I tend to judge a book by its index. But CJ Atkinson’s Can I Tell You About Gender Diversity? does not have an index. It only has a glossary; so I turned to it to look for two terms: sex and gender. To no great surprise, I found only half of what I sought.
The glossary defines gender as ‘how a person feels in regards to male/female/neither/both/other’. Yes, this is indecipherable; but the term sex doesn’t even make the glossary and this omission is entirely indicative of the book’s raison d’être. Though the human person is embodied as one of two sexes, which we call ‘male’ and ‘female’, this book is unconcerned with who we are. It is concerned only with who we think we are. So sex cannot be admitted into the conversation.
Our backdrop, then, is the neo-Gnostic dreamscape of self-invention.
Intended as a school resource, this slim volume tells the story of Kit, a 12-year-old girl who believes she is a ‘boy’. The story is told from her point of view, which allows the use of simple language, thereby making it accessible to children.
Kit tells us that as a trans person you might experience gender dysphoria, or not, and you might feel you are in the wrong body. Or not. You might choose to medically transition, but choosing not to does not make you less trans. Furthermore, your identity might be binary or non-binary, it might stay the same across time or it might change, and your awareness of your transness can surface during childhood, adolescence or indeed any time. There are lots of different ways to be trans and they are all the same.
We can safely conclude that there is no ‘there’ there.
The author gives most of the major gender-related contradictions an airing, all of which hang on the initial premise that Kit’s femaleness was merely ‘assigned’ to her at birth by a stranger, an accusation dramatised in this hyperbolic article Don't Let the Doctor Do This to Your Newborn.
The problem of stereotypes quickly makes an appearance in Kit’s account: do they limit us or define us? From an early age, Kit knew she wasn’t a girl because she “didn’t like playing with dolls.” Later, she knows she is a boy because she wears “boy’s clothes” and has “a boy’s haircut.”
The tension between gender-as-artificial-construct and gender-as-innate-identity thus rears its ugly head. Hormone blockers, we learn, are “a type of treatment (sic) that stops you from going through the puberty you were assigned at birth.” That’s right: puberty in this deluded mindset becomes a social construct. The book also trots out the lazily accepted notion and now much repeated mantra that gender is a spectrum. Yet as feminist academic Rebecca Reilly-Cooper explains here it is not just politically troubling for feminists, it is a fundamentally illogical and incoherent idea.
The book proceeds to inform us of the negative repercussions of “denying a young person access to their identity”. Five pages later we are reminded that the right to privacy includes the right to keep your “trans status” a secret. Leaving aside the question of how person X can be denied access to person X, legal permission to somehow conceal our sex tells us something important: transgenderism is not about embracing our mind. It is about denying our body.
As the book’s claims grow more extreme, and as the reader is pressured into accepting this virtual reality as ‘more real’ than ‘real reality’, the presence of a 12-year-old narrator ceases to be suitable—if it ever was—and becomes something deeply disturbing. This is particularly apparent when Kit addresses medicine, language and law.
Kit thinks she might want to take testosterone at 16. It will enable her to go through “boy puberty” at the same time as ‘other boys’ in her class. Her friend Tobi “might have ‘top surgery’ so that they don’t have breasts.” Likewise, Kit says you can have “hormone replacement (sic) therapy (sic)” to “help your body become the right body for you.”
This is no glossy mag offering tips on how to achieve your desired beach body. No, this is a 12-year-old girl teaching children a throwaway attitude towards the body: are there parts of your body you do not like? Then cut them off and thrown them away.
Encouraging children into such casual acts of violence against themselves truly is sadistic.
We are also presented with the standard account of how to react if we ‘misgender’ somebody or use the ‘wrong’ pronouns. Gender etiquette requires us to apologise and move on—or, in plain English, to admit that we were wrong and never do it again. Turning to law, Kit informs us that the Equality Act 2010 has allowed the school to “do things to help (her) without worrying that they were breaking any laws.” Did you catch that? The Act allows, indeed compels, schools to do the previously unthinkable, such as having boys and girls shower together.
This startling admission takes us into the heart of the issue. A book ostensibly about accommodating diversity also instructs us to use common words such as ‘male’ and ‘she’ in a brand new way. Why? And why the threatening references to the Equality Act? Because far from being clunky and out of place, new language and new laws are strictly necessary to the ideology.
Consider: after the summer holidays, Kit returned to school as “who I really am”—a ‘boy’—and everybody in her class “wore stickers saying what their pronouns were.” Why? What is going on here is not an effort to accommodate trans-sexualism whilst conserving the status quo. Rather, it is an attempt to create a new and bodiless ‘version’ of the human person.
When the body will not budge the best the ideology can do is force us to divorce our mind from our body. This is why the ideology’s tentacles need to wrap themselves around everybody and everything about everybody—law, language, medicine, and so on. As Jonathan Saunders recently put it, gender is a universal acid set on dissolving all legal recognition of sex and sexual difference.
Be in no doubt, this is a revolution. If you have a child in school I recommend you familiarise yourself with the ideology promoted by this book. Your child’s sanity just might depend on it, as indeed might yours.