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To be or not to be PC.

So a dilemma for me, and perhaps for others? How far is far enough when it comes to political correctness. I am content with being a social liberalist, if there is such a thing, and always have considered myself open to difference and encouraging of the moderate beliefs of social movements. Not an extremist in any way I guess – (sounds dangerously like vanilla politics doesn’t it.) I am passionate about the rights of people, cultures, animals and the planet – the underdog will always get a fair hearing from me.

I have wondered myself as to what life would be like if I were gay in a rural community, or what would life be like to be disabled and to find that last disabled space taken by a non ‘blue badged’ driver. I have experienced cultural racism in a very white corner of Australia – I am of an olive brown complexion that seemed to cause some interest and was found worthy of dreadful nicknames, and name calling as an adolescent. I have worked with people my whole life, whom have experienced stigma and differentness, and I hope I have been an able advocate for those people whose lives I have been part of.

But recently I have found my threshold for political correctness is limited in comparison to some others and have been left wondering about my bias, and whther I am wrong or right, and if in fact there is a wrong or a right in a particular issue. The particular issue in question: transgender operations. I have no issue with people being or becoming who ever they want to be or whatever sex or sexual orientation they want to be – but – I do have an objection, quite a fierce one it seems, that State money not be spent on sex change operations (a newly created penis costs approx £50 000). I found myself in a conversation, at a pressured time of the day when I was about to host a dinner party for my daughter’s friends – in discussion with another parent about this issue. I was surprised by her response that she thought it was fine for State health monies to be spent on this sort of operation. She believed that gender identity crisis, if left unaddressed could be considered life threatening condition due to potential suicidal ideation. My view was that many people feel suicidal and do not get to have an operation and that therapy is available for all these days through the current improved access to psychological therapies. And if a person is ultimately convinced that a gender change process and operation is what they need, that to go for private health interventions should be the option undertaken – that they pay for it themselves. My friend appeared horrified by my stance and as a vast chasm between our views was revealed. She also felt that the earlier the better for transgender operations – and that this would be more successful. My thoughts are that it should not be done until someone reaches full maturity plus some – I have worked with young adults for the majority of my career and they can often be confused about many things, sexual orientation being one of many common identity issues.

I do not know the answer to these things, but I feel that there is likely to be diverse opinions about gender issues. One thing I have felt though is that it is apparently unacceptable to say that you are not in favour of a variation, whether that be transgender operations, or something else that challenges the PC schema. So it seems to me that the stigma and denial of rights and the freedom to express oneself is now applied to those people who do not conform to politically correct stances at all times. I was left feeling very bruised by my conversation with my friend and unaccepted by her, and I imagine she felt she didn’t really know me very well.

What do you think – has political correctness gone to the extreme or is it that I am an old dinosaur who doesn’t realise it?

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