Sex? Seriously?

For some reason, stories about sex have been prominent in the news lately. The most legitimate news story concerns Dennis Hastert, who apparently had a homosexual relationship with a student when he was a high school wrestling coach in approximately the 1970s. It is hard not to feel some sympathy for Hastert: he must have had the fear of exposure hanging over his head for decades. The person with whom Hastert had the relationship did nothing until 2010, when Hastert had retired from the House and, for the first time in his life, was making a lot of money as a lobbyist. So “Individual A,” as he is referred to in Hastert’s indictment, began to blackmail Hastert.

Hastert is the victim in this scenario, yet he, not the blackmailer, is under indictment. The indictment stems from Hastert’s withdrawal of cash to pay the blackmailer. The indictment, in my view, represents overreaching by the U.S. Attorney and likely is politically motivated.

Some Democrats tried to make political hay out of Hastert’s indictment. This is the height of hypocrisy. If any of your Democrat friends try to make something out of Hastert’s relationship with a high school student 40 years ago, all you need to do is say: Gerry Studds.

Studds was a Congressman from Massachusetts. He admittedly did exactly what Hastert allegedly did: Studds had a homosexual relationship with a page, a 17-year-old boy, who worked for the House of Representatives. Studds described his liaison as a “consensual relationship with a young adult.” Hastert could say the same. Was the Democratic Party horrified by Studds’ conduct? Not a bit. He was censured by the House, but greeted with standing ovations when he returned to Massachusetts. Studds’ heavily Democratic constituents returned him to the House for six more terms after his affair with the page was exposed. And, of course, Studds’ misconduct occurred while he was a member of the House, not decades earlier, and was directly related to his work as a Congressman. So Republicans should take no grief with respect to Mr. Hastert.

A second sex-related story that has gotten a great deal more news coverage than it deserves is Bruce Jenner’s transition to Caitlyn Jenner. His public transformation was widely hailed as courageous–ESPN gave him its “Courage Award”–which is laughable in view of the facts that 1) public reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, and 2) Jenner reportedly stands to gain hundreds of millions of dollars by claiming to be a woman.

Reportedly Jenner has not had a sex-change operation. If that is the case, he is still a man, albeit an odd one. Let’s be clear: there are two sexes, male and female, which are defined by anatomical characteristics. Likewise, there are two genders, male and female. Anyone who uses the word “gender” to mean something other than sex (male or female) is kidding himself. There are people who think they would be happier if they were of the opposite gender, and some of them no doubt are right. But thinking (or “identifying”) does not make it so. Gender is not a social construct, it is a physical reality.

None of this would be controversial, except that there is a small coterie of fanatical thought police who are trying to bully the rest of us into saying things that are not true, and are known not to be true by pretty much everyone. So I wish Jenner well; he is a decent person, seemingly, and a Republican to boot. But I won’t be dictated to by the thought police.

A third sex-related story is that of Emma Sulkowicz, Columbia’s “mattress girl” who falsely accused a German student named Paul Nungesser of rape. Sulkowicz has now released a porn video of herself having sex with (I assume) a friend. It is apparently intended to be a re-creation of the rape that didn’t happen. Whatever. Poor Miss Sulkowicz has obviously gone far off the rails, and deserves our sympathy, to the extent that we think about her. But what about public figures like Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who held up Sulkowicz as a heroine long after it became obvious that her allegations were false? Senator Gillibrand and others of her ilk deserve the severest condemnation, and they owe Mr. Nungesser an apology. More important, the exposure of one fake rape story after another starkly reveals the outrageous nature of the Obama administration’s Title IX letter, which has created a Kafkaesque climate on American college campuses.

That doesn’t exhaust the sex-related stories of recent days; I haven’t mentioned the Duggars, for instance. But it is more than enough for now. Time to go back to foreign policy and the economy.