Coercion and the politics of inclusion

I’ve long been amazed by the willingness of the Australian media to buy into using the crazy terminology for the gay community, LGBTIQ or “alphabet soup” as some call it. It is nonsense to suggest the ever-growing Rainbow Coalition is a unified group, lobbying for cohesive, recognised goals. The reality is that the various factions are at each other’s throats, as was painfully obvious at an Ethics Centre debate held last year.

I’ve just published an article in The Spectator Australia about the coercive politics of inclusion which underpins what’s happening here. I’ll include my article below, for those who can’t access it online.

But I particularly want to draw attention to the excellent article by Dr John Whitehall, which I mention in my story. Whitehall, who is professor of paediatrics at the University of Western Sydney, is bravely speaking out about what he calls an “intrusion into the minds and bodies of children” which is leading to a “fashion in child surgical abuse.” He draws attention to new laws currently being introduced in Victoria which discourage doctors from simply monitoring children to allow them to grow out of any gender confusion (which most would do, if left alone.) The new laws bully doctors into intervention – even though there is no good evidence that this is helpful with the majority of such children. Here’s Whitehall’s important article – which was published in Quadrant magazine.

And here is my article:

Last year the Scottish philosopher John Haldane took part in a Sydney Ethics Centre debate challenging the notion that “Society Must Recognise Trans People’s Gender Identities”. Facing a hostile audience filled with Mardi Gras visitors, his reasoned arguments took issue with the coercion implied in that “must”. “We need toleration, a principled response to difference. But toleration is not endorsement, toleration is not approbation, toleration is not celebration,” he said.

He added that with such complex issues we need to proceed respectfully, showing empathy and sensitivity but it is inappropriate that society be forced to recognise any group. “We need to hold back the forces of coercion,” he added.

It’s a lesson Hillary Clinton confronted through the ballot box, not that her followers nor the blinkered media have taken note. Her downfall was a clear sign that mainstream communities have had a gutful of those forces of coercion bullying them into accepting views which they find uncomfortable or inappropriate. We’ve had decades of this compulsory politics of inclusion, a highly selective process where the elite crowd decides who will be offended when left out of any debate or lobbying effort, whilst omitting whole sectors of communities when it suits them.

The most obvious example was very much in evident at the Ethics Centre debate, where the so-called “Rainbow Coalition” was out in force. What shone through the occasionally acrimonious debate was perilous state of this splintering coalition. How ironic that we have all being bullied into using the crazy terminology for the gay community, “LGBTIQ” or “alphabet soup” as some call it, when the various factions are at each other’s throats.

Take British journalist and provocateur Milo Yiannoplouos’ efforts to promote a “Drop the T” campaign, lobbying to have transsexuals turfed out of the coalition. Milo, who’s been campaigning on US campuses on his self-described “Dangerous Faggot” tour, argues that the lobby for gay rights and freedoms is being undermined by transsexuals’ crazy demands. He suggests that transgenderism is not an alternative sexuality at all but rather a psychiatric disorder: “Everyone’s pretty much sold on gays and lesbians as a sexual orientation now. But you can’t do the same with trannies who require hormone treatments and the services of a skilled butcher.”

Feminists are becoming braver about explaining how the transgender lobby is riding roughshod over women’s rights. They object to T campaigners branding them “Terfs.” (trans exclusionary radical feminists) when they refuse to support all their pronouncements particularly about bathroom signage.

A fascinating example of the tension between these two groups emerged at a women’s festival in Auckland last year which included a display of cupcakes shaped like vulvas (to encourage women to accept their own nether regions.) Transgender activists complained this created an “unsafe environment for them” and tried to shut down the event – inspiring the rage of the lesbian feminists.

And so it goes on. Gay men are grumbling about lesbians commandeering the Rainbow float, muscling in to head up the alphabet soup and promoting an anti-male hate movement hell-bent on undermining the rights and welfare of boys and men. An Australian blogger known as Andy Bob notes that back in the 1960s Betty Friedan was referring to lesbian feminists as the “Lavender Menace” and warning they were bad news. “Perhaps if G had paid closer attention to this warning it may be have been better prepared to handle the moment when L told G to check its privilege and remove its limp-wristed self from the front of the queue,” he writes explaining that since then gay men have been brainwashed into accusing their straight brothers of being responsible for every problem and injustice the world has ever known.

And here’s Milo: “Let’s not forget, the majority of LGBT people, gay men, put in all the work to make gay rights happen. So stop taking us for granted and stop crapping on us just because we’re not going along with your latest fad. The G in LGBT has been a load-bearing wall for the whole alphabet soup crew for decades, and we extraordinary gays, the best gays, are tired of pulling along every single alternative sexuality when they expect us to do the heavy lifting while they do the easy grifting.”

The whole rotten LGBT edifice needs to come down, argues Milo. Recently in America the reputation of the coalition has been shaken by backlash to battles by the Ts over bathrooms, as state governments lined up to oppose Obama’s decree that the 55 million American kids in 100,000 public schools can choose any bathroom which fits their perceived gender identity.

The bathroom issue is a tough one. The Sydney Festival was recently blessed by performances from Ivan Coyote, a superb storyteller who thrilled audiences with his/her moving tales of struggles with gender identity. Coyote was born female but confusingly uses the royal plural. So they take issue with women’s complaints about being afraid of men in the women’s washroom because of what might happen. “But I’m afraid of women in the women’s washroom because of what happens to me all the time. …Who in the hell decides who gets to feel comfortable?” Coyote asks.

Much as I was won over by Coyote’s powerful stories, I suspect compulsory unisex toilets are just not going to happen – at least not until we find some way of teaching drunken men not to pee on the floor.

It all comes back to John Haldan’s plea for tolerance but not coercion and the T lobby, Coyote aside, shows no sign of getting that message. Late last year an article was published in Quadrant magazine by John Whitehall, Professor of Paediatrics at Western Sydney University which presents solid evidence that our society is being bullied into surgical abuse of so-called “transgender” children most of whom would have grown out of any gender confusion if they had been left to their own devices. Whitehall reveals how activists are grossly inflating figures to overestimate the prevalent of transgender children and describes alarming laws currently being introduced in Victoria which essentially prohibit professionals from sensible “wait and see” policies with children, demanding they intervene with puberty blockers, cross-sex-hormones and even surgery. “What astonishes me is the lack of evidence to support massive medical invention in the face of evidence that it is not necessary,” writes Professor Whitehall.

But it is a brave professional who speaks out on this subject. Whitehall’s article describes what has happened to Canadian transgender expert Ken Zucker, one of the world’s most experienced and respected leaders in this field for over four decades. Zucker has been stood down and forced to close his clinic because he chose not to intrude on children’s development in this way. “Children do not always know what is best for them and neither do we. It takes a long time for a child to know who he really is,” Zucker explained in a recent BBC documentary.

Gay marriage is another example where for years our publicly funded ABC chose to fill news reports with stories proselytizing gay marriage or items belittling people who challenged their propaganda. This created a backlash where many who initially supported ‘marriage equality’ objected to the coercion. Polling on this issue suggests a Trump effect where the privacy of a plebiscite vote would have revealed the extent of rebellion in the broader community.

Some years ago I was conducting research recruiting couples to write diaries about how they negotiate difference in sexual desire. I toyed with the idea of including gay couples but decided that would only add to the huge complexity of describing how this vexed issue plays out in the majority of marriages or long-term heterosexual relationships. The intricacies of this negotiation are too dense to burden the discussion with talk of lesbian bed death or randy gay men and what gay agony uncle Dan Savage calls their “monogamish” deals. Such intriguing topics deserve their own research.

It just doesn’t make sense to risk alienating an audience and dilute important messages by inappropriately genuflecting to diversity. A classic example is Cyndi Darnell, a Melbourne-based sex therapist who has made a great series of videos about sexual anatomy, The Atlas of Erotic Anatomy and Arousal. But what’s completely daft about Darnell’s otherwise excellent presentation is her determination to not use expressions like “his penis” or “her vagina” because there are people with these organs who don’t identify as those genders. It makes no sense to alienate her big heterosexual audience by pandering to the tiny numbers who fall into this category.

But that’s par for the course in today’s bizarre politics of inclusion.The needs and sensitivities of mainstream Australia are rarely taken into account as issues are framed in terms that cater to the most miniscule minority groups. And any resistance from ordinary folk to these grovelling displays of tolerance is met with public shaming and abuse.

Given what’s happened in Canada to the eminent Dr Ken Zucker perhaps it’s time we dropped all talk of the rainbow coalition and its nonsensical alphabet soup. There must be a way of giving enthusiastic support for rightful claims for tolerance and understanding to minority groups without being bullied into absurd policies which subvert the needs, comfort and safety of the majority.

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