The officially trumpeted craze for men dressing in women’s clothes provides a window on the extent to which social conditions in Britain have become psychotic. Far from being described as an activity that a small proportion of men engage in for a laugh, perhaps when collecting for charity, or for entertainment on the stage, or in private if that’s what turns them on, cross-dressing is now sold as part of the new “normal”, and as all about “rights”. The idea that a society might have norms that are healthy for its own reproduction and for the individuals who compose it is thrown in the rubbish bin and then covered up, as if it were an idea that was recently found to be totally wrong and is now terribly old-fashioned and smelly. “What’s normal for me isn’t normal for you” is the mantra.
We are slap bang in territory once marked out by the evil Margaret Thatcher when she boasted, after creating mass unemployment, that “there is no such thing as society”.
Let us state the obvious here: normal means typical, so being gay for example is not normal and neither is cross-dressing. And in case you thought otherwise, that is not a statement calling for anyone’s oppression.
In the political sphere, on 9 June 2016 the British state’s broadcasting arm treated its audience to a “Question Time” debate, in which the principal disputation concerned whether Britain should stay in the European Union or leave – an issue to be voted on by plebiscite a fortnight later. The main person appearing for Brexit was Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, a normal-looking man in a suit. The main speaker for Remain was Eddie Izzard, a transvestite, best known for his work as a comedian, who appeared dressed in eye makeup, lipstick, and a pink beret.
Neither the chairman nor any member of the panel – nor, perish the thought, anyone allowed to speak from the audience – commented on the transvestite’s idiotic appearance. After all, everyone can do whatever they want and it’s not up to the rest of us to say otherwise. If he wants to come dressed as a petunia, that’s up to him. Right? We should note here that Mr Izzard is not one of the tiny minority of people who suffer from chromosomal deformity. He is a man. His sex chromosome is XY, exactly as it is for almost half of the world’s population. It’s not his physiology that’s abnormal; it’s his behaviour and his personality.
Needless to say, it was Nigel Farage’s side which won the vote, against the expectations of many.
But where, in the torrents of “analysis” of how on earth the referendum result came to happen, have you ever even seen the zaniness of this debate, in which millions of punters watched a normally-dressed man debate against a transvestite, even mentioned?
Which leads me to the next observation: those who play intermediary roles in the opinion chain know that they’re not allowed to touch that kind of question. They’re not permitted to wonder in print about the effect that the British state’s presentation of a pro-Remain transvestite arguing against a pro-Leave man wearing normal clothes may have had on people’s voting choices a few days later. It’s more than their careers are worth. And rather than admitting that they’re too scared, most of them internalise their cowardice as if their public attitude reflects what they themselves decided to think, completely off their own bat.
Whatever you do, don’t call the debate’s theatrical concept ridiculous! Don’t compare it with a debate where one of the participants was wearing a monkey suit!
It is always a fallacy to paint the distinction between two categories as unimportant because the border between them is grey and has a thickness. Similarly, there have been a number of reports about how boy school pupils should be able to wear skirts. Shitclown headmasters – members of a group who are experts at thinking exactly what they’re told, precisely what the party line is at any given time, and at channelling it to the group that lies beneath them, namely other people’s children and their parents – talk about how they’re fighting sexism, as if they were leftwing radicals, as if they were in the habit of thinking for themselves against the oppressors. Which is close to the exact opposite of what people who work in that job really are.
Thomas Canham, a transvestite with a law degree who calls traditional notions of masculinity “meaningless”, and who we can only conclude has difficulties with what the word “meaning” usually denotes, is being paid to “lecture” in nursery schools wearing women’s clothing, in front of children aged two and three, about how it’s “normal” for some children to have an essential gender that’s opposite to what their bodies tell them. The message appears to be as follows: “Do you get annoyed with the other boys sometimes, little lad? Well why not try wearing a skirt? Never mind what your mum and dad say!”
In Scotland, the Liberal Democrat political party is even advocating that schools should have a “gender-neutral” uniform policy, meaning that if trousers are all right for boys then they should be all right for girls (a policy that would annoy few) and that if skirts are okay for girls then they should be fine for boys too. The latter is a policy that still, even in our benighted times, most of the population know is utterly absurd. It has nothing whatsoever to do with fighting the oppression of females, even when it is couched in terms of giving girls more freedom to do cartwheels without showing their knickers.
It is, in fact, nothing whatsoever to do with what was called feminism a few decades ago, such as the ideas that Germaine Greer advances in her book The Female Eunuch (1970). As Greer made crystal clear she was aware, females and males are fundamentally psychologically different. Yes, support the right of a girl to be a tomboy and a boy to be a cissy. But overdetermine that right and you end up in fucking freako land.
Sometimes appreciating the edge between categories is crucial to understanding their nature and their opposition. Sometimes it isn’t. But to argue that the distinction between two categories is unimportant because the line between them is not infinitesimally thin is always fallacious.