Old Enough To Kill

As readers of this bog know, I’m a woman one booster of the millennial generation. Let’s put aside for the moment my own understanding and analysis of the complexities of gender and focus on the question-—is an 18 year old person mature enough to make decisions about gender and transitioning?
Back in my day, the slogan aimed at lowering the voting age from 21 to 18 (draft age) was the sardonic “Old enough to kill, old enough to vote.” This may have originated with the song “Eve of Destruction.” And let’s not forget, it might also be “old enough to die.”
In Judaism, a child becomes an adult at twelve or thirteen through a bat or bar mitzvah. Religiously this means old enough to assume spiritual and ritual obligations, and it means one is ethically an adult.
It’s funny because critics of millennials don’t like what they see as an endless extension of adolescence, while at the exact same moment saying millennials are too young—or too uneducated—to make decisions. But in my world, if a person is morally responsible at thirteen and a full citizen at eighteen, that makes a teenager quite capable of adult action.
Sure, I’ve read the studies about brain development etc. But frankly I feel that without experience, no brain is going to exactly shine. Conviction. Action. Mistakes. Contradictions. Review. Moving forward. That is how wisdom is acquired as opposed to the more “responsible’ less risky compromises we associate with “adulthood” that don’t exactly foster the human spirit.
When I was sixteen, it hit me all at once that I had probably turned into the person I was going to be. I knew what I liked—art, writing, sex, love, gossip, politics, clothes, friendship, little projects, and being bossy. Huh, I thought, am I going to change? Or is this me?
You probably know the answer—for yourself. Basically the essential me was…essential. Life provided the roller coaster, and my character provided the response. And when I feel close to that sixteen year old self, I feel happy.

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