The state of Florida recently passed a piece of legislation making it illegal for teachers to hold discussions with pupils under the age of eight about gender orientation. It seemed a very reasonable idea to me and I would guess that a largeish proportion of parents in this country, perhaps even a majority, would concur. I would not wish to indulge in an unrealistically idyllic view of childhood, but my own life was certainly less complicated in the years before I suddenly realised, much in the manner of Henry Miller’s famous epiphany, that (to bowdlerise a little) girls were all in possession of cervixes and might thus be receptive to overtures of a sexual nature – or that there might be boys who for complex reasons would remain unmoved by such a revelation.
That epiphany came at about 11. But the Florida legislation has been reported by the British media as if it were both prehistoric and fascistic, the assumption being that every-one else in the country would, upon learning of it, be rightly aghast. I was asked about the issue on Times Radio and I replied that I thought it was an exemplary piece of lawmaking and I fervently hoped we might enact the same stricture here.
A kind of appalled silence greeted my answer, almost as if they had witnessed me strangle a puppy to death live on air. Nowhere have I heard interviews with people who think similarly to me – just anguished shrieks from gay activists and the perpetually incandescent left.
Although I was ten or 11 when I was first told about homosexuals, for a good year prior to that the term ‘homo’ had been a very fashionable term of abuse in my school. Walking across a park in Darlington one balmy evening during the warm, halcyon World Cup summer of 1970, my mother took it upon herself to explain exactly what it was homosexuals got up to and why I should stay away from them. My mum compared homosexuals to vampire bats but added, a little darkly: ‘Except it’s not your neck they are after, Rod.’
School told me next to nothing. In the first year at my comprehensive the girls were gathered together for some sort of talk and were instructed to tell the boys, when inevitably they were asked, to say it was just to watch a few cartoons. That made no sense at all: we guessed it was all about their peculiar monthly cycles. Then when I was 15 I seem to remember being told what a penis could get up to, but this was several years after quite a few of us had already indulged in a few dry runs, so to speak.
Nothing else. My argument, then, isn’t that we should regress to precisely that level of magnificent ignorance with our young people, but that perhaps there might be a sort of halfway house.
But there is no halfway house for the liberals who decide what should be taught in our schools. They are almost as obsessed about sex and gender as they are about race – and for similar reasons. Promulgating a tendentious view about gender relations is crucial to their strange, self-flagellating and incoherent world view, as crucial as disparaging our nation’s history and the achievements of people stupid enough to be born white. The main thrust of this propaganda is to promote any gender preference which isn’t straightforwardly heterosexual, as they see heterosexuality almost entirely as an expression of majority oppression – an odd disposition, really, which ignores the obvious question about how we all came to be here in the first place.
I do not mean to be supercilious. If we are to teach gender dispositions and preferences – I use the word deliberately, for there is still not the slightest indication of a gay or transgender gene – then our teachers might at least do so with a little bit of honesty, rather than simply genuflecting towards the latest political fashions. So, an understanding that the purpose of sex is to procreate, thus replicating genes, might come right at the top of the list things kids should learn (once they’re past the age of 11).
It would also be honest of our teachers to point out that of all the many different variations of parenting we have in our society, the one which has unequivocally the best outcomes for children is to be brought up by two people – one a man, the other a woman – who are the married genetic parents of the children in question. There have been innumerable studies which have successfully supported this thesis.
They might also point out that treatment for people who wish to transition is in many cases irreversible and that transgender people are four times more likely than average to suffer some form of mental illness, usually depression. They might throw into the mix the following facts: that according to the largest ever study on the genetic basis of sexuality (from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2019) – which was backed up by the findings of many earlier studies – there is no gay gene. In other words, one is not simply born gay, despite the insistence of many activists to the contrary. However, one can be born a man or a woman – it’s there in the chromosomes – no matter how many times well-meaning people or propagandists tell you otherwise.
It is this which is the problem with sex education (as it used to be called) and this to which parents object. It is not in most cases a blanket refusal to have their children subjected to the whole business, but the way in which the issue has become hijacked by people who frankly do not know what they are talking about and simply parrot fashionable but erroneous shibboleths. Like the stuff I got taught about gay vampires, except nowhere near as funny.
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