Try as I might, I can’t get terribly excited about the current and continuing controversy over the issue of trans-gender athletes competing in women’s sporting events. Allowing them to do so is, according to some of the leading female competitors in various sports, grossly unfair as they, the women, suddenly find themselves racing, playing or wrestling opponents who have all the features of masculinity except those vital bits that used to define gender. Or have I got even this wrong?
Likewise, I don’t lose sleep at night worrying about why the chap standing at the next urinal is wearing a fetching skirt and blouse ensemble from LK Bennett. Mind you, I can understand why the ladies might get a little disconcerted when a bearded, six-foot-plus monster arrives in the ladies facility, even though the sitting-down cubicles have doors.
Perhaps I should give the matter more thought. But what is the matter to be thought about, exactly? It is all so terribly complicated, this whole business of gender confusion. For a start, I can’t even be sure I have the nomenclature right. There are so many new words and phrases with which to become acquainted. So much time to be spent on getting it right. So many new opportunities for saying the wrong thing and causing offence. Or, worse, blindingly revealing that I’m a social ignoramus, old-fashioned, wedded to outmoded tropes and shibboleths. I don’t even know whether I qualify as woke or snowflake. I’m not even absolutely sure what those words mean. These days, words appear unannounced, with no origin to explain them, some quickly evolving anyway, often within weeks of arriving. into something infinitely more subtle and complex than their first meaning.
I have never had any problem with homosexuals, either of the male or female variety. They know what they are and who they are and these days, mercifully, both seem not to be demonstrably different from us heterosexuals – even down to what positions they take while having sex (which makes one wonder all the more why religious groups seems so obsessed with the matter of ‘what they get up to’ . And even the campest or butchest of them attest to remaining either men or women in what was once the accepted sense of the term. Transsexuals, or whatever they are called this week, raise issues of social managements of an altogether different kind – like which lavatories they should use, and which other facilities, currently segregated – like hospital wards – they should have access to.
I simply find myself stranded with nothing new or interesting to say on the subject – just idly wishing that someone cleverer and more sensitive, or perhaps just more up-to-date than I am, would work it all out and come up with a set of rules that make sense. I dare say I could do it myself if I knew enough or had the inclination. I can deal with complexity, up to a point, but right now I am mired like those needles that used to stick on an old gramophone records – anyone remember those? – which is that men have penises and women have vaginas and that no more essential facts are required to determine what gender they are.
Of course their is more to it than that, as there usually is. I just don’t know what it is.
On a separate note, my rants have been less frequent of late, for which I apologise. The reason is that my computer has met its demise. I mean died. As in deceased. Expired. Ceased to exist. Or as the Central Intelligence Agency used to say, terminated with extreme prejudice. Yes, I probably murdered it, at least to the extent of involuntary machine-slaughter. My machine, I’m told by someone who knows a deceased computer when he sees one, is beyond any hope of resurrection. Its passing was not entirely unexpected. Of late months its breathing had become increasingly laboured, its memory severely impaired, its mood increasingly crotchety. The wonder is that it lasted this long. It was pretty old for a computer: fifteen years. In human terms, that probably made it older than I am. I hope it wasn’t an omen. My own breathing is more laboured these days, my memory is not what it used to be, and I am downright crotchety most of the time.
Anyway, I have spent the best part of a week mooching about the house like a man whose wife has gone on an extended trip without briefing him on where everything is,how it all works and who to call when it doesn’t.
Normal service will, make that may, be resumed as soon as possible.