Simplistic Sexuality and the Decline of Discourse

Discourse with Laptops

As a Mormon alumnus of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, two recent events happened to coincide on my Facebook wall, flooding my feed with passionate rhetoric about sexuality and gender normativity: 1. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) has been the target of much vitriol because of their policy change that explicitly declares members of same-sex marriages to be apostates. Journalists happily report on the thousands of Mormons who have resigned from the church in protest of this policy change. 2. Landon Patterson, the first transgender (from male to female) homecoming queen from a school in Kansas City, spoke at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is being heralded for these cliché, but culturally resonant words: “Be You. Life is too short, and you’ve just got to embrace who you are.”

Here’s my beef: Issues of sexuality and culturally normative practices are complex, but the rhetoric around them is simplistic. Simplistic and passionate. There is nothing wrong with passion or simplicity per se; the problem is that the rhetoric does not correspond with the complexity of the issue itself. Continue reading