On Tuesday, December 11, Clifford Rosky, Associate Professor of Law, was interviewed by KCPW’s CityViews program about his new article, “Fear of the Queer Child,” which examines the belief that exposure to homosexuality and gender variance makes children more likely to become homosexual or gender variant. On Tuesday evening, Rosky’s article will serve as the impetus for an Evening Ethics discussion at the University of Utah Medical School.
As Rosky explains:
The fear of the queer child is thousands of years old, but it has undergone a remarkable transformation in the last half-century, in response to the rise of the LGBT movement. For centuries, the fear had been articulated specifically in sexual terms, as a belief that children would be seduced into queerness by adults. Since the 1970s, it has been reformulated in the more palatable and plausible terms of indoctrination, role modeling, and public approval.
Since the earliest days of the LGBT movement, advocates have responded to this fear by insisting that it is factually false—that children’s sexual orientation and gender identity are fixed early in life and cannot be learned, taught, chosen, changed. Yet this response is defensive—even worse, it is apologetic. It entertains the troubling assumption that homosexuality and gender variance are immoral, harmful, or inferior—that there is something wrong with a child being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
Rosky proposes an alternative answer: Instead of claiming that homosexuality and gender variance are not contagious, he urges advocates to insist that the government does not have any legitimate interest in influencing children’s sexual or gender development. Simply put, the government may not try to encourage children to be straight or discourage them from being queer.
You can listen to Rosky’s interview here.
You can download Rosky’s article here.
You can see more information about the Evening Ethics panel here.