When did gender become a dirty word?

Comedian Dave Chappelle has found himself in hot water over a comment he made in his latest Netflix special The Closer.

In just four words he has put himself at the forefront of the cancel culture that is rife at the moment.

Those four words are: “Gender is a fact.”

I considered writing this column a couple of weeks ago when Lord Robert Winston made the same assertion on BBC Question Time and host Fiona Bruce almost spontaneously combusted in panic as she insisted that not everyone holds that opinion.

I backed off then and I’ve been ashamed of my cowardice ever since because there’s a disturbing aspect of bullying going on here that’s every bit as wrong as when it’s the other way around. Lord Winston said he fully expected to get hate mail over his comment but you don’t get to choose which facts you like and which ones you don’t.

If one of the world’s leading biologists over the past 45 years says something, I think it’s reasonable to accept that his statement is based in science and has nothing to do with disrespecting any particular group or made from any bigoted prejudice.

How someone identifies is entirely up to them, although I must admit the non binary thing is still a bit beyond me and I absolutely draw the line at mermaid and the more outlandish options.

Certainly anyone who has gone through part of their life in the wrong body deserves respect and understanding, Part of that obviously is to refer to them as Mr, Miss, Ms… whatever they are now and for that to be on any documentation – passport, driving licence, etc.

But history and science can’t be wiped away just because it hurts someone’s feelings. Chromosomes don’t have a sense of political correctness and people should not be publicly pilloried, cast out and labelled as the human embodiment of cockroach droppings just because they happened to point out that simple fact.

Whatever surgery and hormone meds were utilised to obtain the finished article, if you now feel like a complete person then good on you. I wish you nothing but happiness, contentment and fulfilment.

But I’m sorry, nothing is going to make that Y chromosome go away if you were born with it or make it magically appear if you weren’t and that’s not Dave Chappelle’s, Lord Winston’s or anyone else’s fault.

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Regular readers will know that I don’t exactly hold up Sky News as a paragon of impartiality and balance, but Friday evening really took the biscuit.

On the gratuitous soap-boxing that passes for a nightly press preview, one of the agenda-driven rentagobs Zoomed in, columnist Susie Boniface (who I can only assume she was taking a break from playing on the M25), while discussing the COP26 climate summit, argued that the main cause for global warming is population growth, not the level of CO2 emissions coming from Russia, China, India and the USA which effectively cancel out any of the efforts the rest of the world can make.

And the villain of the piece? Well Boris of course. This is Sky News after all.

Having six kids and another on the way shows a complete disregard for the planet apparently.

The 40-odd kids the leaders attending COP26 have between them apparently sends out a worse message than the crap belching out into the atmosphere from the industrial complexes of the world’s superpowers.

Now there are plenty of things I can gladly hold senior Tories responsible for, but Boris Johnson’s super sperm causing the destruction of the planet’s ecosystem?

That’s pushing it a bit too far even for Sky News.

Stupid TV quiz answer of the week:

Tipping Point again

Q: In the 2019 Conservative Party leadership election the politician who lost to Boris Johnson was Jeremy what?

A: Corbyn

The Chase:

Q: In three-day eventing what is the first discipline?

A: Athletics

Special mention to The Chase contestant who thought A.A. Milne was female.

But quote of the week comes from Tipping Point quizmaster Ben Shephard with: “Can you take out Sue’s danglers? Yes you can!”

Edward Case

Columnist