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Culture War Roundup for the week of April 24, 2023

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The state of Minnesota has passed a trans refuge bill.

Specifically, the bill would prohibit the enforcement of a court order for removal of a child or enforcement of another state’s law being applied in a pending child protection action in Minnesota when the law of another state allows the child to be removed from the parent or guardian for receiving medically necessary health care or mental health care that respects the gender-identity of the patient.

From my reading of this (not a lawyer, obvs): previously if a child ran away from home, and was found, the child would be returned to the child's parents. Now, however, if a child runs away from home, and claims a "transgender identity" the state will use its powers to keep the child from its parents.

This seems: absolutely pants-shittingly insane to me? Like I'm sortof reeling from disbelief at this and am still trying to figure out what I'm missing. This also seems to imply that if a child runs away to Minnesota, that the child will be kept in Minnesota away from his or her parents.

Can anybody help me understand this? This goes so far beyond anything that I had even considered in the realm of possibility that I'm sure I must be misunderstanding this.

As a related side note: I am reaching a point where reading things on this topic is becoming incredibly difficult. There seems to be so many seemingly double/triple/quadruple entendre words that its hard to follow.

I ask this earnestly and seriously: I’m about to have a son. What specific things should I do to protect him from what seems to me like an obviously predatory movement. I’m not really interested in hashing out whether this is predatory or how to fix it on a social level. I want to know what specific things I, as a soon to be parent, can do.

Be present in your child's life.

That's all you can do. Anyone who says differently is wrong. Be a role model. Be kind. Be loving. Be there for the t-ball games. Be there for the after school concert, drop him off for sports practice and pick him up when he's done. Ask him about his day and at least pretend to be interested in the 1000th time he tells you about making macaroni art. Don't tease him about his hobbies, even if they seem incredibly dumb to you.

Eventually he's going to get older, and when he does he's going to start to look and sound and talk like a real person. Like an adult. Don't be fooled. He's still a kid. He's still your son. I'm not saying don't let him learn and grow and change, because he will, but don't make the mistake of thinking that he's a buddy before he actually is. Don't tease him about the high school girlfriend (too much), not like you'd tease a buddy who was acting like a teenager about some girl, because he will actually be a teenager. He's going to make mistakes, he's going to fuck up, and he's going to make you see red because of how angry you'll be with him. When that happens, just remember, he is your son and you love him. Everything else is crap.

You can be an authoritarian, you can rule his life with an iron fist. Monitor his internet usage, screen his friends, screen his teachers, whatever. It won't work. I grew up in what the Brits would call a "posh" neighborhood. I knew plenty of kids, good kids, who turned into raging shitheads because their parents tried to rule them. Did they all turn into trannies? No. But they didn't turn into good people either. Your job isn't to make sure your kid turns out cisgender, your job is to make sure your kid turns out to be a good person. Does that mean keeping him safe from this gender crap? Yeah. But you do that by making sure you are there for him. That's it. Just love him. Teach him your values by living them, not by talking about them.

Oh and apparently kids are more likely to laugh off a scraped knee if you don't make a big fuss over it. Worth a try.

For now though, relax. Your kid isn't even born yet. He won't be speaking until he's around a year, a year and a half old. He won't even be going to kindergarten until he's at least four. You have literal years before your kid is even going to be exposed to anyone outside you, mom, and his little play group (there will be a play group). Deep breath. Relax. In four years this may all just be a bad memory. If it's not, well, that's tomorrow's problem.

Oh and apparently kids are more likely to laugh off a scraped knee if you don't make a big fuss over it. Worth a try.

In my experience this does work, but only if done as a combination of emotional support and distraction. First take the child in to console them, then immediately transition to directing their attention to something interesting. I.e., don't tell them to suck it up, don't teach them that you don't care about their pain, but do show them that daddy cares and that there are better things to do than dwell on pain.

Which is also a good way to handle pain in one's own life, emotional or physical. "It sucks, but..." is a powerful schema.

Pain is: a prompt for corrective action, a learning opportunity, or pointless and should be moved on from... Pain is never: an excuse to inflict misery on others, a way to increase your status, an indication of your worth as a human being...

A kid who learns this would in my opinon be well equipped to deal with life.

Pretty much. I recently had a revelation when I realised that the most important part of "conscientiousness", which has all this data linking it to success, is just frustration tolerance - whether pain, disappointment, rejection, or whatever irks someone. Achieving notable things generally requires tolerating a lot of "frustration", in the sense of things you are frustrated about. Of course, that doesn't mean that frustration itself is what is useful: it's frustration in pursuit of a goal.