It must be the week for those ignorant bigots who govern us to demonstrate the awfulness of their kneejerk approaches to gender issues. Meanwhile, those of us who actually live the life, well we still have to live it, no thanks to our political friends. Not that one would generally expect any useful support from said politicians anyway, be they local, national or European. More’s the pity.
So, perhaps it’s no real surprise to come across this little headdesker of a story from TheParliament.com (link here):
A group of MEPs have tabled a written declaration calling for a new parliamentary gender guidance booklet to be withdrawn.
Roger Helmer, Christopher Heaton-Harris and Martin Callanan, all UK Tories, have branded the guide as “political correctness gone mad.”
First, let’s note that these three are cis men and Conservative politicians. Those two facts alone speak volumes.
Second, let’s hear it again for our old friend “political correctness gone mad”. As I pointed out in my post of Monday, Cis man makes offensive “joke” then complains about consequent police warning (link here), Kai Chang deconstructed that particular meme a long time ago. To remind our three heroes, it’s called The Greatest Cliché: The Unexamined Propaganda of “Political Correctness” (link here). Here’s a taster:
Simply put, the great “PC” cliché, as commonly deployed in mainstream discourse, is cultural propaganda designed to befuddle and misdirect while defending the current power structure. All politics deal with power relations, and [...] there’s a stark asymmetry of power between the defiant megaphone-wielders who complain of being constrained by humorless hypersensitivity from below, and the under-represented people of color, women, LGBT, disabled, poor, and otherwise marginalized or dispossessed people who have no choice but to absorb the linguistic, cultural, and physical barbs of the ruling class. The former feel psycho-emotionally oppressed by their inability to crack puerile [...] jokes without criticism; the latter simply are oppressed.
And yet, according to Christopher Heaton-Harris, MEP:
[...] a person’s sex is fundamental to their sense of identity.
“It is an essential part of who they are, how they wish to be characterised, and how they relate to other people. This is just another example of political correctness gone mad in the European parliament. It’s time to make a stand for common sense,” he said.
He added “No one I know wants to be neuter and androgynous. They’re happy to be women or men”.
Oh I do love a sweeping generalisation. There’s just so much wrong in those few sentences it’s difficult to know where to start. Time for a quick smiting with the cluestick by the parliamentary authorities who issued the document, you might think. But instead, what do we get? Backpedalling, that’s what:
A parliamentary source said the guide is a voluntary code intended for staff and not politicians.
So the three MEPs are free to ignore the code – because it’s not aimed at them. And – to add insult to injury – it’s okay for parliamentary staff to ignore it too, if they choose. Makes you wonder why it was published in the first place.
I’d have thought that anything that helps (in no matter how small a way) to start changing the entrenched cissexist and trans-misogynistic attitudes that tell cis people it’s acceptable to misgender anyone who doesn’t fit neatly into the gender binary, should be encouraged. Especially by those privileged yet obviously bigoted cis politicians who claim to represent our interests in Europe.