Gender-neutral (G-N) is a very hot topic at the moment and as such there are contrasting views as to whether it is a genuine cry for understanding as a sexual orientation. Or has it been made into a political stick with which to beat traditional society. A number of schools have introduced G-N toilets/washrooms but so far extremely few in the wider community.
A question immediately springs to mind of why that should be. And, a secondary point is why in primary schools. Opponents will shoot straight from the hip that the reason is that it would not be tolerated in adult society. Therefore the argument goes on to suggest that it is an attempt to push the issue through the backdoor.
Another point raised is the number of people who consider themselves as G-N and inevitably what percentage they make up in society as a whole. We do not know but it would seem to be small, very small. This leads to the next question of why should society change to accommodate such numbers and, should society change to suit a tiny minority. A case of the tail wagging the dog!
The latter points have some credence because a change to G-N would necessitate a considerable change in outlook. It would entail a huge financial commitment by governments/States/businesses throughout the world to implement it. And, that assumes that the sexes would readily accept the new environment. Questions arise:
- There have been clashes between G-N supporters and feminist groups. Therefore, does it have widespread support?
- What would be the extent of embarrassment to both sexes which can lead to feelings of intimidation?
- Would urinals be included or would all be expected to use cubicles? I’m sure that many women would welcome the addition of more cubicles within existing arrangements, instead of the perpetual queues that many endure.
- Who would be in charge of the seat-up/ seat –down predicament?(no pun intended)
- Would disable / child facilities be incorporated?
- Would women’s private functions be catered for adequately?
- It could take generations for males to respect the new arrangements. (and in the meantime?)
- Sex is a most predatory instinct! Is this to be flushed away? Can it?
? In a multiple of places I have seen separate disable and child changing arrangements. Why not a similar idea for gender-neutral?
Therefore, is the promotion of G-N an attempt to manipulate society through a political desire for change? This brings us to the classic philosophical debate of whether the needs of the individual should supersede the conditions set by the majority. Taking a purely elitist liberal stance the individual is supreme. Does that therefore mean that the individual has no responsibility to the community? John Stuart Mill has a lot to answer for.
A supportive view is mentioned by Francis Fukuyama, (534) when he suggests that majorities in a democracy can ‘violate the rights of individuals and minorities,’ and find ways to impede there progress. It is, he submits, a question of law and who implements the law. However, democracy itself can and is circumvented by powerful interest groups to get their own way. In many cases this can be simply put as ‘the louder you shout the more you get.’
Can manipulation be condoned when following an ‘enlightened’ agenda? The alternative view must be that no form of manipulation can be acceptable because we can never be sure of the long-term consequences of change. To be welcomed by most change must happen at a pace that can be tolerated by the population, otherwise you are likely to be hit by various fault lines.
A scenario of a backlash leads us directly into the old –traditionalist V the avant-garde which is a false setting. The given scenario allows the promoters of change to castigate the mainstream as backward etc. This of course is a huge misrepresentation as many who wish to hold tight to the reins of change just want to ensure that the baby is not tossed out with the bath water.
It is indeed rational to want to digest possibilities, to think things through and eventually feel comfortable with the proposal. Youth on the other hand has a tendency to charge ahead without due consideration. If it sounds exciting, if others are doing it, then we can’t be seen to be a stick in the mud. Charge!
“Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.”
As an alternative we might look to Ambrose Philips 1671 – 1749
But when reflection comes with riper years,
And manhood with a thoughtful brow appears;
We cast the mistress off to take a wife,
And, wed to wisdom, lead a happy life.
Hm. It’s all a matter of perception which fosters opinion but reflection should be a critical element in our thinking and development. It may be fun to run but a walk gives us time to talk.
Moreover, how much consideration has been given to the long-term consequences of G-N on a world bases? Or is there a built in assumption on the part of the G-N lobby that their programme of change will make everyone happy. Everyone get on board – the Titanic comes to mind. (Unforeseen consequence)
- How will the education system be affected?
- Can we expect greater sexual confusion?
- What percentage of the new society will consider themselves G-N?
- How will it affect relationships?
- How will that affect population/species survival?
- Will there be an input from genetic engineering?
- Will opposition be allowed to thrive?
There are too many questions. It’s time I started on a book!
- Francis Fukuyama – Political Order and Political Decay