Gender in the midst of extremism by essayist Hella Ahmed

(By Hella Ahmed) Claiming to be a centrist, is it perceived as being slightly close to the right-wing? And we know what extremism on that side conveys outright or with its legendary tact. I don’t think that « centre » should be seen like that. Also, I feel like it can be touchy to firmly assert being on the left-wing side when progressivism is playing hide-and-seek with common sense, as many privileged are obviously using the people, giving them the illusion of a truth that differs from what the right-wing preaches when in fact very similar in many ways.

To refocus, to recenter

Without taking sides, what is it with promoting the conditioning of children to be asking themselves and their close ones many questions about gender that « generally » don’t come to mind during a natural child development court? I am thinking of that little girl in the news who only wants to be « nothing » gendered or non-gendered, who says to be nothing but this nothing free of labels (maybe to be saved from all the pressure of expected decisions to be made regarding that matter). But am I supposed to say little girl or should I say « little human being »? And I specified that it was « in general », because one should not generalize in order to not generalize, it is the responsibility of adults to listen to young people and to welcome their children’s particularities or those of others for whom they may be responsible and whom they educate, as they are also part of a development which follows its normal course.

The term Politics is like a library with multiple departments, but I will dare to exceptionally simplify in this piece and say that it is mostly about economics. And so, without a good income, you don’t fully exist, you just live modestly, or you live like a modest and frustrated human (if being that modest was not your personal choice of course). I am therefore adding that the gender question shouldn’t be politicized. Leaning to « centre » seems to be for many linked to a vision of economy and a neutrality which is only respectful of legitimate rights, also those of children, and that does not make this position one of exemplary secularism or a box with no traces of religious extremism.

The course of nature

As the body is forming, nature is expressed. In the process, the mind recounting itself little by little. As life goes on, we become, our path is manifested before our eyes as we accomplish things and move forward. Isn’t that what we call the course of nature? Nature doesn’t make mistakes, it is what it is, and change is carried by our informed choices when we are able to make them. Actions need to follow our decision making, so we invest time and money for that to happen. I know from experience and observations made that a child will often chose what the parent has chosen, is likely to choose or is perceived as inclined to prefer.

A child also chooses consciously what would make emotional blackmail and lingering angst stop, and that particular choice will be voluntary without being sincere or fair towards a young self. Many problems in the mid and long term are triggered by a child’s choice to self-sacrifice in order to prioritize, in the immediate future, the adult’s feelings, to ensure peace and protect the parent.

Religiosity and moderation

The right is turning the gender issue into substance for protests linked to religion. I have not taken a stand on this matter which is unleashing many inflamed debates, because I feel the need to be tempered about it. What is happening is shocking: extremism is striking and I do consider as uncalled for to bring the gender debate everywhere. To be influenced to not be influenced in terms of identity (gender or religion) doesn’t seem to match up with the right to choose. How not to be baffled by so many options presented to you as possible choices in coherence with what you might be feeling without being aware of it or being able to name it, as in ready to open up about to yourself and others, when you’re just a kid? And all of that to be happening at an age where children are in need of reassurance that helps built core beliefs as security and personal worth seems absurd.

But still, it will be said that if we do not authorize youth and children to validate dimensions they are not familiar with in their close environments: family, school and the community, how can they feel free to embrace what is going on in their bodies and to express their preferences without guilt or the fear of being mocked and rejected?

I think that « moderation » that hardly exists in the virtual world should continue to take place in a reality that we no longer conceive as limited given tech growth and the progress of hormones therapy, in addition to plastic surgery that can manifest someone’s internal image if they wish for it to become the visible portrait of an identity shaped by personal desires and what is considered to be true feelings. A moderation that must endure without being redefined to follow the spirit of our nowadays era of liberation. I see the danger of qualifying as censorship what is not, because censorship is sometimes, in fact, an outcome of the phobia of « re-center » actions that would normalize excess instead of instigating wise caution.

Including the children

My idea is that children must always be included in a real dialogue that concerns them and not be exploited by what would exclude them instead of really showing them the regard they deserve, because throwing at them many proposals and offering a variety of choices only to support decisions that may be made to be later on regretted does not seem protective of their identity or their freedom to choose.

It is not true that what we consume in the media and the images that are stored in our memories do not influence us. For some characters, eccentricity is a philosophy of life, feminization will be particularly revealing of a creative side clinging to diversity, but for others, the « spectacular dressing up and excessive make up » scene that society wish to include further in family and community gatherings is an upheaval of cultural and religious anchorages which represent pledges of stability to them. A perceived danger, which can be real or not, will trigger anxiety and maybe hostile reactions towards what seems to be causing it.


To be using words such as « diabolical » and « satanical » that belong to fantasy and the religious, with the intention of binding us to realistic matters by doing so, can not be taking seriously, honestly. These concepts are at root disconnected from practical reality. But does the absence of religion make it more legitimate to bring up an opinion and work on making it credible?

A lot of secularism warriors want to unveil women to protect them from patriarchy, guiding them with authority as if they were incapable of individual reasoning, doing a bit the same thing as those who want to veil them, and also abolish all religious signs that might influence or offend anyone. It is often these same people you will find at the front scene when it is time to protect and boost the interests of certain religious communities representatives, and they navigate the anti-discrimination activism path to do so. Secularism is likely to be a double-faced story.

Reason versus opinion

The intellectual considered as capable of reasoning instead of giving opinions that are not more valid than others, the respected member of a professional practice, a considered qualified and trustworthy educator, perhaps portrayed as a model for young people, is sometimes, unfortunately, someone ready to put integrity aside and defend the opinions of dishonest associates. When we make morality intervene in matters of gender, I will say that it should be, above all, done to place the general interest and the freedom to be oneself at the center of a questioning which must be both philosophical and scientific.

But all the same, let us beware of people controlling perceptions with the help of science, reducing things for the fallacious purpose of making knowledge accessible to ordinary mortals. We must also be wary of so-called professional philosophers who selectively disseminate information as part of a manipulative strategy to serve the interests of sects and extremism.


It is with great respect for all humans and their personal choices when it comes to gender and identity that I am thinking what I consider as having a lot to do with communication. I will forever be pro freedom to be and to become oneself, that is why I believe that freedom of choice and innocence are to be handled with great care to make sure that we are not hurting the youngest trapped in the midst of wars and noises which seem to be very much the consequences of technology.I also wrote in the past a piece about the so-called normality and another one about the right to thrive for a sincere full existence to reflect on identity and consent. It is without pretension to moralize or warn but the sole purpose of raising awareness that I have written this mini-essay.

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