When the new normal is better than the old normal


Recently my daughter told me that her friend from high school, whom I also know and happens to be the daughter of a colleague, had got married and was pregnant. She is in a same-sex marriage. Another colleague of mine, also in a same-sex marriage, just had a baby too. What struck me was how ordinary this news seemed to me. Just a decade ago, same-sex couples getting married and giving birth to children would have been big news. Now I find myself responding pretty much the way I would to news of an opposite-sex marriage and pregnancy of people I know, happy for the couple, wishing them well, and then moving on to other things.

This is the new normal.

I was also struck by the fact that I now personally know, with varying degrees of closeness, five transgender people. This too seems quite ordinary though it would have been inconceivable to me even just a decade ago. The only sign of its novelty is that I occasionally stumble over their pronouns, using the old one that I had become accustomed to for so long and not the one that corresponds to their current gender expression. But that is my problem that I will eventually get over.

But as these once-revolutionary changes quickly slip into becoming mainstream, those who oppose them seem to be getting more hysterical in their attempts to hold back the tide. The Daily Show looks at their last-ditch attempts.

(This clip aired on March 16, 2015. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Nightly Show outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)

Comments

  1. says

    I have a friend who got married a few years ago. I check up on him periodically and he said that they were expecting. That was interesting news to me because I know he’d had a vasectomy. So I asked him, “how….” and he said something about a genius physicist and a turkey baster, and I said, “well, congratulations!” It’s not like it was shocking or a tremendously big deal, and I didn’t feel my gender identity or manhood in the least bit threatened. I don’t understand why some other people do feel so threatened: the easiest route involves a happy donor and some haploid cells. Ancient mythology is full of stories where maybe someone was having some trouble producing the right components of a fetus and someone else stepped into the breach, as it were, and then discretely got out of the scene. It’s almost … traditional.

  2. moarscienceplz says

    But as these once-revolutionary changes quickly slip into becoming mainstream, those who oppose them seem to be getting more hysterical in their attempts to hold back the tide.

    But of course. The whole raison d’etre for conservatives is to pick some point in the past, usually right around the time they started dating, declare that time as the apex of civilization and then scream and hop up and down and carry badly spelled protest signs the instant they detect any deviation from that pet timeline. They are like self-appointed Timecops.

  3. WhiteHatLurker says

    Now I find myself responding pretty much the way I would to news of an opposite-sex marriage and pregnancy of people I know

    Hoping that you’re not called on to baby sit the newly hatched offspring, or change poopy pants? I hear you.

  4. mordred says

    Maybe not as revolutionary as same sex marriage (which is still not possible where I live), but meeting two middle aged, rather normal blue collar looking man holding hands on the street some months ago was the moment I realized how normal the toppic has become in the last decades.

    Unlike the fundies and right wingers I quite enjoy living in a society that has overcome some of it’s prejudice.

  5. says

    “Now I find myself responding pretty much the way I would to news of an opposite-sex marriage and pregnancy of people I know, happy for the couple, wishing them well, and then moving on to other things.”

    ditto!

    Isn’t it loverly?

  6. anat says

    When I started working downtown I became aware of the many same-sex couples holding hands out in the street. Not that common a sight elsewhere, but then, not that many people out in the street elsewhere.

  7. lorn says

    One of the frequent psychological studies done on college freshmen, and repeated all over, is the one which people fill out a questionnaire about their social lives and moral judgments of other. The bottom line is always the same. The difference between judging someone to be staid/prudish, normal, or promiscuous is determined by the number of sexual partners the person has had. People with a similar number are normal; people with less, prudes; people with more, sluts.

    Liberals were more likely to allow more of a fudge factor. Conservatives, particularly evangelical Christians, a much smaller fudge factor.

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