Alpha Males, Beta Males, Real Men and the Inner Eve

In researching another article I was writing, I happened across a website called ‘To Be Alpha‘, and I got reading a handful of its posts. I couldn’t read all that many because, by about the 4th or 5th one, I couldn’t help imagining it as an Audiobook read by Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother.

What I drew from the site was that there are different kinds of men, all given letters of the Greek alphabet. Alphas are the most manly and exude supreme confidence around the opposite sex. Betas struggle when it comes to the opposite sex as they lack the confidence and the ‘sexual dynamic’ (the size of the gap between his masculinity and her femininity) to command any respect from women. Gammas are among the lowest of the bunch: they are almost completely inept. The site says that if you want to be Beta or Gamma, that’s fine, but although it’s not stated explicitly, it’s implied that being Alpha is best. It’s the key to a better you! Become Alpha, and you will be a winner! You will be a success! You will be a MAN!

You will be a total wanker.

Failing that, you’ll be a mental train-wreck just waiting to happen. It just had to be written by an American, with all the emphasis on success and winning – it sounds very much like the “American Dream” wrapped in Trump-like narcissism. Trusting in some life-coach or mentor to make your life “better” comes with one huge caveat: they won’t necessarily change parts of your life for the “better”, but they will change parts of your life to make you more like them. Their life is great – they’re living the dream! But are they? You only see what they want you to see.

Another page I read had the perfect counterargument. I particularly liked this quote:

“The real man transcends alpha and beta. He is strong and confident but also not over-identified with this persona or using it as a shield of protection. He is in touch with what we call his ‘Inner Eve’ (Jung calls the Anima). This inner feminine is how he can relate to a woman and not be intimidated by them or need to control them.” — Debi Berndt

It actually makes me want to read more about Jung’s work. Debi’s article, and her responses to some of the comments underneath, highlight the differences between the confident and energetic external presentation, and the seemingly ‘weaker’ subconscious where fears and neuroses reside; how we build a fortress around our subconscious and defend it vigourously so that it cannot escape into the external and expose us for what we are. When I undertook a course of counselling a few years ago, this was brought up in detail (albeit without any mention of Jungian psychology). I wonder how many of these so-called Alphas will say how much they love their life, but can’t help feeling that something’s missing.

At the lowest points of my life, it was possible that I was being ushered towards ‘alpha-ness’ by other alphas, wanting me to succeed according to their own definitions and not my own. In a way, I’m glad it pushed me past my breaking point: I could then pick up the pieces and start rebuilding. When I look back at the progress I’ve made over the last few years, I could interpret that as having ‘integrated my Anima’: rather than trying to keep my feminine side locked away, I’ve been learning to integrate it, working towards a more complete version of me. In fact, I’m quite glad I can now turn around and say that I have a feminine side, and I’m proud of it.

Holidaying in Bulgaria (and the black market cassette tapes I lined my luggage with)

While perusing eBay for cassettes, I often come across ones that say “rare” or even “mega rare”… but they look a little dodgy – usually they’re labelled as Polish pressings, but they often don’t have labels or on-body print. Some look like generic blank tapes with a custom inlay; I’ve even seen some labelled as “Japanese pressings” because the tape itself was made in Japan (usually by Maxell).

A pirate copy of Cocteau Twins’ Victorialand, on the Polish Takt label

I used to have loads just like them. For two years, when I was about 13/14, we holidayed in the Bulgarian beach resort of Albena – this was back in the early 90’s when, like Poland, the country’s economy was in a state of transition. I usually spent a sizable portion of my holiday money on music, which was often cheaper than it was at home; in Bulgaria, it was much cheaper. Pretty-much everywhere you went there was a stall set up with someone selling music cassettes for the price of 40 Lev – the equivalent of £1 at the time. Sometimes you’d find two or three stalls in the same Bazaar. Nevertheless, by the time we flew home, my hand luggage was almost full of them.

As record companies didn’t operate in the former Eastern bloc, all of these tapes were counterfeits, dubbed from CD onto generic tape stock; sometimes even branded blank tapes. They’d be placed inside a custom inlay, usually a simple, paper J-card with a stretched or cropped image of the CD cover on the front. 9 times out of 10, these tapes were unlabeled and mistakes were common. Thankfully, most vendors had boom-boxes and would play a little bit for you to make sure you were getting the right album. If, like I often was, you were taking advantage of the low prices to discover new music, you had to just assume that what you were hearing was correct.

As they were dubbed onto tapes of set length, it was often a guess as to which tracks were on each side; but whenever the side ended mid-track, the track would start again from the beginning on the next. If there was sufficient tape remaining, they’d stick the first bit of another album on the end: when I bought Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, the 43-minute album had been dubbed onto what must have been a C60 tape – Side 1 cut out half-way through “Us and Them”, and had the first 10 minutes of Ummagumma tacked onto the end of Side 2. It saved waste and also inspired a number of future purchases.

Jacko’s Dangerous, as released on Bulgaria’s Unison label, complete with labels and digitally-stretched cover art

The more “semi-professional” releases were on the “Unison” label. They were still black market copies, but often came with paper labels and lyrics. Even so, they were still only £1 each. Unison had bricks-and-mortar shops around the country, including in the nearby city of Varna. I still remember the copy of Queen’s Live at Wembley ’86 I got from there – they’d re-ordered the tracks to make best use of the tape so, at least once a side, you’d get a pause while their CD player cued the next track. That doesn’t quite work on a live album!

It’s also the only place I’ve seen a cassette of Jean Michel Jarre’s Waiting for Cousteau with the full 47-minute CD version of the title track on it, rather than the abridged 22-minute version officially released on LP and Cassette.

For all the quirks, the sound quality was always pretty good – significantly better than the “747” Saudi cassettes I occasionally picked up from car boot sales. The ones I had sounded like they were dubbed from vinyl (crackles and all), and often had tracks re-ordered or omitted altogether.

Over the years, these tapes were recorded over: either I bought the album legit later on, or I just grew bored of them. Although I do have something of a fond nostalgia for these black market bargains, I don’t feel the urge to pay collectors prices when I can get originals for much less.

Left- and Right-wing Music

I’ve been buying up more cassette tapes from eBay over the last week or so, mainly to satisfy an itch for stand-up comedy, but also to gamble on a few titles from the 70’s and 80’s without suffering the ear-splitting din that comes from “digital remasters” and without the risk/expense of getting vinyl through the postal network. In amongst those purchases was Billy Bragg‘s “difficult” third album, Talking with the Taxman About Poetry. I’d heard odd songs of his, but never a full album – put it this way, I’ve listened to little else since Saturday.

Yesterday, I was looking for an analysis of one of its’ tracks: “Levi Stubbs’ Tears”. I found one on, of all places, The Spectator – not a publication I’d say would take a very favourable view of Bragg (an often-outspoken socialist) or his music. The comments at the botton (yeah, I know), rather than comment on or discuss the song itself, levelled numerous criticisms of Bragg’s personal life: accusations of being a “champagne socialist”, moving to the rural county of Dorset and various other slurs.

On the same site, I read another article that took pot-shots at liberal lefties for complaining when Kate Bush said she quite likes Theresa May. The article then went on to list a number of artists who, at least as far as the author was concerned, were right-wing or conservative; as an avid Rush listener, calling them “conservative” on the grounds of their Ayn Rand-inspired lyrics during the mid-70’s makes me think the author merely read the Wikipedia article for 2112 in lieu of actual research.

It’s clear that the author of the latter article, and the comments on the former, were written by conservatively-minded people. I came away with the impression that they believed those on the left could not separate an artist from their politics, and that political ideology is explicitly linked to wealth.

Firstly: Kate Bush’s views on Theresa May are her own, and hating on her for holding them is, at best, infantile. Equally infantile is suggesting that Kate’s politics would cause many ‘liberals’ to delete her music from their iPods; personally, even in the highly-unlikely event that her next album served as an overt musical shrine to Thatcherism, my admittedly-meagre Kate Bush collection would still remain – I just wouldn’t buy the new one until I’d heard it first. The widespread view of liberals as snowflakes is grossly over-exaggerated.

Secondly, I want to deal with the term “Champagne socialist”. If you’re unaware of the term, it is used to describe someone who holds left-leaning or socialist views despite living a privileged life or having personal wealth; in effect branding them as hypocrites.

Whatever Billy Bragg has in his bank account he has worked hard for, and I doubt anyone reasonable would begrudge him that: musicians don’t exactly get a pension when they hang up their guitars. There’s a sneering belief that any socialist with a bit of cash in the bank should practice what they preach and give it all to the poor, but he shouldn’t have to; he, like many of us, pays his taxes and has a right to speak his mind on how those taxes should be spent. Money, on the other hand, is not the one true commodity; it doesn’t take much digging to see how Bragg has used his creativity, talent and voice to educate the ignorant and speak up for those to whom nobody listens. Knowledge is power.

But where are the right-wing songs? Where are the folk ballads extolling the virtues of laissez-faire capitalism or the dangers of wealth redistribution? Why does Bruce Springsteen continue to outsell Ted Nugent?

I have a few theories.

  1. We’re still enamoured with music from the summer of love, particularly the peace-loving works of The Beatles.
  2. We relate to music on an emotional an empathetic level; when someone’s struggles and hardship are borne out in the lyrics, we react with sympathy – hence the success of charity songs like “Do They Know It’s Christmas” and “We Are the World”. A song describing the life of a Banker on a 7-figure salary is more likely to be perceived as bragging than aspirational.
  3. We also like to connect with the artists whose work speak to us, and like to feel as if they understand the people who buy their music.

Alternatively, it could be perceived that right-wing music exists, but doesn’t take the same form as the folk ballads and protests songs of the left. Right-wing music could simply be the musical equivalent of fast food: low quality, mass-produced and disposable music designed purely for short-term profit.

Music to give your brain a quick buzz rather than enlightenment.

Music born of capitalism, not creativity.

Music to stop you from thinking.

Music to stop you asking questions.

Hell in a Handbasket: Thoughts on Order, Chaos and Control

Looking back, I’ve written a number of posts that take aim at the comments sections of online news articles. In the back of my mind, I know that the Internet is riddled with hate-spewing trolls, but I still find myself drawn to them. I guess I’m hoping for that one comment that falls under the banner of honest debate – the “Holy Grail” of comments. It can be quite fun poring through the randomness that is troll logic, but it’s also quite concerning that others will see the volume of troll posts and believe they represent a consensus; adopting their views rather than engaging with them.

When I shared a link to my John Lewis article on Twitter, a couple of fellow musicians replied. Within their short discussion, it was asserted that, when things change, people don’t feel in control; however, nobody has control – it’s just an illusion created by civilisation.

It’s funny how something as simple as a tweet can inspire complex thought. Do we really have no control over anything? Beyond our own absolute position in time and space, I don’t think so either.

Think about time in terms of order and chaos. The past, I believe, represents order. In computing terms, it’s like a file that lacks random write permissions: it can only be read from or appended to. The future, on the other hand, is chaos: a vast void of uncertainty. We have knowledge of the past to inform and help plan for this future based on probability but, morbid as it may seem, we are always aware that the future holds just one certainty: we will die at some point in the future; we just have no control over when. With this in mind, the future can be frightening.

This fear of death is not necessarily physical – one can fear a social death where inflexibility leads to irrelevance, invalidity and isolation. When non-trolls proclaim that the world’s going mad or the world’s going to hell in a handbasket, I believe what they are referring to specifically is a possible future with little to no precedent to base it on – a future they either can’t envisage or a worst case scenario. Going back briefly to the subject of gender, by replacing the long-held concept of a monochrome binary with a more colourful alternative, we are causing chaos in the form of incompatibilities with whatever we built upon it – hence the hostility over things like sports, bathrooms etc. Because we have no control over the future, those who lack the flexibility to adapt to it become defensive, fighting for their own social survival.

But remember: there are no guarantees. This worst case scenario could be one of a billion possible outcomes with equal probability. You can, however, address the incompatibilities and stack the odds in favour of a more acceptable outcome. How you do so is up to you: do you reject any responsibility and insist the other party just “deals with it”, or do you collaborate on a more inclusive solution?

The answer, I believe, lies in how far you’re willing to go outside of your comfort zone; to open a dialogue you cannot control with those you perceive as a threat? It’s a gamble, but life is full of gambles.

Every once in a while, a small bet on long odds leads to a big payout.

Weighing in on John Lewis “girls and boys” clothing range

One story that’s hit the news in the past few days is that John Lewis, a British retailer, has produced a line of gender-neutral clothes for children. I don’t shop at John Lewis myself, but full respect for the move: It’s a great reaction to the growing concerns that childrens’ fashions are still rooted in anachronistic stereotypes.

The reaction in both the press and on social media has been quite off-balance. With few exceptions, the reports I’ve read have a very noticeable lean towards the negative: The Mirror and the Huffington Post are the only reports I’ve seen with any kind of balance or neutrality.

Yes, there’s been a lot of “outrage”, “backlash” and calls for a “boycott”, but it looks to me like a complete over-reaction:

  1. There was no indication of a “median” reaction so it’s unclear what proportion of people reacted positively or neutrally.
  2. With some comments, it was doubtful they’d even read (or understood) the whole story, given how many believed this was a plot to put dresses on boys. All John Lewis did was remove the gendered stereotypes and produce a range of clothes that could be worn by both boys and girls. If there was no demand from parents, there would be no supply.
  3. There were some comments stating that this would cause mental health problems in the future. These are only predictions, not facts, and they didn’t come from people with a background in mental health or child psychology. The demand for childrens’ clothing without stereotypes is relatively new, so without any case studies, the future effects cannot be predicted with any kind of accuracy.
  4. Some of the comments published came from middle-aged people who are less likely to be buying clothes for children, but more likely to hold conservative views on gender.

I’ve also noticed some of the logical fallacies at play – I’ve loved learning about these. The examples are not real quotes, but they are based on common comments and tweets:

  • Appeal to Tradition: “we’ve had gendered clothing for years and it’s never done us any harm”. While that may be true, it does not imply that non-gendered clothing must be harmful.
  • Red Herring: “But there are children starving and North Korea might be trying to nuke us”. A distraction away from the topic of discussion into something less relevant.
  • Appeal to Common Sense: “It’s common sense that boys and girls are different, therefore they need different clothes”. Yes, they are different, but that doesn’t mean they’re polar opposites.
  • Appeal to Popularity: “The majority of people won’t buy this, so why bother?”. The majority of people live on land, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a profit selling house-boats.
  • Appeal to Fear: “If you put your son in these clothes, they’ll get bullied and picked on”. It’s also possible that they won’t.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it appears to me that all of this negative reaction is down to that last one: fear. More specifically, fear of change; I’ve seen this recurring in whatever social subject I research.

Change is inevitable: with every generation comes new technologies, new possibilities, new outlooks. Our children are both the workers and the customers of the future, so businesses look to them to keep pace with the competition and ensure their survival; that’s exactly what John Lewis has always done. The only way to stop change altogether is to stop everyone from having children!

This is not about giving into political correctness either because your freedom of choice remains unaffected. Billions of people worldwide have Facebook accounts, but nobody is forcing you to sign up for one; likewise, you still have a choice what you clothe your children in – nobody is saying you must buy only unisex clothing. If they retracted the line following the “outrage”, minimalising the offence caused to conservatives, that would be giving in to political correctness.

There are those who say you get more conservative and right-wing as you get older, but I can’t see that happening to me. I refuse to be one of those frightened old men, clinging on to nostalgia. Life experience gets you so far, but it doesn’t imply greater wisdom or superiority over younger people, nor does it provide an excuse to stop learning.

Children live in the now, and I think that should continue throughout your life. You can learn from the past, but you can’t live in it; you also can’t predict the future, but you can influence it.

Longing for the past or fearing the future only makes you miserable in the present.

What gender is a strawman?

Yesterday, I read a news article published in the Independent that the UK government are planning reforms allowing trans people to self-identify without the need for all of the red tape and medical examinations. They’re even allowing an “X” marker for those who feel they sit outside of the binary. It’s a step in the right direction, I’ll grant it that – but it still falls short of recognising that sex and gender aren’t so easily compartmentalised.

I loved reading the comments though. The strawmen were everywhere! Strawmen with rabidly-frothing mouths, throbbing veins in their foreheads and dangerously high blood pressure. Plus a lot of the usual “political correctness gone mad”/”the world’s going to hell in a handbasket” type ramblings.

If you’re not familiar with the strawman fallacy, it’s where one’s claim is substituted with a completely distorted and inaccurate view by another. In this specific case:

Government: “We’ll allow trans people to self-identify on their birth certificates without a doctor’s diagnosis”
Comments: “So you’re allowing sex offenders easy access to women’s toilets, and men to compete in women’s sports?”

The government makes no claims that this will change the legality of sex offences, nor will it make committing said offences any easier. Any sicko motivated enough to prey on women in the ladies’ toilet isn’t going to pause at the door, make a u-turn and go “Drat – I forgot to change my birth certificate first”. Regardless of what’s on your birth certificate, and regardless of which toilet you walk into, the moment you start engaging in lewd behaviour, you’re breaking the law.

The way I read it, the whole “restroom” debate is often over-simplified, unidirectional and littered with similar strawmen. I’m also surprised at how often transmen get excluded from it; when you look at the bigger picture, they’re the game-changers. You can’t force them into the women’s toilet without the risk of someone screaming “Aaargh! A man’s walked into the ladies’ toilet!”, and you can’t allow them into the men’s toilet without admitting your solutions are inconsistent. Beyond the protections already enshrined in law, what can you do to keep the predators out without infringing on the rights of the innocent?

This could be one argument for the abolition of gendered bathrooms. When the debates focus solely on the vulnerability of women and children, they ignore the fact that the overwhelming majority of men are perfectly harmless and have the same attitudes towards sex offenders as they do. It is possible that any sex offender would think twice if other men were using the same bathroom, or if one could walk in at any time. If you’re a husband or father, where are you best placed to protect them? Waiting outside, or in there with them?

There are also no claims that this will change competitive sports in any way, so where they get that nugget of information from is anybody’s guess, but let’s treat it as a valid concern for now. Competitive sports are divided along the men/women divide, so how do you make them trans-inclusive? One way would be to employ a classification system similar to how the Paralympics ensures fair competition. That wouldn’t be so bad, would it?

One thing I’m sure we all can agree on though: jumping instantly to extreme or reactionary conclusions, without any prior debate or discussion, doesn’t exactly help your credibility on the subject.

Trying to see the real me

One of the reasons why I’ve been posting more gender-related posts over the past week is because I’ve been trying to figure out more about myself, and it’s been at the forefront of my brain a bit too much.

As I was growing up, from adolescence through to my early 20’s, I’ve been mocked or criticised for what others perceived as wrong, abnormal or unacceptable. I had no interest in sports, so was often criticised for poor-performance when school P.E. lessons forced me into playing football and rugby. The P.E. teacher even pulled me aside once and told me I must “put more effort in”.

A word often thrown at me during those years was sad. Not sad as in unhappy, but sad as in socially-inadequate or undesirable. This was 1995/96 – in the era of Oasis and Spice Girls, I was digging 70’s Prog Rock. I couldn’t help it: I just preferred music with a lot more substance so, to me, Oasis sounded boorish and lazy while the Spice Girls were mere plastic, mass-market pop. I liked Oasis a bit more around the Heathen Chemistry era (2002), but by then it was too late.

I was also not one for “going out”. I’d go to the cinema with a couple of friends, or to a concert, but that was about my limit. I certainly wasn’t going out every weekend to the places “people my age” went to – it just didn’t appeal to me, but I was made to feel like I was abnormal for thinking so. I was even told that “I wouldn’t meet anybody” if I didn’t go out. When I got home after meeting my now-wife for the very first time, my mom asked me how we’d met; I lied to avoid the “sad” stigma she applied to dating agencies.

I’ve also had two serious bouts of depression and anxiety within the past ten years:

The first time, the expectations of others was pulling me in opposite directions. My son had only just been born, and my wife was suffering with post-natal depression – while she was trying to cope with all that, I was thirty miles away at work, trying to leave my home life at the door, as was expected of me, and pushing myself to succeed. The extra money was very-much needed with an extra mouth to feed, but to get promoted required me to overcome my introversion and become more visible – as if introversion was something that could be cured or grown out of. The pressure got too much, and I just snapped.

The second time was similar too – significant pressure from work, and a home life that left little opportunity for “me time”. I felt like I was merely existing, and failing in my duties as a husband and employee. I was also having trouble sleeping with so much whooshing around my head every night. I was off work for several weeks, taking professional counselling with a more specific focus on self-esteem. It’s not easy undoing 30+ years of criticism, mocking, social-programming and bullying, but I’m trying to keep what I learned in mind.

That brings me to today. I’ve made significant progress in regards to my self-esteem and self-confidence over the past year, but I still feel as if I’m holding myself back.

One theory I have is that it has something to do with “identity”: I don’t want to take the easy route and conduct myself according to pre-packaged, or stereotypical, identities. I want to build my own, free from the confines of arbitrary characteristics such as my race, nationality, age and sex – I didn’t choose to be born in the late 70’s as a white, British male, and I don’t want to behave like one. When I walk out of the door, I want the world to see me in the analogue way my wife does, not the digital approximation that marketers or the media would say I am.

I’m also quite concerned about the obstacles I’ll face. While I’m trying to break my programming and ditch the inauthentic parts that came from social conditioning, I recognise that there are many who rely on, or are even protective of, these unwritten social norms. They’re like a comfort blanket that keeps the world clean and organised. I’d like to be very open about myself and who I am, but I get the impression that, if I do, I risk being seen as a threat rather than an individual: a threat to society, a threat to my family and even a threat to my children. I’m aware that such people will not be in a majority, and that there will be others who believe the complete opposite, but the fear of confrontation and the risk of damaging existing relationships is still very real.

A big part of me wants to say “bollocks to all that – just do it!”… but am I ready for the big reveal?

I’m Going Spock on you all!

I’m going to conclude this arc of gender/sexuality-related posts by returning to one quote from the Catholocism Pure post that I referenced earlier this week:

We are dooming children like this to a life of hell on earth and, then, to one in eternity as well for their supreme revolt against God and nature

Earlier today, I learned about what’s called the Appeal to Nature fallacy. To put it in very abstract terms, it’s centred on the belief that only what is natural (occurring within nature) is good. To frame it within C.P.’s context, only what is natural is Godly, and only what is Godly will be spared from an eternity in hell. Therefore, being anything other than cisgender is bad for you.

Very bad!

What they don’t realise is that, logically, this probably negates their claim rather than enforces it.

They claim that choosing a gender that does not match your sex goes against nature, but that is only true if sex and gender are one and the same. On the contrary, we already know that gender is an indication of where you view and express yourself on a socially-constructed spectrum, based upon expected behaviours and characteristics. If gender is a social construct, it cannot be good; this renders all genders as ungodly – including the two that they claim are good.

Why this is called a “fallacy” is because the logic either doesn’t apply consistently, or requires more criteria in order to be evaluated. For example, Pokeberries are natural, but you eat them at your own peril. Eating one won’t damn you for all eternity, but you’ll probably spend a night hooked up to a stomach pump. Birds, on the other hand, are immune to their toxins; therefore, pokeberries are indeed natural, but whether they’re good or not depends on who’s going to eat them.

They also state the following:

We are told to consider all these identities as normal as we approach the new godless, genderless frontier of the future.

Feminists like Gloria Steinem are featured, announcing that “the most pressing gender issue of today is getting rid of the idea of gender.”

Logically, if natural equals godly, and we’ve already established that gender is a man-made concept, then only the absence of gender can be godly. Therefore, Gloria Steinem is correct. If you really want to take it to the next level, you could argue that a belief in God must be unnatural since no other species exhibit any form of religious belief and, in the wider view of human existence, religions are a relatively new invention. Unless, of course, you’re a Creationist.

While it’s framed as an Appeal to Nature, it actually looks like they’re mixing an Appeal to Tradition with an Appeal to Authority: it’s basically saying that because we’ve always equated sex with gender, and that was true during Biblical times, there’s no point in changing what’s already established. This appeal to tradition is of no use on its own since “that’s the way it’s always been” does not explicitly mean new ways should not be evaluated and judged on relative merits. The Appeal to Authority is blended in by equating the old ways with God’s way, and God’s way must be followed. As it’s not possible to debate the argument with God directly, God’s authority is invalid. Therefore, it becomes little more than a plea to maintain the status quo.

So, wherever you are on the gender spectrum (if you’re on it at all), don’t worry. Their claim that you’ll be spending eternity in hell is highly illogical.

So live long and prosper!

Do fundamentalists dream of a sex-segregated society?

I’ve been re-reading some of my older posts, and had a bit of a lightbulb moment. When I read the posts about how the late Baptist minister Jack Hyles went on at length about the way men and women should walk, talk and dress, coupled with the current resistance to (or rejection of) trans rights, it got me thinking:

Perhaps their dream is to implement some form of sex segregation?

In the sermon that I (somewhat mockingly) tore apart, Jack Hyles talked ferociously against what he dubbed “the unisex movement”: how men were growing their hair long, women were starting to wear trousers and both sexes were starting to look, and behave, alike. This was back in 1972 – the year the world stood awestruck at the androgynous wonders of David Bowie and Ziggy Stardust. Hyles was preaching that men and women should walk, talk, look and sit differently to each other – his church even ran groups teaching them “the correct ways” – but why was it so important that men and women be so easily identified as such?

My guess is that, as the books of the Bible were written for a time and place where men were powerful and women were property, he saw this as God’s required social model. With men and women becoming more conscious of their equality, he probably saw this as a mass rebellion against the divine.

Under such a strictly-segregated society, the definitions of “male” and “female” must be very rigid and detailed. I presume that by ingraining women to walk and sit in a “correct” way, any man would be able to spot from a distance any women trying to sneakily infiltrate their positions of power. Likewise, the women would be able to spot any roving males who were, shall we say, up to no good.

With Hyles stating that he had rule over his congregation, I’m very sure this kind of society would be much his liking, although I don’t know whether that would make him incredibly old-fashioned or just hungry for power!

Of course, with the trans communities becoming more and more visible, they represent a huge spanner in the works: not so much a convergence of the sexes but a glorious, true-colour, high-definition replacement for what was once a monochromatic gender spectrum.

When your aim is to segregate society into a one-dimensional binary, the addition of extra dimensions makes such a task exponentially more complex. After all, what do you do with those who have completed reassignment surgeries? It’s a lose-lose situation: you’re granting privileges to either women who were born male, or men who were born female. It would not surprise me at all if the plan-of-action involved mobilising their “army of righteousness” to lobby sympathetic government representatives into having all trans people sectioned.

Ultimately, I think the desire for segregation, and the rejection of LGBT+ rights, comes down to just one thing: sex. The survival of the human race is dependent on procreation, so you drive a huge religion-sized wedge along the lines of child-bearing ability and keep the potential mates together. I believe this is why there are still groups dismissive of gay and trans rights in order to protect the role of “the family”. Taking into account how much we know about sexuality, our advances in medicine and our improvements to both pre- and post-natal care, I can’t see how anyone within the broad LGBT+ community could be a threat to the survival of our species with infant mortality rates as low as they are.

If I’m right, and that is truly what they dream about, then to quote the words of Aerosmith:

Dream on!