Thursday, 28 January 2016

Gender outrage

The Brighton Argus (and as a result the Metro and I think we can assume the Daily Mail) is up in arms at the news that some survey or other has been given to schoolkids in Brighton which asks about things like their gender. The Argus can't remember the difference between gender and sexuality and ties itseful up in knots while the Metro squeals:

For gender there are 24 options listed. Well, 23 and prefer not to say. OK, 22, plus prefer not to say and a write-in Other box. So either 22 or 23 or an infinite number, so let's put 24 in the headline because it's definitely not the right answer.

"Oh waily waily, the sky is going to fall in" cry the Chicken Lickens of the 1970s who are somehow still grinding articles out for newspapers.

How on Earth will a child - a mere child, with no more knowledge about their sense of gender than actually being that person day in, day out, and spending their whole life being the person who actually inhabits their own damn gender - how will a child be able to tick the right box? When wilfully and conscientiously backward journalists, with no way of finding things out because their feeble minds live in the world of DI Gene Hunt not the world of I'll Just Google It, are not quite sure what demi-girl might mean.

What's that? "It's quite work-out-able and basic a word that if you're not sure what it means you could just say it out loud, think about the two elements, and it's bleedin' obvious?" Not in 1973 it isn't. And that's where we all are, right?  Especially kids born this century.

So yes. 24 options. Basically: good, almost all the pupils will simply tick "female" or "male" and this is not difficult, scary or challenging. For a few they will be able to tick others and by gods what a good thing for them it is to have their existence acknowledged rather than being told they are bad and wrong once again. The lazy hack journalists who have sniped at this need tossing back into the decade where they belong, and leaving there.

If you are, say, happily female, you don't need to know what all the other options might mean when you can just say: that box there, that's me, tick. There are a fistful of names I have trouble pronouncing, yet when it comes to identifying my own name on an attendance list, them appearing on the list too wouldn't stop me finding my name and going "ah yes, that's me".

But to be honest, on seeing the headline what I first think is: 24 options? I do hope they're coded with one letter each from the alphabet, excluding F and M.

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