Rising hate crimes and spiralling mental distress are just some of the results from the anti-woke backlash of this year. We should be worriedby Caspar Salmon / October 15, 2020 / Leave a comment
Last week the drag queen Crystal, a former contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, announced that she would be suing Laurence Fox, a scion of the Fox acting dynasty, for his “damaging” tweets in which he labelled her a “paedophile” (the tweets have since been deleted.) It has become customary to paint Fox as an outlier, a Katie Hopkins-style provocateur, but his comments are in fact a perfectly logical continuation of the rising tide of covert and not-so-covert hostility on gender issues and LGBTQ+ rights in the British media and beyond.
The reasons for the emergence of this hostility are manifold, stemming from, in this writer’s view, a reaction to Corbynism and a mounting transphobia.
To take the second of these phenomena first, the resistance to LGBTQ self-affirmation had been building for a while, before taking shape most visibly during last year’s furore over Anderton Park School in Birmingham. The primary school had then recently implemented a “No Outsiders” education programme for its students, drawing on picture books to teach them about a variety of relationships, including LGBTQ relationships. A widely-publicised protest campaign was held. Parents set up a camp outside the school, often with homophobic signs, and shouted aggressive imprecations through loudspeakers.
The scandal that shouldn’t have been was grist for the mill of columnists, media figures and politicians outraged that children could be learning about the existence of queer people. Esther McVey, then in the running for the Conservative leadership, opined: “For young children in this multicultural, diverse, modern society that we live in, I would say for very young children—as you say, four and five—parents have the say over sex education.” The implication that there is an age limit for finding out about queer families, and that children should be protected from LGBTQ education, is materially important. It casts queer people as interferers with an agenda and implies a disturbing relationship which makes victims of children.
In reality, queer people who know what they went through as children understand the importance of educating young people in order to avoid violence and death. They are at pains to reach out to youngsters to combat prejudices that can set in early. In March of this year, the charity Mermaids, which assists trans and…