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Artillery Row

The GenderBread Man is coming

Teeny little Global Butterflies is pushing for a new social order

When the Telegraph, the Times and the Daily Mail reported last week that public sector organisations, law firms, large corporations and schools, are paying for “trans-inclusion” training from an organisation called Global Butterflies, two surprising things happened.

First, practically everyone on Twitter who comments frequently and sceptically about the ever-encroaching impact of gender ideology on our lives found they had been pre-emptively “blocked” by Global Butterflies, even though it’s an organisation most had never heard of. Second, as they looked to learn more, they discovered that Global Butterflies’ website had disappeared from public view.

These are hardly signs of an organisation willing to engage in open debate, confident that its ideas and aims will withstand public scrutiny. Like Pandora, one becomes curious. What spirits lurk behind that twitter-block? What hope for dialogue behind a disappeared website?

Global Butterflies has worked at the heart of our democracy — for the House of Commons, the Government Legal Department, the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel. Private sector clients include insurers, banks, law-firms and management consultancies: Lloyds of London, Unilever, Vodafone, Accenture… With such reputable clients, surely Global Butterflies exists to promote tolerance and inclusion? Why the twitter blocks? Why the disappeared website? Why the sceptical reporting from the mainstream press?

Shouldn’t we subject a growing trend to scrutiny: scientific, philosophic, the implications for wider society?

It turns out that Global Butterflies aspires to change the world but not via open debate, not by bringing people along, not by open democratic processes. Instead they aim to undermine science, change language, remove women’s single sex spaces and opportunities, and eliminate the social role of the sex binary.

In partnership with Lloyds of London in 2019, Global Butterflies has developed a document called “A guide to trans and non-binary inclusion”. This extraordinary document reveals the teeny little (only four staff) Global Butterflies is pushing for a new social order. The scale and implications of the project make the document worth reading closely.

The introduction from Lloyds’ “Global Diversity and Inclusion Manager” talks about “non-binary” individuals, as if this concept were well-established rather than invented yesterday. It’s part of a growing trend: “Where once trans and non-binary people were less visible, more and more people are choosing new ways to express their gender identity.”

Shouldn’t we subject a growing trend to scrutiny: scientific, philosophic, the implications for wider society? No — we must be swept along in support: “What they need are understanding and active support from their employer, their team and their colleagues… The overall message of this guide is: be flexible, listen hard and provide your colleagues with allies who will support them all the way.” Right!

If you have any doubts, swallow them now because… “our hope is to help organisations adopt a zero-tolerance approach to transphobic behaviour and attitudes”.

Global Butterflies says, “recent data from the USA states that 12 per cent of the millennial generation no longer see gender as a fixed binary.” It predicts, “Over the next 10 years people who identify as non-binary, could rise by 12-20 per cent.”

The GenderBread Person appears and it’s awful. Gender identity is apparently your “innate internal programming”. This is surprising for a concept which most of the world’s scientific and medical community hadn’t heard of last week. “If your body is your hardware, this is your software.”

The passage on language is worth quoting in full — someone is making this up as they go along:

It is important to know that many of the definitions are not agreed and the language structure still does not fit together perfectly. The community itself debates its own wordings and definitions, and a book on trans/non-binary language would be lengthy and very likely subject to much criticism. With this in mind keep your terminology simple and be ready to flex it over the coming years.

Who dreamt this up? “The title most often used in the non-binary community is Mx (x is a wildcard) pronounced ‘Mix’ or sometimes ‘Mux’. There are other titles, but this is the most common.”

Who decided this? “There is an etiquette, however. When you ask, it is polite to give your own pronouns first. e.g. ‘My name is Robert, I’d be glad to know your pronouns. Mine are he/his.’”

By the way: “When asking, check your location. Don’t ask for pronouns in a public area where you could accidentally ‘out’ the person you are communicating with.” This is getting complicated. Look over your shoulder before you speak. Are we meant to ask for pronouns or aren’t we? More rules please!

Still hoping that this might be guidance for rare occasions, involving small numbers of people in need of support and kindness? No — this is a wholesale re-ordering of our social world. Global Butterflies recommends that firms “build it in, don’t bolt it on”:

  • How much unnecessary gendered language do you use? Could you strip this back?
  • Are your recruitment processes gender neutral?
  • Do you provide All Gender facilities? …
  • Do you use non-binary faces in your marketing materials and website?
  • Do you have visible trans/non-binary role models?
  • Do you celebrate one of the trans calendar events?
  • Do you have space for two genders only on your application forms?

Don’t leave anyone out of the remaking process:

Often forgotten, remember your front-line teams are your company touch points

  • Client services
  • Receptionists
  • Security staff
  • Venue services
  • Telephone support / call centres.

Things can go wrong in a public area (e.g. reception), so make sure your client-facing colleagues are trained in respectful trans/non-binary communication.

Everything must be transformed.

Inclusive adverts. Inclusive application forms. Selecting inclusive recruitment companies. Correct and respectful forms for address through recruitment process. Confidentiality.

Review any unnecessarily gendered language and facilities in your organisation.

Not trans or non-binary yourself? Be an ally:

Don’t remain silent when transphobic behaviour / incorrect language is observed

  • Know what terms are offensive and avoid them (inform others).
  • Listen (by doing so, they may save a life).
  • Don’t stop being an ally when they leave the office, they are always an ally.

You could also mention that although not all gender identity is expressly protected by UK law, you intend to exceed legislation with your protections and support.

It’s zealous, it’s religious, oh my gosh is this really Lloyds of London? “There are many days on the inclusion and diversity calendar…”:

  • 31 March — International Transgender Day of Visibility.
  • 17 May — International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT).
  • November — Transgender Awareness Week (The week before TDOR below).
  • 20 November — Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an opportunity for sober reflection — not a day for celebration.

In case you thought that a small corner of your world might escape: “Trans / non-binary inclusion never stops; to keep the journey alive is straightforward. You need to consider building it into all the things that you do.”

Global Butterflies has aspirations to change the world by avoiding the democratic route

The Lloyds document is a 30 page plan for the re-organisation of our understanding of ourselves and our social world. Read the document looking for the words male, female, man, woman. You’ll find them once or twice, dismissed as a tendency, no more than a feeling. We’re unsexed now, existing on a spectrum, unanchored from the old reactionary reality. Biological science is binned. Evolved-over-millennia language is outdated. Protected spaces for women — not worth a mention. The world’s great faiths making room for IDAHOT.

Who is behind this planned re-ordering? Oh — two people.

A second document describes who Global Butterflies are and their strategy. Rachel Reese and Emma Cusdin are “trans women” and partners — they describe themselves as lesbians. Reese founded Global Butterflies in 2015, with Cusdin joining the company several years later. Global Butterflies “has since worked with hundreds of clients worldwide”. It openly proclaims an approach that brooks no debate: “Global Butterflies helps organisations foster an inclusive culture through adopting a zero-tolerance approach to transphobic behaviour and attitudes.” The irony is not noticed?

Reese speaks with a surprising lack of sympathy for women: “We’ve been criticised about being on hospital wards, in prison, taking part in sport and being in ‘women-only’ places that trans women apparently shouldn’t have access too because we put ‘biological women’, or whatever term they’re using, at risk. That’s ridiculous.” This is contemptuous.

James Kirkup, writing for The Spectator, alerted the dozing world to the anti-democratic tactics of the “gender ideology” lobby when he wrote about the Dentons report, a handbook for trans lobbyists. To achieve outcomes that wouldn’t survive democratic scrutiny, it recommended tactics like “Get ahead of the Government agenda” and “Tie your campaign to more popular reform”.

At least the Dentons report engaged with the rough and tumble of democratic processes. Global Butterflies has aspirations to change the world by avoiding the democratic route. “I believe that governments disappear and change, but corporates don’t. And most of the organisations I work with are global. If you can change a company’s internal structure, then they can change the minds of government through their influence.”

Audacious stuff. Made up on the fly, yet brooking no dissent, it’s moving through our institutions like a juggernaut.

To Lloyds of London, the House of Commons, Parliamentarians, we must ask: is this really the future you want? So many of society’s building blocks undermined science, shared language, free speech, rigourous debate, women’s single sex spaces — all the way down to our elementary understanding of ourselves as male and female, sexed but free.

Undermine all this and who / what will be in charge? The GenderBread Person?

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