There comes a time when you have to stand up for what you believe in. When being silent makes you not just a coward, but a willing accomplice in something fundamentally wrong. So here goes.
Last week Joe Biden signed an executive order banning discrimination on the basis of gender identity. This was neither unexpected, nor in principle a bad thing. But the ruling does raise concerns, especially in relation to the rights of girls and women.
Will it now, for example, be impossible to deny a teenage biological male access to the girls’ locker rooms or loos?
Will women be obliged to compete against biological males in sport? Will trans women prisoners with functioning male genitalia be housed alongside vulnerable biological women in prisons? What does it mean for ante-natal groups, single-sex hospital wards, care homes, rape shelters and so on?
In the current climate there is only one kind of conversation allowed around the issue of gender identity, and that is one that is rigidly positive, writes SARAH VINE
What IS Kate’s hair secret?
While most of us despair of our appearance during lockdown, the Duchess of Cambridge just gets more and more soignee.
In her latest Zoom outing, she looks sleeker than ever – and her hair, which last October was shoulder length, seems to have grown about five inches.
Dying to know her secret. If only she were the Duchess of Sussex – we’d know every tiny detail by now.
While most of us despair of our appearance during lockdown, the Duchess of Cambridge just gets more and more soignee
All these, and more, are questions that remain unanswered, not least because anyone who dares raise them risks being pilloried as a Terf (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) and banished to the 9th circle of Twitter hell along with JK Rowling and Julie Burchill.
There is a certain irony in those who preach tolerance being the least tolerant when it comes to anyone who challenges their dogma.
In the current climate there is only one kind of conversation allowed around the issue of gender identity, and that is one that is rigidly positive.
If it’s not all unicorns and rainbows, forget it.
Back in Blighty, look no further than the BBC for a textbook example. In a video entitled Identity – Understanding Sexual and Gender Identities, produced as part of the Corporation’s online resource material for teachers, a group of schoolchildren aged between nine and 12 discuss the issue with teachers.
Nothing to trouble the woke police here. ‘What does stereotypes mean, miss?’ (Answer: they’re bad). ‘What’s the difference between sex and gender?’ (Answer: sex is the body parts you are born with; gender is who you feel inside). ‘There are soooo many gender identities,’ gushes one teacher, while her bemused charges nod dutifully. ‘Over 100!’ she adds excitedly, as though sexual self-selection were just different flavours at the pick and mix counter.
Here we have powerful authority figures actively encouraging impressionable youngsters to question their sexual identities – at a stage in their lives when sex is not even, or shouldn’t be, on the agenda. It is a masterclass in indoctrination. At the licence fee payer’s expense.
Before they’ve even dipped their toe in the world of adult desire, these children are being taught to question their own bodies.
Gender dysphoria, a serious and distressing condition you wouldn’t wish on anyone, is presented as something really exciting and special, worthy almost of a gold star.
This is not ‘education’. It’s bordering on child abuse.
All I could think of as I watched those fresh faces listening with wide-eyed concentration was poor Keira Bell, the young woman who recently won her case against the Tavistock and Portman Trust, the NHS gender reassignment clinic in London.
Keira bravely came forward to testify that her desire, at the age of 16, to transition from female to male had been encouraged by adults who seemed less interested in her wellbeing and more focused on pushing an agenda. One that ultimately led to her embarking on a course of hormone blockers which she now deeply regrets.
These children in the BBC video are much younger than Keira. How many of them – and how many of those in schools up and down the land who have been taught according to these guidelines – will now find that the worm of self-doubt has been planted in their brains where none previously existed? And how many will grow up to make irreversible changes to their bodies which, like Keira, they may live to regret?
So yes, let’s protect trans people. But let’s not teach our children to hate the bodies they were born in.
Keira Bell, recently won a case against the Tavistock and Portman Trust, the NHS gender reassignment clinic in London
The Government’s new ‘Look him in the eyes – and tell him the risk isn’t real’ campaign makes anyone questioning the efficacy of lockdown feel like a worm.
But you could easily substitute that patient in a mask for a schoolboy, and caption it: ‘Look him in the eyes – and tell him his future doesn’t matter.’
Or a cancer patient: ‘Look her in the eyes – and tell her that lump isn’t real.’
Covid isn’t the only thing killing people in Britain today. No amount of Government-funded emotional blackmail is going to change that.
● Poor old James Bond. By the time the ‘new’ film finally reaches cinemas (assuming, that is, there are any left to show it in) we’re all going to be laughing at his ancient phone, outdated suits – and the fact that whatever deadly threat he’s saving the world from will seem a breeze compared to Covid.
● The fact that York University has cancelled the three wise monkeys to avoid ‘racist stereotypes’ says more about its own prejudice than anyone else’s. Only a racist (and a particularly nasty one at that) would associate the idea of a primate with a person of colour. Far from eradicating such twisted notions, this kind of behaviour – now endemic in British academia – only serves to legitimise them.
● Romeo Beckham, 18, has unveiled his latest project, a cover shoot with Italian fashionista bible L’Uomo – although he seems to be having a spot of bother getting his T-shirt on the correct way up (right). You would have thought with all that money (we learnt this week that the Beckhams earn £40,000 a day) they could have at least taught him how to get dressed properly.
● If you think that NHS boss Vin Diwakar telling the nation that breaking Covid rules was like ‘switching on a light in the middle of a blackout in the Blitz’ was over-the-top, spare a thought for the German people, who have been told they’ll be interned in refugee camps if they step out of line. I seem to remember they tried that sort of thing once before…
● Glastonbury has been cancelled for the second year running. Pity. Given the average age of the revellers, it would have doubled as a handy vaccination centre for the over-50s.
● In all these years, I never knew Donald Trump had a ‘Diet Coke’ button in his office. Can I get a red wine one installed in mine?
● A study has shown that 72 per cent of people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds are reluctant to have the jab – a worrying amount given what we know about the disproportionately high death rate they’ve suffered. Seeing how effective Marcus Rashford has been in highlighting food poverty, perhaps as a respected role model he could also play a part in persuading these communities to take it up?