Personal experience and prolonged, providentially guided observation (rivaling that of British social anthropologist Kate Fox,) have taught me the folly of too much “clarity”.
As my book The Bible: Beauty and Terror Reconciled makes clear (ish), I know a thing or two about the empathy eroding, mind blinding light of fundamentalist certainties.
I have written extensively about the biblical-booze-boosted-bravery that is a counterfeit of true, clear-headed Christian courage.
I know a bit about the conscience calloused and hate-hazy-headed conviction that motivated racist mass murderers Dylan Roof and Norway’s butcher of Utøya, as surely as it motivates civilian slaughtering Islamists and the people traffickers who are capitalizing on the misery of conflict displaced refugees.
So I will never be as certain of things, I hope, as Lee Jackson, a West Point trained American soldier-turned-author who seems to see the world through a mainly literal, dare I say cliteral, militaristic lens.
I had a brief Twitter exchange about President Barack Obama’s alleged “Islamist” views with the Talibank thinking Jackson on 21 February, before he abruptly terminated our interaction and in a Trump-wall-like maneuver, blocked my access to his Twitter feed.
I coined the words “cliteral” by combining “clitoris” and “literal” to identify the excessive passion for and excitability about written things that I think may explain Jackson’s actions.
A ‘cliterist’, by this definition, would be a person who takes things too cliterally.
Cliterati would then be the anal retentive equivalent of literati.
Of course, these clitoral references maintain the allusion to female sexuality that I introduced in the previous article in this series, with my references to ‘Hilary’s Clinterests’.
And lurking between the letters are ancient spirits keen to remind us of how the tongues in women’s mouths and the clitorises between their legs are related.
The American artist Amy Marx knows a bit about this, as her painting “Clitoris of the Goddess Kali” suggests.
But as I have sought to make clear, I have in mind both male and female passion and excitability, the clitoris being interchangeable or homologous with the penis in some species, apparently.
And below I explore the penis as a pen by which males, ‘fusing’ with females can make a mark on history biologically, through our children.
I thus explore the semantics of semen and the generational obscurity, and sometimes even the gulf, between what we achieve and what we intend.
The focus on children and legacy, a theme alluded to in the beast narrative of the biblical Book of Revelation that is my sub-text comes into focus most explicitly when I pick-up where I left off in the previous article: another Twitter conversation, with the Asian-English BBC affiliated academic Kenan Malik about straight and gay parenting.
This is all brought together with an assertion of my limited knowledge and understanding, particularly as conceded in an apology I sent to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan recently, for implicating him in the death of Malcolm X.
But back to soldier Jackson.
He terminated our conversation because I tweeted that we are all ‘Islamists’ to some extent in response to his exultant declaration that Mr Obama had been declared an Islamist by Tea Party tattler Allen West.
The cliterist communicator didn’t ask what I meant by ‘Islamists’, despite my use of quotation marks to indicate that I was using the term in an unconventional manner and special sense.
Instead Jackson, whose military remit according to his website was to recommend nonlethal strategies to achieve military ends, just erected an electric wall, terminating a conversation that was not only about Islamism but also about his twin sons and the twins in my family.
And there I was thinking that because he shared my interest in peaceful conflict resolution and family legacies, he and I were not only in for some pleasing, if challenging discussions, but might even become friends.
But Jackson not only un-followed my Twitter account, he also blocked my access to his tweets, so that I now cannot read them.
Well, I never want to be so ‘clear’ about the strength of my views that I feel I need to hide them from scrutiny.
I never want to be so ‘certain’ of the validity and virtue of freedom of conscience, free speech and other democracy defining freedoms that Americans like Jackson purport to defend and pass on to their children that I feel I must resort to intolerant, fundamentalist Christian-style, weak faith (Romans 14; 1 Corinthians 8 and elsewhere) prioritizing strategies of exclusion and censorship.
That behavior not only aligns Jackson with ISIS-empowering Donald Trump, but also with race, religion, gender and other ideological racketeers, like professor Sir Hilary Beckles, David Duke, Mia Mottley, Owen Arthur, VS Naipaul, Claire Fox and Sir Elton John.
These and other African, Aryan and Scientism supremacists lose their way in the moral maze of identity politics by adhering too closely to the academic, theoretical speculation and literal definitions which, like fundamentalist dependence on “the letter” that kills (2 Corinthians 3:6), gives a false sense of clarity, certainty and security.
So I am not just suspicious of clarity: I embrace my confusion, and do so gratefully.
You might say I am gratefully greyscaled.
Farrakhan’s faith, Mohini Harris’ socialist instincts
I have included the video at the start of this article in tribute to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, to whom I recently sent a written apology and expression of gratitude for his role in reminding me how little I know and the value of such uncertainty and greyscaling in many instances.
This is particularly important for writers because living in relative isolation as we tend to, we can become consumed with our own opinions of ourselves and others.
Once sober minds can be abused by that kind of artificial intelligence approximating, arrogance-inducing analytical alcohol.
And armchair, ivory tower theorizing is not just a temptation of academics. It tempts us all.
So I apologized to Minister Farrakhan for suggesting that he was knowingly and intentionally involved in the death of Malcolm X.
At least, I think I suggested that. I have not yet verified that I actually did.
But as I see it, even if I was more guarded than I recall in commenting on that matter, I think it is a small thing to apologize to a leader of Minister Farrakhan’s stature unnecessarily.
However flawed he might be – and his occasional excessive, seemingly violence endorsing, any-means -necessary ‘realist’ rhetoric tells me he is flawed indeed – Minister Farrakhan is as much a model of morality ‘clothed in the sun’ as I have ever seen.
He reflects the glory of God, or in deference to him and other Muslims, Allah, as surely as any Christian, Jewish, Bhuddist, Hindu or other religious leader, black or white, that I have ever met or am ever likely to meet.
And boy, can he speak!
What a feral, ferocious mouth, on that beast!
And I have never found Mr Farrakhan more educational, persuasive and compelling than in the above video, where he explains his relationship with the assassinated Malcolm X: his mentor, friend and colleague.
I share it here as a prelude to what some may regard as my own complicity in a kind of ‘political killing’: this painfully slow unfolding critique of a Clinterests crowned queen, Philomena Mohini Harris.
Dr Mohini Harris is as dear to me, arguably, as Malcolm was to his mentee Louis.
More a ‘mother’ than a mentor, Dr Mohini Harris and her late husband semi-adopted my brother Wayne and I for a time, when as students at the former Garrison Secondary School (now Graydon Sealy Secondary) their son Joseph had become Wayne’s and my close friend.
So, the critique of the Clintonesque Dr Mohini Harris that I am embarking on here – the study of her Kalibank-like terror and beauty feels a bit like matricide to me.
I am not just torn, as former Barbados Prime Minister Arthur was about legislating an unintended pay rise for himself.
It is not just the sense of how this study serves my self-interest that gives me pause here.
This is not just an “awkward moment”.
I believe this is closer to what Farrakhan felt and Lee ‘Action’ Jackson and other soldiers refuse to feel: a sense that I may hurt someone about whom I care deeply and who in the past has shown considerable warmth and care for me and my family.
This is also more momentous and far reaching than Arthur’s pay increase because it has implications both for how we Barbadians view our past and the extent to which we can shape the future of our country.
It also has implications for Barbados-India relations, especially for those allied to His Highness Maharana Shri Raghubir Singhji Rajendrasinghji Sahib, father of the princely gay advocate Mavendra Singh Gohil.
I feel like I am being forced to channel the paranoia, hostility and perverse principle that prompted the Roman emperor Nero to order his mother Aggripina’s death.
I also fear that I am being forced to assume the xenophobic mantle of divisive, opportunistic dictators like Forbes Burnham and Idi Amin, whose antipathy for Indians offends me more than I can express.
Although I cannot say that I felt the revulsion that journalist Jeff Yang (QZ, National Public Radio) reported in response to comedian Chris Rock’s Asian jibe at the Oscars on Sunday.
But maybe I have interpreted the gesture wrongly: I thought Rock was drawing attention to the problem of child exploitation in India, not poking fun at it.
And there again is the main point I am making: the complexity of human communication.
That’s why misunderstandings will inevitably happen.
Even here, my comparison of the Farrakhan-Malcolm X connection with the relationship between my family and Dr Mohini Harris and her four sons (George, Peter, Joseph and Thomas) has its limits and requires qualification.
For starters, despite his public prominence, the martyred Malcolm’s place in American society is hardly comparable, in material wealth measurement, with that of the politically and commercially well-connected diplomat Mohini Harris or that accumulated by her children – especially Peter, through his insurance and health industry exploits and interests.
The Mohini Harris clan has more in common with Bill and Hillary Clinton, the Bush dynasty and other American ‘royal families’ than with the working class Mr X in that respect.
Moreover, the Mohini Harris-Campbell families relationship is rather more fraught than the Farrakhan-X familial context.
This is because of a dispute that erupted several years ago between that Indian matriarch and my sister Yvette: the sister whose car I was driving when the ongoing, uncharacteristic seismic activity around Barbados started with a 7.4 magnitude earthquake in 2007.
The epicenter of that dispute, which may have been a factor behind Yvette’s exclusion from our father’s will, was an allegation by Yvette that the then married Dr Mohini Harris had become involved with her boyfriend – a man who worked with Dr Mohini and her husband at Barbados’ Queen Elizabeth Hospital and whom I know mainly as ‘Kinch’.
Driven by her love for Kinch and a sense that she was unfairly scorned by him for his new “friend”, Yvette launched a public broadside against Dr Mohini Harris, possibly at her and her husband’s workplace.
Tragically, according to the snippets of information that I recall, the public scandal may have led to the death of Dr Mohini Harris’ husband.
The last time I spoke to Dr Mohini Harris, probably more than a year ago, she denied the affair allegation.
But at the time Yvette was apparently persuaded of the truth of it.
Now, agreeing with former US president Bill Clinton as I do, that sex is among the most obscure of fundamental matters, I would not want to speculate about what may or may not have happened between Kinch and Dr Mohini Harris to lead my sister to the conclusion she reached.
But like Farrakhan, I feel obliged to shed such light as I might on the matter for a number of reasons.
First and foremost is my sense that even if we set aside the deep tragedy of the Mohini-Harris patriarch’s passing this would still be a matter of life and death.
I believe that an unhealthy, psycho-socially damaging silence has been erected around this matter, like a Trump-wall, erected in a hasty, hazy-headed panic.
I note that when I spoke to Dr Mohini Harris about this at least a year ago, she was surprised to learn that her son Joseph had raised the matter with me.
This has led me to wonder what else Joseph and perhaps the proud Peter may have got up to in defense of their mother’s honor but not with her approval necessarily.
I also note Joseph and the other Mohini Harris princes’ links to the other “markers” I have been mystically tracking – including their links to the BCC, the death in their family, their cricketing links and, of course, their centrality to the Malcolm In the Middle, juridical-medical, name-based convergence phenomenon that unites Barbados, Britain and India in a cosmological ménage a trois or Revelatory triangle, depending on how you assess it.
But I certainly could not fault Joseph for urging me to ‘reign in’ Yvette, so to speak.
And given my conventional Christian views at the time, I may have tried to do just that.
However the former Canadian cricket team captain might as well have asked me to tame the wind.
Yvette recently indicated to me that she has no desire to discuss this issue, but in the late 1970s or early to mid 1980s when the scandal was unfolding she was capable of an oral assault that would make the mouth on Farrakhan look tame!
The warnings about the fiery, destructive power of the tongue in the epistle of James, chapter 3, verses 1 to 12 were written especially for people like Yvette.
But I find her willingness to stand by the courage of her convictions, like Minister Farrakhan, encouraging.
I have always thought that the courage she showed as a teenager in running away from our home and setting-up her own with a much older man who she believed she was in love with, was due some kind of credit, even if that decision was overall wrongheaded.
And whatever she, I or anyone else might say about the shortcomings of a formal education, as opposed to being educated in the ‘school of life’, I believe that her decision to drop out of school around the same time that she ran away is to be regretted.
But her decisions, which subsequently led her into a career as an exotic dancer (‘Madamme Yvette’) are not entirely different from the ones that Hillary Clinton made in her youth, when she went against her conservative Methodist father’s will, interests and politics and became a supporter of the civil rights movement.
Even the former First Lady’s marriage to Bill Clinton was marked by a lack of enthusiasm from her father, if I correctly recall one article I have read.
That New York Times article also makes it clear that this year’s front-running Democratic Party nominee for the US presidency got her indefatigable fighting spirit from her daddy.
It suggests that her inheritance of his abrasive, brash manner and temperament were responsible for her employment of nonlethal, pragmatic force to achieve political ends, to a significant extent.
I suspect a similar genetic and environmental combination might explain Dr Mohini Harris’ socialist instincts.
And I believe I got a glimpse of the kind of compromising situations and other trouble that those instincts could get that caring queen, into when I encountered her full of ‘merry-making, charismatic spirit’, in Deane’s Village, St Michael, where I lived briefly around 1986.
It was about 9:00 am one Christmas morning.
The streets were still largely deserted and as I was returning to my Glendairy Gap residence from church, Dr Mohini Harris emerged from one of thewooden chattel houses in the area.
She gave me a little peck on the cheek, wished me Merry Christmas and was off.
For my part, in that “awkward moment”, the scandal some distance behind us (as I recall Joseph had by then told me he was no longer pursuing it), and knowing her to be single, I wished I was older.
I had always thought her a very beautiful woman and her beauty seemed to be enhanced with age.
And I suppose being to some degree brash and impetuous myself on one hand, and having regard to the passage of time on the other, I contemplated helping Ms Mohini Harris lay the burden of her beauty down, if you will.
But this was a fleeting thought.
I never acted on it.
I recall thinking how awkward a relationship with her would be for a renewal of my former friendship with Joseph and his brothers, but I never considered pursuing the idea at any length.
Frankly, with everything else that was going on in my life around that time, including my disillusionment with evangelical fundamentalist Christianity and various romantic interests, I was not that interested.
Fundamentally, fortunately or unfortunately, in addition to my interest in mature belles (the now deceased cultural activist Cynthia Wilson was another fleeting one), I also share with most males an unapologetic interest in women my own age or younger.
And I am only ventilating the matter here because I think the dispute between my sister and Dr Mohini Harris might have been leveraged against her and her sons subsequently by the ‘divide and rule dons’ of Barbados’ superficially socialist, substratally antisocial politics.
I am also obliged to consider the possibility that despite Joseph’s claim that the matter was resolved, he, Thomas, Peter and/or George Harris may have been complicit in such political leveraging.
I am obliged to consider that they may have conspired against Yvette, me and other members of my family, in the same way that my former Garrison Secondary School teacher Esther Phillips may have been leveraging my incidental involvement in a situation where a fellow student commented on her derriere indiscreetly.
That’s because I know a bit about Barbados’ political praxis.
I know about its MI 5 and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) like trade in secrets and other ‘nonlethal stratagems’ that may be perverted to accommodate extortion and emotional blackmail.
That’s why I have decided it is best that these matters be properly ventilated, rather than swept under the carpet.
By coming clean about my own limited knowledge and other vulnerabilities and shortcomings, my goal is to remove any wall of guilt or shame that unethical persons may use against Dr Mohini Harris, my sister Yvette, Kinch or anyone else.
There may well be a time and place when I might employ Lee ‘Action’ Jackson Trump-wall-building simulating strategies.
I am currently doing just that as I try to build a consensus among persons with vested interests, including my local MP Clive Lewis, Norfolk Police, Reverend Chris Copsey and other members of Norfolk’s Christian and wider ‘carer’ community about how anomalies around an extraordinarily tragic case of ‘suicide’ Haven’s been investigated by the police, reported by the media and otherwise handled.
But there comes a time when silence or the “hedging” and other communication rituals that the British social anthropologist Fox examines in her book “Watching the English” are counter-effective.
There are situations in which silence is less like principled discreetness and more like cynical advantage-taking or plain, perverse cowardice.
And it is only in construing this and other fraught ‘acid test’ character studies that I have embarked on as a sort of rescue operation, intended in this case to help the possibly powerful-position-intoxicated Mohini Harris, Esther Phillips, Sir Hilary Beckles, Sir Elton John, my sister Yvette and America’s potential first woman president, among others, save themselves from themselves that I can find any real relief from this uncomfortable public ventilating predicament.
It is only by maintaining an awareness that I am alerting Mohini Harris, as I would prominent businesswoman Asha Mirchandani (notoriously known as ‘Mrs Ram’ by most Barbadians), tourism executives Sue Springer and Petra Griffith, development consultant Donna St Hill and other “red dragon” ‘adoptive’ and indigenous Barbadian women to the dangers of child devourer-like, culture consuming, cliterati ‘champagne socialist’ excesses that I can satisfy myself that this study, as all I seek to do, is psycho-socially redemptive.
Which brings me to the Twitter conversation I had with Kenan Malik, as I sought his opinion on the question of whether gay and straight parenting are essentially the same.
In addition to the alleged Kinch love triangle imbroglio, the need for a Mohini Harris rescue operation has also been suggested by Thomas Harris, who once told me that he has ‘adopted’ blackness.
As I recall, this was during my 2007 trip to Barbados and he and I were conversing just outside Josef’s Restaurant, located in the popular St Lawrence Gap district.
At some point in that conversation, Thomas told me that he married and has children with a black woman and considers himself a black man, not an Indian.
Now, even if I begin with the assumption that Mr Harris loves his wife and children as authentically as any husband and father could, I cannot see how doing so would make him a black man.
More pointedly, I cannot see why he should be required to be a black man, other than for political, and in the Barbadian post-9/11 context, highly questionable reasons!
I believe the implied denial or surrender of his Indian birthright suggests a deeply worrying state of affairs in the Mohini Harris family’s relations with Barbados’ majority black political class.
For starters, it recalls the racial opportunism of VS Naipaul, that “great prostitute man” who denounced his Hindu and Trinidadian heritage for a mess of British pomp and prestige pottage.
It also calls into question all that the Mohini Harris clan has accomplished in Barbados and implicates that family with Sir Hilary, Donville Inniss and the island’s other race-racketeering politicians.
And the alleged Mohini Harris clan’s links to disgraced insurance executive Leroy Parris and the Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO) scandal also reflects very poorly, possibly, on that family’s life choices.
But, I assume nothing.
As with Lloyds Bank’s extremely questionable closure of my Intelek International business account; the links of my former business associate Steven Mendes of Mendes Computers to online porn prince Inniss and Sir Hilary and the implied involvement of my local MP Lewis in the Barbados-sown, globally grown criminal conspiracy against me (implied specifically through his links to Sir Hilary and the international labor and student union movements) and other matters that I am tracking like the ‘twin earthquakes’ that have been occurring between Britain and Barbados since 2007: I do not claim to have an exhaustive understanding of these matters or of how they may be interrelated.
I note the patterns and trajectories mapped by the joining of these dots.
I note the gay and straight lines and parental nodes and the titillating G-spots that might make Lee ‘Action’ Jackson and other military-minded strategists ‘lose the plot’ and, well, wet themselves.
But far be it from me to assume original motivations, aspirations or intentions purely on the basis of the timing of events or appearance of the behaviors I am tracking.
That would be like conceding to Malik that gay and heterosexual, biologically coherent and consistent parenting are essentially the same thing.
I don’t think the history of human procreation supports that position.
And while I would not want to speak of Sir Elton John’s and his husband David Furnish’s children as ‘synthetic babies’, as Domenico Dolce of Dolce and Gabbana fame did.
I find it hard to resist the conclusion that the arrangement by which the rock music royal couple came to be regarded as the two children’s “parents” is in fact not purely a matter of blood, but also, and significantly, a matter of ink.
From my perspective, there is an inescapable cliteral, very prominent, legalistic dimension to that arrangement.
And if I had misspoke as the ‘queens of fashion’ did, while I may have willingly offered Sir Elton an apology (as I have Minister Farrakhan) I don’t think I would have capitulated to his views so completely.
My business partner, the oracle Janice Gurney, a study in human complexity, would strongly caution against such cliteralist, Obama-gay-marriage-legalizing ‘presumption and arrogance’.
Confined to a wheelchair, speech impaired and otherwise disabled, she understands better than most the limits of human ingenuity. She understands how change may occur on the inside while everything on the outside seems the same.
Peter Haylett, Dr Hayley Pinto, Dr David Nutt and other Norfolk-based health professionals who participated with me in a recent seminar on complex care needs, especially where mental illness, alcohol and other substance abuse and addiction interface would also appreciate the wisdom of suspending judgment where evidence for one conclusion or another is inadequate.
And so I note Dr Mohini Harris’ links to His Excellency, Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, an apparent gay rights championing darling of the BBC and other homosexual lifestyle affirming Western media houses.
I also note the pattern of former associates of mine, like Margaret Gill, ‘Sister Doctor’ Sandra Richards and Mendes entering various alliances from which I am excluded.
Still I assume nothing.
I have assured Dr Mohini Harris of my love for her and her family and my determination to spare them any avoidable distress as I pursue my individual quest for justice and my vision of a fairer and more just and democratic Barbados for all of us.
I imagine that she will want to join with me in thanking minister Farrakhan for reminding me of my capacity to assume too much and in so doing, helping to save me from myself.
However imperfect his example, indeed, because of his imperfection, all who like the double-raced Thomas would identify with black Barbadians’ and other black people’s struggles are indebted to him for furnishing us with a powerful example of the internal challenges that face those who aspire to positions of leadership and prominence in black communities.
I can only imagine the price that the Indian Mohini Harris family members may be paying for their Arthur, Mottley and other ‘black Barbadian beasts-approved prominence and prosperity?
I think of the price paid over several years by the white Englishmen Dr Alan Cobley, a historian at UWI and the late conservationist Colin Hudson of the Future Centre Trust for their marriage to black Barbadian women, in line with their socialist and naturist ideals respectively.
What price have their partners and children paid (at least in Prof Cobley’s case) for what some Garveyites on one hand and David Duke-like Aryan supremacists on the other would label the betrayal of their races through miscegeny
I imagine that Minister Farrakhan’s treatment in the video of the issue of internal political rivalries, inter-generational challenges and related matters will resonate with the Mohini Harris family, as it does with me, on several levels.
But while his emphasis on the role of beast-like broadcasters and other mankind mauling, news media monopolizing mischief-makers rings true with my own experience, I am not sure that it will resonate with the apparently Britain and India-favored, Barbados-mainstream-media-loved Mohini Harris family to the same extent.
Similarly, while Farrakhan’s essentially blanket denunciation of the mainstream media is not without some merit, I would want to stand with media darling Sir Elton and incisive thinkers like Malik, in so far as there can be some agreement between them and me.
Interestingly, until a day or two ago, I had forgotten that I cited Malik in some information I provide in an addendum to TBBTR (page 158) about penetrative and superficial inquiry.
As in our Twitter conversation, I found little to agree with him on in that instance. But I discovered some common ground when I read his Wikipedia page.
According to Wikipedia, these topics are core concerns in his books The Meaning of Race (1996), Man, Beast and Zombie (2000) and Strange Fruit: Why Both Sides Are Wrong in the Race Debate (2008).
I have not yet read any of these books but the title ‘Man, Beast and Zombie’ resonates with me for predictable reasons, given the title of this series of articles.
It is the mechanistic, unreflecting, conscience calloused behavior that equates man with beasts and zombies that I am mainly challenging here.
I am denouncing the crude, instinctive, opportunistic and unreflecting mindset that inclines us to blindly align ourselves to racial, religious, gender and other ideological enterprises, as Thomas Harris and perhaps the entire Mohini Harris clan may have done, or been forced to do, since Mrs Mohini Harris’ husband’s tragic, possibly scandal-plagued death.
I am therefore inclined to agree with Malik where he argues that “The triumph of mechanistic explanations of human nature is as much the consequence of our culture’s loss of nerve as it is of scientific advance.” (pages 13–14)
But I am also inclined to caution against the kind of “nerve” that encourages Malik and others to glibly equate homosexual and heterosexual parenting.
I think that equation goes beyond nerve into the realm of recklessness.
And I am surprised that he apparently does not see how homosexual parenting at a root node level reduces human reproduction to a mechanistic process.
I am surprised that he does not see how all the technological trinkets with which secular scientists might dazzle Taino-like digital natives will never be able to duplicate the organic, biological dimensions of human existence that separate us from less sentient things.
Without prejudice to Bernie Sanders, his wife Jane and others who take on the extraordinary responsibility of parenting children they have not ‘created’ themselves it still has to be said that while such rescue missions can be expressions of profound self-sacrifice, they can also be expressions of Everest-rivaling vaulting ambition, conceit and self-indulgence – as can biological parenting.
The dragon which pursues the woman to devour her child in the Book of Revelation is probably best seen as a symbol of Baal-like child abuse, however that may be configured today.
I am no more convinced that Sir Elton understands or has a grip on all the issues he and his husband’s boys will have to grapple with as they grow older than I am that I know everything that puts my two children at risk.
I do know though, based on my own experience, that having questions about the true identity of one of your parents can be deeply traumatic and unsettling, even when those questions have been brought to your attention at an adult, mature, well-adjusted, identity-settled age.
I saw my own father grapple with that challenge as a grown man.
And thanks to a cousin who after the death (significantly) of the only man I have ever called father, suggested that my twin brother and I were not entitled to address him thus, I now live with the same niggling questions.
But as I pointed out to Malik, the biological link goes deeper than that, encroaching directly on the matter of genetically transmitted diseases and other aspects of children’s physical health.
I wrote “If the biological link matters to what extent does it? It does matter in terms of hereditary health, at least, doesn’t it?”
I felt that given Malik’s training in neurobiology he was well placed to explore the biological bases of identity and how these might be manifested in situations where only one parent, rather than both, is linked biologically.
My aim was not to question a non-biologically linked parent’s capacity to be a good parent, as he seemed to think.
It was simply to get an acknowledgement that the biological bond and dimension is consequential, and therefore to some degree significant.
I was expressing, to some extent, the same kind of concern that designers Dolce and Gabbana expressed last March, about how the traditional concept of the family is being challenged by what I would call a legalistic, martial “orthodox” gay fundamentalism.