Wow. There’s a first: me actually agreeing with an article in the Spectator.
On the other hand, perhaps it’s a case of the Spectator agreeing with me – because, let’s face it, this article says practically word for word what I said in my post a few days ago – in fact, what I’ve been saying for a long time: that there is a new orthodoxy emerging about gender which does not want to be challenged, and that we need a debate about this.
Now I know the Spectator is a reactionary rag but even a stopped clock is right twice a day, and to my ears this article is quite reasonable. OK so they take the opportunity to have a pop at Corbyn – which is quite disingenuous, since any politician (apart from UKIP or Jacob Rees-Mogg) would have said the same – but other than that they make reasonable points.
I’m worried that the gender train (the gender agenda?) is hurtling so fast towards its destination that people are going to be crushed under the wheels, perhaps already are being crushed under the wheels. My argument – and I know I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again – is that we need a thorough, ongoing debate about this or else like Brexit it will derail us all (I’ve probably mixed a metaphor there, but hey – if Shakespeare can do it…) Because we had the debate about homosexuality, we had the debate about women’s rights, and these are now pretty firmly established. But it seems to me that those pushing for trans rights are simply trying to hop on to an already running train without paying the fare. ‘You’ve accepted gays and lesbians,’ they seem to say, ‘so let’s cut to the chase and accept this. No arguments.’
I have heard in more than one quarter the suggestion that trans people (including children) should be accepted without question. But here’s the rub: to accept a person as a person is not necessarily the same as to accept a particular narrative about that person. So, whilst I do strive as a Quaker, to accept my fellow humans and to answer that of God in everyone, I do not accept the orthodoxy of the trans agenda without question.
Nor should I: nor should any of us. Everything should always be questioned – and now more than ever we need to open that debate; because shutting it down is not the way to go. I have heard people complain (and not Daily Mail readers, either) that they feel constrained in this debate, that they have to keep their thoughts to themselves, that they ‘can’t say’ what they think lest it be construed as hate speech. But there is a world of difference between respectful debate and hate speech. On the one hand, you have a legitimate enquiry into the problem; on the other hand you have – well, Germaine Greer. Just to give one example that comes to mind.
The subjects I would like to see discussed include:
The likely effects on partners of a person coming out as trans
how we deal with children who exhibit gender dysphoria
what we do about toilets
what we do about women’s groups where often intimate subjects are under discussion
what we do about areas where privileges gained as one gender are carried forward into another
This is just a starting framework. And I refuse to believe that this cannot be done in a respectful manner.