Earlier this week I walked into a conversation at the Club that was getting everyone hot under the collar. Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I am not one of the world’s great philosophers, and I am certainly not one to let fads and fashions interfere with my life too much, but occasionally a topic arises that just can’t be ignored. As I said, this happened earlier on this week, and at the time I was a little too preoccupied to give the subject much thought. Indeed, I took very little part in the conversation itself as I was feeling somewhat sorry for myself.
You see, I was at the Club, seated away from the bar reading the Times. I could see some of the chaps were having a rather heated discussion about something or other but couldn’t quite hear what was going on. So, as I needed a top-up on my whiskey, I made my way to the bar. It turns out that they were talking about an article that one of the younger chappies had been reading in one of the supplements about some star or other bringing up their children to be, what he called, gender neutral. I have to admit that up until this point I had not heard the term before and was at a disadvantage until one of the fellows explained it to me.
My initial reaction was that it was just another of these new-fangled business terms, probably what I would have referred to as unisex. For that reason, I could not understand what the fuss was all about. After all, the idea of unisex toilets isn’t new. I have been to several establishments over the years where men and women share the same facilities. It was only after a second whiskey and some further explanations by some of the chaps, that I began to understand what they were actually talking about. As it was, I left very soon after this and, at the time, gave the subject not another moment’s thought.
But in the meantime I have found myself pondering the subject, going over the discussion in my head. Previously I would have spoken to Dorothy about it as she would undoubtedly have been able to explain it to me in a way I could understand. Not that I normally need things explaining to me, but there are some subjects where Dorthy’s input does help me to put things into the right kind of perspective. I did speak to Nigel about it over drinks yesterday afternoon, but it seems it is a subject he knows even less about than me.
Whilst I can understand the idea of objects or facilities being gender neutral, that is to say, that they are not specific to male or female, the idea that a person can have no gender is one I find not only difficult to grasp but one I find totally absurd. How on earth can a person be gender neutral? it simply isn’t possible; it goes against the very laws of nature. And to think that a so-called personality can openly state that they are bringing up their children to be gender neutral is one of the silliest things I have heard for some time. Boys and girls are different, even if only the most basic physical sense. But that physical difference is hardly one that can be overlooked or dismissed. And even if you accept that some people are confused enough about their sexuality to be considered transsexual (something I also question), they are in a minority and should not be telling the majority how to raise their children.
The conversation I interrupted at the Club was by and large light-hearted with most of the chaps laughing about the issue. I myself joined in the general mirth, but on reflection, I find myself quite angry really. What will those poor children think when they discover that their own parents have deceived them about a very important part of their lives? For all the liberal who-har that you see and read about women’s equality, men and women are fundamentally different. It is the way nature made us. And whilst the modern world makes much of the traditional male and female roles redundant, we remain, and always will, two genders with different physiologies and different roles to play in society.
You can make as much noise as you like about equality and parity, but men will never have babies, be natural homemakers or have the same empathy as women, and women will never be as hairy. Of course, there will always be exceptions to the rules, but the genders are different, and I for one thank heaven for that. And as far as I am concerned, the sooner children learn to understand the roles that we each play in life’s rich tapestry the better.
Fashions and fads may come and go, but there are some fundamental truths that simply must be maintained, and allowing girls and boys to be just that is one of them. And on that note, I think that tomorrow I will pop out to the old family homestead for a few days. I think the change of scenery and pace will do me good.