Opinion | Gender bender alarm!

March on: The Ingleburn RSL and City of Campbelltown Pipe Band march through the streets of Macarthur. And top right is an inset of Senator Cory Bernardi.
March on: The Ingleburn RSL and City of Campbelltown Pipe Band march through the streets of Macarthur. And top right is an inset of Senator Cory Bernardi.

WHERE IS Senator Cory Bernardi when you need him?

I don’t want to alarm you but cross-dressing is obviously becoming a serious local problem, as evidenced by this photo I snapped in Campbelltown last Anzac Day. A band dressed in skirts! With men in it!

Outrageous behaviour.

As Senator Bernardi says, gender morphing is really getting absurd. In the midst of culture wars about the redefinition of marriage and attempts to de-genderise society it seems our much-loved Ingleburn RSL and City of Campbelltown Pipe Band is playing into a political cause.

Well, at least they are the words he used last week re Craigburn Primary School in Adelaide having a “wear a dress day” to raise money for charity.

Given that the Australian Conservatives senator is also the (self-appointed) spokesman for common sense in Canberra, perhaps we can get him to Macarthur so we can bathe in his wisdom.

But hang on a second…

It seems the band in this photo is OK because the skirts they are wearing are actually kilts. Phew. A word change makes all the difference. Coming from a family tree wrapped in tartan, I was also given my own kilt as a young bloke and can report I didn't catch gayness from it.

But what about other gender benders?

Bernardi’s own Catholic Church has clergy in dresses, with a priest famously described by Banjo Paterson as “the man in the frock”. No, hang on they're liturgical vestments, not dresses. Completely different.

Well, what about rugby league players who wear dresses on TV footy shows, or Chris Lilley calling himself Jai'me and donning a girl’s school uniform, or Barry Humphries and his close associate, Dame Edna? No, that’s for comedic purposes. No problem there.

What about our history – the convict woman on our $20 note, Mary Reibey, was dressed as a boy when she was arrested. And when Sidney Nolan famously painted the Kelly gang, Steve Hart was portrayed riding side-saddle clad in a spotted woman’s dress. No, fine again. Those cases of cross-dressing were only attempts to deceive the police. Phew.

I could go on. My point is that on the good ship HMAS Australia, Able Seaman Bernardi has again proven to be a complete deckhead, and not just for helping to steer us into the stormy waters of an expensive, unnecessary and hateful postal survey.

It seems the schoolboys in Adelaide also had a reason for wearing dresses…raising money for girls’ education in Africa. In the words of a spokesman: “In these countries a school dress is rare…so in these countries a girl’s uniform is a symbol of opportunity and empowerment.”

Great cause...until Senator Bernardi tried to whip it into another fear campaign against a “Yes” vote.

The good news is, the school was hoping to raise $900 but according to one report I saw now it looks more likely to raise $250,000.

That shows what I hope is the real big-hearted and open-minded majority of Aussies, not the close-minded sort of Senators who claim they are defending our freedoms while listing all the things they want to ban.

Teaching gender stereotypes is NOT more important than teaching notions of equality and social justice. I think we all know of he-man blokes who wouldn’t be caught in a dress, yet they go home to beat up their wives and children. Being a real man is more than clothing.

And on that point….

I have no immediate plans to parade up and down the main street of Campbelltown, Camden or Picton wearing a girl’s dress – but I fully reserve the right to do so if I wish, in our free country, without needing the approval of some goose of a politician. Up yours, Senator.

A politician should be judged on whether they tell the truth, not by the expensive suit they are wearing. Parents should be judged by how they raise their children, not their gender. And men or boys should be judged on their actions, not their fashion choices.