With the support of Britain’s Department of Education, UK primary schools are about to receive a new book written by CJ Atkinson, and titled Can I Tell You About Gender Diversity?
The book commences with the following gem:
“My name is Kit and I’m 12 years old. I live in a house with my mum and dad, and our dog, Pickle. When I was born, the doctors told my mum and dad that they had a baby girl, and so for the first few years of my life that’s how my parents raised me. This is called being assigned female at birth. I wasn’t ever very happy that way.”
Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Funded, in part, by a $245,000 UK government initiative, the author’s target audience is boys and girls above the old age of seven. Yes, you heard that right, seven.
First, a caveat. Atkinson appears to be a quite pleasant individual. “They,” “them,” and “their” – as Atkinson prefers to be pronoun-referred – is a practicing Christian and seems quite polite towards her critics. This is an example to which many on the left – and the right – should pay heed. Indeed, as conservatives, we should always work to welcome different individuals into a unified, more cohesive society.
Less inspiring, however, is Atkinson’s political mission. After all, their publisher, Jessica Kingsley is clear about the agenda involved. One Jessica Kingsley representative told The Guardian, “The introduction of gender-neutral toilets and non-binary pronouns are important first steps, but there is a definite lack of resources out there for teachers, parents and children themselves.” The issue is that Atkinson and their publisher regard the book as educational rather than agenda driven.
And that speaks to a broader problem: the book positions its gender narrative at children of a young and formative age. Put simply, it seeks – with realistic potential – to shape young minds under gender identities that do not reflect the specific nature of each individual. At college or perhaps even at the later stages of high school, students should be educated on their individual right to pursue a gender identity of their choosing. But postulating at such a young age that many boys should be girls and vice versa, this book risks confusing the best human development of a child’s mind.
Still, it’s not as if the UK is alone in pushing gender re-education narratives.
Take the University of Wisconsin at Madison’s “Men’s Project.” Entering its second year, the program is “designed to create a space for critical self-reflection and dialogue about what it means to be a man and how masculinity impacts us and those around us.” Amusingly, the project’s Facebook page tries to persuade prospective participants to join up by offering friendship with poorly dressed, tediously liberal sounding co-participants.
That said, speaking to The College Fix, a university spokeswoman claimed the program had a serious purpose. It seeks, she argued, to alter negative expectations about the nature of manhood. This includes counteracting “expectations [that negatively] influence the decisions men make about friendships; spending time outside of class; careers or academic majors; and sexual and romantic relationships. Men are socialized to believe they need to act a certain way to be accepted as ‘masculine’ or have what it takes to be a man.”
Let’s be clear. The vast majority of men know how to act without needing a gender class. Instead, they know how to act as a man because they have grown up to know how to act. All the University of Wisconsin is doing here is to fetishize pointless self-introspection. Don’t take my word for it, just ask any American woman what they prefer in a date. I would venture that the overwhelming majority – regardless of political persuasion – would preference a man who was confident, humorous, willing to take the lead in arranging events, and interested in a respectful dialogue.
Perhaps I’m wrong. But I think not.
Humans deserve the right of patience in growing up to know what being a man or a woman is. Or who or what they are. At age 7, they don’t need a lesson in the variable morality of pronouns. At age 18, they don’t need flagellation in the criminality of having a penis.