Friday, September 08, 2017

How The Transgender Crusade Made Me Rethink My Support For Gay Marriage

Over the course of the last few months, whenever I write or tweet anything, on any topic, I usually receive a caustic social media response about my position on transgenderism. These trolls post links to my tweets about the subject and screenshots, as if showing me my own recent opinion is some sort of gotcha. These individuals even send tweets to my husband and employers, perhaps in hope that they will use their power over me to get my opinion in check with The Approved Position.

One Twitter follower who “favorited” a tweet of mine about my view on transgenderism even received an email from a stranger demanding to know if her decision to “favorite” my tweet meant she agreed with me. I’ve been called every name in the book: hateful, bigoted, transphobic, etc. All for having a belief that was utterly uncontroversial just three years ago: men are born with penises, women are born with vaginas, and, to quote the great Ben Shapiro, facts don’t care about your feelings.

We Are Being Made to Care

Many of my fellow millennial conservatives, out of what they view as courtesy, use the preferred pronoun and name for individuals who identify as transgender. Here is why I won’t: We will be made to care.

The phrase is care of another great conservative thinker, Erick Erickson. He coined it in the midst of the gay marriage debate. During that debate, I was like many of these younger millennial conservatives. I naively thought the issue was merely about gay marriage, and thought “Hey, marriage is great, so let’s just give into the Left’s demands about the redefinition of a cornerstone of our society because not doing so would be bigoted.”

But there was more to the Left’s battle with conservatives than that. It wasn’t just about redefining marriage to these activists; it was also about punishing those who weren’t 100 percent on board, especially religious Christians. The livelihoods and lives of bakers, photographers, farmers, and the CEO of Mozilla were destroyed for not completely adhering to the Thought Police’s demands. These Americans were made to care.

The Trans Police Are Frightening Control Freaks

My colleague Joy Pullmann provided just the latest example last week of how the progressive Left is making the rest of us care about the transgender debate: “Angry parents stampeded a California charter school board meeting Monday after a teacher read her kindergarten class picture books about transgenderism to affirm a gender dysphoric classmate. During the class, parents say, the gender dysphoric boy also switched clothes to look more like a girl in a ‘gender reveal.’ Parents were not notified beforehand of the discussion or the classmate’s psychological condition, and learned about it when their confused kindergarteners arrived home from school that day.”

For Acculturated recently, I gamed out a frightening thought experiment about how parents who decide not to play along with their child’s gender dysphoria could one day be faced with a visit from Child Protective Services.

The Left has shown the totalitarian manner in which it exacts support, or at least silence, from everyday Americans. We’ve seen how lives were destroyed in the wake of the gay marriage debate, how many individuals were shouted down into submission by the side that proclaims itself to be “open-minded” and employed the slogans “No H8” and “Love Wins.” For many conservatives, including myself, the lesson has been learned.

With every tweet aimed at publicizing and shaming my position on transgenderism, the progressive Left is solidifying my decision to call Bruce Jenner by his given name instead of the name he has chosen because of a condition that mental health professionals once took seriously. Playing along with delusions isn’t a kindness to those suffering from other psychological conditions, and it isn’t a kindness for those with gender dysphoria either.

And if we lend credibility to the notion that adults can choose their sex, parents who refuse to allow a child who, just the week before, self-identified as a butterfly to choose her own gender could then be accused of denying their child health care (because many progressive activists view opposite-sex hormones and plastic surgery as health care now).

My answer for those on the Left who ask me “Why do you care what transgender individuals call themselves?” is simply this: because you have made me.


I’ve fought my whole life for equality. But John Lewis pretending both sexes are the same is ludicrous

No longer can I restrain myself: John Lewis ditching ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ labels, M&S attacked by campaigners for ‘sexist’ trainers — what on earth is going on?

In any other circumstances I would put this down to whimsy. A bit of a marketing ploy, in that oh-so lucrative month of September, when parents are digging deep into the family coffers for new uniforms, in a bid to grab their attention — and their cash.

But this trend to steer children’s clothing departments away from anything ‘gender binary’ (even the pompous phrasing sounds ludicrous) is gaining ground.

Put simply, the family-friendly store announced its children’s clothes would bear labels reading ‘girls and boys’ or ‘boys and girls’ and its sections would no longer be divided along obvious gender lines.

In short, clothes will be clothes. A pretty party dress and Action Man pyjamas? Gender-neutral.

I don’t think anyone at John Lewis anticipated the backlash from the general public who — thank goodness — still have a modicum of common sense on this issue.

Do campaigners spearheading this ‘gender-neutral’ movement honestly think that changing labels will change biology and actually do away with boys and girls — and the whole male/female divide?

Of course it won’t. Girls will be girls and boys most definitely boys, and they prefer it that way. Some may call this conditioning, but what’s the alternative? Crude social engineering, which we know doesn’t work.

In fact, I see the gender-neutral movement as almost cult-like in its determination to stamp out so-called differences, which could prove ultimately harmful.

Not everyone wants their girl child perennially parading about like a pink Barbie Princess, nor their son clad from day one like a butch rugger player or Formula 1 driver, but we still need these ‘anchoring’ points in our lives, the little membership passes to our individual clubs.

We still need to recognise femininity and masculinity and not confuse them. Even those who, as children, experiment with gender identity usually revert to typical symbols of gender eventually.

We’ve all known dungaree-wearing tomboys, forever climbing trees and sporting grazed knees, who in adulthood metamorphosed into veritable Marilyn Monroes and conversely, the macho ‘Action Man’ who shows you pictures of himself as a two-year-old, complete with ringlets and a frilly frock taking dancing lessons.

Did the clothes, activities or hairstyles make any difference to their eventual gender identity? Not a jot. But that doesn’t mean boys and girls’ clothes don’t have a place.

I’ve always considered myself a feminist. I’ve fought for equal opportunity and rights and to give women a voice and better education so they can make the fullest use of their potential. But believing in equality doesn’t mean that I believe men and women are the same.

I’ve always rejoiced in my ‘femaleness’. I’ve never felt held back by ‘biological determinism’. I unashamedly enjoy all things feminine — from make-up to cooking — but this hasn’t stopped me being ambitious and able to hold my own in the world.

‘Glamour’ to me does not spell weak, repressed or victimised. Rather, it’s a form of self-expression. In any case ‘femininity’ is not composed of one attitude, emotion or concept, but can mean different things at different times. To restrict the terms male and female — as gender-neutral campaigns do — may have the aim of broadening options, but in reality it has the opposite effect.

Every time we try to eliminate a ‘stereotypical’ quality in one sex, we’re actually diminishing it for both. Introducing gender-free clothing is like imposing the Mao suit on everyone (and of course the Chinese eventually reverted too to male and female clothing).

In fact, there’s more than a whiff of Maoism about the whole boy/girl clothing label issue. As an anthropologist, I know that, without exception, all studies show societies everywhere, at every point in history, differentiating the sexes. Clothing — and other artefacts — act as symbols of these differences, which is what the campaigners hate.

They call this ‘stereotyping’, arguing that it holds back women, denies minorities their rights and recognition, and limits people.

In some instances, such as the crinolines and corsets of old, there is a grain of truth in this, but a whitewash in the other direction misses the broader point; that gender specific clothing gives people categories to provide a sense of belonging.

Once you do away with them the world not only loses its colour but its clarity and its ‘markers’. It becomes a formless place without differentiation, like a garden full of concrete slabs instead of a range of plants and flowers.

Imagine, too, if other groups started to campaign to eliminate all differences. The overweight could demand that manufacturers only offer a ‘one-size-fits-all’ sack-like garment; those of different hair colours could demand that there is never a reference to ‘blondes’ or ‘brunettes’ (as these definitely stereotype).

Spectacle wearers could demand that everyone be forced to wear glasses; short people that only they can wear heels so that all height differences are equalised. The list is endless.

Why should gender be the only ‘stereotype’ picked out from all the many biological variations if we take all this to its logical conclusion?

I think it’s about time someone did show just how absurd this movement is — and how it could end up making our world not only a drabber place but an extremely diminished one, rather like a cult that demands everyone wear the same shapeless smock, hair-cut and facial expression.

Initiatives like the John Lewis ‘Boys & Girls’ range will surely make me — and many others — make a greater effort to find distinct ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ baby clothes, trainers and toys. I shall seek out pink with a vengeance. I shall relish sequins, glitter and frou-frou. One friend is so incensed she’s threatening to dress like Barbara Cartland!

It’s about time for the backlash to begin in earnest before too much damage is done.


‘You should never feel guilty about what you eat’

These days you can’t go a week without hearing about another ‘superfood’ or the health benefits of a new food trend. Even Starbucks has jumped on the bandwagon, announcing its latest caffeinated offering: the turmeric latte. No doubt this was inspired by food bloggers decreeing that turmeric is a ‘superfood’.

Chef Anthony Warner is unlikely to be impressed with turmeric’s good press. Writing as his blogging alter-ego The Angry Chef, Warner declares: ‘There is no such thing as a superfood.’

Warner has dedicated himself to debunking the health myths behind the food fads that have been multiplying ever since the phenomenon of food-blogging took off. In his witty and slightly ranty blog, he has pulled apart many of the popular dietary trends of the past few years, from sugar-free diets to ‘paleo’ and the alleged miracle benefits of coconut oil. The blog quickly gathered momentum and this year Warner brought out his first book: The Angry Chef: Bad Science and the Truth About Healthy Eating.

In an attempt to understand what I really should be eating, I spoke to Warner about his work. He tells me what made him angry in the first place: ‘It goes back to a time when I saw one of these new breed of clean-eating gurus speaking at a food stall at a food industry fair. I’d heard about this idea of people going online and talking about healthy eating. I thought it was interesting, so I went along. Some of what she was saying seemed sensible, like eat vegetables, but some things seemed quite strange, and unscientific, and some of it was definitely untrue. So I started looking into it – and this is before it was a massive thing.’ He continues:

‘As it grew in popularity I got quite worried about it. I thought, how can they get away with saying stuff like this so publicly and not being challenged? And nobody seemed to be challenging it, particularly. I started complaining about it more and more and so started writing about it… [The blog] got popular quite quickly because people could see this stuff happening but no one was talking about it and I think it caught a bit of a wave.’

Warner, who works as a chef for a large food manufacturer, points out that when the food industry makes health claims about food, it has to adhere to strict European regulations. For food bloggers, however, there are ‘no checks and balances’. ‘I just felt like it was about time someone starting saying something and holding these people to account for what they’re saying.’

Health-food blogs like Deliciously Ella and Hemsley and Hemsley have become household names and have made plenty of money from telling people which foods to cut out and which to eat more of – all in the name of healthy living. Has Warner had any response from the food-blogging world? ‘None of the high-profile ones will engage with me. I would be delighted to do an event and be onstage with them and talk about the food claims. No one will really debate with me.’

I’m not surprised. When Warner tackles dietary claims, he is thorough, researching and referencing scientific studies in order to challenge the pseudoscience, making him a daunting prospect in a debate. In his book, he examines and then tears apart spurious claims, or as he often calls them, bluntly, ‘bullshit’, made by food and lifestyle sites. Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle site, comes under fire in the chapter on detox diets for its claim that ‘wild blueberries (only from Maine) draw heavy metals out of your brain tissue’.

Warner has spent his working life as a chef, working in restaurants before moving into the food industry, but he has a scientific background. He has a degree in bio-chemistry and his scientific curiosity has remained with him. Today, he doesn’t hold back when attacking pseudoscientific health claims. In his book, he says: ‘Rule No1 in the Angry Chef Guide to Spotting Bullshit in the World of Food is: never trust anyone who claims to have a food philosophy.’ Yet despite his directness and alter-ego, he doesn’t actually seem that angry. Rather, he is concerned about the damage dietary myths can wreak on people’s relationship with food.

‘The worst aspect is the small minority of people who might be pushed towards a disordered relationship with food. An eating disorder specialist told me, if you’re going to a barbecue tomorrow and you’re worried about the food you’re going to eat there, then you probably have a disordered relationship with food.’

The recent phenomenon of ‘clean eating’ is one Warner finds particularly troubling. He explains what it is: ‘What happened is, 30 or 40 years ago, a lot of people were on a diet. That’s because everyone wanted to be thin – which was troubling in itself. As you go into the millennial generation, and even a bit before, people thought dieting is a bit old hat. Everything needs to be effortless these days. So in order to justify this idea of effortless thinness, a lot of people started excluding food groups from their diets and putting together pseudoscientific justifications for doing that, so it didn’t seem like a diet.’

He mentions some popular clean-eating beliefs, like carbs are bad for you and sugar is poison. ‘None of them have any basis in fact’, he says. ‘[They say] I’m eating clean because I want to be well, I want to have the glow – and they never mention thinness. But that is what it’s all about. When you exclude stuff from your diet, you lose weight, there’s no doubt about it. But in order to do that, you’re saying some foods are bad and damaging and hurtful, and that can create fear around foods.

Perfectly healthy things to eat, like rice or pasta – you’re making people afraid of those foods in order to justify excluding them. As soon as you say you’re eating clean, then you’re saying that foods you’re not eating are dirty, and that language is particularly damaging. Because we believe we are what we eat.’

Thanks to social media, the reach of the clean-eating brigade is enormous. This can make it even more harmful. ‘If you speak to anyone who works with eating disorders, they will tell you [that] pretty much everyone who comes in with an eating disorder is following some kind of clean-eating diet. I feel it has risen so fast, and there are not enough checks and balances.’

I ask him about Public Health England’s latest food panic over sugar, giving rise to the fizzy-drink tax and fears over ads aimed at children. Warner says people do, in general, eat too much sugar, and ‘some sensible steps’ have been taken to tackle this. But he believes ‘influencing’ is key, rather than ‘taxing or ordering’. Once again it is the messaging around food that he takes issue with. ‘A lot of messaging around sugar… uses this language of shame and guilt. I think there is no place for this at all… There’s no place for making people feel guilty for what they’re doing or how they feed their children. It’s not helpful… If you’re moralising too much, you’re in danger of pushing people away.’

He points out that where public-health campaigns have had success is among affluent groups: ‘We’re in danger of leaving a lot of people behind. We need to be careful about it and not be too judgemental, or shaming, or tell people off.’

The vegan diet is one that has been making headlines recently. Just this week, Jeremy Corbyn said he has been toying with the idea of going vegan (he’s already vegetarian) and the recently released Netflix documentary What The Health caused quite a stir with some of its claims about the health benefits of a vegan diet. Is veganism just another food fad?

‘I have no problem if someone takes a moral decision to go, look I’m troubled by exploiting animals in order to eat’, he says. ‘It’s not what I want to do, but if that’s someone’s moral standpoint on it, then it’s fine… But I don’t like the moralising and the shaming of other people, that really offends me. Any sort of moralising about other people’s food and telling people their food is bad and making them feel guilty is just not right.’

Not surprisingly, Warner takes issue with much of the ‘trash science’ tied up with the vegan movement. What The Health is a ‘propaganda movie’, he says. It presents a ‘stupid mangling of evidence and misunderstanding of data’: ‘The way they adopt bad science into the vegan movement is just embarrassing. I know vegans who are embarrassed about that movie.’

‘There’s a lot of powerful motivating psychology for people to have deep-held beliefs about veganism and it makes them believe some really stupid stuff’, he continues. ‘That intense motivation to be vegan and that intense disgust about eating animal products translates into them believing ridiculous conspiracy theories.’

Okay, so we know what The Angry Chef doesn’t like. But what health and diet tips would he himself offer? ‘My advice is don’t ask a chef’, he laughs. ‘My general response to questions on how to eat healthily is just to eat loads and loads of different stuff. Don’t exclude anything from your diet, unless you medically have to. Enjoy lots of different foods. Don’t feel guilty about any food. Guilt has no place when it comes to eating. And don’t make anyone else feel guilty about what they are eating.’

I can’t resist asking his opinion on my own particular food-fad bugbear: the trend for substituting normal ingredients – often carbohydrates – with vegetables. For example, pizzas made with cauliflower instead of bread bases. He’s blunt: ‘I struggle with the idea that a cauliflower base with some cheese and tomato on top is called a pizza. It ain’t a pizza.’ He’s sceptical of attempts to avoid carbs. ‘Wheat is high in B-vitamins, in fibre, it’s a really good food source. If you want to make pasta out of courgettes, if you want to make a pizza base out of cauliflower, then good luck to you’, he says. ‘But if that’s because you’re excluding something, unless you’re someone with diagnosed conditions, then why are you doing that? Maybe cauliflower pizza-base is an acquired taste, but I wouldn’t want to have to go about acquiring it.’

So are there good foods and bad foods? ‘All foods are fine, in my opinion… unless something is poisonous.’ That’s good enough for me.


Sydney Muslim sheikh says Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi is 'worse than ISIS'

Burmese Buddhists definitely don't like Bengali Muslims and are basically trying to expel them from their country.  But who does like Muslims?  Most Muslim countries won't take Muslim refugees.  It is only foolishly tolerant Western countries who take them.  In the case of the Rohingyas even the government of their ancestral country, Bangladesh, doesn't want them. Muslims are great at fighting with one-another so you can understand why Bangladesh does not want them.  In this case, however, Turkey seems willing to take some of them so let us leave them to Turkey.  They are definitely not our problem

A Sydney Muslim sheikh has suggested a female Nobel Peace Prize winner is a bigger terrorist than ISIS. Aung San Suu Kyi spent almost two decades under house arrest before becoming Myanmar's de facto leader last year.

However, Islamist groups worldwide are campaigning against the former political prisoner and democracy campaigner as ethnic Rohingyas, who are mainly Muslim, flee Myanmar for neighbouring Bangladesh.

Almost 125,000 of these stateless people have fled via northern Myanmar since the military began a brutal crackdown on Rohinya militants almost two weeks ago.

Sydney Muslim sheikh Bilal Dannoun has described the violence against the Rohingyas as a bigger atrocity than ISIS.

'The massacres of ISIS are far less than that of the Myanmars towards the Muslims,' he told his 626,000 Facebook followers.

The 43-year-old Islamic lecturer and marriage celebrant even suggested Australia should be more concerned about Myanmar, also known as Burma, than Islamic State.

'Should not governments campaigning against these terrorists be greater than the campaigns against ISIS?' he asked.

The Australian Defence Force has launched airstrikes on Syria and northern Iraq since 2014 when US-led forces started taking on ISIS.

When it comes to Myanmar, Australia began to relax trade restrictions with the south-east Asian nation in 2013 as the military junta took steps to improve its poor human rights record.

However, Ms Suu Kyi has become defensive when asked about state-sponsored violence against the Rohingyas.

She told Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday she knew what it was like to be under house arrest for almost two decades, after her National League for Democracy won a landslide election victory in 1990. 'We know very well, more than most, what it means to be ­deprived of human rights and democratic protection,' she said.

'So we make sure that all the people in our country are entitled to protection of their rights as well as the right to, and not just political, but social and humanitarian defence.'

However, she continues to deny the stateless Rohingyas citizenship in Myanmar.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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