If there is a more smug and obnoxious creature then someone who is righteous in their own eyes, I do not know what it is.
Norman Tebbit, in his overweening arrogance, has declared that LGBT+ (sounds like a new exciting Subway sandwich) or transgendered people are the result of air pollution.
According to Tebbit, “I cannot recollect any such individuals among my fellow pupils at school, nor in my intake for National Service in 1949, nor so far as I know among my children’s generation at school. I do not know if the populations of third world or of urban or of rural societies are more or less affected.”
If, as Tebbit thinks, ‘it is time we had some research into the extent of the phenomenon both in time and geographical reach’, on both counts a more simple explanation presents itself, freedom from repression and persecution precisely by people like himself.
‘Coming out’ is still, for many, if not most, LGBT+ people, a fraught experience. My personal experience as a transvestite has been progressive throughout my life time, unsurprising to me, given that I grew up in a world dominated by homophobia and the likes of Tebbit.
Things have improved since then somewhat, but the liberty to choose ones own preferred identity, whatever that may be, is still far from a done deal and is certainly not helped by Tebbit half wittedly blaming it on smog.
I can be no surprise that Tebbit cannot recollect ‘any such individuals among my fellow pupils at school, nor in my intake for National Service in 1949’. I wonder if he has ever heard of Oscar Wilde and what Wilde might have said today in response to Tebbit? I do not think that Wilde was someone who suffered fools gladly, but he certainly suffered from fools like Tebbit.
I well remember, with all the clarity of hindsight, my discovery of being a cross dresser. It was in the early days of the storm of my sexual awakening, I did not know then (to recognise explicitly) that it was even stronger than my emerging heterosexual identity and with all of it came indescribable shame and anguish.
In the orthodox world of heterosexuality in which I grew up, being a man was assumed, or presumed, to be a linear process. Man and manliness were tightly conscripted to traditional myths and madness of manhood, a manhood which, from a very young age, I was singularly unimpressed with. From parent to playground, maleness, for me, was synonymous with what I would today describe as being an arsehole. Were Tebbit talking about the pollution of values that surrounded manhood, I would probably be in agreement with him. If an example is required then one word will suffice, Trump, a man currently riding the pinnacle of being a complete manly arsehole.
I have recently plummeted into an existential crisis and a degree of mental anguish and torment that I have not felt in a very long time. The source of my anguish I discovered was, that in moving to the west country some twenty years ago, I have largely buried and ignored my identity as, and being, a cross dresser. I had moved to pastures new, which were themselves captivating. absorbing and full of wonder, I was older and the drives of my younger years had become less pressing, I had become absorbed by pressing, heinous, political issues, and underneath I was fearful.
Burying a significant part of ones identity is nothing new, where we have progressed, and Tebbit has not, is a more honest recognition of the importance of personal identity and our progress (liberty) towards wholesomeness and the anguish that a lack of (or buried) identity gives rise to. It may be the case that my anguish is the greater because I have afforded myself more liberty in the past, and therefore the bars of this self imposed prison are the more distressing because of that.
Inevitably, it is a bit more complex than that in undoing the chains I have unwitting bound myself with, but what it is not is a case of smog related dis-ease or any kind of perversion of manliness as decided by god, myth or Norman Tebbit.
It seems that there is nothing that paternalists like Tebbit and the current Tory government will not rob us of, but, in the name of goodness, we should not rob ourselves. It is a supreme act of self kindness to at least strive to know and be oneself.
I have no time to engage with the smog of Tebbit’s delusion, I would much rather content myself (and put the time and effort in) with just being me and if that is LGBT+, then I’ll have it, frills and all, but go easy on the mayo.
KOG aka Joanna. 2 November 2017.