A Sure Sign of Old Age

Greer goes to the heart of the problem on which transgender ideology founders—or would founder, if it were not kept afloat by lobby groups and the media.

Single-sex colleges are founded on the gender binary. Deny that binary, and their reason for existence vanishes. But we live at a cultural moment when thinking on sexuality has become so clouded by emotion and psychobabble that minor concerns, such as logical coherence or any connection to practical reality, can be brushed aside.

 

For my father’s generation, the key sign of advancing years was the fact that the policemen started to look far too young to be entrusted with the task of keeping law and order. For my generation, the advent of old age is signaled by the fact that some of the feared wild feminists of my youth start to make admirable sense even when opining on matters relating to the battle of the sexes.

Germaine Greer is the great example, mainly through her consistent, intelligent, and controversial opposition to transgender ideology. The latest example is provided (I am ashamed to say) by my own undergraduate university (though not, I hasten to add, my college). Murray Edwards College (known in my day as New Hall), an exclusively female Cambridge institution, is to allow men who self-identify as women to apply (and presumably matriculate). Enter Ms. Greer with a breath of refreshing and to-the-point common sense:

If [Murray Edwards] really don’t believe that gender is binary, then they really shouldn’t be a single sex college. Their position is ridiculous. The only sane thing for them to do is to cease discriminating on the basis of assigned gender of any kind.

In saying this, Greer goes to the heart of the problem on which transgender ideology founders—or would founder, if it were not kept afloat by lobby groups and the media. Transgender ideology depends upon a distinction between the male and female genders, even while denying the only grounds for maintaining that distinction: genetic and physiological difference.

Single-sex colleges are founded on the gender binary. Deny that binary, and their reason for existence vanishes. But we live at a cultural moment when thinking on sexuality has become so clouded by emotion and psychobabble that minor concerns, such as logical coherence or any connection to practical reality, can be brushed aside.

New Hall was founded to address the disparity of men to women at Cambridge. Its very presence in Cambridge is predicated on the idea that there is such a thing as gender, and that male and female exist as binary opposites. Its origins reflect the fact that women did at one time find it difficult to go into higher education, because they were part of a society that treated them differently and perhaps unfairly. And that treatment was based on the fact they were women, a point determined by their physical difference from men. That binary distinction was—and is—a given.

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