The flowers that bloom in the spring, tra la . .

Have nothing to do with the caseIMG_2172 (1).jpg,” but, despite the best efforts of the storms, they are beautiful symbols of sanity in an increasingly mad world.

For the second time I have been silenced by weather. First I was wiped out by Blankety Blank Frank, and now I’ve been interrupted by Shirty Gerty, who took out the phone yet again, though after almost a month without it we barely noticed. Then the electricity went, but at my age candlelight is so much more flattering. But very soon, real disaster. The Aga died!

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Normally, when I can’t post a particular blog I ditch it and write something more topical. I have already ranted about the sex education booklets which are  deemed, by “experts” to be suitable for five to seven year olds. The Christian Institute considers the material unsuitable for young children but what would they know. Now this gender stuff is so worrying that I have got to try and make sense of it. So far I’ve failed. It’s one thing for sex to dominate adult life but quite another for kinky sex to be thrust down the throats of our children.

The person who has made me doubt my own sanity is Anne Longfield, OBE, the Children’s Commissioner. This isn’t a woman/father breast-feeding his baby on a Huffington Post video. This lady holds a government appointment with a big (£2m) budget. This has to be taken very seriously.

Specifically, my credulity has been strained by a government survey for children from 13 years and upwards as part of a campaign to find out how gender matters to young people. One of its authors describes it as “committed to feminist methodologies”, whatever that means. No, honestly, I’m not making it up. I couldn’t. The children have to choose from 25 different genders!

OK. Here we go.**

Girl. Boy. Female. Male. Young Woman. Young Man. Trans-Girl. Trans-Boy. Gender Fluid. Gender. Androgynous. Bi-Gender. Non-Binary. Demi-Boy. Demi-Girl. Genderqueer. Gender Non-conforming. Ti-gender. All genders. In the middle of Boy and Girl. Intersex. There are also boxes for Not Sure, Rather not say, and Other.

This seems to be so ill thought out and so thoroughly stupid that I wondered at first if it were a joke. Suppose I had to answer it. Certainly, at 13 I was girl, and also a tomboy, though I didn’t know that was a gender. Gender was something I worried about in Latin. I was also a female and by the age of 16 I was a young woman, with physical evidence to prove it. Aren’t they all more or less the same thing? A female and a young woman are possibly older and more shapely than a girl and a tomboy but surely not four different genders.

Coming as it does from an government department this is far from being funny (though I can’t help but find some of the categories hilarious) but indeed it is deeply worrying. This is Humpty Dumpty speak with a vengeance. You decide what a word means, just as you decide what gender you are and the rest of us—most of us—pay the price.

News from New York seems to suggest that if you are a six foot man with a penis and a thick beard, or if you are a woman with heavy makeup and very big boobs and I misgender you, on the evidence of my own eyes, you are entitled to sue me because it’s what’s in your head that counts. I bet the lawyers are going to love that one.

I am truly sorry for children who are completely confused, guilt ridden and depressed about their gender and I have every sympathy with their parents trying to make sense of this problem. But, and it’s a very big BUT, I don’t think it is the business of the Children’s Commissioner to try and survey all children in all schools about it. This smacks to me of politically motivated pseudo research.

The Children and Families Act 2014 says the work of the Children’s Commissioner must “have particular regard to the rights of children who are within section 8A (children living away from home or receiving social care) and other groups of children who the Commissioner considers to be at particular risk of having their rights infringed.” So clearly not every child. I hope parents and Head Teachers can opt out.

In any case, I hope kids today, in spite of the pressures put on them, are still pretty much like kids way back then. I can still call to mind the faces, and most of the names, of my 13 year old friends. Presented with such a survey in the early 50s (how utterly unimaginable) we would have gleefully ticked every single box, and it’s best not to enquire what we might have put in the Other box!

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**I tried to reproduce the actual copy of the survey in this post but after three hours gave up the attempt. I tried saving it in different formats, copying it in different disguises and scanning it all over the place. Nothing worked. If any one could recommend a book on playing with WordPress quickly and easily I will be most grateful.

 

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