This columnist’s teenage daughter explained the latest politically correct views on “gender identity” to her mother and me.
I learned that many young people in Asia are adopting the position promoted by two terrifying extremist groups in the West, a scary US tribe called “Californians” and the UK’s even more frightening “Guardian Readers”.
These groups say you must legally recognise people as whatever they claim to be — or risk being sued for discrimination.
I’m pretty chill on all this. If a man feels he is a woman or a dodgy real estate salesman thinks he is President of the United States, let them.
Furthermore, I like the idea that everyone should be legally forced to recognise, for example, that this writer is a handsome, intelligent, good man trapped in the body of a lazy, evil dwarf.
But my chill attitude was challenged when a US reporter friend told me about Pablo Gomez Jr, a man recently charged with the murder of a young woman. After his arrest, Gomez announced that he was a girl “inside” and thus needed to be sent to a women’s prison. In most countries, police would have slapped him around and told him not to be silly. But this happened in California so law enforcement officers are now legally required to hold doors open for him, comment on his hair and the like.
Obama spread the California policy across the country. In most states now, police must ask arrested people “How do you identify” and accept the answer given.
“A person with a full beard and complete male ‘plumbing’ who claims to identify as female will be put in the female cell block,” Deputy Sheriff Paul Harding confirmed. “Complaints from female prisoners about the person who looks exactly like a man sleeping and showering with them in their cell block are not valid.”
A UK reporter told me that British murderer Peter Laing also told cops that he felt like a girl inside. They duly sent him to a women’s prison under his chosen name (Ms Paris Green) where he kept having sex with the other inmates. They told him to behave and transferred him to a second women’s jail — where the same thing happened. “He’s just trying to manipulate the system,” complained a family member of his victim. Police have now risked the wrath of Guardian Readers by putting him in a male jail.
A police friend tells me cops in Asia assign arrestees to male or female prisons after a simple visual check of their “undercarriage”. In Thailand, this means that many “ladyboys” end up in male prisons and some are delighted, according to a 2013 study by Phuketwan, a Thai news service: “Ladyboys commit crimes, most often petty theft, just so they can return to the jail.”
I told my kids that laws which force police officers and teachers to let male tricksters into females’ safe spaces were a bad thing, but the most important thing was to be kind to everyone, including people of non-standard gender.
I also told them that I myself started life as a man trapped in a woman’s body. And then, after nine months, I was born.
(Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveller. Send ideas and comments via his Facebook page)