To the radical, the easiest way to win a debate is to insist that the only choice is between opposing poles. If you oppose any element of their argument, you have endorsed the enemy. If the criticism is tempered and credible, this only makes them regard it as more dangerous.
In the ultimate betrayal of the gay rights movement, steeped in liberationist and civil libertarian politics, the Pride flag has come to represent a thoroughly intolerant, authoritarian tendency. The gender identitarians are not interested in liberation or equality or tolerance. They demand affirmation – submission. They are in the business of both compelling and suppressing speech, of threatening the livelihoods and reputations of dissenters, of disrupting their opponents’ ability to peaceably assemble, of politically and socially ostracising those who think differently.
Science is meant to be about striving to better understand our world, just because it’s interesting, “because it’s there”, because we can. For politicised areas, a dose of plain, unmotivated interest is especially needed. If we stigmatise whole realms of research, well-meaning scientists will avoid showing an interest in sensitive topics, and only those with an axe to grind remain. Scientists must actively commit to protecting curiosity for curiosity’s sake. Asking why the sky is blue need not carry the subtext that it ought to be some other colour instead.
It’s a shame that this view of homosexuality, as neither fixed biological orientation nor “radical” disruptive force, has been forgotten. Key victories in gay rights have not given way to a “post-gay” moment of self-reflection for those who feel predominantly same-sex desire see themselves not as “other” but as universally human. Instead, we see a doubling down of identitarianism, particularly online, where every kink, feeling and sexual experience is ripe for categorisation.
“we should have enormous compassion and tolerance and understanding for those who are questioning their gender and identity.”
Mr Sunak said: “But we have to recognise the challenges that that poses, particularly for women’s safety. For me… whether it’s sex, whether it’s women’s spaces, whether it’s prisons, biological sex really matters.”
Relatedly, a serious historical inquiry might ask: how did Stonewall move from defending the rights of homosexuals in the Nineties to arguing in 2022 that lesbian women should date members of the opposite sex — that is, males who identify as women — or else be judged as motivated by “social prejudice” and even “sexual racism”? And while historians were at it, they might also consider how our society has moved from the laudable aim of depathologising homosexuality, to a now fairly widespread acceptance of the chemical castration of confused gay youth, under the guise of “transitioning” them — a fate horribly reminiscent of the one meted out so vindictively to Turing. All fascinating historical questions, none of which are remotely likely to be asked within the glossy corporate-friendly walls of Queer Britain, I predict.
This, surely, is the stuff that matters. It’s the stuff we once used to care about, before a fragile generation started treating polite disagreement as “genocide” and our rebranded community acquired a reputation for cry-bully tantrums. One day, I hope, the gender wars will end and we can return to those more proportionate values.
There are two sexes. You could talk about gender, if you wish and that’s subjective.
Piers: But when people say there are 100 genders?
Richard: I’m not interested in that. As a biologist, there are two sexes and that’s all there is to it.
The women’s movement and the gay rights movement, after all, tried to free the sexes from the construct of gender, with its antiquated notions of masculinity and femininity, to accept all women for who they are, whether tomboy, girly girl or butch dyke. To undo all this is to lose hard-won ground for women — and for men, too.
Debunking “Trans Women Are Not Women” Arguments
Transgender People and “Biological Sex” Myths
I live in a sexual and romantic world without women, where no patriarchy could definitionally exist, a subculture with hookups and relationships and marriages and every conceivable form of sexual
desire that straight men and women experience as well. And you know what you find? That men behave no differently in sexual matters when there are no women involved at all. In fact, remove women, and you see male sexuality unleashed more fully, as men would naturally express it, if they could get away with it.
So to end more straightforwardly, I will make a prediction: Within not too short a span of time, not only conservatives but most liberals will recognize that we have been running an experiment on trans-identifying youth without good or certain evidence, inspired by ideological motives rather than scientific rigor, in a way that future generations will regard as a grave medical-political scandal.
Which means that if you are a liberal who believes as much already, but you don’t feel comfortable saying it, your silence will eventually become your regret.
The script does not judge drugs or sex, but it is attuned to the comedown, and moreover, to them what’s next that yawns between highs.