According to reports, Justine Greening, the temporal, but hopefully not spiritual, heir to Harriet Harman, is putting forward a consultation on proposals that will permit people to choose their gender with self-certification. Their biological reality would be irrelevant. This follows on from the concept that babies are ‘assigned’ their gender based on what they have between their legs.
The transgender lobby seems unstoppable. The biological, personal and emotional turmoil associated with gender identity have been successfully politicised, and in record time as well. This seems to have coincided with the refinement of gender-reassignment medications and surgical techniques, resulting in cohorts of newly-skilled surgeons and other support workers in need of paying patients to further their careers. There seems to be a market force at work here.
The lobbyists and commentators have successfully managed to promote the phrase ‘transphobic’ and to make this akin to racism and unfettered use of gas chambers, and are using this to drive the agenda by denouncing anyone who has the audacity to disagree with their outlook, including such right-wing reactionaries as Peter Tatchell, Germaine Greer and Julie Bindell. Our minority government does not wish to be labelled anything-phobic and seems to have scorned rational debate and challenge. The consultation may be window-dressing.
Consider this. An individual dressed in jeans and tee-shirt enters the changing room of a gymnasium, where they begin to disrobe. It is quickly obvious that the person has male reproductive equipment, but he is in the women’s changing room. It’s okay, he says, I self-identify as a woman. But does he? Could he just be a voyeur using this trick to satisfy his kink? It is but a one small step for a man to be entitled to enter a women’s changing-room to do so with a concealed miniature camera to allow him to relive his visual experiences and interactions.
The solutions to the above scenario are twofold. One is to have a third changing-room for transgender people, those were born as intersex, those that are transitioning, those that have been surgically altered, those that self-identify, and any another category. The second is a more socialist solution. One big changing room for all.
Both would create complications. The dizzyingly different subcategories of transgender people may mean that intersexuals may be uncomfortable sharing this new changing-room with transitioners or self-identifiers in their dedicated changing room. The one-size-fits-all socialist approach is more compelling. It could be regarded as more grown-up. The collectivists may argue that people must be mature about displaying their bodies in states of undress in a truly equal society.. To not do so is to promote body shaming.
A simple solution to this for the individual who puts privacy before politics is to change clothes in the car with some kind of screening set up. This does not get around the problem of showering, unless this is done at home. People who go to the gymnasium by bus may have a problem.
Perhaps there may be a whole new differentiation, respecting body-sensitive people who need more privacy. There could be two changing rooms, one for body-sensitives and one for the body-confident. This would remove the whole gender identity argument from the deployment of changing rooms. Of course, a body-sensitive woman may have a problem sharing a changing-room with men, but at least she might be reassured that the men were as body-sensitive as she was. Possibly.
The voyeur’s charter of Greening’s initiative may seem fanciful, but changes like this proposal do have unintended consequences. Who knew that relaxing rules on substances used to unclog sinks would result in a vitriol-throwing epidemic of a kind unseen since the nineteenth century? Who knew that a reduction in police car chases of criminal teenagers for road safety reasons would result in a moped-driven robbery epidemic in Diane Abbott’s Hackney? Was it expected that giving children access to the internet would result in paedophiles finding a convenient method of grooming their victims? The boom in the new technology of videocassettes in the 1970s was driven in part by the ability to view pornographic movies at home instead of in a seedy cinema. This demand helped fuel the rise of the internet.
At this stage, Greening’s initiative is in consultation. Perhaps men do not have too much of a problem with a woman who self-identifies as a man changing her clothes in a men’s changing room. The reverse may not be true. For all the highfalutin talk of equality, men and women do have different attitudes to seeing the opposite sex in states of undress in a public context. The business models of the stripping and lap dance industry are an indication of this reality much better than any campaigner or politician.
Whatever the outcome of the consultation, unless the idea is struck down or highly limited, any new measure will place additional and disproportionate costs on some businesses, costs that will be passed on to the consumer, who will find themselves paying for someone else successfully avoiding being denounced as transphobic by extremists.
For all the talk of the ideology of equality, this is never discussed in terms of how it affects the cost of living. It may be virtuous to state that money is no object in the pursuit of ideals, but then ignoring financial consequences of utopianism is consistently a recipe for disaster. Ask any Venezuelan.