A defective mattering map

Never mind sexual violence, poverty, racism, corruption, Brexit, rising sea levels, disappearing coral reefs – let’s focus on PRONOUNS.

Schools in Brighton are to give out pronoun stickers to pupils in a bid to support transgender children.

The stickers, which are being handed out to pupils in secondary schools and colleges, are part of Brighton and Hove City Council’s pronoun badges campaign which aims to prevent “misgendering”.

The council’s badges indicate whether people would like to be addressed as “he”, “she” or “they” – and some are left blank to allow people to fill in their own pronouns.

Even if I thought people had a right to order the entire world to address them by a Special set of pronouns that don’t match the boring facts, I would still think this was idiotic. Even if I thought people had such a right, I would still think it was one of the most minor rights anyone could possibly come up with. Even if I thought the whole idea made sense, I would still think councils and schools and hospitals should not be wasting one second of their time on it. As it is, I think these people have traded in their brains in exchange for a vat of warm custard.

Trans rights campaigner Sophie Cook said misgendering, the act of addressing an individual by the wrong pronoun, can be particularly harmful to transgender school pupils.

But, for the bazillionth time, you don’t address people by their pronouns; “you” is not gendered. You only talk about people by their pronouns, and no I don’t believe it’s “harmful” to anyone to hear a “he” when xir wants a “she.” Not everything we don’t like is harmful; I get that they don’t like it but I don’t believe it’s harmful. I think that’s just part of the tedious melodrama that keeps getting ratcheted up into more and more lurid eMotional hisTrionics.

She told The Argus: “In these situations, you will have people up in arms. But quite frankly, what difference does it make to those people?

“It’s a great way of making people think about identities of the people they’re talking to.”

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh but what if we don’t want to be made to think about the identities of the people we’re talking to? What then, eh?

I know I certainly don’t want to be made to do any such thing. I’ll decide what to think about when I talk to people, thank you.

A city council spokesperson said: “The badges and stickers help raise awareness that you can’t assume someone’s gender identity and the pronouns they use. We know from a range of evidence that gender is more complicated than is traditionally recognised.”

Blah blah blah. “Gender identity” is hokum. You can “assume” someone’s sex, and sometimes you have to for safety reasons. “Gender identity” is a hobby and not something any other party has to pay attention to. You can assume what pronouns people “use” if you’re going to have a rational conversation in mutually-comprehensible language. The spokes means sex, not gender, and we haven’t suddenly learned that it’s More Complicated; that’s just jargon.

“We all define our own gender and we should respect other people’s identities and rights.”

We don’t all define our own sex, and there is no moral imperative to “respect other people’s identities” – that’s meaningless wokespeak, and it’s worthless.

They added: “We’re proud of being a diverse city, and the council is committed to equality and inclusion for all people, including our trans and non-binary residents. Our equality and inclusion strategy rightly supports those who are experiencing greatest disadvantage.”

There it is again! “Those who are experiencing greatest disadvantage” – who says that’s trans people? Who measured and issued a ruling, and where can we learn more about it?

Brighton and Hove Council has an illustration.

Pronoun stickers are being giving out in secondary schools in Brighton to raise awareness

“My pronouns matter” – no, actually, they don’t. They really don’t.

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