Last night’s* Westminster Hall debate on GRA reform ended the tactics of no debate on transgender rights. At times it was passionate; Miriam Cates was interrupted eight times in ten minutes as she argued the case for women, children, and science.
From my earliest memories I struggled in a society delineated by sex. The rules were different for boys and girls, from what we could wear to how we related to society. Certainly, the expectations placed on me, as a three-year-old boy, were very different to those experienced by three-year-old girls.
Some of this was external – I was told that I would grow up to be big and strong – but we are all curious combinations of nurture and nature, and much was driven from within. I longed to be a girl from before I could speak in full sentences; without the capacity to explain my reasons, even to myself. But, at the same time, the taboo against wearing clothes marketed at girls was already hardwired into my mind.
As a child of the 1970s, I can still recall the trauma of watching Elvis Costello jab his finger at me as he sang “Called careers information; have you got yourself an occupation?” My dreams of becoming an astronaut had already evaporated by then and I feared I needed to make a hasty decision before I was conscripted into Oliver’s Army — or worse.
A generation later, the stakes are far higher for our kids. Today the refrain might be Called social media; have you got yourself a gender identity?