IF LATEST reports from the US are to be believed, the Duchess of Sussex is planning, presumably with her husband’s blessing, to bring up the seventh in line to the throne as neither boy nor girl. According to what has emerged following Meghan Markle’s baby shower with pals in a New York hotel, the child is to be raised in a ‘gender fluid’ manner. To be fair, we’ve heard nothing about a little boy charging about great-grandmother’s corridors in a dress, nor about a girl being given a gender-ambiguous name. All of which is something of a relief to royal watchers, no doubt.
What has been claimed is that the soon-to-be-born royal baby’s nursery is decorated in neutral whites and greys. As ‘gender-fluid’ goes, it’s a story without much colour.
It was enough, however, probably because the duchess is accumulating form for speaking out on what are seen by some as ‘social justice warrior’ issues, to have Kensington Palace issuing a statement. It has described as ‘totally false’ any rumours that the royal pair are planning to take a ‘gender-fluid’ approach to parenting. Palace officials were bound to do this after an unnamed source told no less an organ than Vanity Fair that the couple ‘want to raise their child without reference to its natural sex’. The source is quoted as saying that the ‘exact’ word ‘fluid’ was used and they won’t be ‘imposing any stereotypes’.
The Duchess of Sussex is a graduate of Northwestern University in Illinois, which is able to boast Saul Bellow amongst its alumni. The School of Communications there is where the duchess earned a double major in theatre and international studies. Reading, one assumes, is something she is still inclined to do. It is something that over the coming months she will have plenty of time for, given that she is unlikely to be as physically and mentally tired as the rest of the world’s new mothers. If indeed the duchess is starting to be swept along by transgender ideology, then she would do well to reach for something by Camille Paglia, the American academic and cultural critic. She herself is transgender, but given her staunch defence of the straightforward biological fact that sex change is impossible because the coding in human cells is there for life, she is not one for falling into line on transgenderism. She has in the past described `transgender mania’ in the West as a symptom of decadence and cultural collapse.
The duchess might also take a look at the alarming spike in numbers over recent years of children and teenagers being referred to the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS). In 2017-18 there was a 25 per cent increase (at 2,519) in referrals on the previous year. In doing so, she might like to wonder if there really are more children with gender dysphoria, or whether these troubled youngsters are having ideas seeded in their minds by the harmful ideology that is sweeping across culture.
These young people are victims of an identity politics movement that is boosted the more people want to use phrases such as `gender fluid’ and `gender-neutral’, the more they feel the need to start `opening up the conversation’ (to use a modern expression) around children who ought to be allowed to be children, without being confused by the complexities of the adult world. Those of us whose day jobs are bound up with language and its uses know that it’s basically only words that can be gender neutral: the pronouns `it’ or `them’ or nouns such as `dancer’ or `dentist’.
One of the mottos at Northwestern University, the Duchess’s alma mater, is `Whatsoever things are true’ (Philippians 4:8). The words said by Paul are part of a list he feels are worth believers thinking about: in other words, what is true is important. One of two things is going to happen soon for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex; they are going to welcome a baby girl or a baby boy into their lives. It really doesn’t matter if there are dangerous stereotypes like fairies and princesses, tractors and trains, or pinks or blues, or none of the above, around a baby’s nursery, royal or otherwise. What matters is what is true. Like the truth of having a new son. Or of having a new daughter. Because the truth is it will be one or the other. Fluid won’t come into it.
If the royal child grows up with gender dysphoria, that’s another matter, and to be handled in later years. What no child needs is to suffer the imposition of any nonsense about so-called gender fluidity, because there probably is right now a woke parenting trend developing along the lines of `well, yes, we have a son but we try to play it down’ or `Yes, she’s a girl but actually we’re going to leave it up to her to decide.’ Let’s hope the royal pair will not be adding in any way to the numbers climbing aboard the bandwagon of gender identity politics.