If you’re going to start somewhere, it may as well be with the big guns. Richard Littlejohn has decided to explore gender identity in the police force. Let’s see what he found out.
From the title onwards, this article makes two basic and intrinsically incorrect assumptions.
Firstly, it assumes that “You”, as in “Me” or rather as in “Everyone” thought the idea of WPCs in burquas was ridiculous. I will be honest and say I’ve never really considered the matter but if I were to make a personal (and totally impulsive) judgment call, I’d say as long as the dress wear doesn’t interfere with the job, then it’s all fine by me but obviously there is a police uniform for a reason. Interestingly, when I went back to look at the article in question, it had nothing whatsoever to do with Muslim women in the police force wanting to wear burquas while on duty. It was, as Richard himself states in his opening paragraph:
“three soppy policewomen in Sheffield had kitted themselves out in full burqas and gone shopping, so they could empathise with fundamentalist Muslims.”
Now, he makes sure to get his opinion across whilst stating this fact with the words “soppy” and “fundamentalist” because, as we are all aware, only someone with the bleeding heart of Jesus himself would ever dream of trying to understand another culture by adopting their style of dress and, more importantly, it is only fundamentalist Muslims who wear the burquas. You know, the ones who want to kill us all. This statement alone could fill a column by itself but we are here on other matters, so…
Secondly, it makes the assumption that transgendered persons are totally accepted in society with no issue and that their being in the police force is so common place that they have no need for a special interest group to support that. Of course, this argument wouldn’t matter either way to Richard as he makes it clear:
“As I wrote at the time, police officers should be defined by the uniform they wear, not the colour of their skin, their sexual inclination or their religious beliefs.”
You know what? Fine. Absolutely fine. Being in the police is a vocation, choosing to devote your time in the service of the law and the protection of society. When you’re doing your job, those features that are used to define you should not impact on that job to any significant degree or bias could easily slip in, a trait police officers must try to quell. That said, just because you’re out there, doing your job and not thinking about your race, religion, gender or sexuality does not mean that others aren’t thinking about it including the people you work with.
What Richard appears to miss time and again (or possibly just gloss over) is that interest and support groups aren’t there to champion one section of society over another. They’re not their to stage a coup or make everyone’s life harder or separate us into more boxes than we already have separated ourselves. They are certainly not there:
“serving only to foster a culture of division, grievance, permanent unrest and opportunism.”
They are there to make sure that those who ARE in a minority, whatever that may be are treated with the same respect and understanding as the majority treat one another.
Let’s step back for a minute and let Richard do some talking shall we?
“Every time I bring you one of these stories, I wonder where it will all end. Now I discover that there’s a National Trans Police Association, too.”
He goes on to repeat the mission statement from the NTPA website and then displays some high levels of ignorance, especially as he is writing an article on the topic. In response to the fact that whilst they list many types of gender identities, they do not go as far as to assume they have infinite knowledge and have added a caveat, somewhat like “and many more” but with much more tact, a trait Richard fails to emulate.”
“Note the ‘but not exclusively’. You might have thought that any outfit encompassing transgendered, androgyny and intersexuals (whatever the hell they are) had pretty much covered the waterfront.”
“The criteria is so widely drawn that, theoretically, it could also include centaurs, who are currently under-represented in the ranks of the Old Bill.”
“There appears to be no limit to the number of obscure subcategories the police can split themselves into.”
He says more along these lines but you can read that in the article yourself if you so wish. In these three statements alone Richard has shown his lack of knowledge regarding sexuality, mocked those with gender identity issues by comparing them with a mythical being and once again made the assumption that this is all about splitting the police into different groups, rather than supporting those people in the police who do not fit the ‘traditional’ majority mould.
This it would seem though is not his main problem. All the above has merely been leading up to the point were Richard could stand it no longer and just had to write of this new case of liberalism gone made
“An application for Home Office funding is sure to follow and is almost certain to be granted.
It can be only a matter of time before a transsexual officer sues for discrimination after being turned down for promotion or demands that the police funds his gender reassignment surgery.”
It’s not about gender, it’s not even about special interest groups or support teams. It’s about money. How much will it cost? Will he have to foot the bill? As Richard lives happily and permanently in Florida, I think that even if the police started offering gender reassignment surgery to the whole populace, it wouldn’t impact too much on his bank balance. He continues:
“No doubt I’ll be accused of stirring up ‘transphobic’ hatred. For the record, I have no more objection to transvestites forming a club than I do to philatelic societies. But it should be done in their own time and not at public expense.”
Well, I won’t be accusing Richard of anything today. What he is and isn’t guilty of is up to you. However, after demeaning most gender identities, he goes on here to ignore all transgendered people and just focus on transvestites. Actually, rethinking, what he’s really doing is LUMPING all transgendered people together and calling them transvestites. He seems to be under the impression that the desire to dress in clothing which is not traditionally assigned to your gender and to have the physical and mental issues that come with being born a sex you are unhappy with, to feel no attachment to either sex or to feel you inhabit several genders are the same thing. I’m sorry Richard, as years of research from institutes around the world will show you, they are not even remotely the same thing and some would say they are not even connected in any way other than both can sometimes influence the choice of clothing and of course, come under the umbrella heading of “Gender Issues”.
Oh and he also makes sure to mention the money thing again.
He tries to recover with some sense of understanding:
“I acknowledge that some people have gender ishoos and are entitled to understanding.”
Sorry, just a quick aside, I have never understood Richard’s prediliction for misspelling words he seems to have personal problems with. Perhaps it would be worth keeping a tally of how often he does this. Anyway, back on topic, he also tries to show how much he embraces equality:
“Recruitment and promotion should be solely on the basis of ability, not race, religion, gender or sexual proclivity. Everyone ought to be treated equally.”
But is quickly returned to his real point, you know, the money one…
“The time, money and effort wasted pandering to minorities with an exaggerated sense of entitlement is scandalous – especially when chief constables are whining they haven’t got the resources to keep police stations open and put bobbies on the beat.”
I’ve done a bit of reading around and can find very little terms of chief constables “whining” about resources. There has been the occasional closure of small police stations over the last few years and some articles on the shift of focus to patrolling in cars rather than by foot but nothing to suggest that the force is trying to eke out a meager existence to the point where it can’t finance the same support groups you will find in almost every business in the country. Perhaps I am misunderstanding him. Once again, he is assuming that this group has formed because transgendered people are trying to get one over on him rather than just making sure they are treated correctly.
As Richard rounds up, he can’t help but confuse transvestites with transgendered persons once more as well as purporting the idea that this is all a ploy to overthrow the police uniform as with his opening statement about burquas.
“…at this rate it won’t be long before a cross- dressing copper complains that his stockings and suspenders are chafing under his blue serge uniform and insists on being allowed to go on patrol in a leather mini-skirt and an Amy Winehouse wig.”
It’s unlikely that ANY officer would be allowed to wear the above items of clothing, no matter what their gender identity or religion. Richard cannot let go of his belief that special interest groups are somehow there to change physical things when mostly the only thing they ever change is peoples perceptions, usually for the better.
I am left wondering how many times in his life that Richard has felt like the outsider. How many times has he been in the minority and felt that he was being oppressed, ignored, bullied or negated? As a white, wealthy, middle class male I would hazard a guess that the feeling of loneliness and alienation is not one which often crosses Richard’s mind. I could be wrong of course, this is pure conjecture. Perhaps he is very lonely indeed.
Apologies but I realised I forgot to pass any comment on the lovely little cartoon that adorns Richard’s column this week. Actually, I forgot to comment on the hideously offensive massive cartoon that uses half the writing space. In and of itself, it’s a pretty standard and slightly inane newspaper drawing. When brought into context with the article however, once again, it is stereotyping all transgendered persons into one tired old cliché. I don’t know much about the eponomous “Gary” but I suggest that he, much like Richard, should catch up on some reading from Gender Matters before continuing to deconstruct this exact vein of sexuality.