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Findlay McIntosh and his wife have lived in Davis since 1989. They have two daughters and five grandchildren. Findlay studied history at UC Davis. He has taught art in high school for 25 years. 

When did transgender become such a thing? Why now? And why if you question the science or morality of this movement are you accused of hating people and are responsible for the deaths of trans-people who can no longer live in a world where they are not embraced as completely normal. As a high school teacher, my heart goes out to the increasing number of kids who identify as trans and I say a prayer that they grow out of this phase quickly. It's hard enough navigating in this world but convincing yourself you were assigned the wrong genitalia seems to only add to your troubles.

With that said, history seems to teach us that there are some individuals who are born with a foot in each gender. It is exceedingly rare, but it does happen. Often these individuals were thought to have a special link between earth and heaven and served as a shaman, priests, or priestess. And it is worth repeating these individuals were exceedingly rare.

Today there is a rush to identity as trans as it gives you special recognition for riding the crest of a wave of progress. It also gives an opportunity for straight people to show how enlightened and open-minded they are. So why now has this movement become so popular now?

Here are some thoughts. Thankfully the last 100 years has seen a mind-boggling advancement of prosperity and comfort. We are living longer and enjoying better health than at any time in human history by a long shot. We have cars, air conditioning, central heating, vaccines, less backbreaking work, shorter work weeks, an abundance of food, indoor plumbing, electricity, and I could go on and on with how life has improved with every passing year.

All these comforts whether they are physical or metaphysical has taken us away from nature. Most of us don't have to grow our own food, build the homes we live in, or walk to where we need to go. The weather is something we experience from behind double-pained windows.

One needs only to walk through an old cemetery to understand death was a constant companion who took a shockingly high number of children. Death claimed people of all ages from accidents, illness, and unsafe water. Nature was something to be feared and if you were lucky you might eke out a living if a flood didn't wash all your hard work away.

Most of us now do not fear nature. In fact, many people feel sentimental about the natural world, especially city people. They love to travel to parks, have picnics, and take selfies with spectacular landscapes as a background. Some have high standards eating only organic foods, nothing with a face, grown locally, gluten free, with responsible eco-friendly farming. They can do this in the contemporary world, and it shows how much they love and care for mother earth.
Many others eat food that was processed, comes in a can or box, or a drive through restaurant. You do not have to grow your food, and you hardly need to cook it; just heat it up and enjoy. It seems reasonable that this amazing abundance has a cost: deforestation, mining and drilling, power lines, and insecticides. All this stuff must be harming our planet. And so, the environmental movement began.

When I was in high school in the 1970s; well-meaning teachers told us our future is compromised because if you follow the science the planet is clearly headed for a new ice age. We will run out of resources soon and the planet will be cruelly overpopulated.



Then something changed and if you followed the science this time the planet was clearly warming at an alarming rate. It was urgent that we change our ways, or we will be gasping for air in just a few years. Then there was another shift and the science clearly said climate change is what we must worry about. Climate change covered it all: cold winters, hot summers, lack of rain, too much rain, and any perceived abnormality of nature as observed by urban people living comfortably in their weatherproof homes.

And who better then school age children to evangelize about the environmental doomsday they will inherit. They could have been taught that conservation and stewardship of earth is our shared responsibility, but that is not as dramatic and inspiring as the catastrophe just around the corner.

Children hate that their existence on earth hurts animals, and their future doesn't exist. Nature is not the fierce unforgiving power their ancestors feared, but a delicate beautiful bouquet of dying flowers. And it's their fault.

If the responsibility for a doomed planet wasn't enough to deal with, enter the cyber world. Computers, the WWW, smart phones, and social media changed how kids play, socialize and gather information. Mostly kids stop being physical. They don't go to the park to play pickup games of baseball or climb on the jungle gyms.

They play exciting video games on their phones sometimes with total strangers who could be any age and living in cities hundreds of miles away. Too many kids don't have a clue to how fast they can run a mile or how many pushups they can do in a minute. The natural world is something they can define for themselves.

My first car was the most plain bare bones white two door sedan. It had vinyl bench seats, an AM radio, and a heater. It was so unremarkable that it was practically invisible.

However, this car was made in the mid-1960s and large powerful V-8 engines were standard. Along with its 327 cubic inch engine it had a standard four-barrel carburetor and dual exhaust. The car was a rocket. It was only after I drove my Belair did I realize what a gem I had purchased.

Too many kids today look at the mirror or photographs to find their identity; they don't like what they see and can often conclude nature made a mistake and misgendered them. Follow the science. They have not discovered what an amazing evolution of genetic engineering their bodies are, capable of feats of strength, endurance, balance and concentration.

Frankenstein, written by Mary Shelly, was a warning about scientific hubris. She wrote the story in the early 19th century warning that science has its limits. Back in her day there was an honest belief that science could "fix" any human problem, including death. Newly harnessed electricity could reanimate life and humans will finally conquer death.

It was a real thing back in the early 19th century. The optimism of many scientists led them to believe they controlled nature. The villain in Shelly's book was Dr. Frankenstein and the victim was the tormented creature he created. God protect the Trans-kids from Dr. Frankenstein.

~ Findlay McIntosh




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