So in the middle of the night, in the middle of my head, violent thought-collisions produce random idea-explosions. Some are good, some are bad, I suppose. I don't judge. That's what I got all you for. I’m just the messenger.
The one that seemed to live the longest in my mental orbit last night was this term “Biological Father.” I was dreaming of visiting The Son and his family this summer, and I dreamt about an interaction between us that had my son introducing me as his Bio-Dad.
We both share the fact of growing up in an extended family, but we part ways on how we describe our biological fathers (I hope!). Mine was a once-decent man who degenerated into a psychopathic alcoholic. I am a different kind of alcoholic, thank God.
I am not sure how my son will describe his biological father. My son has grown and matured into a steadfast man, dedicated husband, and AMAZING dad. Our relationship has also grown and matured, and he has become a teacher of important lessons. I have become an ardent student of those lessons.
So once all of those feel-good dreams ended, and morphed into the wake-your-ass-up nightmare of current events and modern times, the most-random thought-explosion occurred. I started wondering if that term was still acceptable.
The definition of 'biological father' is probably unanimously understood by literally everyone. Except that this is 2021. That's what kept my brain tossing and turning, trying desperately to flip the mental pillow to the cool side.
Of course, leave it to the Brits to have the most direct definition
the man whose semen fertilized the ovum from which a child was born
Collins English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers
Dictionary.com is much more boring, but covers more ground
a parent who has conceived (biological mother ) or sired (biological father ) rather than adopted a child and whose genes are therefore transmitted to the child.
I then jumped tracks to In Vitro Fertilization. Not sure about this space-train analogy-metaphor thing, but hey, let’s ride it out til it crashes. So then, my thoughts drift to choosing the sex of a baby.
And then I self-correct to say gender. Then I auto-over-correct and start reflecting on gender and sex, and how ethical is it to choose one for your biological child.
And then, the space-thought-train crashed. It was 4:21 am. Damn! I try to stay asleep until after 4:30 at least. That's when the coffee-maker goes on. Now I gotta wait or go turn it on myself. Crap! Another day starts this way. Great.
So being the intrepid documenter of collisions on the Identity Interstate (read my take here) and a mild-sufferer of rando-thought-expression, the natural off-ramp I chose was the ethical concerns of sex-selection during In Vitro Ferritization, as it relates to gender dysphoria in particular and heteronormativity in general. Yea, that's where the space-train crashed.
I may express rando-thoughts, but I like to read smart people who express actual non-rando-thoughts, like Arianne Shahvisi. This person is super-smart, and wrote Engendering Harm: A Critique of Sex Selection For “Family Balancing”. It is long, but pretty easy to read, and it does not come off as preachy or scoldy.
Again, I love thinking of original brilliant topics, and discovering a body of research that supports every fact as I see it. Too much? Just trying to fit in. Seriously, until my thought-collisions last night, or early this morning, I had no conscious knowledge of this topic. How rando is that?
But the term is fraught with varied meanings and expectations in the Now-Normal of word-recraft and belief-infusions. Because of hyper-awareness of gender dysphoria and trans-nation in general, the sheeple again are to be divided along Platform-created battle fronts.
If the terms biological male and biological female are Now-Judged and found guilty and banished from the lexicon, how is it that bio-dad and bio-mom are still tolerated?
According to Dr. Shahvisi,
Asserting, and thereby entrenching, biological determinism marginalizes trans-people, whose existence demonstrates that biological determinism is not a complete picture of how people experience their sex and gender identities. In addition, requesting a child of a particular sex/gender indicates an aversion to the child’s potential need to transition to another sex/gender. Selecting children for their sexed bodies or gender expression is antithetical to their potential need to transition away from that expression/body.
A procedure that is immensely popular and widely available, not to mention, extremely PROFITABLE, selecting the sex of an IVF baby, appears to be barreling down the Identity Interstate. Impact is inevitable. I searched, but can’t find any data on the demographics of the parents choosing this process.
Dr. Shahvisi adds
One might reasonably argue that a parent who decides to select the sex of their child would not necessarily be unsupportive in the event of that child’s need to transition. Yet it seems likely that a person whose attitude to sex and gender is such that they believe that selecting the desired sex will ensure a particular gender, so much so that they are prepared to actively ensure that they produce a child of that sex (at some personal inconvenience and/or cost), would be unlikely to also accept the view that not only do chromosomes not guarantee a particular gender, they also cannot guarantee a particular sex. Indeed, empirical studies show that holding normative beliefs about gender, gender roles, and the sex-gender binary (such as those held by parents who believe that sex reliably delivers gender traits) is a strong predictor of negative attitudes towards trans-people (Norton and Herek 2013; Riggs et al. 2012; Costa and Davies 2012). In other words, sex selection in order to acquire particular gendered traits demonstrates a misunderstanding of sex and gender that is likely to carry over to situations in which the sex and/or gender of a child does not “align” with societal norms. Again, this is not to claim that such parents are actively transphobic but rather that their decision is guided by a similar logic to that which undermines trans-people by reinforcing the sex-gender binary.
I also can’t help but wonder if same-sex couples choosing this option are guilty of wrong-think and are just not aware of it. And if progressive couples utilizing this medical procedure realize the dichotomy between supporting gender-fluidity and forcing a sex/gender on another human being.
I imagine there must be some conservative and libertarian folk who use this process, and all parents choosing this procedure reconcile with their God as they see fit. Screening embryos for genetic disease sounds good to me, and we chose that for our children.
Aborting because of Down’s or another condition is a whole ‘nother set of ethical dilemmas. Choosing eye and hair color sounds mild, but is opening the door to other choices and conditions.
Selecting a baby’s sex, and therefore, saddling that child with it’s parental gender expectations is perhaps the greatest burden a child could live with. Or barely survive with. But again, not my choice, and not my child. Maybe save for future therapy.
My fascination with the topic really is about the impending battle, and who will occupy the font lines. Bad-Orange is gone, and his people don’t much care about this topic, so it’s not the usual right-thinkers vs. the wrong-thinkers in this fight.
I see the firing line tightening in a circle even more, and the fringe-flanks firing forward into the backs of their former comrades with more gusto than ever.
Who’s the Wrong-Thinker now?
Thanks for reading. Consider sharing with a friend.