I’m sorry if I seemed to trivialise transgender people and the problems of where they “go” in my blog “When is a bathroom not a bathroom”. In truth I was laughing at the prudery that prevents Americans calling those places lavatories or toilets or water closets, which they are but insists on the word “bathrooms” which they are not.
Far from being anti-trans I rather warmed to Rio Sofia, the New York student who thought public facilities should not have to ask if you wanted to pee or poop. She also thought that taking down the labels and deeming ‘bathrooms’ to be degendered could solve the problem of making transgender people feel comfortable. I didn’t entirely agree with her there. Someone who has completely trans-gendered is different—they can choose their preferred loo and no one will know the difference. However, some female-only loos should be kept. Shy, easily embarrassed young women and mothers with small girls should not have to share an ex-Ladies with a bearded man.
It used not to matter, when words tended to mean what one thought they meant, but nowadays people—politicians, obviously, and noisy activists in particular—use Humpty Dumpty speak, with the result that a word means what they say it means, just as, for example, their gender can be merely what is going on in their head and has absolutely nothing to do with what chromosomes they were born with or what they keep in their pants.
Americans have always been a bit touchy about hygiene. I can remember a lively dinner party in Boston, Mass where, having asserted the possibility of keeping clean in the absence of showers, I ended up describing exactly how an English woman washed. (Top down to the waist. Clean water. Feet up to the waist. Simple!)
I’ve ranted on before about the lack of a sense of humour in Activist groups, and sadly, this is too often accompanied by a lack of common sense as well. Some Trans people are now even seeing gender neutral loos as discriminatory; they want the right to go into the labelled gender of their head, if you see what I mean.
The Trans Data Position Paper of 2009, published by the Office of National Statistics, estimates that the number of transgender people in the UK is much less than 1% of the population. That figure makes the recent action of Brighton and Hove Education department a total absurdity.
Thousands of parents in that area have been sent application forms for entrance to Primary school for their four year old children. As well as filling in name and date of birth they can tick male or female or indicate the child’s preferred gender in a blank space. I would have thought, if your child is transgendering at the age of four, as opposed to being a tomboy or just enjoying dressing up, you’d be better advised to reserve any comment until you can talk to your little one’s head teacher.
**because the people who really need it never use it.