Monday, May 16, 2022

Are we destined for multiple loves? Millennials think we are

As a person who has been married four times, it is possible that I might have something useful to say about this. The crazy thing is that I actually have some talent for monogamy. In all four of my marriages I did not stray. But before and in between marriages I had a lot of significant, enjoyable but uncommitted relationships. After 40, however I became more interested in committment and subsequently had a long term marriage and a long term relationship

So a possible lesson from that is that monogamy is for later life. And that may be because we don't know what we want until we have sampled a variety of possibilities. That is bad advice for people in early life, however, as it is not conducive to marriage and chidren

But there is no doubt that a variety of experiences is desirable. I would not for all the world have missed the many wonderful ladies I have been involved with. They were all different and all good women.

Something that I am grateful for, however, is that none of my partings have been acrimonious. I still in fact have two "exes" very much in my life as friends -- rather to the disgruntlement of my present girlfriend.

And thereby lies what I think is the second lesson that I think I have to offer: I never lie to women. The most upsetting thing in breakups is not usually the breakup itself but rather the feeling of betrayal that comes from a trusted partner having a secret affair. Being lied to by a trusted partner is about as upsetting as it gets. I have passed up possible affairs rather than do that. It is amazing what a woman will put up with from her man but being lied to is the big exception

So I do regard having many partners over a lifetime as greatly desirable but how you go about arranging that has to be an individual matter. Fortunately, anything goes these days

“Is it possible we could develop an alternative model of loving each other?” This is the question posed by the character Bobbi in Sally Rooney’s debut novel Conversations with Friends, and is a core tenet of the story. Spoken by a 21-year-old, are these words merely youthful idealism?

Conversations with Friends follows university students Bobbi and Frances, whose lives become entangled with those of a wealthy couple in their 30s, Melissa and Nick. Similar to Rooney’s Normal People, it’s set in Dublin but rather than an intense love story, Conversations with Friends depicts monogamy (and the prospect of marriage) as rather bleak. Melissa and Nick sleep in separate beds and have both had affairs. The affair Nick has with Frances, the core plot line, seems to reinvigorate their marriage and they return to monogamous life. The farce is that the success of their “monogamous” relationship hinges precisely on the relationships that exist outside of it.

Now, the novel has been adapted for television as a limited series on Amazon Prime, starring Alison Oliver, Sasha Lane, Jemima Kirke, and Joe Alwyn.

In an interview with The Telegraph London, Kirke spoke of the cognitive shift the role required her to make. “It’s remarkable that someone of that age [Rooney] has so much discipline and focus, but as I was finally reading the book, I was thinking, ‘This is marriage written from the perspective of a 22-year-old.’ I don’t think that’s good or bad. Her writing is beautiful but there were moments when I struggled to make something work.”

Kirke, 38, is no stranger to married life and its potential to fail after splitting with her husband of eight years in 2017. And while she’s not opposed to marriage, she does take a more carefree approach to it. “The perspective of marriage as something super-permanent and spiritual is really antiquated.”

Jennifer Pinkerton spoke to more than 100 Australians aged under 40 for her book Heartland: What is the future of modern love? She says that the decline in people getting married is not a phenomenon that’s just relegated to Millennials and Gen Z. “Globally, marriage has been a downward travelling trend for 50 years now. When we speak about fewer people getting married, it’s not just the younger generations.” (The only exception to this, she notes, is gay marriage).

Certainly, however, this downward trend has accelerated in the past decade. In 2020, 78,989 marriages were registered in Australia, a 30.6 per cent decrease from 2019, and the largest annual drop ever reported by the ABS since 1961. Obviously COVID-19 has played a role but there are other key trends too. Pinkerton suggests that a high divorce rate means young people, seeing their parents getting divorced, have grown disillusioned with marriage. Global instability is another big one. “Climate change and war mean that the future is less certain,” says Georgia Grace, a Sydney-based sex and relationship therapist. She adds that the sex positive movement means that acceptance for different relationship models is changing.

Nina Lee, 32, is part of this declining group. A Sydney-based hairdresser and owner of Extra Silky, she married her long-term partner Aedan Lee during lockdown last year. While the couple isn’t religious and didn’t face familial pressure, marrying was just something they both knew would happen. “It felt like a natural progression”, she says, adding that it was about “solidifying our love.”

Alice, 22 (who is using a pseudonym for privacy reasons) lives in Sydney, and has been in a monogamous relationship for three-and-a-half years. Both are bisexual, and her partner identifies as non-binary. “Love is a choice to be together”, she says. “I can’t imagine anything less romantic than having a legal document officiate my relationship.”

For Millennials, there can be certain dealbreakers in finding love. Harriet, 34 (Sydney), has never wanted children. “Even when I was a little girl, I never played house with dolls – if anything I would play ‘dog mummy and daddy’.” Harriet’s last serious relationship ended after seven years. In her early 20s, the question of kids wasn’t such a concern. Now, it can make dating a little more complicated. “I make sure to talk kids and politics on the first or second date.”

Are rigid constraints of marriage a thing of the past? “Younger generations are now more likely to crave fulfillment, connection and flexibility rather than permanence in relationships,” says Pinkerton.

Polyamory, then, is a natural result of this shift in values. Georgia Grace says that she is increasingly working with people interested in exploring this. While popular perception of polyamory is that it’s just about promiscuity, there’s no singular model for what it can look like. “I work with couples to create a relationship structure that works for them,” she says. “Non-violent communication, consent and having a network of supportive, sex positive friends and family are at its core.”

In Melbourne, Emil, 29, is a counsellor for people with HIV and a sex worker. They document encounters with clients and lovers on Instagram, posting polaroids of men alongside captions about the intimacy of the meeting.

The overwhelming majority of clients are straight men. Their reasons for visiting are myriad – for many, it’s a means to be a version of themselves outside of monogamous, heterosexual love, for others it’s a way of indulging a fetish or sheer curiosity. One quote accompanies an Instagram story picturing a man’s chest: “I hope you understand how hard this is for me. I always have my religion at the back of my head.”

Emil wants to change the way society views hook-up culture. “Most people see such encounters as disposable or transactional, but they can be deeply intimate and emotional too,” they say. “We have these very crystallised ideas of polyamory but really it just means you can love more than one person.”


Bittersweet Victory for Doctor After Practice Unlawfully Suspended for Refusing Vaccine

After six months of suspension, Rhode Island, in its munificence, has permitted the “defiant” maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Stephen Skoly to reopen his medical practice. Of course, in the mind of the state, the suspension was always Skoly’s own fault. If only he had submitted.

When the vaccine mandate for health care workers was promulgated to be effective Oct. 1, 2021, Skoly had the temerity to consult his personal physician and study the medical literature. He was a survivor of Bell’s palsy facial paralysis, and the medical advice, consistent with medical literature, was to not risk vaccination. Bell’s palsy paralysis is dormant in your body, and vaccination may incite a reoccurrence.

Rhode Island’s vaccine mandate for health care workers allowed an exemption for certain medical conditions (though not recognizing Bell’s palsy). To protect patients from infection, Rhode Island permitted the unvaccinated exempt worker to work with patients so long as the unvaccinated exempt worker was N95-masked.

For Skoly, N95 masking was a breeze. He is a dental surgeon. Around patients, he is always N95-masked, and wears a surgical shield, gloves, a gown, and engages in other safety precautions far in excess of the mere N95 masking required for vaccine exempted health care workers.

There was more. Skoly has natural immunity. Having continued to serve the community throughout the epidemic, Skoly had contracted COVID-19, most probably while serving a patient at the state’s psychiatric hospital or prison (where, in addition to his private practice, he worked as a dental surgeon).

Certainly, Skoly thought, between his safety precautions and natural immunity, the state would permit him to practice without vaccination. The state was rational after all, wasn’t it? Prior to the Oct. 1, 2021, effective date of the vaccine mandate, Skoly explained to a reporter why, for medical reasons, he could not be vaccinated.

Immediately, the press branded him as “defiant,” and the Rhode Island Department of Health suspended him from practice. As it exempted over 300 other health care workers from vaccination, so long as they were N95-masked, the state continued to refuse to treat Skoly the same—to allow him to practice his livelihood while N95-masked.

Many suffered. Skoly tried to keep his staff but could not: He was forced to lay off 10 workers—parents with children and mortgages. What happened to his hundreds of private patients, many in mid-treatment? He tried to refer them to other dentists, but the waiting lists were monthslong. His patients at the psychiatric hospital? Rhode Island tried to hire a replacement but could not. There is a shortage of maxillofacial surgeons in Rhode Island.

But the prison system did find a workaround the Rhode Island dental surgeon shortage: At a cost of tens of thousands of dollars, the prison flew in weekly a surgeon from out-of-state to replace Skoly.

Unemployable, Skoly himself applied for unemployment benefits. Benefits were denied. He had made himself unemployable as a doctor by not being vaccinated, he was told. And he was also told he could always apply for a job at Walmart.

But he did get an answer as to why the state could not just treat him like an exempt medical worker and let him keep working so long as he was N95-masked. He had opened his “big mouth” and gone to the press, making his suspension a political, not a medical, issue. The state does not tolerate any questioning of its vaccine conduct. The only option offered by the state was submission—be vaccinated or have your livelihood destroyed.

Skoly sued, as is still one’s right in Rhode Island. A hearing was scheduled for mid-March 2022. He retained two of the nation’s most experienced COVID-19 doctors and researchers to testify to the irrationality of Rhode Island’s COVID-19 policy, particularly its refusal to recognize natural immunity as being more durable and effective than vaccine immunity.

Three days before the hearing, Rhode Island altered its policy. The new COVID-19 safety rule required health care workers to be vaccinated or N95-masked in the presence of patients. The court hearing was adjourned as unnecessary.

Rhode Island stated, in writing, that it would be irrational to treat the vaccinated and N95-masked workers differently—just as Skoly had been arguing since October 2022.

On March 11, 2022, the state permitted Skoly to put up his “open for business” sign.

It has not been easy. Skoly’s staff had scattered. It has been difficult to locate new hires. But the process has begun, and patients, denied treatment for months, have returned. And new patients have come, many saying that they want to be treated by the man who said “no” to the state.

The process is not over. Rhode Island continues to refuse to recognize the effectiveness of natural immunity. With COVID-19 variants, there will be new “emergency” rules and mandates. No Rhode Islander is safe from a new vaccine rule that arbitrarily throws someone out of work. Skoly has been there and has survived. It is not likely that he would survive another arbitrary suspension.

But, for now, he has “won.” He is working. He is free to take his physician’s medical advice about his personal medical treatment. He is free to speak his mind about public issues such as the vaccine mandate.

The victory is partial and bittersweet. How many Rhode Islanders—police officers, firefighters, teachers, office workers—have been forced from employment because they would not vaccinate? For Skoly, a battle has been won. The cost was high. The war conti


Anguished parents of trans kids fight back against ‘gender cult’ trying to silence them

When Denise Canaan’s 17-year-old daughter Chiara came out as a trans man in 2014, she thought it was “cool” at first.

Even though Chiara made her announcement after watching trans-oriented YouTube videos and social media for just a few weeks, Denise said she wasn’t worried.

“The trans thing sounded like it was going to be the next big civil rights issue and I thought, great!” said Denise, who lives in North Carolina. “I didn’t know much about it.”

But when Chiara immediately began talking about undergoing a medical transition, which can involve puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgery, Denise got nervous. Chiara wanted a mastectomy, or what is called “top surgery.”

“I knew something wasn’t right because this came out of nowhere,” Denise said. “I didn’t care what kind of clothes or hairstyle my kid wanted to wear. I supported all that. The medical intervention is the real issue. I scoured the Internet for help but there was nothing out there. I was screaming into the void. But there were no groups out there to help.”

So she started one, called 4th Wave Now, which was the first to question the more extreme aspects of gender ideology and “trans kids,” a population that started to explode in 2015, accelerated by trans-friendly content on social media.

Since then, a number of activist and parent support groups have sprung up, including GenSpect, Partners for Ethical Care, Our Duty, Transgender Trend and Parents With Inconvenient Truths About Trans or PITT.

Parents of Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria Kids launched in 2017 with just two mothers. Now they have more than 2,000 members and are growing rapidly with chapters in most states and some in Europe and Asia.

“I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy,” an activist mom who uses the pseudonym Charlie Jacobs told The Post. “We face teachers going behind our backs, radical trans activists trying to doxx us, we face gender clinics pumping our kids full of hormones and we face our college-age daughters coming home for Christmas with no breasts. I’m a liberal. I believed it all at first. But this is the emperor’s new clothes, designed to hurt children.”

In the past, some experts say, transgender people were a rarity and doctors advised months if not years of counseling prior to taking hormones or undergoing surgery to change gender.

It wasn’t until 2007 when Dr. Norman Spack, a pediatric endocrinologist, opened the country’s first pediatric gender clinic in Boston. There are now an estimated 60 to 300 gender clinics that provide hormonal intervention to minors.

According to activists, kids in some states can get blockers and hormones just by walking into a Planned Parenthood office or a gender clinic within an hour.

“The colleges are handing it out like candy,” said Josie, head of Parents with Inconvenient Truths about Trans website and the mother of an 18-year-old son who came home from school one day and said he wanted to transition. “You go to the college health center and say you’re trans and you get the hormones with hardly any questions asked. Some colleges you can get the surgery free.”

The majority of parents who spoke to The Post described themselves as Democrats. They said they are not anti-trans but oppose extreme gender ideology and what is called the “medicalization” of trans youth. They rail against what they say is the emotional blackmail peddled by trans activists.

“They all say you must affirm your trans child because anything else leads to suicide,” said Maria Keffler, a mother, author and head of Advocates Protecting Children. “That’s not true and they don’t have the data to back that up. We offer a counter-narrative for parents to navigate out of what we believe is a cult, a gender cult.”

The rise in parent opposition groups coincides with the Biden Administration’s increasing advocacy of all things trans.

On March 31, the Dept. of Health and Human Services, where Admiral Rachel L. Levine, a transgender woman, is Assistant Secretary, released a manifesto encouraging early “gender-affirming” surgeries for young people as well as puberty blockers and hormones.

The Department of Justice also sent a strongly worded letter to all state attorneys general “reminding” them that anyone who does not allow “gender-affirming care” for trans youths could be violating their constitutional civil rights.

Many of the parents involved in the support groups asked to be anonymous, saying that if they question any aspect of the trans kids movement they are immediately labeled transphobic, bigoted and guilty of hate speech.

“I have nothing against the whole trans thing except for the fact that my kid isn’t transgender,” said Gigi, a California mother in her 50s whose child wanted to become trans and who works with the UK anti-gender ideology organization, Our Duty.

“Most of these kids fit a pattern — they may be depressed, have anxiety, be on the spectrum or have same-sex attraction. But they get celebrated for coming out. People applaud, the teachers call you the name you want. You become bulletproof, it gives you status. Meanwhile the parents have to worry about Child Protective Services (CPS) coming to their door if they don’t go along with it.”


BLM has left Black Americans worse off since the movement began, experts say

The Black Lives Matter movement started a massive wave of Americans uniting to call for defunding the police and eradicating white supremacy to make positive changes for Black Americans. But experts reflecting on the movement’s scorecard in 2022 say Black America hasn’t benefited.

"I would argue that, on balance, these communities are worse off because by [BLM] overemphasizing the role of police, they've changed police behavior for the worse," the Manhattan Institute’s Jason Riley told Fox News Digital in a phone interview. "In other words, police do become more cautious. They're less likely to get out of their cars and engage with people in the community. And to the extent that police are less proactive, the criminals have the run of the place."

Riley noted that "police brutality still exists, bad cops exist," and he has no "problem with raising awareness about police misconduct." But he argued that BLM is "over-focused" on police and does not take into account that "97, 98% [of Black homicides] do not involve police at all."

Dr. Carol Swain, a retired professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt University, told Fox News Digital that "an intelligent observer would be hard-pressed to identify any area in American society where BLM’s activism has benefited the Black community."

"What BLM has done is pervert the criminal justice system by engaging in activities that have resulted in a growing trend of trials by media," Swain said. "BLM has intimidated juries and judges. Its leaders have no interest in due process or the presumption of innocence."

Black Lives Matter began with the social media hashtag #BlackLivesMatter and was officially founded in 2013 after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the fatal shooting case of 17-year-old ​​Trayvon Martin. Chants of "Black Lives Matter" later rang out at protests following the police-involved killing of Michael Brown in Missouri in 2014 and continued to into the next year after the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore.

It ultimately grew to a vast movement by the summer of 2020 that swept the highest echelons of America, from corporate leaders to Hollywood icons to powerful sports figures pledging support.

Defunding the police is a cornerstone of BLM’s mission and remains on its list of seven demands on the group’s website.

"We know that police don’t keep us safe — and as long as we continue to pump money into our corrupt criminal justice system at the expense of housing, health and education investments — we will never be truly safe," BLM posted in July 2020.

But as the calls to defund rang out, violent crimes in the Black community skyrocketed. Murders in the 2010s first broke the 7,000 mark in 2015 after the highly-publicized deaths of Gray that same year and Brown in 2014, jumping by nearly a thousand in one year.

In 2020, the year George Floyd was killed during an interaction with Minneapolis police, Black murders jumped by a staggering 32% compared to 2019, according to FBI data.

Overall, Black murders increased by 43% that year compared to the prior 10-year average. CDC data published Tuesday additionally showed that in 2020, Black Americans were disproportionally affected by gun-related homicides, increasing by 39.5% that year compared to 2019. Gun-related homicides rose by 35% overall that year, according to the CDC.

"Certainly, the protests and riots mid-2020 after the death of George Floyd followed a pattern of spiking violence that we've seen following past viral police incidents, such as the deaths of Michael Brown and Freddie Gray. This pattern has been termed the ‘Ferguson Effect' — police pull back while violent crime spikes precipitously," Hannah Meyers, director of the policing and public safety initiative at the Manhattan Institute, previously told Fox News Digital.

The Ferguson Effect unfolded again in 2020, according to experts, but polling showed the Black community wasn’t on board with the calls to defund.

A Gallup poll from August 2020 found 81% of Black Americans wanted "police to spend [the] same amount of or more time in their area," compared to 19% reporting police should spend less time in their neighborhood.

Riley said that the polling shows "that these activists are not in step with the people who actually live in these violent communities."

"You have to remember the overwhelming majority of people who live in these communities are law-abiding. You're talking about a very small percentage, mostly men, and mostly young men that are causing all this havoc in these communities. Many of these people would leave these communities. They can't afford to move anywhere else, so they're forced to deal with this."

Swain added that "BLM focuses on scattered cases of police abuse," but ignores "the horrendous Black-on-Black crimes that take place daily in cities around the nation."




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