The Politics of 'Normal'

Every society is influenced by its culture, just as every society defines what is 'normal' and 'acceptable' in order for it to function optimally and be responsive to the needs of the majority of its citizens.

That said, every society sets limits on what it will tolerate from its citizens, and endeavors to make laws that protect its majority.

That goes for social mores as well. In the more democratic countries such as ours, laws are written to protect the minority from the potential abuses or overreach of the majority. Here I'm speaking of the abridgment of an individual's right to personal expression. However sacrosanct they may be, these rights of personal expression do not extend to infringing on the rights of others.

In a healthy society, room is left for such expression, but certain minimum standards of acceptable behavior are expected for when individuals leave the privacy of their homes and enter society at large. This has been the 'unwritten law' that has been reflective of our Judeo-Christian culture for centuries. Though it has occasionally been imposed by governments, many wrongs are now being righted.

Each society codifies what is legal and socially acceptable (or normal) behavior and then expects all its citizens to observe those definitions and live within the established boundaries.

No society is immune from change, however. Change is one of the constants we must all deal with. Today, our culture is being challenged with respect to what we view as 'acceptable' morality. Indeed, these challenges have been building for some time as America has been in the thick of cultural change. It has moved steadily away from a traditional majority-centric society towards a minority-weighted one. This is particularly confusing and indeed unacceptable to many people, especially those of us in the older generations who grew up with a set of traditional values with long-established, long-recognized norms.

It is especially true when it comes to how our society views male/female roles.

Today, we are experiencing a broad-based attack on those roles by a minority that believes that even the most basic sexual identification of male and female is outdated and unusable in modern society. To add to that, they believe that there should be a multiplicity of 'gender choices' - expressions of personal sexual preferences that supersede their actual biological sex. One of those gender choices manifests itself in what is commonly known as 'cross-dressing' where (usually) men who see themselves as leaning heavily female choose to dress themselves in women's clothing and attempt to 'pass' for women.

Apart from those who earnestly feel more female than male, there is another group that has taken cross-dressing and made it an 'art form.'

Those choosing to partake in this art form usually adorn themselves in garish, outlandish garb that is particularly suited for the stage rather than the street. In times past, these performers were known as 'female impersonators' but are now known as 'Drag Queens.' While their sexual preferences were generally thought to be homosexual, some may have been heterosexual or bi-sexual and simply enjoyed crossing over to the 'other side' of the sexual aisle.

Female impersonators are nothing new. Men have been dressing up like women for millennia, but they were usually relegated to the entertainment field in 'polite society' in the Western world.

However, in recent years, Drag Queens have joined with the homosexual and trans-sexual communities to form a united front against what they view as the imposition of heterosexual hegemony on society. They are now regulars in so-called 'gay pride' parades and 'rainbow' gatherings. They have also joined forces with woke teachers and sexual/gender activists to upend the status quo by attempting to re-educate our children to embrace certain sexual choices that were previously labeled perverse or unacceptable.

One of their activities is the introduction of so-called Drag Queen performances in primary schools and the reading of stories that portray homosexuals and trans-sexuals as part of America's majority. Drag Queens believe that by inserting themselves into our kindergartens and primary schools, they can legitimize their status as 'normal' representatives of a distinctly abnormal cultural slice of America.

This has prompted a massive pushback from many parents who do not want their children exposed to any form of sexual education or gender 'grooming' in the schools.

Sexual activism is on the rise. American culture is undergoing a seismic shift when it comes to human sexuality. Homosexuality is well on its way to becoming 'gentrified' and homosexuals' rights are now codified into law. Homosexual marriage is now legal and discriminatory hiring practices against homosexuals are subject to stiff penalties. Homosexuals may now adopt children and homosexual couples with children may now take parental leave after the birth of their children.

And while our laws have reflected the changes in our society relative to homosexuality, many in our society still regard homosexuality as an aberration - something fringe and out of the ordinary, certainly not mainstream.

In a free society, it is the right of the individual to think of others in any way they choose. It is not their right, however, to act, contrary to our laws, against them for their differences.

Yet, the homosexual, transsexual and Drag Queen elements of our society maintain that they must be accepted as being equally normal to the majority and insist that they have the right to indoctrinate our children to that effect.

This is where it gets dicey and the argument gets complicated, especially in the schools. Since each school district makes its own laws, adopts its own regulations, its own code of conduct, and chooses its own curricula, it is here the battle for the culture must be fought - not in Congress. If parents want their children taught that homosexuality is normal and that Drag Queens are acceptable surrogates for themselves, then all they need to do is stand back and let the sexual activists and the woke teachers have their way. They must be aware, however, that this is the slipperiest of slopes.

It will eventually force a wedge between parents and their children leaving the woke teachers as the winners, free to build on their wins with the introduction of CRT and other destructive theories.

Perversion has always been in the eye of the beholder as the creation of culture has always been in the hands of the people. America must make some tough decisions about which direction its culture will take and about what it sees as normal or acceptable. It most definitely should not leave those decisions in the hands of any group that would force us to reject our long-standing Judeo-Christian values in order to 'fit in.'


Stephan Helgesen is a retired career U.S. diplomat who lived and worked in 30 countries for 25 years during the Reagan, G.H.W. Bush, Clinton, and G.W. Bush Administrations. He is the author of twelve books, six of which are on American politics and has written over 1,300 articles on politics, economics and social trends. He operates a political news story aggregator website: He can be reached at:

Image: Screen shot from PBS News Hour video, via shareable YouTube

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