No, this is not a new Section 28
The government's new gender guidance for schools has nothing in common with illiberal, anti-gay laws.
The long-awaited UK government guidance to schools on the so-called ‘social transitioning’ of children has been leaked. The leak suggests that the government will timidly ‘guide’ teachers not to affirm a child’s delusion that he or she is, somehow, the opposite sex without informing the child’s parents.
That’s reasonable enough, you’d think. But it has still prompted a predictable nappy-load of horrified reaction from what is called ‘the LGBTQ+ community’ – in other words, a few thousand very loud internet activists and their assorted ‘allies’ in the public and corporate establishments.
Women’s rights campaigner Maya Forstater has compiled a Twitter thread of some of the reactions to the guidance, which was leaked to the Sun’s political editor, Harry Cole. The thread makes for grim, though sadly unsurprising, reading. There are the usual death threats, suicide threats and repeated comparisons to Section 28, the nasty Thatcher-era legislation that tried to ban local authorities from ‘promoting homosexuality’.
Many of those making the comparisons to Section 28 are made by people far too young to have ‘lived under the shadow’ of that unpleasant but remarkably pointless and counterproductive piece of legislation. Indeed, nothing in British history promoted homosexuality like Section 28. Oscar Wilde and James the Sixth of Scotland could only look down enviously at its galvanising effect on the gay movement.
Former Labour adviser Lachlan Stuart was there in the very heart of the fight against Section 28. He is about as far away from being a Conservative as you could imagine. Yet even he has felt the need to respond to those comparing Section 28 to the Tories’ leaked gender guidance with a historically corrective thread. It is well worth reading for its eyewitness testimony.
Schools today certainly seem to need some sort of guidance on gender. The recent revelation that some pupils are using the loophole of gender ideology to ‘identify’ as cats, dinosaurs and moons has caused much spluttering. One suspects and hopes that these kids are having a glorious laugh at the whole nonsensical thing, though nowadays it’s impossible to be sure.
Indeed, some people refuse to believe so many stories of gender ideology’s manifestations because they often sound like they can’t possibly be true. So many transgender news stories sound like those ‘Christmas is cancelled by loony-left council’ Daily Star wind-ups. Gender ideology is providing a never-ending silly season. It seems too daft to really be happening.
‘Respectable’ mainstream outlets such as the BBC are not helping. They barely report on the negative aspects of gender ideology at all. So when a story breaks through because it can no longer be ignored – such as Scotland locking up transgender rapist Isla Bryson in a women-only prison – it sounds incredible.
But it is all very real – and all very damaging to society. How we used to boggle about the arcane doctrinal disputes of the medieval past, those schisms and wars about the corporeal nature of Christ or the Holy Trinity, the Chalcedonians and the Miaphysites. The egg is on our faces now. How does a modern, free society deal with such a mania? We’re finding out.
A big part of the problem is the thick (in both senses of the word) layer of establishment suck-ups who embrace gender ideology simply because it’s part of the progressive opinion suite. The circus turns include the likes of broadcaster James O’Brien and idiot ‘progressive’ adults like that teacher defending self-identifying felines. They’re so terrified of saying the wrong thing that they equate demanding to be recognised as a cat with demanding the right to live a full and equal life as a homosexual.
The government is now being hit from all sides. There are those in ‘the LGBTQ+ community’, issuing blood-curdling threats of murder and self-murder, lending the gender crusade the air of Jonestown. Then there are those inside the Tory Party, like Caroline Noakes and Maria Miller, who are happy to go along with it all. And alongside them there are the unaccountable trans lobbyists the Tories themselves invited across the threshold and into schools.
Facing all this down will require iron determination and unflinching, informed counterattack. Can we really anticipate this from the shattered, incompetent, disunited and mealy mouthed Conservative Party? Rishi Sunak can’t mention gender identity, at least in public, without adding pointless caveats about love, compassion, sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. Not that his mild manners do him any favours. The way his detractors describe him you’d think he was a redneck shock jock.
So the Tories will need to stick to their guns on the absurdity of gender ideology in the classroom. They will need to say ‘No’, firmly and repeatedly, to the very same people that they have encouraged and indulged for years because it gave them an easy life. One fears this Tory government will take the easy way out, and give in to the gender ideologues – just to make all that deranged and deranging shouting go away.
Still, on this as on so much else, we must hope that the government discovers a backbone, and finally stands up to the madness of gender ideology.
Gareth Roberts is a screenwriter and novelist, best known for his work on Doctor Who.
Picture by: Getty.
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