Animal Drag as Gender Hysteria

Britain’s Tabloids Get Dirty

Kids all over the UK identify as cats, dogs, horses, and sometimes even the moon.

Objects of transgression anxiety: Child and dog.

No child has been interviewed claiming this, but we know it’s true because the media says so.

We can thank The Telegraph for this piece of journalism. Naturally, GB News and TalkTV have decided to run with the story too.

It has spread across social media, with multiple versions of the recording at the heart of the story being posted.

The TikTok recording starts with two students comparing transgender identity with identifying as a cat.

There is a row about the legitimacy of transgender identity, drawing analogies with identifying as animals.

“How dare you, you’ve just really upset someone,” says the teacher. “Saying things like should be in an asylum.”

“I didn’t say that,” said the student. “I said if they want to identify as a cat or something they are like genuinely unwell.”

Some people actually heard ‘cat’ as ‘cow’ here. Initial reports quoted ‘cow’ instead of ‘cat’, but the latter has become the story.

“You were questioning their identity,” says the teacher. “Where did you get the idea that there are just two genders?”

The students stress that this was their opinion. But the teacher responds that this is not a matter of opinion. “There’s actually three biological sexes,” she states. “You can be born intersex. You can be born with male and female body parts or hormones.”

“In terms of gender, there are lots of genders,” the teacher continues. “There is transgender, there is agender, people who don’t believe they have a gender at all.”

“We just don’t agree with it. If you have a vagina, you’re a girl. If you have a penis, you’re a boy. That’s it,” the students reply.

“But cisgender is not necessarily the way to be,” the teacher responds. “You are talking about the fact that cisgender is the norm, that you identify with the gender of the sexual organs that you are born with, or you’re weird. That’s basically what you’re saying, which is really despicable.”

She goes on to raise the problem of homophobia. The kids make it clear that they have no problem with gay or lesbian people.

“That’s not homophobia; that’s transgender,” said one of the students. “I’m fine with lesbians and gay people. I’ve got nothing against them.”

“If you don’t like it, you need to go to another school,” said the teacher. “You’re confusing sex with gender,” argued the teacher, to which the student replied: “No, I’m not.”

“I haven’t said anything at all in the lessons I have been in; it’s just because they turn around and start saying something, so I said, ‘How can you identify as a cat when you are a girl?’” said the student.

It’s a stretch to interpret this line literally as if there is another girl in the class who identifies as a cat.

Some people are now dedicated to believing that this is a story about ‘cat identity’ because it throws doubt on gender self-identification.

Government Steps In

The ‘cat child’ story sounds a lot like the strange tales of litter boxes in US schools for students to defecate into it.

These claims are based on the fact that there are schools stocking cat litter in case of a mass shooting.

Of course, if we apply Occam’s razor, it’s much more likely that the student is comparing someone’s claim to be transgender to self-identifying as a cat.

Nevertheless, the right is chanting that this is gender ideology run amok.

This should not be taken as evidence to demonise the students as transphobic since they are most likely just repeating things their friends and family have said.

Neither does the weary joke about “identifying as an Apache attack helicopter” presuppose anyone self-identifying as a military vehicle.

The last part of the recording is muffled as the kids leave class. They can be heard laughing about recording the conversation and saying that they won’t be going to the class in the future.

The Telegraph contacted the parents of the students making the comments in the video. No quote of the child supposedly identifying as a cat has emerged, nor have any quotes from their parents.

“I understand the point the teacher was attempting to make, what bothers me is the shutting down of debate in such a threatening and aggressive manner, which I don’t believe is appropriate in an educational setting,” the parent told The Telegraph.

“Regardless of the subject, education should serve to build awareness of differing points of view to widen the understanding of a subject. It shouldn’t be a case of indoctrination.”

No mention of cats. The actual issue, for the parent, is that the teacher was talking over the student and forcing a political view on them.

This is the bottom line. Newsworthy, for sure, but not sensationalist enough for the right-wing press.

Rye College has officially denied that any of its students identify as animals, particularly of the feline variety. The school is reviewing the case and its protocols.

Nevertheless, the Conservative government has called for Ofsted to investigate the school over a possible violation of the Equality Act.

This is actually a more substantial issue conflated with a total absurdity.

Ofsted last inspected Rye College in January 2023 and rated the school as “good”. Inspectors praised the school’s “robust” safeguarding standards and “high quality” staff training.

The timing of this story is convenient since the Department of Education is about to release its long-awaited guidance on gender identity in schools.

Rye College has welcomed this guidance in its public statements on the story.

So far, we know (thanks to Harry Cole at The Sun) that the guidance may mandate that teachers ‘out’ trans students to their parents and ban such children from taking part in sports.

This would go much further than Section 28, the now-repealed series of laws introduced by Margaret Thatcher in 1988 that prohibited the “promotion of homosexuality” by local authorities.

Sex-Ed Panic

None of this should be understood in isolation.

Earlier this year, the Department of Education launched a review into sex and relationship education in the UK after strange claims about the new curriculum introduced by the Johnson government.

Conservative MP Miriam Cates called for a full investigation into claims that children are being taught that there are 73 genders, alongside graphic lessons on oral sex and BDSM.

The Evangelical has been pushing claims of “extreme sex education material” since at least last summer.

Cates founded the New Social Covenant Unit in 2021 with the purpose of opposing “cultural Marxism” and “globalism”.

Moya Lothian-McLean has taken apart the specific claims of oral sex and BDSM in an article for Novara Media. The claims are based on conflating different materials – some available to children in class, others available to adults.

As for “graphic descriptions” of blowjobs, the materials refer to oral sex in cold, clinical language.

Nothing remotely pornographic is included in any of the educational material available to 10-year-olds.

Unfortunately, the facts don’t matter.

People aren’t invested in the truth of such stories as factual claims but they are invested in the truth of the values expressed.

No amount of debunking will work for this reason.

What’s the origin of the story that UK schools are teaching kids there are 73 genders?

Literally, one throwaway comment allegedly made by a guest speaker at a school on the Isle of Man.

A drag queen, who came to talk to students at the school as part of a sex and relationship education class, said there are 73 genders, according to the Telegraph report.

However, the accuracy of the report has also been questioned.

It’s not even clear if it was 73 or 72 genders. Not that the possible misreporting registered with the people who sent death threats to teachers at the school.

The Isle of Man suspended sex education classes in response, while an independent review is conducted into the new curriculum introduced in September 2022. But it doesn’t stop there.

Not only is the Isle of Man government reviewing sex-ed standards. The Sunak government has also launched a review of sex education across the entirety of the UK on the basis of this story.

Many people now believe that schools are teaching kids there are ‘72 genders’, or even ‘100 genders’.

We’re supposed to believe schools are teaching children how to masturbate, perform blowjobs and choke each other.

This is the media industry version of Chinese whispers. A conveyor belt of partially true claims becomes more and more ridiculous as they move along until they bear no resemblance to their origin story.

It’s not anything new. Tabloids like The Sun have been running stories like this for decades. But more upmarket broadsheets like The Telegraph are not immune to publishing such tabloid claims either.

Over the decades, the British right-wing press has told readers that hot-cross buns have been banned to not offend non-Christians and Baa, Baa Black Sheep has been banned by a London council because it’s racist.

Just as Birmingham City Council reportedly banned Christmas and councils across the country banned the England flag.

These are just some examples of the kind of folk tales propagated by our wonderful media every year.

Unfortunately, many will believe such falsehoods because they reflect the fact that the country is going badly wrong.

Photograph courtesy of Tarah Tamayo. Published under a Creative Commons license.