This post covers a talk given by Professor Stephen Whittle at Durham University in 2015. It’s quite a long talk and there is a lot to cover so this is part 1.
This will be added to my series on Whittle which you can find here:
You can watch the YouTube of Whittle’s talk here:
In the brief introduction Whittle’s achievements are listed and the fact that he advises governments around the world as well as the Council of Europe, European Union and The European Commission; bear this in mind when you listen to some of the more outlandish statements.
Whittle begins with an anecdote about how the concept of “gender” was explained to their four year old son, by Whittle’s wife, a nurse. He asked his parents how they know the twins were girls. This was the answer given to him:
Many years later Whittle overhears this same son passing on the same explanation to a friend and comments “we trained him well”. Whittle then elaborates on the process of sex determination by adding this explanation:
Next people with disorders of sexual development (DSDs) are pressed into service, to prop up gender identity ideology. At the risk of repeating myself, DSDs, do not mean anyone is born without a sex, we are a sexually dimorphic species. We are all either male or female.
Whittle anticipated the audience may be confused that she is questioning the Future of “Gender” when her whole life has been a quest to live as her “Gendered self”. So, why is she? The concept of “gender” ,she explains, has only a recent history. She then asks if Gender a matter of being “male” or “female”? Apparently the answer to that question is “no” because we also categorise animals as male or female but we don’t call them “girls” and “boys”. Well, we wouldn’t, would we,because this is the terminology for human beings. Apparently, this is because, according to Whittle, we don’t think dogs have a gender identity. (Conveniently overlooking that we do have words to differentiate the sexes in the animal kingdom).
Whittle then argues this is because “gender” is not “biologically related” and the gender you have is something separate from being biologically male or female. The next question is to ask if being male or female is socially constructed. Whittle says “possibly” and we will come back to this. He then asks if “masculine” and “feminine” are culturally determined. Apparently this is worth looking at in some depth so, Whittle promises, we will come back to it.
Whittle then examines whether we are defined by our hormones /chromosomes and then throws out a question to the audience asking if anyone knows what their chromosomes are. Predictably people don’t know. Whittle asks why we are defining humanity by our chromosomes when nobody knows what they are? This is a ludicrous argument. The number of people with chromosomal abnormalities is a tiny proportion of the population. Additionally, routine karyotype tests, to check for chromosomal abnormalities, at gender clinics, were abandoned; because they are not a feature of the referrals to such clinics. 99% of people can be correctly sexed with a simple observation of our genitalia. Whittle uses this argument to question one of the fundamental organising principles of society, based on biological sex. Our sex doesn’t always matter but sometimes it does; this could be for health reasons where your biological sex is a predictor of risk for certain health conditions; or where symptoms present differently in males and females. It matters for single sex spaces so women have safe spaces from the sex that commits 99% of sex offences.
Whittle uses this same argument to question the case of April Ashley, a male, who had his marriage annulled; because same sex marriage was illegal in the U.K at the time. Ashley had never tested their chromosomes, had removed their male genitalia and taken synthetic “female” hormones for decades. Whittle uses this argument to cast doubt on April’s sex to shore up her insistence that “gender identity” should take primacy over “sex”. She does this by casting doubt on the definition of biological sex and implying that April is a woman because their self-identity should take precedence over biological reality.
At 11:30 minutes in Whittle pokes fun at Civil Servants trying to establish if a Civil Partnership for same sex couples can be annulled on the grounds of non-consummation; ultimately they decided it couldn’t. This was because they could not decide which sex act would have to be performed to establish consummation. Whittle paints herself as the rational voice educating the stuffy Civil Servants. She also claims that she had to educate the Civil Servants on the consequences of the Gender Recognition Act which, in effect, allowed marriages for same sex couples, providing one had a Gender Recognition Act. I am not persuaded this happened.
Whittle then asks if “Gender” is a matter of attribution i.e. is it when we call our children our son or daughter that we somehow define their gender? This argument is, once again, intended to undermine the reality of biological sex and Whittle used her own situation to explain how this is flawed because:
The next consideration is to ask if “gender” is a matter of psychological differences. She doesn’t elaborate.
Whittle then argues that there are journals across the sciences, the natural sciences, biochemistry, psychology and even English Literature publishing hundreds of articles discussing “gender”, because it has become a profoundly important question. This question is only of importance to the navel-gazing, gender identity ideologues. Whittle then makes a joke about how it keeps people, invested in Gender Studies, in work. She is not wrong.
I am not going to lie the calibre of this talk is making me lose all respect for the Professorial class! Next Whittle says we have got the issue “arse about face” and proceeds to ask if anyone in the room fancies David Beckham. He assumes someone does, which is a fair assumption, but then she goes into the realms of gender woo woo.
I am going to go out on a limb here and say it’s reasonable to assume David Beckham has a penis and the discovery he had not, or had female genitalia, would be a deal breaker for heterosexual women, or gay men. It’s this kind of rhetoric that leads to confused teenage girls assuming gay men would be attracted to them. Exhibit A 👇 (Our kids really believe this).
In case it’s not clear Whittle thinks “gender presentation” drives sexual attraction. “Nothing whatsoever to do with their body”!
Bearing in mind Whittle is talking in 2015, the very year Stonewall added the T to its remit. 👇
Part two makes it clear Whittle knows the statistic about the sexual abuse women face and she still thinks abolishing single sex spaces is morally acceptable.
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