If you are old enough, cast your mind back to the 1984 Democratic National Convention held in San Francisco.
This writer covered it as a young reporter, taking in the flamboyant gay-pride parade on Market Street the day the convention opened, the centerpiece of which was the contingent from
The group, then led by Sister Boom-Boom, were notable for their economical use of leather to cover up their physiques, alongside their
A Republican operative watching the scene remarked to this writer, “In 1972 we paid people to do this to George McGovern in Miami; now Democrats are doing it for us for free.”
This bit of hyperbole — the Democrats of 1984 tried to keep the Bay Area gay scene under wraps — appears today as an understatement, as the Democratic Party has gone all-in on no-limits gender self-expression, to the point that the Biden administration pointedly avoids using the term “woman” in any official policy documents.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Dodgers, once owned by a conservative Catholic family, have publicly , and much of corporate America has gone “woke.”
A popular slogan on the right is “Get woke, go broke,” but until the last few weeks, there was meager evidence in support of this proposition.
Attempts to organize consumer boycotts of “woke” products or companies, like the NFL after Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling for the national anthem, usually fizzled after having little effect.
Then came the Bud Light debacle, in which Anheuser-Busch sought to leverage the sensation of the trans celebrity “influencer” Dylan Mulvaney with a specially labeled can produced just for Mulvaney, which Mulvaney embraced to the hilt on Instagram and elsewhere.
A spontaneous boycott of Bud Light, previously America’s best-selling brand, has since this misbegotten stunt, and the loss of market share appears to have staying power.
Anheuser-Busch stock slumped 15% and , while sales of competitor brands such as Coors Light and Miller Lite have jumped.
Barron’s reports that several analysts think the shift away from Bud Light may be enduring, possibly making the micro-targeted Mulvaney promotion the single greatest brand-killing marketing blunder since the Ayds diet plan in the 1980s.
Someone in Target’s marketing department apparently decided to say, “Hold my Bud Light,” and emulate this consumer-alienating strategy.
One notable offering of the stores’ Pride Month product line is for fully equipped men who wish to dress like women.
Another spontaneous consumer boycott has taken wing, and while the rest of the market started to rally, its worst Wall Street performance in 23 years.
Late in the week, J.P. Morgan downgraded Target’s stock.
The blowback against gender fluidity is not limited to consumers.
Several Major League Baseball stars have issued public criticism of the Dodgers, and there has been a mounting backlash against anatomical males competing in women’s sporting events.
This moment seems different: A line has been crossed, and “normies,” for lack of a better term for traditional middle-class Americans, are saying, “Enough.”
The long-term trend in American social life for decades now has been expanding the boundaries for individual expression and self-definition.
Americans have generally been tolerant, if sometimes slow to move, toward what were once considered “deviant” traits like homosexuality, but also interracial marriage and women in the workplace.
It is worth noting that by the time of the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell decision legalizing same-sex marriage, public opinion had come to support the idea, after having been strongly opposed just 20 years ago.
But the current push on behalf of gender fluidity differs fundamentally from previous “liberation” movements, as it requires a wholesale denial of human nature itself and demands conformity to this radical view.
Far from merely wanting to be tolerated or left alone, the new transgender movement insists on transgressing every institutional and social boundary, from bathrooms to sports to the elementary school classroom.
Americans have largely been tolerant of individuals previously described as “cross-dressers,” but what explains the adamant insistence on performing “drag queen” exhibitions for children?
Why the ferocious suppression of dissident voices in the medical community about aggressive medical interventions to children whose brains and personalities we know are far from fully developed?
It should be noted that what is euphemistically called
With opinion polls finding majorities of Americans opposed to the premises of gender fluidity, consider the current moment the Revolt of the Normies.
For American institutions that have indulged this extremism, perhaps we should say that Pride Month goeth before the fall.
Steven F. Hayward is a resident scholar at the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley.