Gender Nomads: A Guide for the Perplexed

It has fallen to me, yet again, to keep Quadrant readers up to date with the ever-increasing number of celebrations on the LGBTQIA+ calendar. As Pride Month has wrapped up and International Drag Day is just around the corner, it means we are in the midst of — go on, see if you can guess correctly — Non-Binary Awareness Week, of course. I wonder, though, if a single week is enough for the non-binary community to get the attention and adulation it covets, especially when the transgender movement steals so many of the daily headlines.

If you’ve dipped into the news from just the last week or so, you probably know by now that a most unladylike contestant has taken out the title of Miss Netherlands. Yes, Dutchman Rikkie Kollé beat all of his female opponents for the crown and will go on to compete in Miss Universe later this year.

Over in London at a Trans Pride rally, keynote speaker Sarah Jane Baker eschewed the usual clichés about inclusivity and whatnot and emphasised the movement’s major theme and goal: the infliction of violence against anyone who’s critical of its ideology. “If you see a TERF,” Mr Baker growled to enthusiastic applause, “punch them in the f****** face.” Thankfully, the former inmate of Elmley Prison, where he did time for kidnapping, torture and attempted murder, must have been in a sunnier mood than usual when he caused this latest controversy.

Back home in Australia, the spirit of Trans Pride has well and truly taken over Melbourne University. Associate Professor of Philosophy Holly Lawford-Smith, a gender-critical feminist who doesn’t think that men can become women, has become the target of local transgender militants. The threats against both Lawford-Smith — one of the slanderous posters dotting the Parkville Asylum is at left — and imprecations directed at the students who dare take her class have become so serious that security guards are now posted outside her lecture theatre.

At first glance, you may think it difficult for the non-binary community to compete with this insanity. But if there’s one thing I want you to remember — not just during Non-Binary Awareness Week, but every week — it’s that the they/them cohort is no less risible or irritating than their transgender comrades.

In any case, non-binary identity, according to an explanatory article by Rachel Rasker on ABC Everyday, often overlaps with transgenderism, but also may not. Rasker makes clear that a non-binary individual may move nomadically from male to female on a whim, or perhaps adopt both genders or even a smattering of the 72 or so others simultaneously. Or — and do try to keep up — being non-binary can also mean none of the above: it’s simply a unique and special journey for every identifier, whose demands must be accommodated. Those demands, if we are to be good allies, include always respecting pronouns as well as the right of non-binary people — no matter how hirsute — to intrude upon single-sex spaces such as women’s bathrooms. If none of that makes the slightest bit of sense to you, rest assured that Rasker ironically concludes her explainer by reminding readers never to expect a clear explanation from a non-binary person.

Rasker gives her journalism the veneer of respectability by generously quoting from Sandy O’Sullivan, a professor of Indigenous Studies at Macquarie University. Quadrant readers, I should think, hardly need the occasion of Non-Binary Awareness Week to remind them of how all this nonsense traces its roots to the academy. O’Sullivan, however, provides a useful if dispiriting example of just how deeply corrupt and stupid things have lately become.

The proud Wiradjuri professor — that’s, er, they at right — it’s worth noting, has invaded and occupied a good part of the LGBTQIA+ initialism, as she identifies as queer, transgender and non-binary and takes the pronouns — oh dear, I’m guilty of misgendering yet again — they/them. With such credentials, it’s hardly surprising that her current research topic, the Colonial Project of Gender, has attracted over one million dollars of lucre from the Australian Research Council. O’Sullivan’s scholarship, I must say, seems more like a lavish holiday: she jaunts across the UK and US, takes in a few museums and galleries and speculates about the gender identities of the various artistic and historical subjects she observes. Although they might appear to be men or women — the colonial mindset is apparently responsible for such narrow-minded thinking — you can never really be sure. As O’Sullivan avers: they might have been non-binary.

I rather like her admission that she gets a bit grouchy when she’s asked to provide a bit of, you know, actual evidence for such pointless claims, to which she rejoins: “Proof is not required.” I can only conclude that my alma mater, Macquarie University, must be unembarrassed by Professor O’Sullivan’s lackadaisical research methodology. This also explains all the free time she has available to bang out Twitter mega-threads on the importance of acknowledging Non-Binary Awareness Week. Her myth-busting advice and recommendations, I can happily report, have not applied to any of the last few paragraphs.

Regrettably, though, O’Sullivan’s academic inanity has very much colonised the national broadcaster, and not just the news sections. ABCQueer, the latest digital expansion you’ve paid for, has recently informed its viewership that the gender binary arrived with the First Fleet. I suppose that serves as a useful reminder that no matter how stupid everything presently seems, it can always get much worse.

In summary, Non-Binary Awareness Week is all about nodding along to the narcissistic delusions of a community with a newly fabricated identity. It’s an occasion for useless academics to lecture the public and show off how cleverly they can rip through taxpayer funds. Finally, it requires everyone else to disregard both grammar and biological reality, declare pronouns at every spare moment and try desperately to avoid rolling one’s eyes.

I wonder, though, how long all the respect and goodwill can last. The ABC and our major universities may giddily anticipate whatever is next on the rainbow schedule — Omnisexual Awareness Day, I think — but the rest of us, quite sensibly, ought to become a bit more sceptical and visibly annoyed. In fact, such a policy review may quietly be underway right now. I learn from a recent study that job applicants who include they/them on their resumes are much less likely to be called up for an interview. Let us be optimistic, then, about the ongoing unemployment prospects of the gender nomads: at workplaces and institutions across the country, all these seemingly never-ending rainbow events — fingers crossed — could very well turn out to be temporary additions to the calendar.

I think that’s a cheery note on which to end. Though it may not be in the spirit of Non-Binary Awareness Week, it’s quite nice to find something to celebrate after all.

7 thoughts on “Gender Nomads: A Guide for the Perplexed

  • Macspee says:

    Bless you my son!


    Gender nomads indeed! What’s perplexing is this current mass hysteria of dupes who believe that gender can ride rough-shod over their gonads.

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    Oh dear, you really couldn’t make it up by yourself. It takes a legion of academics to be so stupid..

    Thank you for the satire. It made me smile. That’s all we’ve got left

  • Tony Thomas says:

    Nice piece except I’m puzzled about this “women’s bathrooms” expression. Do women bathe there? Where are the tubs located? It’s the same on planes, hosties refer to those little cubicles as “bathrooms”. I have never found a bathtub in any men’s toilet. Is there some discrimination involved?

    • lbloveday says:

      As is my wont, I sought explanation in my hard copy Oxford Concise AUSTRALIAN Dictionary, Third Edition (1997).
      bathroom noun
      2. a room containing a toilet.

  • southern girl says:

    Surely she/it/he/they is/are “havin’ a larf” at my/our expense.

  • pmprociv says:

    Yep, there seems to be no limit to the depths to which our universities can sink, even the “leading” ones; I’m so relieved to be safely well away from them now. But how can “a non-binary individual . . . move nomadically from male to female on a whim”, when there’s no such thing as male or female? And why the “they/them” thing (so confusing for the kids), when “it” would be far simpler, and more grammatically correct? It still baffles me why they don’t just call themselves “neuter”: after all, that is a genuine gender (maybe even sex?), as I learnt in Latin at school years ago.

    If a bloke can freely call himself a woman, could someone please explain why a whitefella can’t take an easier path, and call himself a blakfella? What? It’s already happening, you say? Who’d have ever thought?

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