Five years ago, if someone had told you it would soon become tantamount to a speechcrime to say ‘There are two genders’, you would have thought them mad.
Sure, we live in unforgivably politically correct times. Ours is an era in which the offence-taking mob regularly slams comedians for telling off-colour jokes, demands the expulsion from campus of speakers who might offend students’ sensibilities, and hollers ‘Islamophobe’, ‘homophobe’ or ‘transphobe’ at anyone who transgresses their moral code on anything from same-sex marriage to respecting Islam. (A phobia, we should always remind ourselves, is a mental malaise, a disturbance of the mind. How very Soviet Union to depict your opponents essentially as mentally diseased.)
And yet for all that, surely it would never become a risky business to utter the opinion: ‘There are men and women and that’s all.’ Well, that has now happened. It is now looked upon as hateful, sinful and phobic, of course, to express a view that has guided humanity for millennia: that humankind is divided into two sexes, and they are distinctive, and one cannot become the other. Amazon.com Gift Card i... Buy New $15.00 (as of 05:05 EDT - Details)
Say that today in a university lecture room packed with right-on millennials and watch their faces contort with fury. Write it in a newspaper column or blog post and witness the swift formation of a virtual mob yelling for you to be fired. Say it on TV and there will be protests against you, petitions, demands that you and your foul, outdated ideology be denied the oxygen of televisual publicity.
Consider what happened with Graham Linehan. Last week, Linehan, the comedy writer behind Father Ted, The IT Crowd and Black Books, appeared on Prime Time, a current-affairs show on RTE in Ireland, to discuss the rising number of young people being diagnosed as transgender. And the trans lobby went berserk.
Like many people – most of whom understandably keep their concerns to themselves – Linehan is worried that telling kids they were born in the wrong body might screw them up rather than help them out. It is indeed worrying that growing numbers of young people are being told they are gender dysphoric and in some cases are being offered therapeutic and even medical intervention to stop them from proceeding in ‘the wrong gender’.