By Nora Johnson • 21 November 2019 • 13:43
SAM SMITH: Talking gender identity.
FIRST we had silent ‘jazz hands’ (at Oxford University, it was decided that clapping should be replaced by waving both hands by the sides of the body at meetings to avoid causing ‘anxiety’) and then we had Sheffield University banning students from wearing sombrero fancy dress outfits because of ‘cultural appropriation.’
In 2016 an American college reportedly offered counselling to students ‘injured and affected’ by a group of classmates who wore sombreros to a tequila-themed birthday party. And I thought the USA had cornered the market in snowflakes!
Some hyper-sensitive delegates at a gender conference at Roehampton University were issued with red, yellow and green traffic lights on their lanyards to indicate wordlessly their preparedness or otherwise to engage in conversation about the complex and harrowing question of gender – despite talking about gender being the whole point of the conference.
Seems you can’t bandy pronouns willy-nilly these days, what with a couple keeping their baby’s gender secret, even from its family (allegedly, we should give all newborn babies numbers rather than names until they are ready to determine their own gender identity) and the singer Sam Smith announcing ‘they’ want to be known as they/them not ‘him.’
Equity, the trade union representing actors and entertainers, advises venues to use ‘gender-neutral’ terminology in their announcements – like ‘good evening everyone’ instead of ‘ladies and gentlemen.’
As to what should be done about renaming Shakespeare’s play ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona,’ Equity is silent, however!
Like any sane, properly brought up, interesting person, I am speechless (well, almost) in the face of all this nonsense. As for those displays of splayed fingers, they make me very ‘anxious.’ Could we just settle please for a nod and a wink?
Finally, on a really positive note, many thanks to everyone who’s left great comments on my website about ‘Betrayal,’ the latest of my thrillers now available in audiobook format! Happy reading!
In fact, even thinking about the novel is sending icy, blood-curdling shivers down my spine…
Nurse, the screens please! That’s better, now I’m back on the meds. And bring that big syringe!
Nora Johnson’s crime thrillers ‘Betrayal,’ ‘The Girl in the Woods,’ ‘The Girl in the Red Dress,’ ‘No Way Back,’ ‘Landscape of Lies,’ ‘Retribution,’ ‘Soul Stealer,’ ‘The De Clerambault Code’ (www.nora-johnson.net) available online as ebook, ibook, paperback and audiobook. All profits to Costa del Sol Cudeca cancer charity.
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Novelist Nora Johnson offers insights on everything from current affairs to life in Spain, with humour and a keen eye for detail.
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