Bill”.

The essay is “Editorial: Teaching about Homosexuality in Public High Schools”, originally posted in late 2004, after I had been subbing for a while.  (That would come to a head in late 2005, but that’s another discussion, and also the plot for a screenplay I am working on now, already embedded as a subordinate background incident in my completed “Second Epiphany”). 

The essay was picked up for the 2006 anthology “Teenage Sexuality: Opposing Viewpoints”, in a series published by Greenhaven Press of Thomson Gale in Farmington Hills, MI, ISBN 0-7377-3362-4 library hardcover, 224 pages.  There are 22 essays, divided into four chapters that pose a debate question.  Mine is the third essay, a “pro” answer to the Chapter 4 question, “What Should Teens Be Taught About Sex?”  The Amazon Site Stripe is this link, and the book now is rather pricey.  The other questions in that Chapter deal with abstinence and condoms.

The con response to my essay is by Linda P. Harvey.

My pro answer included teaching the science and anthropology, which by high school teens should be understand when they take biology.  But my essay also stressed that a lot of homophobia in the past is cultural, beyond merely religious:  it is about the expectation that everyone should be socialized to fit into a family structure as a supposedly necessary part of social stability, surrounding the sharing of otherwise individualized risks and burdens for a common good and lineage.

Today that is what the alt-right believes, more or less.  The far Left, however, as we know, from other postings, is challenging the idea of behavioral sexual orientation in cis-men, and seems to believe that everything comes down to “choosing” a gender idea that suits your inborn capabilities.

Video about the right-wing, sexuality, and especially the incel issue

At the time of publication of this book, no one seriously thought you could introduce these topics to younger children or soften their future critical attitudes.  Things have really changed.

The concept of presenting opposing viewpoints is also the mission of a group called Braver Angels, and I have attended and reported on their debates. At one time, I wanted to set up an opposing viewpoints “database” on my own “doaskdotell” legacy site.

For my own progress, I visited (for the first time in over two years), an overpacked storage locker (Extra Space) to see what kind of inventory of my books I might have.  The locker was so overstuffed I could not tell yet. 

(Posted: Monday, June 13, 2022 at 11 PM EDT by John W. Boushka)

“What Is a Woman?” is a challenge to see, and there is nothing “wrong” with it

approach to Alexandria Pride, June 4

Everyone is buzzing about Matt Walsh’s new documentary produced and distributed by Daily Wire, “What Is a Woman?” (94 min, directed by Justin Folk).

When I went to the Daily Wire (conservative) site, it seemed that to watch the film at all I would have to start a monthly subscription to the publication.  Normally when you produce an important documentary, you have a third party distributor, or you make it possible for people to buy the DVD directly from your own website if no platform will take it because of culture war controversy. Really, this ought to be available to rent on Amazon on YouTube now.

I found what looked like maybe a bootlegged free version on YouTube, but it wouldn’t play! But I finally tracked down a copy posted by “Not the Boiling Frog” on the “free speech” video site, Odysee, link here (not embeddable).  There is a YT trailer.

trailer from Daily Wire

OK, there is nothing “wrong” or inappropriate by normal standards of acceptable public speech, but these are not normal times. 

Matt particularly attacks an idea popular in some woke corners, that gender can be defined in circularity. That is, a person is a woman if “they” feel like a woman.  Some of the people he interviews stick to this view.  Matt’s film makes them look bad, which is why the far Left worries that this film would lead to further marginalization of, not so much trans people as such, but emotionally insecure teens (especially girls) who believe they have some sort of gender dysphoria.

Matt really should have mentioned the Intersex issue (discussed in the previous post) in order to separate it sufficiently from the emotional hysteria that seems to spread among pre-teen girls on social media.  One of the more responsible doctors (a psychiatrist) did mention that only one in about 30,000 pre-teens (boys or girls) has true gender dysphoria without a known physiological contributing cause.  The rest is contagious hysteria. 

At the end, Matt prepares to move his family from Tennessee to Loudoun County VA (where he spoke in the school board meetings that I looked in on last summer), he asks his own wife the question.  She asks him to undo a stubborn bottle top.

Loudoun County schools, Ashburn VA, 2021-8

Some videos:

Tim Pool:

Tim Pool critique

Dr. Phil:

Dr. Phil debates Walsh

The kid who thinks “they are” a wolf (like a walrus).

any identity at all, even an animal?

In this video, Matt responds to a professor who seems to be one of his loudest critics. I wondered, why does Matt need the tattoo. Matt has made a great point in that some people (on the political extremes of both sides — that would include Trump on the right) go bonkers if they don’t get the affirmation of their beliefs and importance ratified or gratified immediately by others around them.

Bonus:  “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?” from the stage Frederick Loewe musical “My Fair Lady” (I saw the movie in 1965).

song from “My Fair Lady”, “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?”

One other thing.  Today, HRC shared a link on “neopronouns”.  Look at the angry reaction on Twitter.  Non-binary people (sometimes) want to be referred to only in the plural;  they don’t want so much attention focused on what seems to the public like an individual failure. They will say everyone has a “fundamental right” to choose the name and pronouns (even number) by which they want to be known. I’ve already mentioned
“Gender Queer” ‘s solution of e, em, eir, May 6.

(Posted: Thursday, June 9, 2022 at 8 PM EDT)

Books “Johnny the Walrus” and “Irreversible Damage” called “transphobic”; but what they seem to do is challenge intersectionality as an ideology to drive “critical gender theory”, barely touching conventional gay rights issues of the past

Unusual bracket fungus in Alexandria VA, on walk to Alexandria Pride Sat. June 4

I’ll do two book reviews here.  But first a general statement.  I do think a lot of the focus on some young people wanting to claim they are transgender or nonbinary comes from their perception that they are not “competitive” or attractive in their accepted birth sex.  They want the idea of the “merit” of being attractive according to the norms for your own sex to become less important to others. So they have a reason to rationalize an ideology encouraging some kind of transition — in many instances.

Recently, there were demonstrations at Amazon’s HQ in Seattle maintain that the sale of two particular books on their platform could lead to attacks on non-binary people.  Lauren Rosenblatt provides a story for the Seattle Times.   A Twitter thread from Katherine Long shows illustrations of the “die-in”.

One of the books is the cardboard stock children’s book by Matt Walsh (illustrations by K. Reece), “Johnny the Walrus“.  The publication data is DW Books (Daily Wire, admittedly a conservative channel), ISBN 978-1-956007-05-3.

Johnny the Walrus book video

  A little boy thinks he is a walrus and becomes one.  That attracts anger of others and he goes back to being human, “as he really is”, according to the (“conservative”) author. “Accept yourself as you really are” (a slogan for my first novel attempt, “The Proles“). As an aside: When I was stationed at Fort Eustis Va (all of 1969) when I was in the Army, one of the other guys in the barracks called himself “The Walrus”.  We gave animal names to people (“lizard”, “ostrich”, “ocelot” [it was desirable to be a cat], and I was “chickenman”, based on a Saturday morning cartoon at the time. “He’s everywhere”.  Well, on the Internet, maybe I am. And I have traveled a lot.  Quantum superposition, maybe?

Fort Eustis VA 2015; I worked in a wooden building here in 1969, USACDCTA

The other book is “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing our Daughters”, by Abigail Shrier.  The publication data is: paper, Regnery Publishing (a conservative publisher connected to the Washington Times), 2020, ISBN,, 978-1-68451-228-7, 274 pages, index and endnotes, text ends on p. 227; Foreword (which discusses protests against the book) and Introduction take 30 Roman numeral pages.  [By the way, I think books should start on p. 1 and use only regular numerals.), 11 chapters and an Epilogue.  

Irreversible Damage book video

The author’s premise is what the subtitle says.  She posits that since around 2013 or so, the increasing use of algorithms in social media has particularly affected what pre-teen girls see online, before puberty, making them very self-conscious of their standing socially (Likeonomics). This surprisingly destructive result from social media business models, developing since about 2013, has been pointed out by Johnathan Haidt (yesterday’s post).  A disproportionate percentage of these girls develop the idea that they want to become men, or at least nonbinary.  Maybe what they really want is a world in which looks don’t count.  That might have applied to me in the 50s, but I doubled down, turning to internal upward affiliation, along with a separation into my own sovereign world functioning as an “alien observer” reporting on everything without skin in the game.

She does cover many aspects of the problem.  In blue states or cities, some school boards go woke and reinforce these ideas with social transitioning, even allowing students to name their pronouns and new names without parents’ knowledge in some cases.  (This gets into SEL, discussed below; it’s unclear how widespread this is, whatever you make of the @LibsofTikTok Twitter account.) Some physicians go overboard with puberty blockers or other treatments; she will later claim that about 70% of the time the persons want to detransition back later, but physical damage can be severe (in a few cases, life threatening infections result).  She makes the point that puberty for most people is a necessary step, which actually improves brain performance in school (for both sexes).   She gives numerous case histories (with an afterword covering them today).  In a couple cases, young women went away to college and tried to transition, unbeknownst to their parents, who felt betrayed.  This runs parallel to my own expulsion as a freshman from William and Mary in 1961 for being gay.

rebuttal to Shrier’s book by a trans adult

Numerous times she mentions that “transitioning” girls are startled to see male body hair.  She doesn’t mention that this is much more significant with Caucasian (generally, “white”) people, and with people of color never has much chance to become noticed or significant.

Her book, by and large, does not discuss teenage boys, and does not mention the Intersex issue, which needs to be put in proper perspective. Well, she has a chapter “The Dissidents” where she discusses Ray Blanchard and J. Michael Bailey.  There is an allusion to the issue of whether some “sissy” boys are really non-binary or trans, but they typically grow up to be cisgendered gay men, because masculinity itself fascinate them. (I remember resisting the idea of a first shave at the age of 14 or so.)   

First, teenage boys particularly really benefit from puberty;  some problems like ADD go away with puberty.  But bringing up boys takes us back to a larger view of the various facets of transgenderism or non-binary-ism, and Intersex.

Intersex is generally a different issue from transgenderism or non-binary as commonly encountered. A video by Sci-Show linked here on a June 1, 2022 comment for the May 9. 2022 posting explains the myriad of chromosomal or known genetic configurations that cause genuine Intersexiam. (It is the “I” in GLBTQIA; “A” is asexual, or at least disinclination to have intercourse at all – it might move over into “incel” but that is another discussion).   About 1.7% of the general population is born with a biological configuration that could be called Intersex.  Often there are few or no indications; but the other side is that sometimes doctors have done unnecessary treatments (sometimes surgeries). 

A number of red states have proposed laws prohibiting medical treatment to change gender before 18, regardless of permission of the parents, but generally there states have made exceptions for known Intersex patients.  But one or two states have proposed laws mandating treatment for Intersex if medically possible to original sex, and most civil libertarians would say such laws are inappropriate (maybe unconstitutional). 

It seems, instead, that most of the “transgenderism” attracting controversy in practice is generated by fad behavior exacerbated by certain social media practices.  Shrier wants to keep smart phones from kids completely until they are perhaps 16.  (Problem, we see teens on YT who are incredibly mature at 14 or 15, the exceptions.)  About 1 in maybe 400 children (thru early grades) may truly be “trans” without an identifiable biological cause.  School systems do need policies (not abusive state laws) to handle theses situations, as well as to handle Intersex.  The aims of SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) programs may sound laudable, but they need very careful planning, with consideration of enlarging science.  It would be helpful if well-informed and news-familiar parents would run for school boards and get elected.

Shrier does have a simple solution for bullying:  Ban it, regardless of the victim.  I got called into the nurse’s office in ninth grade for spreading rumors about a boy who had epilepsy in class (in 1958). I mention this in my first book.  If that happened today I should have wound up in an alternative high school for a year. The 2010 case of teen violinist Tyler Clementi at Rutgers is truly tragic, however, and needs better explanations, and would make for a good documentary film investigation.

We’re also left to ponder the “drag queen story hour” events at some pride festivals this month.  I sat in on one in Alexandria, VA last Saturday and it seemed to stay in bounds. The parents brought the kids, and it was outside the school systems.   There was no tipping, but a little fist clenching (leftist) and a few kids hugged the drag queen.

My take on Alexandria ‘Drag Queen Story Hour’

Not so in Dallas (“Drag the Kids to Pride”), apparently. That’s two weeks after I had visited the Cedar Springs strip myself.

Dallas “Drag the Kids to Pride” protest

I’ll add, I see there is at least a parallelism to the arguments I used against “don’t ask don’t tell” two-plus decades ago, and the issue of what kids should be taught about gender and sexuality in schools or what parents may wisely expose them to.   Hints have been dropped to me, why didn’t enter the childrens and gay rights books business, to prove I could sell books?  Well, partly because I have no kids.  Abd partly because the issues are really much harder to settle.  Although gays in the military didn’t look easy at first, and it took 17 years.  I have gotten rebuffs for using the phrase “gay conservative” in a book title (like that is hate speech) or the idea of a chapter titled “The Virtue of Maleness” in book 3, as if to attack those who were less cis than others.  Yes, a lot of people go around looking for ways to say their tribe is victimized, and that somehow that gives them a new identity.

There is a shift in LQBTQ activism, from the issue of sexual attraction (the former issues of sodomy laws, DADT, and then gay marriage) to a kind of “critical gender theory” today which I find much more problematic.  The latter is more what drives the idea of anti-LQBTQ zones in eastern Europe and is partly what also generates the anti-LGBTQ ideas in Russia, which Putin himself has tried to exploit in the Ukraine wars — grave stuff.  There is, also, though, the issue of declining birth rates, and less family formation.

All of this is winding back to the problems of personal agency, which I will continue to explore.

(Posted on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 at 10:30 PM EDT by John W. Boushka)

“Double Life, Double Murder”: ABC 2020 episode looks at a possible wrongful conviction associated with homophobia

Cedar Springs area, Dallas 2022-5

On Friday, May 20, 2022, ABC 2020 presented a two hour mystery “Double Life Double Murder”. The viewing link (may require cable subscription) is this, and ABC main article is this. ABC affiliate WFAA has a detailed article. I actually watched it in a motel in Amarillo TX ( 8 PM Central) on a road trip.

Helium atom, Amarillo TX, NW of downtown off US 66, business 40

This is the case of a middle-aged couple, Dennis and Norma Woodruff, shot and stabbed late on a Sunday evening Oct. 16, 2005.  The couple had been downsizing by moving from a home in Heath, near Lake Ray Hubbard in the eastern suburbs of Dallas (which tend to be more conservative than the rest of the area – I lived in Dallas 1979-1988) to Royse City, farther into Collin and Hunt counties along I-30. 

Their 18 year old son Brandon apparently had dinner in their new place with them early Sunday evening and then says he was in a gay bar before returning to college at Abilene Christina University.  Other friends tried to call them and they did not answer. Their bodies were found on Tuesday.

There seems to be very little physical evidence.  Some time later a knife would be found with Dennis’s blood on it, maybe from a previous cut.

Nevertheless Brandon would become the main person of interest and then suspect, mainly from circumstantial evidence, although there seems to be serious questions whether the proposed timeline could have happened.

There is a paperback book by Phillip Crawford, “Railroaded: The Homophobic Prosecution of Brandon Woodruff for His Parents’ Murders”, Amazon Create Space, 2018, 161 pages, Site stripe link.

The Dallas Voice, article by David Taffett, reviews the episode with details of the case here. The Innocence Project is looking into this. Brandon’s grandmother supports his claims of innocence and has funded appeal attempts. The 2020 episode features a detailed interview of a near middle aged Brandon by ABC journalist John Quionenes where Brandon insists he did nothing. The episode included interviews with a female juror who insisted there was no homophobia in the deliberations although several jurors tended to see homosexuality per se as a (religious) sin.

I was just on a brief trip to Dallas and then several surrounding places (actually three other states). The Cedar Springs area close to downtown has rainbow paint on the main intersection (at Throckmorton St) and has some of the largest gay bars in the nation (Station4 disco [previously the Village Station] and Roundup, the latter a country-western place that is busy even on weeknights). Reasonably secure lot parking is available for $5 weekend nights. I did not have time to visit Royse City but it appears from Google Maps to be an upscale bedroom community like many in north Texas. Here is a Wikipedia picture of main street. Here is a picture of the Jacob’s Dream statue at Abilene Christian University.

The Crossroads plaque at Cedar Springs and Throckmorton 2022-5

I also did not have time to revisit Ranger, TX on I-20 (where the highway “climbs” on top of the Palo Pinto “Mountains”) which had serious fire damage last March (local Fox video). I did see grass fire damage on NM 406 (near the Oklahoma Panhandle Black Mesa) but there was no place to stop and film it. More details about the trip will be forthcoming.

(Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at 8 PM EDT)

Johnny Harris’s video on Assange leads to some tangential questions

Chelsea Manning protest in 2019

I’ve noticed recently that journalists and writers normally refer to fully “transitioned” transgender adults (mostly male to female) with the feminine (she, her, hers) pronouns when describing their lives before transition, as well as referring to them by their new names when referring to pre-transition life history.

US Courthouse, Alexandria VA, 2019/3

They also refer to the person with the new (or current) name when describing the past.

In past blog posts, I have sometimes referred before-transition incidents with the previous names and pronouns.  I now wonder of this would be considered misgendering or deadnaming, even when writing about past events.

This whole question leads me to present a couple other videos and incidents.

Let’s look at Johnny Harris’s video of May 10, 2022, “Why He Matters: The Danger of Ignoring Julian Assange”.  Harris starts out by describing Assange’s “escape” to the embassy of Ecuador in London and hiding out in that confinement for seven years, before he gets into the actual leaks that got him “into trouble”, especially regarding information stolen by Chelsea Manning about the Iraq war.  Well, in fact, one of these was a forty-minute video of an American accidental war crime that I even carried on one of my Blogger blogs since April 2010 (until I closed it down in Jan. 2022).  It is called “Collateral Murder” and cannot now be embedded (age restriction from YT). 

Harris always refers to Manning as Chelsea and doesn’t convey the fact that the soldier then was Bradley Manning, legally male at the time when the leaks from the Iraq war started.  According to Wikipedia, Manning announced she was transgender in 2013, and completed transition surgery, litigated when she was an inmate, in 2018.  Manning had considerable grass roots protester-type support for recognition of her transition as early as 2013, but the gay press did not cover her case very much because of political opposition to “Bush’s war”. 

This leads my discussion to recalling the legal battle over Manning’s imprisonment for refusal to appear to a grand jury later in 2019.  Ford Fischer covered a lot of this for News2Share when other media outlets pretty much ignored it.  The Wikipedia article covers it.  I have a couple videos I took myself of the demonstrations outside the federal courthouse in Alexandria, VA in the good old days of March 2019.  I plan to edit and combine these into more professional videos later this summer, as I plan with some of my other mini-video sets (like on “stop the steal”). 

Video 1

Video 2

I can digress here one more time on Harris’s video, noting one conspicuous blue tattoo on one inner forearm (shows up later in the video).  Why does he disfigure himself? (He never impressed me as someone who would “need” body art.)  I love the orange beanie cap (as if paying homage to Tim Pool, but Harris has is own video style that adds a lot of in-the “visually compelling”-field fact finding to his subject matter, more than Pool usually does in his volume of Timcasts.)   Max Reisinger may well be on the path to developing a Harris-style reporting presence as he finishes his gap year.

Toward the end, Harris notes that “journalists” as such are not a legally recognized category with legal privileges (although there are such things as press passes). Journalism carries with the expectation of objectivity and intellectual honesty, which is both a duty and a privilege. That gets dicey when someone (like me) does journalism for self-expression, but is not willing to bond with others in a supposed marginalized group for organized “activism”. More about that is to come.

I’ll wrap up this one by making note of the Netflix film “Untold: Caitlyn Jenner”, directed by Chrystal Moselle.  This is part of Netflix’s “Untold” streamed film documentary franchise.  It had been reviewed on the “Media Commentary” site that has been sunset.  Again, journalists usually refer the Caitlyn as “she” for the entire life, although sometimes they will say “previously known as”, as with Chelsea.  It’s interesting that she wants to run for governor as a Republican and has some pretty sensible ideas as to how to prevent the GOP’s converting itself into ordered (or actually chaotic) fascism. As I recall, Caitlyn refers to her earlier male life in the third person, as a real person in the past. Time, after all, is a dimension.

trailer for Untold: Caitlyn Jenner

(Posted: Sunday, May 15, 2022 at 1 PM EDT by John W. Boushka)

“Mother” (short film review); some notes about trans-affirming care

Selma, AL 2014-5

In my new blogging environment, some posts may cover more than one topic.

Today, I want to share a short film from 2013, posted by TwistedReverie, om Arabic, apparently filmed in Pakistan, titled “Mother”.  There are subtitles but the closing credits are in Arabic script only (not on imdb).  The video quality (as to resolution) could be better.  The story is that a young man leaves his mother at an outdoor place with a note to give to others, and in the end we learn he does not want to have to care for her.  It is certainly a comment on filial piety.

The other topic concerns the mess in red states over, not just the “don’t say gay” laws, but specifically the anti-trans issues. 

Alabama, for example, has passed and a federal court has let stand a very draconian law felonzing the medical treatment of kids under 18 for gender dysphoria (Reuters).  Some states seem to want to stop even “social transisitions” while school boards in blue or even purple states have encouraged it (with pronoun and bathroom rules). 

I’ll cite for discussion a discussion of puberty blockers from an obviously reputable place, the Cleveland Clinic.   There is a discussion of an unusual condition of premature puberty where they are medically appropriate regardless of psychology.  The article says also that they are never given until puberty starts.

I would add that we know that generally normally puberty encourages continuation of brain development.  For some boys, issues like dyslexia or ADD sometimes improve with puberty.

Generally, drug (or possibly surgical) interventions for minors are pretty rare to start with, so states should not be going out of their way to score political points by banning them against medical advice. However some advocates on the radical left do seem to glamorize openness to their use.

Here are a couple more videos to site.

In Dark Horse Podcast Clips, May 6, 2022. Bret and Heather (and the cat and dog) encourage temperance in bringing up these topics with children in school, whatever the laws.

On UK channel Triggernometry, therapist and university graduate student James Esses gets canceled for questioning left-wing dogma recklessly encouraging aggressive gender transition treatment for minors.

It does seem that some of the battle concerns moral perceptions or philosophical beliefs surrounding fidelity to sex observed (or “assigned”) at birth.  Conservatives seem to see full development according to birth sex (laying aside intersex) as morally virtuous, partly because men and women are supposed to share certain gender assigned risks for their society (men go to war to protect women and children  — look at Ukraine now – and women bear risks in childbearing – look at the abortion issue now.  People (myself included) do not feel “attracted” to non-binary people usually, and may want to protect their inner value for the attractions they do feel. Along these lines, Esses notes that the far Left does not want to see transgenderism or non-binary status spoken of as a medical or psychiatric issue or disability; they want it to become a new identity to be proud of. But if it requires medical intervention, as argued by Leonard Sax in “Why Gender Matters” (2006, Harmony), then the Left stumbles into a logical contradiction, just like mathematicians do in proof by contraposition.

(Posted: Monday, May 9, 2022 at 10 AM EDT by John W. Boushka)