You may remember Lewis Hamilton posting a 12 second video of himself teasing his nephew about ‘wearing a princess dress’ at Christmas, basically telling him that ‘boys don’t wear princess dresses’.
And he got a lot of stick about ‘gender shaming his nephew from the liberal and trans community, so much in fact that he and later posted a video apologizing for his actions (probably on advice for his agent).
Lewis’ actions do seem somewhat out of touch with the times….. in our postmodern age of ‘gender diversity and fluidity’ the Scottish government has just published guidelines recommending that primary-school children should be allowed to identify as either gender without parental consent, while the Church of England has issued new guidance saying that children should be free to wear tiaras or fireman’s helmets, whatever they want, with out prejudice.
There is a rational argument for allowing children the freedom of gender expression… Ruth Hunt, CEO of Stonewall, argues that society has nothing to fear from becoming more open-minded towards people who question their gender identity. She argues that you can’t ‘turn’ children trans just by allowing boys to dress up as girls and girls to dress up a boys, because ‘trans’ is innate.
She further argues that the reason we’re seeing more trans people today, the reason they are more visible is because society is at last allowing them the freedom to express who they really believe themselves to be. From this perspective, I guess what Lewis Hamilton was doing was restricting the right of his child to ‘be who he really was’.
So it’s only a 12 second video clip, but the reaction to it tells us so much about the society in which we live – changing norms and values surrounding gender and the (terrifying?) way in which public discourse can penetrate into our private lives, if we choose to post videos of ourselves on Twitter that is!