Don’t get me wrong: the BMA hasn’t yet outlawed sex in the sense of copulation. It has only taken issue with such admittedly offensive, sex-specific words as ‘mother’ and ‘father’.
(A disclaimer is in order: as a matter of both principle and taste, I eschew vulgar politicised usages, such as ‘gender’ when used outside grammar or colloquial banter, as in ‘gender-bender’. Nor do I use the title ‘Ms’. If a woman is married, I address her as ‘Mrs’; if she isn’t, or if I don’t know her marital status, as ‘Miss’.)
Actually, these very words have been out of fashion for quite some time now. Their diminutive, infantile versions ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’ have taken over, and the time can’t be far away when the Church of England will insist of ‘Our Dad’ and ‘Mum of God’.
Then again, if it follows the BMA’s lead, it won’t. Those words aren’t ‘inclusive’ enough. A neutral ‘parent’ must rule the day.
So far that offensive idiocy hasn’t quite reached the ecclesiastical establishment, although it probably will before too long – our state church may well be ordered to be inclusive on pain of disestablishment.
But the medical establishment has already ruled that a pregnant woman can no longer be called an ‘expectant mother’ or indeed a ‘pregnant woman’. Such an outrageous designation may constitute a gross, traumatic insult to a pregnant woman in the process of changing sex to become a man.
And it isn’t just mother (‘Mum’) and father (‘Dad’). Other sex-specific words have also been banned, such as son and daughter, husband and wife, girlfriend and boyfriend. That is, they aren’t banned altogether – it’s just that their use can’t be allowed until it’s ascertained which sex someone wishes to be.
Now, as a lifelong supporter of progressive causes and a champion of the downtrodden masses deprived of freedom of choice, I welcome this initiative. Free choice is a core concept of our civilisation, and I for one insist on exercising it.
Acting in that spirit, I’ve chosen to be tall, dark, lean and handsome – defying the accident of nature that made me none of those things. If you want me to be more specific, look at a young photo of Gregory Peck – that’s me, as I wish to be and therefore am. If you dare to describe me in any other way, I’ll report you to the BMA.
Any woman reading this should instantly swoon and fall into my arms. Or any man, for that matter, if at some point I decide that I actually wish to be a tall, dark, lean and handsome woman.
If you object that sex-change procedures have become routine, while no procedure exists that could conceivably make me tall, dark, lean and handsome, don’t be so hasty. And don’t sell short the medical and scientific progress, of which modernity is so justly proud.
A bone graft could make me tall or at least taller; a hair transplant and a lifelong supply of dye could make me dark; liposuction could make me lean; cosmetic surgery could make me… well, almost handsome. And once those alterations have been done, I may decide whether the new me wishes to be a man or a woman.
The BMA guidance has been described as ‘Orwellian’ in some quarters. That misses the point.
For progress of which I, as a tall, dark, lean and handsome person (sex, TBD) am a lifelong champion, outpaces all amateurish attempts at satire. Practically every piece of reportage these days has enough biting poignancy and boundless imagination to make any dystopic satirist of the past die again, this time of envy.
Had George Orwell been asked to depict a pregnant woman whose right to become a pregnant man could be questioned by no respectable institution, he would have laughed. Satire, he would have said, has to have some bearing on reality to have any effect. Hence showing a world where mendacious propaganda is called truth is fine. Showing a pregnant man isn’t.
The combined talents of Swift, Orwell and Huxley would have been defeated by the task of producing the BMA’s booklet entitled A Guide To Effective Communications: Inclusive Language In the Workplace.
Mere talent wouldn’t have sufficed. It takes real genius at unwitting self-mockery, and nothing can match the quotidian reality of modernity. We must thank the BMA for making this point clear yet again.