Are we on the verge of a total new generation, where gender identity is a thing of the past, and personality hails over the labels of male and female?
The other day I was on my way home from work, listening to the fabulous Eddie Nestor on the BBC London radio station, who at the time was in conversation with a gentleman in regards to his concerns over the tolerance of transgender children. This got me thinking, and being the left wing, animal / human rights activist that I am, I just had to get down my thoughts on this subject.
The story is, Nigel and Sally Rowe, parents of a six year old who attended a Church of England Primary School, are attempting to sue the school over the school’s labelling of the parents as “Transphobic”, due to the fact that their own child returned home from the school confused, ill and distressed over one of their male peers, who one day was dressed in a girl’s uniform.
The parents, who have pulled both their children from the school to home teach them, are arguing that the school are relying too heavily on the 2010 Equalities Act, which aims to protect transgender people from discrimination and prejudice. However the act is only valid to those over the age of 18, which the child of course isn’t. The parents also argue that the school’s views on the matter are out of line with the parent’ biblical values.
Now I am not a parent, so my responsibility over another human being does not exist, and therefore I have yet to understand what it must feel like to need to protect my child, however, there are some valid arguments against the parents in this story.
Are the parents transphobic? – Yes, but they are not necessarily bad people. For many of us, the word “phobic” has become almost dirty, and can almost be used to shame someone. More recently we are hearing words like “homophobic and islamophobic,” words people do not want to be labelled as, which I’m sure when the parents heard they were labelled as transphobic, they immediately retaliated.
The parents have a phobia of trans people, but phobias and fears are due to a lack of understanding in that area. They believe trans people are a detriment to their child’s mental health, stating a six year old should not be exposed to such things, however children in particular are at an age where tolerance and understanding are ready to be cultivated.
The idea Mr and Mrs Rowe have pulled their children out of school is the opposite of dealing with an issue. It is in fact strengthening their children’s intolerance, and increasing the fear of trans people both in their children and in themselves. (Transphobia).
Do children need protecting from trans people? – Mr Rowe commented: “A six-year-old does not have the mental capacity to work out those kinds of things. It’s such a young age and we’re concerned about that.” Children are very resilient, and parents who are overly concerned with their child’s wellbeing can sometimes misconstrue a child’s distress. Let’s not forget that this child’s parents have already raised their child with their transphobic views, and therefore are more likely to have a greater protective reaction when their child raises a concern with what his peer is wearing.
Andrea Williams of the Christian Legal Centre said: “School classrooms, which should be one of the safest environments for children, are rapidly becoming dangerous battlefields in a war brought on by a radical transgender ideology.” This is utter nonsense. The classroom is a place of learning, and primary school is an ideal environment to teach children the values of diversity and tolerance.
The argument that a child needs protecting from a trans person is still lacking any true justification. Other than transgenderism going against the current norms of society, Christian and other religious beliefs, what exactly is dangerous about a boy wearing a girl’s dress to school? Can a parent simply settle their child’s concerns with a simple: “some children like to dress differently from time to time. They are still the same person, just in different clothes.” As I said, I’m no parent, but I’m confident a six year old would accept this statement as fact, and would happily get on with whatever a six year old enjoys doing.
But there are boys and there are girls, right? – There is no escaping natures biological blueprint for us human beings. However, there is a very detrimental social construct that has engrained itself into the minds of almost everybody in western society. The idea that a male cannot wear a dress, as it is socially unacceptable is despicable. Sex is biological, gender is assigned.
A few weeks ago, John Lewis announced the scrapping of boys’ and girls’ labels on its children’ clothing line, which came with it some truly heated arguments. UKIP MP Bob Lister, announced his distaste in the change, stating it was “PC Crap”, which I’m sure we can all agree, UKIP are not in the slightest Politically Correct, and like to serve their politics as incorrectly as possible.
The mixing of boys and girls clothing is a stroke of genius. It forces parents to undertake a more open-minded approach to what they dress their children in. What’s to say a young girl can’t have dinosaur pyjamas just because they were in the boys’ section?
Should I be worried? – This depends entirely on what you fear will change, and whether that change will truly, TRULY have a negative impact on your own lifestyle. For many of us, our biggest fears relate to our children’s health and futures. Gender-fluid children should be seen as nothing more than a young human’s stage of experimentation, influenced by the ever-increasing availability of information.
Most of us are familiar with the ideal image of the traditional Nuclear Family, that is to say a heterosexual couple with at least one child, and perhaps a white picket fence. The nuclear construct has been evaluated as the most stable family form, though this ideology has taken a turn in recent times. It’s important to realise that families come in all shapes and sizes, and what might not work for some, may work for others. As long as that family are law-abiding and treat one and other with respect, it is not the right for another to question them on something as trivial as what their child is wearing.
I myself work in a department store, of which is usually full of daytime parents, strolling through the departments, whilst their child is occupied and silenced with a mobile phone – an item that has access to any piece of information on the planet, safe or dangerous. If you truly fear what your child is exposed to, take the modernity away from them, and encourage the exploration of the physical world around them.
The idea that gender is phasing out is becoming quite a possibility, with terms like “gender fluid, multi-gender, neutrois, agender, non-binary and androgynous to name a few. As humans learn more about each other with the power of the Internet and social media, so do our understanding of other cultures and the freedoms of self-expression.
That is not to say there is still a heavy right-wing opposition holding society in a realm of conservatism and out-dated theories, all of which hypothesize that any gender-fluidness will bring collapse to a supposed perfect nuclear family construct.
Thanks to the sources like the Internet, society has received a left-wing boom of acceptability. Outstanding award-winning TV programming now feature LGBTQ lead roles, metrosexuality has become acceptable in many men, and new laws such as the 2010 Equalities Act and 2013 Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act are living proof that society is becoming more open minded. It’s now up to us to continue this reign of love and acceptability, until the outdated views of older generations are finally replaced with that of the new and healthy.
Is gender segregation in clothing nothing more than right-wing propaganda to control the masses into what it wishes society to act like? Is the fabulous Rupaul Charles correct when he says “We’re all born naked and the rest is drag?” When were the specific garment designs assigned to boys and girls and why? Does nature’s biological human construct for men and women really have that much of an impact of what we wear? And why exactly is it implausible for a man to wear a dress, and perfectly regular for a woman to wear trousers or pants? Why is the term “tomboy” said so freely, when a male equivalent is usually derogatory or does not exist? Comment bellow!