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Pride Celebrations and the
Law Written on the Heart

Picture yourself as a young parent with three small children in tow. As you pass through the entrance gates of Disneyland, with your debit card recently shorn of more than $500, you charge off to what’s left of Frontierland in the hopes of seeing Daniel Boone. Your oldest little boy has a fascination with the character, born of an American history coloring book and repeat-loop exposure to the old Disney television series.

When you get to Frontierland, “Daniel Boone” is there alright, but “he” is clearly a “she.” Moreover, “Daniel” is a very buxom she wearing a short leather skirt and sporting serious cleavage. There are just enough Daniel Boone trappings (long rifle, coonskin cap, leather fringe) to put you on a kind of protected-identity warning alert: this is Daniel Boone. Got it? Double-dare you to disagree.

Your son looks bewildered, and disappointed. You are too. It feels like a cheat. There is no way to mask the grievance, but there’s no way of confronting it politely either, or explaining it to a child. Your little family wanders away, vaguely on guard against surprise twists in mythology and history.

Later in the day, your daughter—obsessed with Belle from Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”—wanders towards a shop featuring little girl versions of Disney princess gowns. A flamboyant fairy godmother borrows the winsome energy of the animated character, but the human being playing “mom” has a mustache. It’s clearly a man not even trying to appear something like a grandmother, and the grotesque counterfeit of the thing confuses your daughter. A ritual of girlhood—looking for the perfect dress, the sort of quest women pursue with sisterly, feminine celebration—has a big slab of pure dude dropped in the middle of it. 

There’s a mental stench about the thing, as though you and your child are obliged to celebrate false-female as though it were all just Breck Girl wholesomeness. This isn’t Corporal Clinger inviting you to laugh. It is a self-obsessed performance artist demanding you and your child internally broaden your sense of “female” so far that it ceases to mean anything at all.

A few years ago a friend took her daughter to a Taylor Swift concert. The twelve-year-old was mesmerized by Swift and the performer went out of her way to befriend the girl. However ridiculous Swift’s political convictions may be, she delivers Taylor Swift to her audience. She doesn’t dress rubbery-nosed Paul Giamatti up in a spangled dress and defy her fans to embrace “paunchy, balding middle age” as “young, lithe and radiant.” But in this age of fluid identity, medical students are being asked, essentially, to affirm even more absurd formulations: agree that a “man” can bear a child or be refused a medical education.

Overplaying Their Hand

Yesterday morning I was startled to watch our farm’s follower-count on Instagram go a little crazy. There were 800 new followers in five minutes, and over the course of 24 hours, our following has increased by 25 percent. A Christian influencer took note of a viral video that inspired one of my “counterfactuals” above, that of the fairy godmother with a mustache. The influencer in question encouraged her audience to frequent our place over Disneyland, and apparently it resonated.

When it comes to re-living mythologies or re-enacting history, it’s important to weigh the true depth of the absurdities we are being asked to applaud, and, likewise, to understand why our very compassion keeps us from playing the adult in the room. If you follow the comments in some of these discussions, you see a huge majority of people plainly disgusted with falsely realized identities. If most of the men who pine to be women could actually achieve such a transformation, we wouldn’t be having an argument. We would simply see them as women. The problem is: they can’t. Nobody wants to watch a football game over beer cans decorated with a skinny, breastless dude pretending to be a girl. It’s no more real than a female Daniel Boone or a fairy godmother with a mustache—and that’s the point. They don’t want “real.” They want you to stop caring about “real” altogether.

As much as a trans-woman may fantasize about a strapping young (real) man falling in love with “her,” no real man can stomach the idea of standing at the altar across from a hormone-infused, silicone-inflated dude trying to “feel” female. If you actually take in such a scene, you aren’t watching the union of a broad-minded heterosexual man and a woman. You are watching two people, each with very confused sexuality.

I suppose we could be libertarian enough to just walk on by, and we could be Christian enough to feel sorry for them, but that’s not what these folks are after. They want a very intimate spot at your child’s bedtime story hour. They want to be off the sin list at your pastor’s pulpit. They want a normalized spot in the cast of characters on your teenager’s public school reading list. They want the next major Disney film to feature golden-hearted cross dressers and mean-spirited men of religion. In short, they want the “social construct” dismantled so thoroughly that girls won’t be able to shop for gowns by themselves and boys won’t be able to sigh at the image of a surfer girl in a bikini.

You want a memory of a loving, reasonably normal, mother and father? Just who do you think you are?

Here’s the secret: they aren’t happy with themselves. They may even be disgusted with themselves, and they think big rounds of non-stop, broadly enforced “pride” will create a new consensus that will restore their sense of self-worth. But you don’t get around the “law written on the heart” that easily. Men who are attracted to brunettes don’t demand days of national pride because no one feels self-revulsion, or endures a shaming, when they “break” laws God never wrote. (“Thou shalt love red-heads and red-heads only.”) On the other hand, we all feel at least some remorse when we break moral law, but even people who commit adultery aren’t foolish enough to think an “adultery pride month” would make them feel better about themselves.

We may have reached a point—if Bud Light, Target, and Disney are any guide—where we have been asked to pretend for too long, where we have been asked to affirm absurdities too outrageous for our tolerance, and our children’s safety. It may even be a costly benefit associated with the COVID debacle. If you ask a nation, repeatedly, to pretend incompetent scientists actually know what they are talking about, you just might create a generation willing to say, “OK, let’s keep the women with beards out of women’s locker rooms.”

But if we don’t stop this false compassion and this outrageous indulgence, it’s only going to get worse. The absurdities will get too large for us to even contemplate. Imagine, on the history level, Steven Spielberg populating his “Saving Private Ryan” landing craft with thousands of raging queens. As the young army rangers hit the beach, they wear ruby red lipstick and hair done up in victory rolls. They are, moreover, full of trans-female power, impervious to bullets. They just march up the cliffs in their high heels and take those pillboxes.

But it’s not comedy. Call it a comedy at your peril. Who are you to question their self-worth, and their need to re-write the historical record? Pride Re-Write Month will be there to make them feel rooted, and established, in history itself.

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About James Patrick Riley

James Riley is the owner and operator of Riley's Farm in Oak Glen, California and the creator of "Courage, New Hampshire," a television drama seen on PBS stations across the country. The father of six children, Riley performs "Patrick Henry" and supervises a living history program visited by hundreds of thousands of school children. He holds a degree in history from Stanford University.

Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Notable Replies

  1. Here’s some glimmers of hope and some caution for the future I’ve noticed:

    1. In the past few years the armed services have gone all out for Gay Pride Month, putting rainbow filters on their logos, having LGBTXYZ themed parades and other events, etc. This year they’ve all been very restrained about this nonsense. I suspect all the backlash they’ve received has hit its mark.

    2. After pushback from Republican congressmen, DoD seems to be cutting drag queen events on military installations.

    3. Now the caution; leftists in and out of the military are having a hissie fit about it and ginning up lies such as claiming crossdressing has a long history in the military and that gays deserve a month of praise because they’ve single handedly defended the nation while being oppressed.

    We have some good news here but need to keep vigilant.

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