GUEST POST BY CHANDLER EPP
I remember the first time someone called me “gay.”
I remember who said it. I remember how he said it. I remember the message he intended to convey.
For two fifth-graders playing at recess, this episode made no commentary on sexuality. Rather, this barb was as an allegation of masculinity—my apparent, ungodly deficit of it.
No casual observer would have mistaken my nerdy, lanky frame for the next coming of Arnold Schwarzenegger, mind you. The 11-year-old me was weak, unathletic, and generally disinterested in matters that captivated most boys my age. According to the well-established rules of playground parlance, this shortage of manly attributes amounted to a crime against my gender. I later came to learn (and much later, unlearn) that this deficiency also was considered a crime against God.
Popular political commentator David French most recently espoused the prevailing conservative viewpoint on this topic when bemoaning the state of modern men for National Review. Riffing on a new study claiming that millennial males are physically weaker, on average, than their fathers, French concludes that today’s young men are “losing touch with a critical element of true masculinity:” their “raw physical strength.”