Highgate School has changed its uniform policy. Boys will be permitted to wear skirts. This is because the headmaster thinks a great many boys now want to be girls: they are questioning something called their “gender identity”. What is more, according to the headmaster, most parents are stupidly unaware that their sons think of themselves as their daughters. It is up to schools to stop parents being “binary” in their thinking.
I assume that Highgate School seeks to make its profits from the Champagne Socialists of North London. The rather dotty sounding headmaster probably thinks there is money in spouting all this jargon. He is almost certainly not as mad as he appears to be. The good Socialists of Highgate are understandably desperate to have “correct” reasons for turning their backs on the local bog standard comprehensive and paying more than the national average wage in school fees. What could be more correct than going for a private school which asserts that masses of boys want to be girls, especially when most state schools are stuck in the stone age?
This is, of course, a sensitive subject. There is no doubt that there are people who hate the sex with which they were born. They are convinced, if born male, that they should have been born female, and vice versa. But is it really true, as the headmaster of Highgate claims, that this problem is very common, that there are lots and lots of schoolboys who think of themselves as being girls and schoolgirls who are desperate to be boys?
Now that every word one writes on the internet is preserved for ever, even if one deletes it, you could say that I am very foolish to question the fashionable view that a great many children are seriously questioning their “gender identity”. In ten or twenty years’ time, for all I know, it will be an imprisonable offence to write this sort of piece. I could be hauled up in front of Mrs Justice Smith (biologically male but identifies as female) and sent down for many years hard labour for having dared to suggest, as I fear I do, that some of those Highgate schoolboys are being a little mischievous in telling their obviously gullible headmaster that their lives would be unbearable if they weren’t allowed to wear skirts.
It must be miserable to go through life being convinced that one should have been born male, if born female, or female if born male. But I honestly do wonder whether such people will be made happier by knowing that silly headmasters are claiming that “gender identity” problems are now almost the norm.
And, anyway, this nonsense about school uniform is no more than that. Girls at Highgate can, it is true, wear skirts if they want to. But they can choose to wear trousers instead (making that choice is not, yet, seen as an indication that a girl thinks she is a boy). A boy who wears trousers does not thereby demonstrate his acceptance of the sex with which he was born.
Perhaps, if Highgate happens to have more than its fair share of children who want to change sex, the answer would be to alter the uniform policy so all, boys and girls, are required to wear trousers. But I suppose the headmaster might think that wouldn’t be a dramatic enough gesture to satisfy the Champagne Socialists’ need for an excuse to opt for private education.