I think future generations will look back on this strange obsession with the fine gradations as gender identity the way we look at weird 19th century nonsense like mesmerism or phrenology.
It’s silly, faddish, irrelevant, and founded on nothing but a desire to belong in a world where identity and belonging are undermined by global capitalism. But it’s a worrying sign nevertheless.
There’s so much confusion about these things. Men don’t know how to be men, women don’t know how to be women – never mind about learning to be gentlemanly or ladylike. Traditional role models have disappeared along with traditional roles. The family, which is supposed to be a source of mutual love, help, security, character formation, burden-sharing and risk-pooling, is breaking down – in part – because of it. The destruction of the family leads to more loneliness, depression and hardship.
Gender politics isn’t solely to blame, of course – it is also attributable to economic policies that, for example, require people to move away from extended family networks in search of work. But gender politics nevertheless has a corrosive influence, not least because by emasculating men and defeminising women it breaks down the sexual dynamic that should be at the heart of marriage.
But so chilling is the effect of the gender-politics ideology that some people will think I am being an oppressive reactionary bigot just for writing this. They think people who think this way should have their freedom of expression removed, that we should be ‘no platformed’ so as to deny any voice that does not conform to their gender-political view of the world.
This is not, I should add, an attempt to limit anyone’s freedom, or to suggest that homosexuality should be criminalised, or anything like that. It is simply to recognise the primacy of the man-woman family unit, and the extended family around that, as the basis for a happy, healthy society. But I am somewhat concerned by the way that the fetishisation of gender identity (with its flags and badges, and its coded language, in-crowds and hierarchies of coolness) is leading us down a blind alley – it’s leading us away from God’s plan for human sexuality and for human flourishing.