General Forum > Gay Youth Issues

Coming of Age in an Era of Assimilation


Rhetoric is fairly easy to adjust. Dogma on the other hand is a much different matter.

I agree with you.

But first--

One of the few books that changed the way I think about everything was Bionomics.

I'm sure it's frightfully dated by now, but thinking about businesses in an almost biological context struck me as eminently sensible. I still find myself drawing parallels to what I read there today. Of course, it's been decades, and it would be more accurate to say "what I think I remember reading."

On the surface, those communities seem to have an issue with immigration policy. Some places are quite concerned about limiting immigration. Others are, or have been, concerned about promoting it. The separatist communities may not be getting new members because they are too hidden from view.

Communities have to grow to survive. They don't necessarily have to grow larger. They can have daughter communities, satellites, colonies. In theory, if the foundation of such a community is both desirable and functional, it spreads and spreads until it exhausts either its desirability or its functionality.

McDonald's, Walmart, and Starbucks are business examples. Functionality isn't an issue here. Regardless of what someone might think of their business practices, they have clearly worked very well and show little sign of failing. All three, however, are showing signs of having exhausted potential locations for continued expansion. Only so many people can want cheeseburgers and coffee, and once everyone has these commodities, there's nowhere else to expand to.

A very likely source of weakness in the communities in that report is the apparent requirement for financial independence. Financially independent people have many options, and they may well choose not to participate in such a community. There may, however, be thousands of poor women who very much would like to join such a community, but cannot afford to do so.

That said, I don't have any personal knowledge of these thousands. I assume they must exist, but they may not exist. We do have a generation that has come of age not seeing a relevant distinction between themselves and the straight majority.

I have to admit that there may no longer be one. I don't believe that, but my marriage certificate suggests that it is the case. When I file my taxes this year, those will also support the claim, as will the (shocking) refund check. My employers are quite unconcerned about my orientation. They ask after my husband's well-being to the same extent and in the same way as they ask after the relatives of the straight employees. My landlord is downright solicitous. In my personal situation, very few things that I believed to be true when I was 21 are demonstrably true today. The youngsters may actually be right for a change, and I may believe things that are no longer true out of habit.

As to what should be done: abandon the old dogmas and rhetoric. Consider function instead. People have needs, and they seek to fill those needs. Some of what people chase after is what they think they want, and what they think they ought to want. People change their minds, and New Year's resolutions are disavowed, but actual needs remain. If a program, community, or movement serves actual needs, it will be desirable. If that desirable social structure is also functional, it will thrive.

Now, if I knew how to do either of those two things, I'd be substantially wealthier than I am.

I recently stumbled upon the following article on the present state of Lesbian separatism:

I believe the reported difficulties reflect a larger and mostly unrecognized problem facing the LGBT population. The problem is that we have a generation coming of age of which the majority do not see a distinction between themselves and their non LGBT peers. A generation born of assimilation if you will. I admit I am at a loss as to what should be done about it.


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