Australian Media’s Pro Bono Work for ACON Pride in Diversity Leaderboard Scheme – Part 1 – ABC

ACON’s Pride in Diversity lists only a few “media” members.

  • 10 ViacomCBS (Channel 10)
  • Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
  • Bloomberg L.P.
  • Initiative Media
  • SBS

In this part 1 I will talk about ABC. In part 2 I will look closely at how SBS uses talent to make pro bono or in kind contributions to the Pride in Diversity mission in exchange for AWEI points.


The Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) is a voluntary leaderboard scheme run by Pride in Diversity. It is open to all organisations in Australia. The template is 45 pages long. Organisations answer detailed questions and submit their answers for marking. They receive a ranking score out of 200. Every few years the index changes to make it harder to get a high score.

Pro bono work, contra deals and a stable of talent

There are several questions in the AWEI that demand financial contributions or pro bono support of LGBTQ charities. Yes, Pride and Diversity qualifies as a charity despite also taking in $6600 membership fees and additional revenue for training sessions that are mandatory under the AWEI.

ABC’s Pro Bono Work

This post only deals with a small number of examples, and only where talent and cultural capital have been deployed to win AWEI points.

Both SBS and ABC have a stable of media talent they can lend out to events and score points. Such as that time ABC’s Jeremy Fernandez hosted a session at Pride in Practice conference in 2020 (page 20). This netted them 2 points.

I wonder how much money his time cost the taxpayer?

2 points awarded for Jeremy Fernandez hosting a CEO panel event.
ABC’s redacted submission.

The same conference hosted another session prepared by the ABC. How many person-hours were spent trawling the archives at taxpayer expense? Note the reference to First Day an ABC production glamourising transgender children.

This presentation was worth 1 point under additional work.

Additionally, they paid for 4 conference tickets to send their staff members (2 points). This is recommended in Questions 30 and 32 specifically.

Q30 demands development opportunities for LGBTQ employees and Q32 demands that LGBTQ staff attend external conferences.

ABC sent transwoman Julie Peters to speak at a Pride in Diversity Sapphire (womens) event (1 point). ABC has recently run a story (collection of stories across channels) on Julie Peters. Let’s see if these come up in the next round of AWEI submissions.

Corporate Heroes

Manda Hatter, the Head of Operations, spoke at Big Stays In conference (1 point). She attended a Diversity Council of Australia event Out at Work: Inclusion at Work for LGBTIQ+ Talent (1 of 4 events offered for a 2 point question). She also volunteered on the panel of Out50 – a Deloitte publication dedicated to LGBTI+ leadership (1 point). ABC’s Mon Schafter (they/them) gets a profile in the issue.

Manda Hatter’s public profile as a high-powered “dyke on bike” operations manager lends credibility to the ABC’s claims of LGBTQ solidarity. It certainly helps her profile to be able to spruik her personality at events – and Pride in Diversity gets incredible social cache from platforming Manda’s public performances.

Mardi Gras

Is this newsworthy, or is this advertising? It’s a fine line.

Newsworthy? Advertising money could not buy

ABC staff marching in the Mardi Gras for the first time was worth 1 point. Now in 2022, the ABC hosted and relentlessly promoted the Mardi Gras which will hopefully be worth more for them.

Not all roses

Unfortunately for them, host Mon Schafter “dead-named” or “misgendered” Elliot Page and caused members of activist 272k-member strong Facebook bully group LGBTI Rights Australia to have a little fit.

ABC should be aware that negative media attention can attract a 25 point penalty in the AWEI!

Where talent fails to get the points

ABC failed to get the 2 points for having Ita Buttrose and David Anderson (their MD) marching in the Mardi Gras. In the submission document, ABC gushes

ABC Chair Ita Buttrose and Managing Director David Anderson both played an exceptionally strong leadership role for 2020 which is demonstrated here as they both are seen about to head to the 2020 Mardi Gras parade float.

The AWEI response is terse: “Marching in MG isn’t evidence of CEO speaking at events”

Time and effort

Think of the effort, time, lost productivity that goes into organising attendance at these 1 pointer events. The ABC’s score in 2021 was 177. That gives you an idea of the scale of effort they go to on an annual basis.


There’s a quote from Andrew Breitbart that seems apt – “Politics is downstream of culture”.

What we are seeing here is an attempt to influence the company culture at an employer. It just happens to the national broadcaster, the ABC, bought and paid for by the taxpayer. Trusted by every Aussie as a companion to morning coffee and background radio through our workdays.

Politics is downstream of culture

Andrew Breitbart

The culture matters. The leaders at ABC are modelling behaviour they expect to see replicated by ABC employees: journalists, designers, publishers, broadcasters and more. Those leaders are performing inclusion – but are they doing inclusion?

This leaks into our everyday politics. Recently I counted the number of articles ABC published with the subject matter “transgender” – 35 within a 7 day period. All rabidly pro-trans. None taking into account alternative viewpoints. When the ABC leaders model transgender inclusion at all costs, this attitude filters down to staff. It then spreads out into the culture at large, not with a ripple, but with the force of a bomb.

How can women advocate for their rights when the friendly “lefty” state-sponsored media has already decided that the word “woman” is a bigoted dog whistle? They think we can’t. They are wrong.

Sources of information:

ABC and SBS submissions to the 2021 AWEI scheme were obtained under FOI and are freely available for you to download.

Please get in touch confidentially via twitter or email if you’d like to discuss these or similar documents.

ACON’s Relationship Manager Advises ABC on How to Define “Family” (and Promote Trans Narratives for Points)

The Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) is a voluntary leaderboard scheme run by ACON’s Pride in Diversity. It is open to all organisations in Australia. The template is 45 pages long. Organisations answer detailed questions and submit their answers for marking. They receive a ranking score out of 200.

The ABC’s 2021 AWEI score was 177 out of 200 and they were ranked as a gold tier employer.

Managing the Relationship

This this an accident? No, Pride in Diversity employ a number of relationship managers to assist organisations to complete the AWEI and participate in Pride in Diversity activities.

Chris Nelson is one such person.

Why is the ABC relying on a lobby group to define “family”?

Chris is available for advice and questions. Such as helping ABC grapple with interpretation of the word family. This email was sent by an ABC staffer to Chris. Note the definition of family explicitly disregards gender.

Source: FOI –

Chris responds helpfully with an attachment holding this definition which again explicitly disregards gender gender:

An immediate family member is a:
Spouse or former spouse (regardless of gender)
De facto partner or former de facto partner (regardless of gender)
Spouse or de facto partner’s child, parent, grandchild, grandparent or sibling
This definition includes step-relations and adoptive relations.
A household member is any person who lives with the employee.


Where did Chris obtain his definition and how is it more correct than any other? It doesn’t include in-laws, even if living in the same house. Or people one is close to on their life’s journey – “you’re like family” or “we’re sisters”.

Helpful hints

Some other examples of Chris Nelson, on behalf of Pride in Diversity, influencing the programming and content produced by the ABC.

“This is AWEI worthy”

Please note that through all the politess, he totally MISGENDERS Ed Ayres by calling her “her”.

“There are AWEI points in it too”

This gamifies the adding of suicide helplines to the bottom of every story. It is not difficult to imagine a future where every slightly upsetting story carries mental health warnings and impressionable young people begin to associate these dire warnings with feeling slightly challenged by media content.

“it would be good to use this as extra work in the AWEI. It is normalising trans experience”

Note importing the language: “affirmed his gender”.

What about the stories of women who regretted medical transition?

There is no praise for journalistic integrity, for tough investigation or unbiased reports. Chris praises the feel-good stories, and grooms ABC to further promote these. He actively instructs ABC to “normalise” taking drugs to alter your body and lying about your sex.

Proof it works?

Have you checked out ABCQueer lately? Full of feel-good stories about affirming gender, new buzzwords and new interpretations of old words such as “woman”.

Sources of information:

ABC submission to the 2021 AWEI scheme was obtained under FOI and are freely available for you to download.

Please get in touch confidentially via twitter or email if you’d like to discuss these or similar documents.

An Experiment (Is Australian State-Funded Media Saturated by Trans Propaganda?)

Go to ABC.NET.AU and find the search bar. Type in “transgender”. Here’s the link to results.

Today is Thursday 17th February 2022. It is my lunch break. Since 1 week ago (10th February) these articles have been published about transgender issues. Not a single negative or even neutral article.

  1. Meet the schools who have already acknowledged and accepted transgender students -
  2. Is there a place for trans students in religious schools? These schools say yes
  3. The debate over the federal Religious Discrimination Bill has been hijacked by progressive secularists — and neither party is blameless
  4. Life Matters: Do we still need single-sex schools?
  5. Prime Minister accuses Kristina Keneally of wanting to protect violent abusers in extraordinary attack over deportation bill – includes line “Last week, five Liberals broke ranks with the Coalition to vote against a government bill over religious discrimination laws that they argued would leave transgender youths at risk of being kicked out of religious schools.”
  6. Parly Returns – “Both sides of politics want a new law to prevent discrimination against people of faith – but there are unresolved differences over how to do this while protecting gay and transgender communities. ” –
  7. Australia’s debate about religious discrimination exposes political fault lines – and unanswered questions of God
  8. Calls for Warren Entsch to do more to support LGBTQI kids after religious discrimination law stance –
  9. The Drum – clip frm “Transgender Minister Josephine Inkpin reacts to the religious discrimination debate”
  10. VIDEO: Transgender Minister Josephine Inkpin reacts to the religious discrimination debate
  11. Sex Discrimination Commissioner says Higgins-Tame speech felt like a turning point [updated]
  12. Prime Minister Scott Morrison ‘misled’ by moderate Liberals on religious discrimination vote, Dutton says“In the dawn hours of Thursday, five MPs from the government’s own ranks broke from their party and crossed the floor to support protections for transgender students”
  13. Malcolm Turnbull on Scott Morrison’s messy week – The Prime Minister was dealt a humiliating blow in the Parliament this week, with five of his own MPs crossing the floor over rights for transgender kids.” –
  14. The Loop: Definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ to change, Prince Charles met with Queen before positive COVID test, Tasmania’s Commonwealth Games bid“For now, the religious discrimination bill itself remains unchanged, but some religious groups have been adamant they do not support the transgender student protections passed alongside it.”
  15. ‘Culture war politics’: Florida schools bill damaging for LGBTQIA+ children –
  16. With the sex and religious discrimination bills, Scott Morrison made three foolish assumptions – “Exclusion of transgender children turned out to be a serious flaw in the eyes of some in Liberal ranks
  17. Parents and transgender teachers react to religious discrimination bill debate
  18. Voters in Western Sydney feel ‘disconnected’ from the debate in Canberra over the religious freedom bill – “Along with Ms Martin and four other Liberal MPs, Labor voted in favour of a crossbench amendment to extend protection from discrimination for transgender school students and staff.” –
  19. Katie Allen tells Q+A she stood up for her beliefs on religious discrimination bill, Dylan Alcott says those with a disability deserve a chance – “voted with Labor in support of crossbench amendments to extend stronger anti-discrimination protections to transgender students and staff.“-
  20. VIDEO: Federal Government shelves religious freedom bill indefinitely –
  21. Mixed reaction to dumped religion bill
  22. LGBTQIA+ advocates say religious discrimination bill coverage ‘really dangerous’
  23. Mother of transgender son on the impact of the religious discrimination bill debate
  24. VIDEO: People with disability facing uncertainty over religious discrimination bill – “to discriminate against those with a disability, as well as LGBT Australians.” –
  25. Sex and religion on politicians’ minds as Australians contend with cost of living pressures
  26. Parents of transgender students “not sure why we’re taking this step backwards”
  27. VIDEO: ‘I am just Paddy’: Labor frontbencher Stephen Jones’ son speaks –
  28. Government shelves religious freedom bill indefinitely, leaving election promise hanging in uncertainty“Liberal MPs voted against the government to pass protections for trans students”
  29. The government lost a dramatic showdown on religious discrimination laws overnight. So what happened? – Several mentions of transgender students –
  30. Ball back in Prime Minister’s court after Liberal split on religious discrimination – “Five Liberals crossed the floor to support a Labor amendment to provide transgender students with greater protection from discrimination at church schools” –
  31. Political repercussions from religious discrimination debate – so will the Government try to unpick the change protecting transgender students when it gets there?” –
  32. The Loop: Religious discrimination bill passes lower house, the Quad prepares to meet, police to question Downing Street partygoers “The government agreed to amend existing laws to prevent schools excluding students because of their sexual orientation, but said that move would not extend to transgender students.” –
  33. Trent Zimmerman crosses the floor over protections for trans students –
  34. Government’s controversial religious discrimination bill passes Parliament’s lower house – “Five Liberal MPs split from the government to help Labor and the crossbench make some changes to protect gay and transgender students from being discriminated against by religious schools.” –
  35. Five Liberals cross the floor as contentious religious discrimination bill passes House of Representatives after all-night debate


They hijacked the debate over religious discrimination. They turned this into a crusade against single-sex schools (whether religious, private or public) and the ABC are gunning for the PM.

Add in an Instagram channel dedicated to trans issues

Stay Connected with the ABC
ABC Queer Logo

This is in addition to the trans-washing of other stories on ABCQueer Instagram. Journalist clearly asks whether “gay, lesbian and transgender kids have enough protection” ABC captions the story as “GRACE TAME SAYS TRANS KIDS NEEDS MORE PROTECTION”.

It took my whole lunch break to copy and paste these article links and titles.

Please visit for other examples of ABC bias.

I was groomed by the Internet and all I got were these lousy puberty blockers

4 Corners is an investigative / special interest news show in Australia.

Isabelle Langley is an 11 year old at the time of filming, but is describing experiences which happened much earlier.

This transcript and clip demonstrates a young child diagnosing themselves after finding a Jazz Jennings clip on the internet. The parent going along with it, and a national news broadcaster treating this as a perfectly natural course of events.

This is an enormous red flag for grooming. This poor child’s distress is wrapped up in a neat little package named “transgender” and none of the adults in the room dare let him know what that means for his future self. Being tied to medication, body-altering drugs, sterility, loss of a sex life he will never know and the constant feeling that he’s about to be found out.

“Being Me” ABC 4 Corners 2014

ISABELLE LANGLEY: I tried stopping it but I couldn’t really.

JANINE COHEN: Did you fight against it for a little while?

ISABELLE LANGLEY: I was trying to. I didn’t really know there was anything to do about it. I started looking up things.

JANINE COHEN: Where did you look them up?

ISABELLE LANGLEY: Just on the internet. I just looked up what to do if you feel like a girl and I found all these websites and they were saying that you’re able to get special surgery and that you can actually come out that way and I found some videos too about some other children feeling that way.


HOST: She’s here in person, tonight. So say hello to Jazz.

(Sound of applause)

JANINE COHEN: It was American transgender girl Jazz Jennings who made the biggest impression.

JAZZ JENNINGS, TRANSGENDER: Thank you so much, Kids and teens out there, I just want them to know that it is okay to step out of your shadows and just be who you are. Just be true to yourself and express yourself.


NAOMI MCNAMARA: She had tears in her eyes like she just said… oh, you know I’m just so glad I saw that. Like it was, she felt less alone and just came with… just a million questions came out of that for her. Um and she watched it over and over again.

ISABELLE LANGLEY: It’s made me realise that there was ways to sort of cope.

JANINE COHEN: And before you saw Jazz, did you not know?

ISABELLE LANGLEY: I didn’t think there was anything to do about it.

JANINE COHEN: What was it like when you realised you could do something?

ISABELLE LANGLEY: I felt very happy then and I told my mum that night.

Fair and Balanced Reporting Over Time: The Hubbard Edition

Just how does the ABC want you to view Laurel Hubbard?

Since 2018, the ABC have published some 24 pieces on Laurel Hubbard and his participation in the sport of weightlifting at an international level. Hubbard is male who competes in the women’s category. He recently went to the Tokyo Olympics on the NZ women’s weightlifting team.

The overwhelming majority of articles were supportive and many blatantly pushed gender ideology pseudo-science.

Laurel was a junior champion

Hubbard set a junior record in 1998 for weight lifting. He took a break from weightlifting until after transitioning at 35. His results place him far away from the international stage. For men, that is. For women, where the field is more sparse, he is good enough to compete internationally. He won spots in the women’s contest at the Pan Pacific Games, the Commonwealth Games and in the Olympics.

Joanna Harper, the trans-identified male who’s flawed study put maled into women’s olympic sport says of Hubbard that he is:

“certainly no threat to be in the top in the world among men but certainly is in the top 10 among women.”

Dr. Joanna Harper

The ABC’s own standards

The ABC’s editorial policy states that

“…the ABC gathers and presents news and information with impartiality and presents a diversity of perspectives so that, over time, no significant strand of thought or belief within the community is knowingly excluded or disproportionately represented.”

Over the course of 3 years and 24 articles we would expect to see plenty of varied viewpoints from the ABC that arrive at a balanced picture. However this is not the case.

Early articles and broadcasts mention Hubbard in passing as a competitor in various games. There are a few ripples of criticism. For instance after Hubbard broke his arm at the Commonwealth Games, a coach stated that Hubbard’s departure gave the women an unexpected chance to win a medal.

As time passed, articles tended to put focus on supporting Hubbard’s inclusion in the sport of female weightlifting.

Limited Perspectives Sought

The ABC brings in a limited selection of voices to comment on the participation of a male in female sports.

Trans Identified Males

The insidious aspect of seeking advice from trans-identified-males is the appearance of gender balance. The female names, long hair and makeup give the casual impression that many women were consulted. In fact, only men are being consulted.

World Athletics – Influential figures on the contribution of women to science in athletics
The panel appears to be all-female. Joanna Harpur is 3rd from the left.

Several trans-identified-male athletes are brought in to comment on the fairness of male competing in female sports. They include:

  • Dr Joanna Harper (male, advises the IOC on trans inclusion),
  • Kristin Worley (male, cyclist and trans advocate),
  • Grace McKenzie (male, amateur Rugby League player),
  • Chelsea Wolfe (male, Olympic BMX).

This panel make it appear that a number of women have been consulted. In fact, they are all men pronouncing their views on the boundaries of women’s sports.

Hubbard’s voice

Laurel Hubbard is seen here, making a heart symbol with her hands to thank supporters.
Hubbard simply reports feeling welcomed in the female competition
Getty Images. Source

Laurel Hubbard has declined to participate in the commentary surrounding the competitions but is quoted regarding the competition atmosphere, feeling welcomed, and the injury sustained at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Coaches and officials

Samoan Weightlifting Head Coach Jerry Wallwork is interviewed several times about his view that male inclusion is not fair for his female athletes. After Hubbard withdraws from the 2018 Commonwealth Games due to injury, journalist Richard Ewart prompts him to agree that he “got a fair competition”.

On Radio National Drive, Patricia Karvelas interviews Commonwealth Games Federation CEO David Grevemberg. Together they frame the issue as one of fairness to trans-identified athletes, ignoring that female athletes have a right to fairness. Karevalas encourages Gevemberg to speculate on what possible reason a sport would have to wish to exclude trans women further biasing the discourse toward male inclusion. While they explore the fairness to transgender athletes, they fail to mention female athletes even once.

Patrician Karvelas (Radio National) frames the issue in terms of fairness to male athletes

To add on to the misogyny, the Secretary-general of the Oceania Weightlifting Institute Paul Coffa is reported saying of Hubbard “she’s a lovely girl“.

Female Competitors

Hubbard’s competitors are silent on the issue of males in their sport.

22 year old Christina Amoe-Tarant gave a polite “I just wish her well“, which is what you might expect from a competitor pre-game. Sport at such an elite level is not about smack talk and back-biting. The Olympics and the Commonwealth Games are collegiate.

It is a similar attitude shown by medallists Li Wen Wen (gold), Emily Campbell (silver) and Sarah Robles (bronze). Do you want to comment? #NoThankYou

It is a similar attitude shown by medallists Li Wen Wen (gold), Emily Campbell (silver) and Sarah Robles (bronze). Do you want to comment? #NoThankYou

Robles later issues a statement on Instagram clarifying her position that male inclusion is not fair.

Who’s missing? The opposition

The ABC fails to report any opposition to allowing males in female sports.

Journalist Richard Ewart brings balance…. but not much of it

Richard Ewart brings a single article which balances the opinions of a variety of experts. It voices dissenting on the basis of fairness. Notably the Samoan Prime Minister, Dr Nicola Williams from Fair Play for Women UK,

Dr Joanna Harper is quoted at length on the reasons his study of trans-identified male athletic performance was inadequate justification to admit males into female sports.

Taken alone this article provides a balanced look at the issues around Laurel Hubbard’s participation in female weightlifting.

Dr Ryan Storr (founder of LGBT sport charity Proud 2 Play) is quoted belittling women and mischaracterising the concern for safety and fairness: “People don’t wake up and want to win medals so they go into women’s sport,” he said.

Even as the most balanced article presented, it is not impartial.

Ewart is not above staking the moral high ground with an unscientific claim “observers have argued that the idea that testosterone determines speed and strength — and that trans women athletes will always have an advantage — is a myth that needs debunking”. This statement links off to Tracey Holmes’ pseudo-scientific article They always have an advantage’: five myths about transgender athletes debunked.

Campaigners are missing

Fair Play for Women is quoted by Ewart in the above article. In another, they are simply referred to as “a UK pressure group” making their interest in the world of Pacific weightlifting seem remote and bizarre.

The local group Save Womens Sports Australasia were not quoted, consulted or even mentioned. This is despite being active on social media, actively releasing statements to the press and having spokeswomen who give media interviews.

Competitors are silenced

Lambrechs. Source:

Tracey Lambrechs is a New Zealander and former champion female weightlifter who claims that female competitors were told to “be quiet” about Hubbard’d participation. Lambrech’s comments were covered by numerous news outlets, but not by the ABC.

Although thoroughly reporting on Hubbard’s reception at the Olympics, ABC also fails to cover the comments from Belgian weightlifter Anna Van Bellinghen. Several outlets reported her comments that Laurel Hubbard competing in the female category is “a joke”.

Pseudo-science and the handmaidens

The ABC have selected women journalists to spearhead the delivery of the inclusion message.

Journalists Tracey Holmes and Ange Lavoirpierere bring forth waves of pseudo-science to support their claim that males should have free access to women’s sport. Their reporting of the trans inclusion issue is fervently supportive.

Kristin Worley is a “Diversity Policy Development Adviser & High-Performance Cyclist”. He teamed up with ABC journalise Tracey Holmes to write ‘They always have an advantage’: five myths about transgender athletes debunked.

Their article opens with a few explanatory sentences, including “The discussions have been largely driven by ignorance, pseudo-science and bigotry.” This sets the tone for the one-dimensional onslaught brought by the remainder of the article.

It includes statements such as “A transitioned female generates no hormones at all then goes into a menopausal state“. Only women go through menopause! It is a condition where the oestrogen production slows or stops leading to an abundance of testosterone. Also “Scientific evidence debunks the socially constructed binary model of gender” linking to an article from the WHO dealing with intersex conditions. I noted that the article is no longer available and could only be accessed via an archive.

Tracey Holmes & The Porche Analogy

Ange Lavoipierre hosted a radio broadcast featuring journalist Tracey Holmes and trans-identified males Chelsea Wolfe & Grace McKenzie. Holmes conjures an analogy comparing male and female athletic performance.

A Porsche would ordinarily be able to outrace a Mazda.

The Porsche is the male athlete and the Mazda is a female athlete. Not content with comparing women to cut-price cars, Holmes adds some truly junk science.

The Porsche can’t outrace the Mazda when it doesn’t have any fuel.

In her analogy, testosterone is the ‘fuel’ that powers athletic performance. No Tracey, bodies are fuelled by carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Testosterone might aid muscle development in adult males. It definitely causes the broader shoulders, bigger bones, larger frame to develop during male puberty. It is not the fuel that powers athletic performance.

Even if we were to admit that testosterone is ‘the fuel’ (it is not) the Porsche is still a $200 000 precision-engineered vehicle. The Mazda is a sporty runabout not known for racetrack performance.

Image source. Porsche: There’s no testosterone and Tracey Holmes says that’s why it can’t go fast

The ABC owes us fair and balanced reportage. Over an extended period, ABC has shown a failure to deliver.

Women are not cheap cars. Men in women’s sports do pose a threat to fairness sand safety. No women were consulted or platformed when reporting this issue.


Listen to Joanna Harper: The Trans Woman who placed males into Women’s Olympic Sport

Joanna Harper is the trans woman and sports scientist who advised the IOC on inclusion of males into women’s sport. The study, is based on self-reported data from 8 male runners. They found their speeds dropped after suppressing testosterone for a period. The study did not look at strength, agility, stature or endurance. The study did not consult or refer to female athletes.

You can read more at n=8.

Joanna Harper is a male who claims a female identity. He is also a runner. It’s not unusual to have interests that overlap with your field of study, but in this case one has to wonder why more independent data was not sought out.

Joanna Harper

In this 2019 broadcast from the ABC, Joanna Harper is asked about the participation of 43 year old male Laurel Hubbard in the women’s weightlifting at an international level. A contest where most competitors are half that age. Harper says of Hubbard “She did hold the New Zealand [junior] record for 15 years, so she was pretty good” but that he is

“certainly no threat to be in the top in the world among men but certainly is in the top 10 among women.

Is that fair is that right? You know it’s a difficult thing.”

Joanna Harper

It is a difficult thing indeed. What do adults to about difficult things? We solve the problems. We don’t throw up our hands and say “oh it’s too difficult”.

It bears repeating: Hubbard is nowhere near the top 10 males, but is in the top 10 women. So says the author of the study that put him in women’s sport.

In this 2019 article. Harper admits

“I’d be the first to admit that it’s a very limited study.

Eight subjects, one sport, and it’s a sport where size and strength aren’t advantageous,”

Joanna Harper

The first to admit it’s a flawed study.

So then who is backing the study, why and how have the rules not been called into serious question?

Because there is an implicit bias that a man who claims a woman identity is indeed a woman. In the same article, Dr Ryan Storr, a lecturer in sports development, belittles concerns for women’s sport:

“People don’t wake up and want to win medals so they go into women’s sport,” he said.

Dr Ryan Storr

People will also say things like no one would put themselves through the transition process willingly, or lightly or ‘just to win at women’s sport’. Hopefully not. But read the bias that a woman is lesser – no one would become one unless compelled.

Note the homophobia: no man would feminise himself, or take away his masculinity unless compelled.

Note the repeated refrain that trans woman are powerless. Both in terms of their capacity to make choices (they are ‘compelled’ to live authentically) and in terms of the way their physical power is assessed.

Listen to Joanna Harper, the male who put males into women’s sport:

After one year of hormone therapy, trans women will still be taller, bigger and stronger on average than other women. 

Joanna Harper