JENNI MURRAY: Full marks to the girls’ schools who dare to defy the trans mob
When the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) announced its intention to update its gender identity guidance and refuse admission to any pupil who is legally male, even if they identify as female, it felt like the best New Year’s Resolution ever.
The group represents 23 private schools and two academies in England and Wales. Could their insistence on retaining single-sex status as institutions for the education and safeguarding of those of the female biological sex signal the return of common sense to what’s recently become a vicious debate?
Those of us who’ve experienced the consequences of upholding what have become known as ‘gender critical’ views can only see the GDST’s position as courageous. Its chief executive, Cheryl Giovannoni, is saying that an admissions policy based on gender identity rather than the legal sex recorded on a student’s birth certificate would jeopardise GDST’s status as an organisation for ‘single-sex schools’ under the Equality Act.
The Girls’ Day School Trust announced its intention to update its gender identity guidance and refuse admission to any pupil who is legally male, even if they identify as female (lêer beeld)
Their view is factual but brave because so many others who’ve argued that ‘sex matters’ and that the rights of women and girls must be protected have found themselves threatened, cancelled and dubbed TERFS — trans-exclusionary radical feminists.
Might what has been a corrosive issue now become a reasoned debate about how best to accommodate everyone’s needs?
There is no hint in this policy of ‘anti-trans’ discrimination. It’s clear that any girl who identifies as a boy will be allowed to continue his/her education. Some have asked why that should be allowed if a boy who identifies as a girl can’t be admitted. Dit is voor die hand liggend. Whether they dress as boys or girls they share so much — same genitals, same hormones, same strength and potential on the sports field. They may claim a different gender, but they are the same sex.
Anti-trans is such an unfair and cruel term. I’m furious every time it’s used to describe the wonderful J K Rowling — now often cited as the woman of 2021 for her continued efforts to promote the rights of women to single-sex spaces.
Sy, like so many of us, has never been ‘anti-trans’. She has always expressed a belief, as have I, that it’s fine to choose which gender you want to identify as and ask others to respect that, but not at the expense of the hard-won rights of women and girls. And those rights have been disappearing.
People often say they don’t understand the fuss about male and female toilets. I’d even tried to persuade myself that it was not worth fighting about. Then I went to the theatre on New Year’s Eve and needed the loo in the interval. Only mixed facilities were available, with cubicles and shared sinks. As I came out of the cubicle the main door opened and a man came in, unzipping his fly. I was embarrassed, echoes of suffering flashing as a girl came flooding back.
Jenni (op die foto) said it’s fine to choose which gender you want to identify as and ask others to respect that, but not at the expense of the hard-won rights of women and girls
None of these issues will occur in a girls’ school under the aegis of the GDST. It’s not enough for schools to rely on advice from lobby groups such as Stonewall. How should they balance sex and gender, who should be allowed to use which toilets and changing rooms and who should be chosen for sports teams?
Reform of the Gender Recognition Act and the possibility of self-identification for teenagers is a complex and potentially dangerous nightmare for teachers to have to deal with. The only way forward is to tackle the question head-on, as GDST has done. Teachers need an official governmental policy. Mei 2022 be the year in which they and students are kept safe with policies rooted in science and common sense.
Op die foto: Liz Hurley
- What a piece of work Liz Hurley is. She manages to look gorgeous in designer clothing, swimwear and, by 56, in a presumably cheap as chips Supergirl outfit for New Year’s Eve. Not that I’m envious, but I might be.
Bad news for those who enjoy hillwalking, fishing and camping on a staycation. There’s been a six-fold rise in lightning injuries since the start of the pandemic and the popularity of this type of holiday increased. I’m not worried for myself. I can’t think of a worse way to spend my time off.
Now Epstein’s friends must pay too
I wonder if Virginia Giuffre is beginning to ask herself whether it was worth $500,000 to sign an agreement that she would never make an accusation of sexual abuse against any of Jeffrey Epstein’s friends and followers.
She has given a ‘get out of jail free’ card to what must be hundreds of rich and powerful potentates, some of whom were only too happy to board the Lolita Express and take advantage of the youthful desserts on offer after the coffee. Ja, Epstein was a criminal, as was Maxwell, but hundreds of girls must have suffered abusive sex at the hands of his band of pleasure seekers.
They are no less criminal than the men who groomed girls in cities such as Rotherham and Rochdale. There they were caught and imprisoned. Expensive lawyers should not protect Epstein’s cohort from similar punishment.
Doggie treats… from my cat burglar
Jenni said she once had a cat that was so smart she could open the fridge (lêer beeld)
I know I’ve often been a bit rude about my psycho cat, Suu, but I don’t think I’m at risk of her becoming an arsonist, as has been found in South Korea.
Safety chiefs there have warned owners to watch out for cats on touch-sensitive cookers.
Gelukkig, neither the cleverest nor most clumsy cat could turn on the awkward taps that fire my gas hob. But we did once have a cat that was so smart she could open the fridge, but for entirely altruistic reasons. She would pull the door with her paw while our dogs waited in anticipation.
She’d walk away and leave them to steal meat, bacon and cheese. Who’d have thought a cat could be kind?
Mick, your SAD specs changed my life
Jenni said her best Christmas presents were a SAD lamp and a pair of Luminette glasses of the type recently seen on Mick Jagger (op die foto)
My best Christmas presents were a SAD lamp and a pair of Luminette glasses of the type recently seen on Mick Jagger.
I’d long been aware I suffered from SAD — seasonal affective disorder. It’s caused by a lack of sunlight in the winter months and for years I’ve noticed, around the beginning of November, that I’m not my usual cheery self. I used to resist going out in the dark, preferring to hunker down at home.
So, uiteindelik, I asked for the lights. After a week and a half, I’ve noticed a difference. I have more energy and have cheered up. The glasses may look a bit ridiculous, but they work. Both gifts have brought sunshine into my life, or my brain thinks they have. Kommentators het positief op die beeldmateriaal gereageer, Mick, for the idea.