I came across this article (please, please, read the whole thing) and it has put words to the ache I have felt in my heart as I watch in real life even clearly non-homosexual, non-"gender fluid" teens suddenly begin to question their sexuality and even find an opposite-sex alter ego.
From "How to Stop Sexualizing Everything", emphasis mine:
The more friendship is misunderstood and ignored, the more people will identify as homosexual and bisexual. The more we condition our perceptions in a sexual way and the more children are exposed to sex even before they develop meaningful friendships, the less likely they will be able to separate healthy nonsexual feelings from sexual ones. Sex will become the defining feature of all their feelings. Eros will have slain phileo.
The death of true same-sex friendship.
I could have never imagined it even a few years ago, but now American children are expected -- expected -- to question their sexuality and "gender identity". They are not to assume they are heterosexual or male/female according to their very biology. They are not to be bound by those "societal constructs" which are now seen as destructive and repressive, even abusive.
On the heels of the first article, I read a brilliant analysis by (my new favorite author) Anthony Esolen, who writes in "A Requiem for Friendship":
Language is not language if it is not communal; it is a neat trick of political abracadabra to argue for an individual’s right to change the very medium of our thought and our social intercourse. If clothing is optional on a beach, then that is a nude beach. It cannot be a nude beach for some and an ordinary beach for others; to wear clothes at that beach at the very least means something that it had not meant before. If you may paint your house phosphorescent orange and violet, and you persuade a couple of your neighbors to do likewise, you no longer have what anybody would call a historic neighborhood.
If all of Kate’s friends leap into bed with whatever male gives them a hearty dinner at Burger King and a round of miniature golf, and Kate chooses instead to kiss her date once on the cheek and leave him on the porch, she will suggest to everybody that she is a prude. She may be, or may not be; she may be more firmly in the grip of lust than they are, for all we know, and may just detest the boy. But her actions have connotations they did not use to have.
Imagine a world wherein the taboo has been broken and incest is loudly and defiantly celebrated. Your wife’s unmarried brother puts his hand on your daughter’s shoulder. That gesture, once innocent, must now mean something, or at least suggest something. If the uncle were wise and considerate, he would not make it in the first place. You see a father hugging his teenage daughter as she leaves the car to go to school. The possibility flits before your mind. The language has changed, and the individual can do nothing about it.
By now the reader must see the point. I might say that of all human actions there is nothing more powerfully public than what two consenting adults do with their bodies behind (we hope) closed doors. Open homosexuality, loudly and defiantly celebrated, changes the language for everyone. If a man throws his arm around another man’s waist, it is now a sign—whether he is on the political right or the left, whether he believes in biblical proscriptions of homosexuality or not.
If a man cradles the head of his weeping friend, the shadow of suspicion must cross your mind. If a teenage boy is found skinny-dipping with another boy—not five of them, but two—it is the first thing you will think, and you will think it despite the obvious fact that until swim trunks were invented this was exactly how two men or boys would go for a swim.
Because language is communal, the individual can choose to make a sign or not. He cannot determine what the sign is to mean, not to others, not to the one he signals, and not even to himself.You see what he's getting at, right? You see what we have lost? What boys and young men have lost, especially? Please take the time to read it all.
The loss of pure, un-sexualized, un-suspicious same-sex friendship is a catastrophe. How on earth do we get it back?