“Lunacy of letting us pick our own gender just because the Tories want to get down with the kids.”
In her column for today’s Daily Mail, Sarah Vine attacks the proposed reforms of the Gender Recognition Act and mocks the government’s LGBT survey. Vine, who is married to Conservative political Michael Gove, argues that any changes are “not borne out of any genuine desire to help people with gender issues” but are instead a political strategy to attract the youth vote by jumping on the gender identity bandwagon.
She insists there is “absolutely nothing wrong” with the current laws around gender recognition, hailing them as “eminently sensible” despite Stonewall calling them “demeaning and broken” and Jeremy Corbyn describing the current procedures as “invasive”.
Vine criticises the notion of “self-identifying”, contemplating possible implications for “care homes and hospital wards”, “pension rights and competitive sports”. She even jokingly suggests that underpaid female employees at the BBC could simply switch genders and receive a pay rise.
The Gender Recognition Act reforms aren’t her only target. She also mocks the government’s recently launched LGBT survey lamenting, “On and on these questions go like some terrible parody.” It isn’t clear exactly how she thinks questions like “Do you ever avoid holding hands in public with a same-sex partner for fear of a negative reaction from others?” and “Do you ever avoid expressing your gender identity for fear of a negative reaction from others?” resemble a parody. Surely questions like these represent very real concerns for many members of the UK’s LGBT+ community.
She also pokes fun at the “bewildering smorgasbord of identities to choose from” and admits she “rather naughtily wrote ‘alien’”. Although Vine expresses a modicum of concern over the plight of, as she calls them, “people who genuinely do suffer from gender dysphoria”, she ultimately belittles the importance of LGBT issues.
It’s controversial opinion pieces like these that have earned her the nickname “Sarah Vile” among some Twitter users. Her latest article begs the question, should this kind of casual homophobia, biphobia and transphobia be allowed in a major national newspaper?