In Episode 2 of the BBC Sounds podcast Nolan Investigates: Stonewall, “Stonewall’s Scheme and the BBC,” the listener is presented with the Genderbread Person, a graphic that has been used by Stonewall and adopted by many British public organisations to include the BBC and the Brighton and Hove City Council which included this graphic in its “Trans Inclusion Schools Toolkit.”
I have been working on the background to the Genderbread Person for several years and was stonewalled by the Communications Office of Brighton and Hove back in 2018 when I asked specific questions about this graphic and its adoption within public education there.
Here are some of the questions I asked of Brighton and Hove City Council:
• How did you come to adopt the Genderbread pamphlet? Was there any kind of formal examination of this flier along with the other materials from Allsorts and other lobby groups? You refer to this under 2.4 Gender expression in the Toolkit you currently distribute.
• Why is it that private lobby groups can have their materials distributed throughout the school system without any kind of public consultation on this subject?
• As you are aware, Brighton is coming under criticism for one school which has almost 80 trans-identified students in it. Given what we know of ROGD (rapid-onset gender dysphoria), what is the council doing to balance the materials you are handing out with materials from other organisations that might offer a balanced approach to what is classified as a social contagion according to many medical experts?
• What equality impact assessments have you conducted before recommending the Allsorts toolkit?
• What sort of specialist assessments were done? For instance, the originator of the Genderbread diagram is a comedian, nobody who has any specialisation in this field. How is it that Brighton-Hove has managed to approve a piece of information, much less the entire Allsorts toolkit, without having confirmed that at the very least these tools were created by people with specialities in childhood education, child psychology, and other compatible specialities?
• The creator of the Genderbread person, Sam Killermann, also created the “Sexualitree.” If you look at the bottom of the page, the exercise is described: "3 levels of sexuality (intimate, relational, cultural), 45+ different elements. Each bubble can be filled in with the [sic] any of the numbers below, representing the ways you experience various aspects of sexuality." Then Killermann lists several types of sexual proclivities, including rape. Given that you have linked to his Genderbread creation, might you tell me what your offices did to vet this person before linking to the work of someone who is not a specialist at all in this field and who has gone on to advocate rape as a sexuality?
• Could you explain the Allsorts advice to teachers which instructs them to tell children that “most but not all boys have penises and most but not all girls have vulvas”?
And here is the response that the Brighton & Hove City Council spokesperson furnished me:
The schools we work with see LGBT inclusion as part of their wider work to create a safe, welcoming environment for all pupils. This helps all students understand, accept, and celebrate difference to create a generation who accept people for who they are. We are very proud of our “Trans Inclusion Schools Toolkit” which supports inclusion by providing guidance to schools and colleges on how to more effectively support trans and gender questioning pupils and students and prevent transphobia. The toolkit seeks to create safe, trans-inclusive learning environments to reduce and prevent harm to trans and non-binary children and young people, but also benefit all students and pupils by encouraging the development of whole school communities which actively challenge all forms of gender stereotyping, sexism, homophobia and biphobia.
We are proud to celebrate our city’s diversity and offer support and solidarity to those who need it. Everyone deserves to be valued and treated with respect. We are not in the position to comment on other toolkits that are not endorsed by Brighton & Hove City Council. However, you may be interested to read Stonewall UK’s response to Transgender Trend. More information about our commitment to gender diversity can be found at this link. We consider our work in this area to be consistent with Brighton & Hove’s city-wide Statement of Unity, issued alongside partner organisations in our Equality & Inclusion Partnership.
In essence, the Brighton and Hove City Council evaded most every question I asked of them and instead popped out some canned nonsense that had no bearing on the reality unfolding three years ago. The situation today is far graver as the numbers of trans-identifying children and adolescents has vastly increased and these councils offer no evidence that such toolkits are doing anything more than perpetuate gender stereotypes. Even their use of the word “diversity” reads oddly to me since it is always unclear what anyone means when they employ this term, to include a press spokesperson. Is the council promoting the employment of middle-aged women? Because if so, that’s the kind of diversity I rarely see in British professional life.
More worrying is that Brighton and Hove, Cornwall Council and have recommended this in their toolkits year after year without any examination of who is producing such information. But Brighton and Hove are not alone—many other councils are pushing the “Genderbread Person” as part of their “Trans Inclusion Schools Toolkits”: Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, Birmingham City Council, Derbyshire County Council, Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council, Kent County Council, Leicester City Council, Leicestershire County Council, Lincolnshire County Council, Nottinghamshire County Council, Oxfordshire County Council, Sheffield City Council, and Warwickshire County Council. Take a look here.
So who is Sam Killermann? He sells himself as a social justice comedian and maintains a very sculpted media presence for starters and he has given not just one, but two Tedx talks. Killermann has many websites—one which promotes the Safe Zone Project, another promoting his book, A Guide to Gender, the Genderbread Person, It’s Pronounced Metrosexual, and another website devoted to his Sexaulitree, the “resource” I mentioned to Brighton and Hove City council. He has also captured National Geographic and Katie Couric which bears watching since it’s quite clear that Couric has no idea what he is saying. But they giggle a lot and act out bizarre stereotypes.
Aside from the Genderbread Person rehashing the worse stereotypes of gender, it is vastly anti-scientific presenting a worldview of gender that contradicts itself throughout the document. In short, this guidance is the moron’s guide to sexism. Sadly, its success demonstrates that there are far too many people and government officials who have lapped up this ideology without thinking beyond the "cool hook" that Killermann's dorkish humour offers.
The Genderbread Person breaks down “gender identity” into “woman-ness” and “man-ness,” a detail that would alarm any of the myriad other gender identities afloat under this so-called “umbrella.” Killermann contends that gender is “how you, in your head, define your gender, based on how much you align (or don’t align) with what you understand to be the options for gender.” This is what one might call “gobbledygook” since Killermann has set out to explain gender as “whatever you want it to mean.” On this same page further down, however, he maintains that sex is real, another “no-no” for the hardcore genderists.
What is clear about this model is that it was stylised to appeal to children and in one of Killermann's talks, he references how he is used to speaking to middle-school children. The rest of the PDF covers so much nonsense that there isn't enough popcorn or crack on the planet to make this task bearable.
Take, for instance, Killermann's theory of “-ness” is inchoate:
Using two continuums for each element (the “-ness” approach), instead of having a scale from F- to-M, allows a person to demonstrate that they embody more of one aspect of gender without that meaning they are less of the complement (i.e., expressing gender masculinely, like wearing a beard, doesn’t make a feminine expression, like wearing tight-fitting clothing, less feminine).
The prose rests firmly at the intersection of rantings by someone under heavy sedation and a slick salesperson talking shit. Killermann asks the reader, “It is likely that your gender expression changes frequently without you even thinking about it. How about an example?”
You wake up wearing baggy gray sweatpants and a T-shirt. As you walk into your kitchen to prepare breakfast, you’re expressing an androgynous-to-slightly-masculine gender. However, you see your partner in the kitchen and decide to prowl in like Halle Berry from Catwoman, then you are expressing much more femininely. You pour a bowl of cereal, wrap your fist around a spoon like a Viking, and start shoveling Fruit Loops into your face, and all-of-a-sudden you’re bumping up your levels of masculinity. After breakfast, you skip back into your bedroom and playfully place varying outfits in front of you, pleading with your partner to help you decide what to wear. You’re feminine again.
The entire document is as absurd as it is insanely incoherent. Killermann is a snake oil salesman who not only makes money from his sales pitch, but he gets his readers to do all the work for him. Why make sense when he merely throws out a few clichés and allows the audience to connect the dots? For council administrators around the UK deciding if to put this nonsense into their “Trans Inclusion Schools Toolkits,” Killermann has ushered these bureaucrats into a theatre where they must play the word salad identity game or make that uncomfortable move to criticise the fact that Killermann has crafted a poorly worded Ponzi scheme for the narcissistically-inclined. Perhaps American shamelessness for incoherence has met its match with the characteristic British quality to shy away from confrontation?
Killermann’s “Sexualitree” is even more perverse since he, a specialist in comedy and little else, contends that “rape” is a sexuality. There are not-so-perfect study materials for children in the Brighton and Hove school system! While Brighton and Hove have recently updated their toolkit and no longer mention Killermann’s charts, it is noteworthy how government agencies have embraced such pseudo-science over the past decade without any sort of public consultation or professional evaluation while catapulting horse shit into the public policy, equality training, and education.
There has been a build-up around the professionalisation and monetisation of the gender industry courses to become a Designated safeguarding lead (DSL) to the many courses and talks that Killermann offers. When he says that people were turned onto his talks because they had never before been presented with these ideas before, believe him—they weren’t. As part of his shtick makes it clear that he is “not gay” something that gets the audience laughing. The irony is deafening.
That Killermann is one of many straight, white men who are driving the gender ideology train is unsurprising given the societal structures that invariably highlight men’s visibility and desire to aspirate hogwash as a novelty. But that hundreds of British public sector agencies to include dozens of NHS trusts, policing agencies, councils and other government agencies have rewritten local and national policies and laws loosely based on this comedian’s “guidance” is nothing short of political malfeasance.
Or, as the sage of gender pop-ideology Kellerman tells us, “Please…just…please keep being you.”