One little prick

As has been documented elsewhere, for example by people pointing and laughing in pubs, I went through a period of cutting my own hair a few years ago. Listen I don’t care what you think, which must be why I stopped doing it, or something, but the point here is that not once did I consider a mullet.

This person looking at me from my computer screen has a mullet, and by the looks of it also cut it herself. I say ‘herself’. It’s called Angela, it looks female and as a budding sleuth I’m all about the evidence. This Angela is being interviewed about why it thinks it’s all right to have a mullet, which of course it isn’t. It’s asked “Do you think mullets make you seem more masculine or feminine?” and I wait with febrility for its insightful answer.

“Gender is a concept that doesn’t really exist anymore.”

Well bugger me if we’re not on tricky territory with this one.

I’ve never been especially prejudiced and consider myself an archetypal soppy left-wing prat. Isms are bad, unless someone’s finally invented the word conservatismism for the highly laudable pastime of yelling at angry old people inexplicably still allowed to vote. I didn’t think there’d be any more isms to deal with and I could pat myself on the back knowing I’d successfully navigated the first fifth of 21st century Britain without turning into Mark Francois.

But no, here comes one final test. Men are not always men and women are only women part-time, and if you’ve a problem with instantly wiping your mind of something you’ve held as simply factual your entire life you might as well change your name to Earl and move to Alabama.

Not really having a dog in the fight I’ve never given gender fluidity a lot of thought. There have long been people believing they’ve been born into the wrong body and wanting to physically change their sex. Have at it and all the best to you. Just one little prick and it’ll all be over. There are also those who don’t want to go under the knife but who want to identify as the other gender by dressing in clothes classically worn by the gender of their choice and assigning themselves a moniker classically assigned to the gender of their choice. Again, congratulations and I don’t care. Not plumping for surgery might seem a bit lazy, but I think we can all agree that a man should be allowed to wear a dress without someone trying to cut his cock off.

But the waters become muddy when people try to claim their feelings trump science. My name’s Colin and I’m a woman. Sure, I was born with the chromosomes and physical body of a male baby. I’ve made no moves to change that since, and I look and sound like a man who shaves daily. But I identify as a woman and I require you to treat me as such because gender is a concept that doesn’t really exist any more.

Unfortunately, science is unbeatable in almost every way, no matter what your emotions have to say about it. Emotionally, Colin might feel as though a female way of life is more to his taste, and none of us should have an issue with that. But if he goes into the female changing rooms and gets his lad out, it’s hard to see how the resulting screaming isn’t his fault. Would he like every woman and girl in there to ignore their upbringing and every instinct and accept him as a woman? Good idea. I wonder if they’ll do the same for me if I decide to identify as female for the next few minutes to relive the shower scene from Police Academy.

The entire argument seems to have emerged from the millennial notion that everyone is special. The inevitably fairly well off who demand others listen to them about gender fluidity seem to live in a world of perpetual adolescence, where they’re a teen until they’re 24, every slight is a human rights outrage and they’re never more than one strop away from deposing friends and relatives at The Hague.

It’s quite the eye-opener to realise just how different a world these people live in. Do they have any kind of preparation for life as it really is? While trying to blow gender fluidity up into a civil rights issue on a par with segregation, do they know their coddled world is about to crash up against I’m-sure-it’ll-all-work-out-somehow climate change, and the resulting wars for limited resources on an already-heaving planet? Sarah feels like a man today. Bollocks to poverty and starvation in a world where billionaires can exist, or the fact we’re all about to die from anti-microbial resistance, if Brexit doesn’t get us first, because a polite shop assistant called Sarah ‘Miss’ in a shop this morning. Quick, sign a petition.

I don’t reckon the weight of scientific evidence is on the side of those who claim dressing little boys up in blue stunts their emotional development, and blinds them to the opportunities they might otherwise have had to explore the wealth of genders now available to them. Because of course there aren’t just two genders now, oh no. A Google search for ‘how many genders are there’ returns 963,000,000 results, suggesting it’s a question quite a few people aren’t born with the answer to. There seem to be upwards of 60. I think today I might be ‘perioriented’, though it might just be the tablets.

The top result of that search includes the following choice paragraph:

“Someone who is genderfluid feels that their gender is fluid and can change and vary over time. People who are genderfluid find themselves moving in between different gender presentations and identifications. They may identify as a man or masculine one day, and as femme, woman, or feminine another day, and move in between these expressions of their gender.”

So how does that work, exactly, when placed within a society of other people not aware that that’s a thing? We’re told that to deny them this option is to be prejudiced and yet on various practical levels it’s a right fucking pain in the arse to implement. I’ll enter sporting competitions as a woman, win, then enjoy a nice hot shower with my fellow females afterwards, no matter how they feel about any of that. Today I’ll tell the NHS I’m a woman and receive the various breast cancer screenings and smear tests that are my right but tomorrow I’ll go back to getting paid more than female colleagues who do the same job. I’d be pregnant already if only I’d met the right man. Woman?

Obviously you can ‘identify’ as whatever you want. You can identify as a donkey if you’re willing to make the right noises and drag a cart about forlornly. But what would make you think the rest of us should accept you’re Eeyore? I could identify as someone who’s never had cancer but it’ll still invalidate my fucking travel insurance.

It’s not all right to have 20th century views on this topic. If you believe that each individual is born with a gender based on chromosomes, represented by the sex organs they bear on their emergence from the womb, you are a heinous mixture of Katie Hopkins, Peter Rogers and that berk who made his girlfriend’s dog do a Nazi salute. Just by writing this I’ve probably earned the right to be called bigoted scum in various forums where young, middle-class people yell incessantly via electronics. I often wonder how less angry we’d all be if every Facebook post or tweet was ended mandatorily by the up-down-up trombone sound beloved of farce.

Yes, fine, you’re special and we should all recognise that. But most of us are actually plain, dull, and just want to get on with not being prejudiced without you conjuring up ever more perplexing ways to make us feel bad. Many of us who wander through life accepting others as we hope to be accepted view ‘gender fluidity’ with outright bafflement, not least as the rules for what it’s OK to say seem to change weekly. Being fair to others, trying to be nice, is no longer enough – you have to follow the ‘nuances of the debate’ or find your name on a placard being marched down Whitehall.

I honestly wish the best for Angela, mullet notwithstanding. But the right to gender fluidity is coupled with a responsibility to either explain it in words fools like me can understand or accept that fools like me just don’t get it. If anything I’ve said here makes you uncomfortable, please accept that I’ve done it from a position of ignorance not meanness.

Transsexual I get. Transgender I get. Gender fluidity I don’t. Does this make me ‘cissexist’? If you think I deserve a label like that, if it’ll make you feel better, have at it.

Meanwhile, Greenland is on fire.

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