Catherine McGregor, Australia’s best-known transgender individual, has exposed the deep rift within the transgender community, and the extreme radicalism of the Safe Schools Coalition.
In an article published last week, McGregor highlighted the paradoxical nature of the Safe Schools programme. The contradictory claims of the programme have been largely ignored by the mainstream media, which is reluctant to fault any programme that can be described as ‘anti-bullying’ or ‘saving lives’.
The Safe Schools program teaches children, on the one hand, that gender is irrelevant to our aspirations as human beings, and on the other hand, that it is fundamental to our individual identity.
Both positions cannot stand. They describe the two very different schools of thought regarding transgender identity. The first school, to which McGregor belongs, is inherently conservative. It seeks to maintain the gender distinctions and sexual differences within our society – upholding the belief that we are created male or female. It is not far removed from the Judeo-Christian belief that God created humans: ‘male and female created he them’.
McGregor accepts the importance of gender difference, arguing that transgender individuals are merely amending a disconnect between ‘our anatomy and our psychology’. She argues that ‘gender is important’ and that being forced to accept the idea of a genderless world ‘would have killed me’.
The Safe Schools Coalition is hostile to this position. It seeks to eradicate difference in gender, by promoting gender denial and gender fluidity. It wants to remove outward signs of gender difference, such as male or female toilets, and promotes, like any good totalitarian movement, an erasure of vocabulary, including male and female, ladies and gentlemen, mother and father, husband and wife.
As some brave political commentators have noted, this programme is nothing short of radicalism. It promotes an extreme view of society as a collection of undifferentiated human beings. It seeks to recreate our social make-up from the ground up, beginning with the young – a successful tactic of so many other ‘new-order’ theories.
It should come as no surprise that the program has been accepted by the Greens. It aligns with their revolutionary political philosophy, which should be fatal to their status as a rational political party, but for which they have never been taken to task.
The Greens – and some wobbly elements of the ALP – support not only the eradication of boundaries between male and female, but the eradication of boundaries between nations.
This is the rationale of an open border policy – the belief that people throughout the world should be free to move without any hindrance.
The extreme idealism of the Greens was made plain to the electorate in 2011, when Bob Brown, then Greens leader, articulated his vision of a world government – a ‘global parliament’ that would secure the path for the shared destiny of humanity.
It’s a nice thought – a perfect and harmonious world, peopled by genderless angels, and ruled by kind and nonmaterialistic leaders. It is the exact equivalent of the Christian longing for the ‘Kingdom of God’. The only difference is that the Greens believe that paradise can be achieved in this life, while the radical Christian knows that human nature, and the human propensity towards violence, makes it impossible. Paradise, for the Christian, can only exist in another, non-human realm.
The young and the ignorant will always hanker for a new, more perfect world order. They will, in their ignorance and romanticism, deny the idea that conflict is inherent to human nature, believing instead that we can live in harmony as one. It’s a lovely little fairy tale, one that the late Senator Brown narrated so well in his little book Earth.
At any university campus in Australia, you will find more vocal Greens (and Socialists or Marxists) than Christians. You will find more youngsters who believe in Gaia than in Hobbes, more who think human life, in its natural element, is harmonious and cooperative, rather than ‘nasty, brutish and short’.
It is the prerogative of the young to be idealistic. And it’s the duty of the old to point out their error, to teach them about Mao’s Red Guard, the Hitler Youth Movement and the teenaged peasants of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge.
This is especially important in Australia, where we are quarantined from violence and war, and where we protect our young people from the continuing violence that exists throughout the world. This past week, for example, 200 civilians were killed in a wave of bombings in Baghdad, yet it has scarcely rated a mention in Australian mainstream media.
The path to a paradisiacal future – as all good Marxists know – is through social revolution. And revolution comes from undermining communal structures, including relationships based on gender, family and nationality. Revolution is a necessary step on our path to the perfect world. If we have learnt anything from the past century, it is the endurance of the belief that a perfect world will emerge from chaos and crisis.
We cannot deny the importance of rational voices, like Catherine McGregor’s, who advocate for careful and incremental change while preserving the fundamental structures of our society. These are wise voices, reminding us that wisdom comes from accepting that our world is not perfect, and that change can be made without tearing the whole joint down.
Brigitte Dwyer is an Adelaide based freelance writer