A Slice of the Humanity Rainbow

Although difficult to prove with an objective census or statistical report, the population of   Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) has dramatically increased in the last 30 years, which has been particularly noticeable in most recent years.

Gallup poll stated, “[A] 2017 update on LGBT identification underscores…the percentage of adults in the U.S. who identify as LGBT has been increasing and is now at its highest point across the six years of Gallup’s tracking of this measure.” A follow up Gallup poll of U.S. adults identifying as LGBT one year later reflected a one percent increase, reaching 5.6%.  Gallup added, “Younger generations [are] far more likely than older generations to consider themselves LGBT, [and] that growth [is expected to] continue.”

This peculiar trend, which has been on display throughout Western culture, made me simply question: Why?

Now, even though I acknowledge that there must exist a relatively small percentage of LGBT animals in nature—as identified through biological variances, opportunistic behavior, or genuine sexual orientation—it seems statistically unlikely however that the animal kingdom’s LGBT population (whatever it may be per species) would proportionately mirror the increase in the human LGBT self-identifying population of these last 30 years. This therefore suggests that the swell of LGBT members is not a result of nature, but rather a shift in culture.

Before you get bent out of shape, note that I proudly protected members of the LGBT community, among other targeted groups, when I worked hate crime investigations as a special agent for the FBI’s Civil Rights squad out of the Los Angeles Field Office. I am not homophobic, nor do I think any group should be a victimized by violence or the threat of violence for merely being a member of a particular group. However, I have frankly recognized patterns in our culture which more likely reflect a transformation in our social dynamics, rather than sudden natural changes in our human biology or our sexual orientations.

Parenting Void of Grit

Part of those shifting tides in our culture were an increase in permissive parenting, a parenting style which on the surface appears to be loving, yet fails to provide the necessary rules and guidance for fruitful child development. Products of permissive parents often struggle with self-regulation and self-control. In another growing yet polar opposite style, helicopter parent guardians hover over their children’s every move, preventing them from experiencing any level of adversity and thus depriving them from the lessons of normal child or adolescent struggles—from skinned knees to bruised egos. Like the permissive style of parenting, on the surface helicopter parents appear loving, but have been crushing their younglings’ ability to grow into self-sufficient adults.

It appears that both permissive and helicopter parenting styles have gained popularity in the last 30 years under the guise of progress, while traditional and authoritarian parenting styles have been criticized as being overly harsh. In my opinion, the consequences of these shifts in parenting styles has culminated into handicapping children from their ability to manage and overcome life’s natural obstacles, such as social rejection from peers, physical discomforts, or later challenges from work or from the difficulties of accomplishing meaningful goals.

Life experience is the greatest training for overcoming life’s hurdles. And childhood is the ideal time to acquire those lessons for the following reasons: 1) our neuroplasticity is at its most flexible and 2) the consequences of mistakes are the most benign. If an adult is incapable of assessing circumstances and making sound decisions relative to the context, they will be as helpless as a featherless baby bird desperately expecting a free meal to be shoved down their throats.

Dependence is an inherent part of childhood, but dependence is unnatural for adulthood. In fact, lingering dependency on one’s parents, society or their government is the antithesis of Western culture—particularly traditional American culture in the U.S. The unfortunate result of depriving children of the tools and experiences necessary to become autonomous adults is depression. Their inability to manage a mature life riddled with obstacles leads to a false lesson that they have no control over their lives—learned helplessness.

Depression is the natural outcome of learned helplessness. It is also the byproduct of a life without true meaning, the “existential vacuum” as phrased by psychoanalyst and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl. Both sources of depression—learned helplessness and an existence void of authentic meaning—inevitably then lead one to question their self-worth and identity!

Because children who have been deprived of the psychological, social and often physical  tools necessary to navigate life as productive and fulfilled adults, their path of least resistance becomes denying reality instead of accepting and coping with it, resenting truth in spite of its value-rich lessons, and gravitating toward the convenient yet counterproductive thought-disease of groupthink as opposed to critical and independent thought.

A Herd Marching Shoulder-To-Shoulder Over the Cliff

As discussed in Chapter 14-Groupthink is for Suckers (Usually) of my book, THE OPPOSITE IS TRUE, “groupthink” is defined as a psychologically dysfunctional, decision-impairment vulnerability where a group of people find comfort in the group’s consensus view, regardless of how irrational or harmful their stance might be. Psychological comfort is prioritized over reason, in spite of the consequences!

Humans are emotional animals, before we are rational ones. As explained in my book, emotion and logic are like oil and water—they may blend, but will never mix. Eventually the reality of their differing densities will naturally separate. I break this concept down in detail in Pillar III of my book; but for this blog entry, allow me to summarize. Logic is necessary to assess the facts of a particular situation or set of circumstances (context and continuum). But emotion is the energy behind every single decision that we ever make. The trap most of us fall into is making decisions fueled by our emotions, without first applying the necessary prerequisite of assessing the circumstances objectively and dispassionately.

To best illustrate this point visually, imagine a military tank. The powerful gun fastened to the turret on the top of the tank symbolizes the power behind human emotion. Emotions can blast threw nearly anything from great distances. So, it is absolutely vital that the turret—armed with emotion—is pointed in the right direction! Properly aiming the turret is the necessary assessment or reason prerequisite for making appropriate judgments and implementing our decisions soundly. Without proper assessment, our decisions can devastate society—beginning with our own selves.

Dr. Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter’s Counsel

Although taken from a fictional psychological thriller novel, The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris, which was later well adapted into a feature film, one of Harris’s characters is a shrewd yet psychopathic psychiatrist, Hannibal Lecter. He was imprisoned in an insane asylum when the far-fetched but entertaining scenario of a fledgling FBI agent trainee interviews Dr. Lecter in an effort to gain his insight into who the active serial killer Buffalo Bill might be, a predator who captured plus-sized women, loosened their skin by quickly starving them, and then skinned them to make himself a woman-suit of human flesh.

Buffalo Bill was fixated on the idea of change, which fed his obsession with importing and raising rare death’s-head hawkmoths in his dungeon-like home. Bill’s victims were found with chrysalis cocoons inserted deeply into their throats, as the killer’s homage to the beauty of change.

Dr. Lecter explained to the agent trainee, Clarice Starling, “Billy hates his own identity, you see. And he thinks that makes him a transsexual.” Lecter wisely advised she explore the three hospitals that performed sex change operations within the relative vicinity of where his victims’ bodies had been found. He anticipated that Buffalo Bill would have applied for sex reassignment surgery, but would have been rejected due to the fact that his psychological pathology was much more complex and vicious than a transgender diagnosis. In other words, despite Buffalo Bill’s state of self loathing and desperation for an identity change, the serial killer was not in reality a transgendered female (or as the movie stated, a “transsexual”), as he’d hoped. Lecter summarized, “Billy is not a real transsexual, but he thinks he is; he tries to be. He’s tried to be a lot of things I expect.”

Full Circle

When considering the dramatic increase in the self-identifying LGBT population in recent decades (despite its unlikelihood in nature), in conjunction with the increased application of misguided and ineffective permissive and helicopter parenting styles, which result in deficit, dependent and depressed adults, it is reasonable to postulate that the emotional, illogical and desperate cultural trends of recent years are indicative of a mass cultural depression within this population. I claim that those among this group who are mostly depressed and who desperately self-identify as LGBT are not in reality lesbian, gay, bisexual nor transgender. In fact, it’s an insult to the genuine LGBT population, because they are likely being used by these pseudo-adults attempting (unsuccessfully) to pillage their legitimate LGBT identities.

I slipped in “unsuccessfully” because while on the surface, they have gotten away with an illusion of a meaningful identity—one supported and celebrated by the comfortable belonging of groupthink—but the cognitive dissonance of their disingenuous selves psychologically eats away at them from within. Denial of reality is a powerful tool. Again, though groupthink offers the superficial temporary benefits of group support, groupthink’s truly pathological thought-impairment actually exacerbates this group’s mistaken LGBT self-diagnosis.

As Dr. Lecter might have said, “They hate their own identities, you see. And they think that makes them LGBT. However, they are not real LGBT, but they think they are. They try to be. But emotion and logic do not mix, you see—particularly for those desperate for meaning. This disingenuous group has tried to be a lot of things I expect.”

Until we have the courage to set our comfort aside and face difficult realities that might make us squirm, we will be unable to learn to manage the peeks and valleys of life. Humility is the only path to wisdom. Yet, accepting the wisdom offered by humility requires some degree of grit. When we are humbled by our mortal weaknesses, insecurities and traumas, we must embrace the logical lessons they gift us and utilize our emotional energy to persist toward a meaningful life of purposeful wisdom.

THE OPPOSITE IS TRUE explains how this is possible in a cumulative and layered behavioral blueprint. Once you understand bizarre and extreme behaviors, they become recognizable, predictable and manageable. Change is fantastic, but be strategic and deliberate about what you change into by assessing the context objectively. Your inner butterfly awaits.