Many people are simply ignorant--and this is not intended as an insult, but just an observation. Some might be smart in their field or occupation, but they are largely ignorant of history and social issues.
This was confirmed for me again today. I was in Aldi putting my purchases in a bag. A man, about my age (69) was standing next to me doing the same. He wore a hat proclaiming he was Vietnam vet. I said to him, "I protested the war, but didn't denigrate soldiers.' He replied, "We didn't want to be there and didn't like the war either."
He then went on to say that he thought the war was the beginning of a decline for the USA and that it that decline led us to where we are now. No argument from me. But then, he said, "Just look at these trans people--they're everywhere, wanting to take over. They weren't around when we were --did you ever know any trans people years ago?"
He made mistakes:
, that I would agree with him about the 'degeneracy' of trans people. (This is often the case--people assume that I agree with issues such as this or that I am Xtian.)
, that, somehow, trans folks just popped in the last few years.
I told him that I had no problem with trans people; my problems are with people who abuse/kill children and some other sundry issues.
Then, I told him that I was an English teacher and a student of history and that trans people have always been around.
He looked surprised and just then, his wife walked , looking at me in an unfriendly manner. I think she thought I was hitting on her husband.
I left the store thinking about the past, how Rome was highly homoerotic and yet, conquered many lands. I thought about Oscar Wilde being imprisoned for being gay and how there is overwhelming evidence that Alexander the Great was bisexual. Socrates wasn't put to death for "corrupting" his students by diddling them, but disagreeing with the state and for impiety.
The Preacher in Ecclesiastics was right when he said, "There is nothing new under the sun." Being gay or trans is not new, nor is homophobia. Children have been abused since time immemorial; women have been raped for as long. There is nothing new about murder, invading other lands, or wars.
Ignorance has been around from time immemorial, too, but it used to be that many/most people were ignorant because they were denied getting an education or did not have access to news.
Now, we do have access to education and news, or at least the USA has both. People choose to remain ignorant.
And that is why I have become a misanthrope.
Ignorance, or intolerance borne of fear?
I infer from what you say that he is fearful of people who do not subscribe to his heterosexual view of "how the world should work", which fear prevents him learning about cultures other than his own. I could be completely wrong, of course.
Everyone is ignorant of a great many things. A person can't be expected to know everything. The problem frequently is that far too many seem utterly unaware of their ignorance and some even seem almost willfully happy to be ignorant. People seem to close their minds to new facts and ideas and any challenge to their world view is met with anger and they simply dig in deeper to their pit of ignorance.
There is a gay person in about every family-some are out and some not. When I was in 7th grade I had a teacher all the girls in class had a crush on. He never had a girlfriend but was good friends with a female teacher.
Years later my mom was teaching at the same school. She told me he was gay. I suspected that anyway but since mom was gay she knew him. None of the girls in class had a clue.
I agree with you fully, Gwen. Laughing at some of this because the man you talked to thought something new that he did not like was going on. What he missed is that today more things are talked about and maybe were yet hushed up earlier in his time. I'm also feeling that I'm a misanthrope. I'm getting to where I do not like people. Often they tell me what I just told them and it mystifies me totally.
Maybe your ignorant vet had read something like this:
In the UK alone, the number of minors undergoing transgender treatment between 2009 and 2017 increased from 97 to 2,519 cases, a 25-fold increase. Within the group, the percentage of girls with gender dysphoria even increased by 4,500 percent.
The phenomenon of adolescents who had no gender disorder in the past suddenly reporting being transgender is also becoming more common. A study published in PLOS (August 16, 2018 [doi.org] links this so-called Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria to peer pressure and increased use of social media and relevant websites.