Philosophers often make the mistake of expecting people to at least seek coherence in their thoughts. We fall all too easily into assuming that humans want to think things through really carefully. Family events can be a useful reminder that this is not so. Jender-Mother-in-Law (JML) gave a useful demonstration at dinner the other day. JML has gay and lesbian friends, once suggested naming Jender-Son after either or both of a lovely gay couple she’d befriended*, and she supports gay marriage. She has also always voted Republican (except in 2008). We were discussing her friend J, who is lesbian, and JML remarked on how strange it was that J had never explicitly discussed her sexuality with JML. And, she said, “We’ve always known. Even when she was a kid we knew something was wrong!” Mr Jender and I suggested that perhaps J feared a negative response. JML insisted this was impossible– as J knew her attitudes! We gently reminded her of the phrase “something was wrong”, and its possible implications. JML remained baffled. We got less gentle, and more explicit. All to no avail, resulting only in a discussion of J’s aggressive basketball style (“like a man”). “Argh” we both said once alone. “Go blog about it”, Mr Jender suggested.
*We did consider it, but decided that Jender-Son might later resent the name ‘Kevin Fernando’.