This has to be the most controversial I've felt when beginning to write today's blog. I'd be happier to be writing about the lyrics of Don McLean's American Pie, a song which I love along with million's of others. Perhaps comparing it to the lyrics of songs by Leonard Cohen and McLean's 'Jester' Bob Dylan.
But no I feel affronted that a significant news item being broadcast today is that of transgender children aged 6 and 8 years old.
My own feelings about the transgender item is that with children so young it is inappropriate to even consider this as an issue. My own training to be a teacher in the 60s and 70s uni-formally agreed that child development includes periods when children consider the opposite sex to their birth gender. It is part of a much larger developmental process and can be revisited in teen years but their actual gender is where the majority settle.
I am not saying there aren't cases where people are 'born into the wrong body' but it is a tiny minority. One possible cause for the increase in these cases seems to me to be inappropriate role models which stems from the drive towards equality between the sexes and the increased number of single parent families where the parent caring for the child is female. The inequality issue has reached a level where it is almost anathema to be male - is it any wonder children are confused.
As a liberal thinking, feminine equality supporting male, I believe that any position developed in the battling for a cause requires regular tending to ensure that damage isn't done under its efforts to achieve success.
There's a lot to be said for appropriate role models. I worked, while running a school, with an Afro-Caribbean consultant in a deprived area trying to help boys of the same culture adapt to their role in the family without an adequate male role model. The boys in particular were disaffected from education and the work we introduced was around identifying role models that they could look up to.
Role models are very important and powerful, so for children to be able to identify their place in the world, the models they follow need to be appropriate to their race and gender.
Undoubtedly, someone would criticise the photo of Barack and Michelle because they are raising a glass!
Dismounting from soapbox
Don McLean's being fantastic about his lyrics. The fact that he tends to reply that 'they made him rich' when asked what they mean is brilliant. It's what I call a happy writer's response. When we write there are layers of meaning some of which are simply for the writer. The readers job is to take what they need from the text and the way in which it is presented, and enjoy the experience.