Messages from a suburban Massachusetts friend to a group chat:
- Philip, you were right to move out of here
- I just got into my daughter’s phone to read what she and her friends are talking about
- Friend: Guess what happened to day. G told me that M is bisexual and went on a date with R. G also said that she thought I was bisexual and had a crush on me in 6th grade
- [Daughter]: No way. Not M. Can’t believe it.
- Friend: Why is everyone bisexual now? We are literally the only ones left. I want more straight friends.
- [Daughter]: Me too. Nothing against LGBTQ people, but they talk about being LGBTQ all the time.
Another participant pointed out that maybe the identification as LGBTQIA+ is helpful/necessary to get into elite colleges. He referenced Harvard Law School, at which 17 percent of students are LGBTQIA+:
(Exercise for readers: See if you can walk around the campus and identify the “47% students of color”!)
Approximately 20 percent of first-year students at Harvard and Yale identify as something other than heterosexual.
Unless fully 20 percent of high school students identify as “other than heterosexual,” being non-hetero is advantageous in being admitted to Harvard and Yale.
Back to the heroine of our story… The daughter in the above chat session attends a public high school in a prosperous, but not crazy rich, suburban Boston town.
[How about middle schoolers? A local 8th grader came home and said that she’d been assigned to interview a parent regarding their attitudes toward the rainbow religion. The father, despite being a passionate Trump-hater and reliable voter for Democrats, failed all five questions in the daughter’s estimation. She then reported his attitudes regarding the official government religion to a government employee. I noted that the government had previously used schoolchildren to rat out parents for using drugs (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drug_Abuse_Resistance_Education#Use_of_children_as_informants ). The 8th grade girl’s take-away? “I think they’re trying to convince us to become gay because they’re always talking about how great it is.”]
Readers: Is the prevalence of high school students identifying as LGBTQIA+ a regional variable, as this father supposes? Would a young scholar in a suburb of Tampa, Albuquerque, or Chicago be just as likely to identify as LGBTQIA+ as his/her/zir/their counterpart in the Boston suburbs?
- “Outbreak: On Transgender Teens and Psychic Epidemics” (Psychological Perspectives, 2017): … we appear to be experiencing a significant psychic epidemic that is manifesting as children and young people coming to believe that they are the opposite sex, and in some cases taking drastic measures to change their bodies. Of particular concern to the author is the number of teens and tweens suddenly coming out as transgender without a prior history of discomfort with their sex. “Rapid-onset gender dysphoria” is a new presentation of a condition that has not been well studied. Reports online indicate that a young person’s coming out as transgender is often preceded by increased social media use and/or having one or more peers also come out as transgender. These factors suggest that social contagion may be contributing to the significant rise in the number of young people seeking treatment for gender dysphoria.