(I want a) Girl Like You (to support my gender transition while I live rent-free)

I wanted to write a review of #GirlLikeYou, which is ABC’s portrait of coercive control.

However someone’s already written in for us!

As a little extra – just look out for the flashbacks to the childhood videos. The despondent child in the corner. Is he a victim, or is he just petulant? How would we know – the mood images are presented as evidence that Lewis lived on the brink of suicide. But we don’t know that at all do we?

“Are you really though?” When your trans spirit guide knows you better than you do

This post is about 2 short films from Momentum Studios – a small social justice film studio in Australia.

Masked‘ deals with a young woman’s journey of discovery that she is ‘trans’. The follow-on film ‘Still Me‘ deals with a young woman finding the courage and support to claim her non-binary identity.

Both films present a stylised discomfort with gender stereotypes and both young women are rescued by a spirit guide character who brings them to the trans pathway, thus solving their discomfort.

Masked

By Knox City Council and the ‘Free To Be Me’ Knox LGBTQIA Youth Group. The youth group is for 11-14 year olds.

MASKED follows the story of High Schooler, Zoe, struggling to come out as a trans man. After knowing who they truly are for a while, Zoe finds themselves fatigued by their fear of whether others will accept them or not. MASKED was created in conjunction with the 15-18 year old’s from the Knox ‘ Free To Be Me’ LGBTQIA Youth group. The project is proudly supported & funded by Knox City Council, YAC Vic & the Victorian State Government.

Masked blurb on YouTube

Zoe is miserable. It is her birthday.

Her mum gives her a nice dress – “pretty, but not too pretty”. Over family breakfast there’s an awkward conversation about a friend who has a non-binary partner. Dad makes some ham-fisted jokes about non-binary robots. Non-binary geddit? The clumsy parents are trying but trying in the wrong way. How dare they?

At the party, Zoe is dissociating and looks sick as she beholds the pink gift wrapping and fairy bread.

Across the crowd Tahlia is watching.

Tahlia: “You bummed out? All that girly shit? Your presents.”
Zoe: “I liked my presents”
Tahlia: “C’mon…”

Tahlia is the reason I am writing this blog.

Tahlia is the only one to notice Zoe’s distress and the only one to see the evidence of her self-harm: a bandage on the wrist. All the other party guests and even the parents are oblivious.

Tahlia is Zoe’s magical spirit guide. She has a special knowledge that even Zoe cannot yet access: Zoe is trans. Tahlia must bring forth this realisation in Zoe.

Later Zoe watches Ash Hardell’s trans coming out** video on YouTube.

Zoe is looking outside herself for validation. Without YouTube, where would she have looked? Stick-thin women in magazines, perhaps. Or the cat-dragged-in riot grrl empowerment?

She admire’s Ash’s ability to claim the ‘trans’ identity. However scrolling into the comments reveals the condemnation of strangers. The real Ash Hardell seems quite happy with the video stats: 35k thumbs up, 1.8k thumbs down and plenty of cutesy positive comments.

Zoe, on the other hand, is devastated.

It’s too bad that Zoe didn’t make it to Survival Lilly’s YouTube channel

Mum comes in and asks to chat and tells her “your problems aren’t real“. She means that Zoe’s distress is part of growing up, it is discomfort that will resolve when Zoe finds her place in the world. She means that problems around fitting in are magnified for teenagers but have no material basis.

Tahlia senses a disturbance in The Force. She is walking up toward Zoe’s house, only to see the flashing light of an ambulance. Tahlia has come too late.

Without external validation, Zoe attempts suicide.

Mum and Zoe fail to connect emotionally on Zoe’s exit from hospital. But Tahlia is waiting at home with a pair of used doc marten boots and a garbage bag full of grey ‘boy clothes’. This is the talisman with which Tahlia rehabilitates Zoe from the edge of death. If Tahlia is a spirit guide, Zoe is in a liminal state between life and death. Once upon a time a shaman would starve themselves for days, drink poison and spend time in isolation to induce hallucinations that open the door between worlds. For Zoe, it is a bottle of pills and a pair of Doc Martens.

Tahlia now helps Zoe to cross over, to transition, into another state of being.

Tahlia knows. She gives a speech “I’ll always be here for you… if your mother and your father …if they do care [about you being trans] then who cares about them?”. Abandon the family, abandon what you know and rely on to be real. Transition rituals demand a sacrifice.

Tahlia performs trans a makeover ritual and then presents her new creation Zach to the shocked parents.

This is quite important.

Zoe struggles in isolation. She believes she knows the source of her problems: she doesn’t like pink, or dresses, or all that girly stuff.

The parents aren’t able to help her. She just has to muddle through somehow to the other side of adolescence. Instead, Tahlia assists her to cross over to the other side of gender.

It is only through watching intimate videos of strangers that she glimpses a solution. It seems impossible to grasp until Tahlia makes it real for her. Bibbity bobbity boo! You’re trans. The answer is trading in a grey hoodie for a different hoodie and getting a side part. No more self-harm.

Zoe, now Zach, goes on to perform the same miracle for Emily/Bailey in the sequel Still Me.

Still Me

Still Me is the younger non-binary sibling to Masked.

The film opens with Emily/Bailey hyperventilating in front of the public toilets. This is the universal symbol for non-binary angst. She is (they are?) working through an anxiety attack by rehearsing a coming-out speech. “I’m still me. I’m just more comfortable”. Because nothing says ‘comfortable in my own skin’ like hyperventilating in the toilets before school.

The school bell rings, Bailey pulls a non-binary grey beanie over her forehead and exits the toilet. The camera pulls away – she exits from the disabled toilet. She is non-binary and could not choose either the male or female convenience. Too bad if a wheelchair-bound student had needed a wee before class.

Yes, I’m snippy about these invented enby problems. In the search for meaning they take ordinary tasks – choosing a toilet – and make them unbelievably emotional and difficult. They take joyful dressing up and transform sang froid it into anxious greys, bad fringes and poorly cut men’s shirts over restricted female chests. Nothing says “I’m more comfortable” than being badly dressed over special torture underwear, and desperate not to be found out.

It’s a joyless celebration of the worst aspects of the liminal.

Anyway.

Back to Bailey. She struggles. The teachers don’t validate her. The students ridicule her. She looks around for help but finds no quarter. Bailey is a lone ship in anxious waters. Except for the very supportive text messages from mum. They don’t count.

At the apogee of her suffering, Bailey is crouched in an empty classroom, sobbing uncontrollably. She is approached by a trans spirit guide. It’s Zach!

Zach/Zoe: “My name’s Zach”
Bailey: “My name’s Emily”
Zach: “Are you though?”
Bailey: (sobbing) “Nooo!”

Zach/Zoe has a special knowledge. She sees into Bailey’s suffering and can discern the reason for it. Unlike everyone else, Zach sees Bailey. She looks past Emily’s feminine features. She sees Bailey of the grey beanie.

Bailey asks “I’m not a girl, I’m not a boy. I’m still me. Why does my gender matter?” Such a profound question for a young woman who is in tears because she can’t find others to validate her desperate need to wear a beanie and a tie. Why does her gender matter to her? Why does she hyperventilate about choosing a toilet to enter? Why does she feel less non-binary (more binary?) in a skirt than in a tie?

What if Zach had not come past just now? Where would Bailey have gone for solace? Perhaps to the enthusiastically supportive mum who would help her ride out adolescence and grow into herself as a young woman. Or perhaps to the girl she spoke with briefly at the bus stop. Maybe she’d even find something in common with the yobbo boys who yelled at her from a car window (assuming they grow the eff up).

Zach isn’t one to let a chance slip by. There’s something oddly intimate about the way she calms Bailey down. “Tell me 4 things you can feel”. Bailey’s defenses are down and she enters the liminal state, ready to transition.

Zach tells Bailey she will eventually find people who love her. Not her mum, obvs. Again, the sacrifice. Leaving the past, the material and the trustworthy behind.

Then she pulls out a pamphlet! Not quite “have you hear about Amway” but very close. There’s a meeting tonight. Game, set and match. Bailey is on her way to the LGBTIAQ+ club.

The Knox Youth LGBTIAQ+ HQ

Bailey seems to be whimpering as she introduces herself to the club. “I’m Bailey. I’m non-binary. I use they/them pronouns”. The rite is complete. Zach whispers “you cool?” and trots off to join friends.

This tribe of kids is self-replicating.

Next it will be Bailey’s turn to watch and wait for an opportunity to help out a distressed friend.

These are teenagers preying upon distressed peers. It is easy to offer freedom, confidence, friends and belonging, in exchange for a small sacrifice. For someone who feels devastated, this offer seems like a bargain.

In the beginning it’s hairstyles. In this middle class suburban settings, it’s just pink-haired kids getting together to play Uno and chat. But there is a deal made with the devil.

The journey to the other side of gender will never take them to the other side of adolescence. It will never help them to grow up. The options are to desist – what, give up a truly held identity? Or re-commit. First hormones, then mastectomies, then hysterectomy because the hormones have poisoned the uterus.

The self harm does not stop. It changes form and focus.

As they age out of the youth groups, the effects of transition won’t be seen by the cool teenagers. As they age into the workforce, the cold reality of being the only trans in the village begins to hit home. Everyone has a job and private struggles are just that: private. Dating is a nightmare. No youth groups, no pink hair, no mum and dad to blame life on.

Growing up happens to all of us. Some of us escape adolescence burdened with ill-advised tattoos, car accident injuries, heroin additions, STDs or worse. Some don’t escape.

These rainbow children, recruited by their friends, will be bound to a medical pathway for life.


Notes

** Ash is a twee non-binary woman who, with her twee female non-binary partner Grayson, are together living their best top-surgery lives. Ash Hardell and partner Grayson Hardell talk top surgery and the power of becoming

Wear It Purple is a profit-taking enterprise

Source:  Wear It Purple 2020 Annual ReportAustralian National Charity Register, Wear It Purple Blog

Wear In Purple is an Australian Youth charity. Their main activity is promoting “Wear It Purple” day where people are encouraged to wear purple in support of queer youth, rainbow youth and youth “being who they are” (who else would they be?)

Wear It Purple is a profit-taking enterprise

In 2020, they took $195k net profit and paid no wages, yet they still prominently ask for donations and sell merchandise.

Their main ‘product’ is participation in grassroots events which WIP support with graphics. Remote workers are provided with slick backgrounds they can use for their Zoom calls. These cost almost nothing to prepare. In fact the money paid to “consultants” by WIP in 2020 was only $600.

Wear It Purple promotes mutilation of children

In the article “It Took A Long Time To Know I Needed Top Surgery”, Lu Bradshaw describes a double-mastectomy as something she needed to have.

“It’s not that I don’t want you to. It’s that I wish you didn’t have to.” 

Lu Bradshaw

During her mid-teens, Lu was romantically rejected by another girl and went through a depressive episode before coming out as Non-binary. She goes through several crises and considers self harm.

I did hate my chest, and I was definitely in pain. Everything about it hurt. Binding hurt. Dysphoria hurt. Trying to resist the mounting self-harm urges hurt. Thinking hurt.

The she surrenders:

Eventually, when I was tired and frustrated enough, I changed tact. I stopped asking questions

This content is for a youth audience. In this article WIP promotes “2 years” as being a long time to consider whether to get a mastectomy. They promote surgery as a cure for psychological distress.

Wear It Purple Promotes Sexualised Exploitation of children

Jack (Jackaranda) is an 11 year old “drag queen” who’s parents feel it is appropriate to exploit him on social media. Wear It Purple has made him an ‘ambassador’ alongside other young / underaged people.

Wear It Purple Promotes Erosion of Student/Teacher Boundaries

Meet 17 year old Jack and his “queer” teacher Alex. Alex is also Wear It Purple’s official School Liaison Officer and one of the WIP Board Directors.

It’s inappropriate for teachers and students (particularly underage students) to discuss sexuality as equals. They are not equals – the teacher is in a position of authority over the student. The adult is in a position of authority over the child.

Wear It Purple promotes pseudoscience at schools

In this article, young woman named Jacob sets out how the doctrine should be taught at schools, including the ridiculous Genderbread Person and a nonsensical venn diagram of gender:

Wear It Purple has government support

This image of grown ups wearing face paint is from the Ipswitch Police

Many businesses are on board. More concerning – many government agencies. . –

In government agencies across Australia people are wearing purple to work just as they wear orange on Harmony Day.

It’s supposed to be about showing support for youth.

In fact, WIP is leading parents and children down a path of self-destruction.

All these police think they’re just wearing purple to just support kids. I doubt any of them think about what it means to support a trans child.

This is the first twist of the screw on the gas lamp. This is the first rise in temperature in the frog’s bathwater.

When you wear purple to support trans kids, do you know what you are supporting? Do you know that this small act undermines your future right to say no when your child decides she wants a mastectomy at age 12? Who will you turn to for support, after you’ve convinced everyone that the child knows best? Who will help you save your perfect child from her own distress?

Wear It Purple doesn’t care. Wear It Purple is a profit-taking enterprise.

‘we can stop this drug, and your body goes back to how it would have been with no long-term consequences’ [reblog]

Reblogging this piece from another author. This text has been sent to Media Watch, the journalists who investigate our media. It is in regards to a special-interest piece by our dear national broadcaster about the Michelle Telfer who heads up Australia’s premier gender id clinic for children. Dr Telfer believes she can “give [a girl] a boy’s body”. Note the timecodes in ().


I’ve just sent this tip-off to Media Watch: ‘A Balancing Act’, Australian Story. ABC, 24/5/2021. This broadcast covers up and misrepresents what Dr Michelle Telfer did in 2014.

There are two issues here:

  • long-term consequences of puberty blockers
  • effect of puberty blockers on bone density

Long-term consequences

In 2014, Dr Tefler told the Langley family that if Isabelle decided to ‘go back to being Campbell’, ‘we can stop this drug, and your body goes back to how it would have been with no long-term consequences‘. This interaction was filmed and broadcast on 17 November 2014 in the episode ‘Being Me’, Four Corners, ABC (at 20:52).

The Langley family, and what Dr Telfer told them in 2014, feature again in ‘A Balancing Act’. However, she is presented as saying to them: ‘We can stop this drug, and your body goes back to how it would have been…’(at12:50). In other words, the phrase ‘with no long-term consequences’ has been cut out.

Of course this matters. It matters because of recent admissions that the long-term consequences of puberty blockers are unknown. See, for example, the amendments to advice about them made on the UK’s National Health Service website in June 2020.

https://www.transgendertrend.com/nhs-no-longer-puberty…/:

GONE is the claim that puberty blockers are considered to be fully reversible:

“The effects of treatment with GnRH analogues are considered to be fully reversible, so treatment can usually be stopped at any time after a discussion between you, your child and your MDT”.

NEW is the admission that long-term effects are unknown:

“Little is known about the long-term side effects of hormone or puberty blockers in children with gender dysphoria. Although the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) advises this is a physically reversible treatment if stopped, it is not known what the psychological effects may be. It’s also not known whether hormone blockers affect the development of the teenage brain or children’s bones. Side effects may also include hot flushes, fatigue and mood alterations.”

It is precisely the reason why the application of puberty blockers has been suspended in the UK, Sweden, and Finland. https://segm.org/Sweden_ends_use_of_Dutch_protocol

Effect on Bone Density

In the 2014 footage incorporated into ‘A Balancing Act’, a voiceover is interpolated of Dr Telfer saying: ‘Puberty blockers are reversible. The only risk is that it can affect your bone density’ (at 11:55). The vision accompanying this voiceover is of Dr Telfer speaking to the Langleys in 2014, such that, to an ordinary viewer, it appears that this was something she told them in 2014, and that was broadcast in the Four Corners episode ‘Being Me’.

Was it broadcast in ‘Being me’?

No it wasn’t. Was it something Dr Telfer told the Langleys in 2014, either off-camera or on-camera but edited out before broadcast in 2014? Possible, but highly unlikely, since the effect of puberty blockers on bone density was pretty much unknown at that time: https://www.bmj.com/content/366/bmj.l5647/rr-0https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7433770/

Conclusion

The hagiographic treatment accorded Dr Telfer in ‘A Balancing Act’ was enhanced by distorting her 2014 professional performance to make it look more nuanced and fact-based than it actually was. It surely isn’t, or shouldn’t be, the role of the ABC to misrepresent and cover up deficiencies in a high-profile featured subject’s professional performance in this way, particularly when it involves such a serious issue as gender dysphoria.


A sincere thank-you to the author for her analsys.

Be fully who you are: The business of trans youth

Say ‘hello’ to the Gender Unicorn – a $5.2 Trillion startup who’s ready to disrupt the market

From United Nations online session called “Resisting Invisibility: Negotiating full participation in Australian Society” that was hosted by COAL. That’s the Coalition of Activist Lesbians.

6 Types of Sex

Why are we relying on the 3 least reliable sex markers to determine a person’s legal and social gender?

Early proponent of sex reassignment, John Money, described six types of sex[1]. His aim was to tease out the ways in which one might “trans” or change sex by breaking sex into a number of negotiable components.

Of course we know that sex is immutable, and changing one dimension won’t change your whole sex.

But let’s play along.

  1. Chromosomal Sex – most people are XX (female) or XY (male). Chromosomes permeate every cell and cannot be changed. See notes below variations on disorders of sexual development.
  2. Anatomical or Morphological Sex – Primary and secondary sexual characteristics such as genitals, facial hair, breasts. These can be observed and is usually how babies are sexed at birth. Their vulva or penis is observed and this is taken as a reasonable measure of the sex.
  3. Genital or gonadal sex – testes in a male and ovaries in a female. This cannot be changed.
  4. Legal sex – what it says on your passport, birth certificate, driver’s licence or other documents of identity.
  5. Endocrine or Hormonal Sex – levels of estrogen and testosterone, and their effects on the body. Males tend to higher testosterone and females tend to higher estrogen.
  6. Psychological sex – the state of feeling one is a male or a female.

How reliable are these measures?

Let’s see whether each one is patent (can be easily observed), reliable (is backed up by other measures) and immutable (cannot be changed).

Chromosomal sex cannot be altered, but can only be confirmed with genetic testing. Chromosomes are reliable – an XX is female and an XY is male. There are other chromosomal configurations that make up a small percentage of people. Chromosomal sex is immutable – it cannot be changed.

Anatomical sex (breasts, hair growth, vulva etc) can be easily seen, but isn’t reliable. An XY person who is insensitive to androgens may appear to be female. It is not immutable because hormones and surgery may change the appearance to some extent. Phalloplasty can give you a phallus, but not a penis. Vaginoplasty can create a crevice but not a vagina.

Genital/Gonadal sex can be observed in males who have external testes, is a reliable marker of sex and is immutable. An XY person who appears female will have testes, although these will be internal. It is usually patent, reliable and immutable.

Which markers os sex should we base our legal definitions of male and female upon?

None of Legal, Endocrine or Psychological sex are patent. They cannot be observed by looking at a body. These types of sex are closer to being components of gender.

They are not reliable, bearing no relationship to any of the other measures of sex. A person might feel like non-binary, take male hormones, and have a female passport. YouTuber Luxander fits this bill exactly.

These 3 sexes are not immutable. Legal sex can be changed using a form. Psychological sex can be changed with the weather. Hormonal sex requires a prescription or a developmental event such as menopause. We would not say that menopausal women are really men. Why do we say that males who take estrogen are really women?

Using the sexes as proof

On the one hand, there are the biological and immutable sexes. Their definitions buttress one another – chromosomes drive the formation of primary and secondary sex characteristics. Gonads are primary sex organs, and these produce sex hormones that further develop & differentiate the secondary sex characteristics.

On the other hand are more pliable definitions that tend to follow from one another in a chain.

A psychological feeling of womanhood leads a man to request hormones and then surgery. This commitment is taken as ‘proof’ that he is legally entitled to become a woman. Voila – a new legal identity is created, and rights conferred, predicated on a subjective notion of what it might be to be a woman.

The idea that one can ‘change sex’ is founded on gender not sex.

Entitlement

Is it meaningful to change these superficial markers of sex? What does sex means outside of gender. Or gender outside of sex? Does a change in gender entitle one to claim to have changed sex?

What females have in common with other females is their shared experience of a female body. The body may be clothed in stockings and lace, or in denim overalls. It is a female body that grows breasts, bleeds, produces eggs and possibly children. There is a shared experience of developing and living in these bodies. Even if a female does not to some or all of these things, her body has the potential to. Her experience is physically determined because her sex is physically determined.

A male altering his hormones and giving his body a female appearance cannot achieve female chromosomes and gonads. He might be entitled to claim femininity but not femaleness.

Women-specific rights are based around the shared experience and demands of the female body. Pregnancy, the risk of rape, the drains of menstruation, the trials of ‘the change’, and the rollercoaster of motherhood. The disappointment if you can’t have children but want to; the social pressure if you eschew having children by choice.

Allowing a man to ‘become a woman’ based on his subjective idea of being a woman opens the door to any man to declare that he is entitled to women’s rights and protections, even though he will never need them.

He is still a man. As a man he feels he is entitled.

Notes

Read this book. I know it looks a bit scary but it’s well-written and prescient.

[1]: The Transsexual Empire by Janice Raymond, p6. If you haven’t read The Transsexual Empire, click off and go read it now for free.

Gender: either of the two sexes (male and female), especially when considered with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones. The term is also used more broadly to denote a range of identities that do not correspond to established ideas of male and female.”a condition that affects people of both genders” Google Dictionary

There are only so many qualifying ‘air quotes’ that can usefully be added into a paragraph.

Addendum – How reliable are chromosomes anyway?

Updated on 3 January 2020 with notes from Freya.

I’ve stated that the presence of a Y chromosome means male. It isn’t entirely that simple, but the complexity doesn’t undermine the reliability of chromosomes as a measure of sex. The fact that we can detect and study these variances furnishes us with an understanding of how they work.

When you examine chromosomes they indicate a definite sex or an intersex condition. There are a number of disorders of sexual development (intersex) where a person has different chromosomes other than XX or XY, or where a person’s body develops differently. Together these conditions are rare. Taken individually, they are vanishingly rare.

Confronted with abnormal chromosomes, decisions are made.

Take the woman with 46XY chromosomes who went through puberty, menstruated and gave birth to children. Is she female?

Here is where the 6 sexes are useful. Her body appears and functions as a female body. Her hormonal level are in line with the expectation for females and she has functioning gonads. (I’m not actually a doctor so I’m winging it a bit on that statement). Her legal, and presumably psychological sex are female.

In Turner Syndrome – one of the two X chromosomes that are typically present in the cells of females is missing or incomplete. Most affected women will not experience breast development and many will not have menstrual periods.

There are variations related to the SRY gene that typically attaches to the Y chromosome cause a female development in an XY male. But can attach itself to an X and cause masculine development in an XX female.

Confronted with abnormal chromosomes, decisions are made.

The first time I came across “Intersex” was reading that babies with “ambiguous genitalia” were operated on soon after birth to fix them up and they were raised as the chosen gender. The feminist text that reported this did so in an appalled tone. There is now more awareness of intersex conditions and people with disorders of sexual development. Hopefully these practices have reduced.

Still, choices are made. Chromosomes are not examined in a vacuum. It takes effort to find out a person’s chromosomes and you would likely do so only to explain a variation.

Categories, not a spectrum

Opening up a category for XY people with complete androgen insensitivity does not invalidate the validity of the male/female divide. Nor does it make sex a spectrum. A spectrum is continuous; a rainbow is continuous because the wavelength of light can be any number. Human chromosomes cannot be anything at all, they are variations on discrete values.

A new variation in sex is just that – a pocket of people who are different, but no less human.

Bans on ‘Conversion Therapy’

Conversion Therapy. The backwards notion that you can “pray away the gay” in someone. Horrific practices have been recorded where people were subjected to fasting, extreme physical exercise, starvation, electric shocks and more. Also mild practices are recorded – counselling, group therapy and support groups.

These practices have an association with some religious groups who view homosexuality and homosexual acts as contrary to God’s teaching. I will point out that sometimes these practices are forced or coerced. As Douglas Murray points out in his book The Madness of Crowds, it is possible for some people to voluntarily seek out counselling to suppress their homosexual nature. They might be motivated by religion, a wish to live a ‘conventional’ life or desire to have a family without adopting. (NOTE: There are some people who voluntarily try to become straight. I’ve mentioned it here because it’s their right as adults to try, not because I believe it’s what they should be doing.)

What’s happening in Australia

Australia is facing the systematic introduction of near-identical bills to ban conversion therapy at a state level. For gay men, lesbians and bisexuals this seems like great news.

However the bills go much deeper. They criminalise the “conversion or suppression’ of a person’s gender identity.

How Gender Identity is going to be protected

Gender identity means a person’s gender-related identity” and may include “other expressions of gender, including dress, speech, mannerisms, names and personal preferences”

In other words – the bill protects a characteristic that has a circular definition. It adds on transient characteristics that express gender – presumably acting in a manner stereotypical of the opposite gender.

What does that mean?

It means sex will be legally replaced by gender identity. Your sexed body will not be as legally important as your self-image. The self-image for gender identity is grounded in stereotypes.

Image may contain: 2 people

When Elliot Page announced in December 2020 that he is trans (clue: used to be an accomplished actress). Memes appeared with the ironic caption “there were no signs” above images depicting Page wearing stereotypically masculine clothing: a check shirt. Page dressed in male fashion, therefore Page is a man.

In the same month we received news that transvestite comedian Eddie Izzard has announced that he will now be permanently “based in girl mode”. Izzard achieves “girl mode” by adopting feminine characteristics such as wearing makeup and heels.

When ‘woman’ and ‘man’ are defined by clothes and not bodies, there is no longer a basis for women’s rights.

What practices are banned?

The range of activities that are banned is very broad. It could range from physical torture to checking on a friend to ask “are you sure it’s not a phase”?

The bills bans “practices” that aim to “change or suppress sexual orientation or gender identity“. It lumps sexuality in with gender identity. This is logically inconsistent.

Changing a person from a male-attracted-male to a male-attracted-female converts him from homosexual to nominally heterosexual.

Not to mention that the process of transitioning from a male to a female is literally attempting to convert the male into a female.

Practices means:

  • “psychiatry or psychotherapy, consultation, treatment or therapy, or any other similar consultation, treatment or therapy;
  • “carrying out a religious practice, including but not limited to, a prayer based practice,
  • “giving a person a referral for the purposes of a change or suppression practice”
  • which can be done “remotely (including online) or in person

This means that any person – therapist or not – can break the law by

  • providing counselling that doesn’t affirm gender identity
  • prays with a person in a way that doesn’t affirm their gender identity

Bear in mind that a gender identity is “a person’s gender-related identity” and relates to clothes and mannerisms.

What about voluntary participation?

These activities are banned when carried out “with or without the person’s consent“.

A therapist cannot counsel a person who desires to avoid homosexual behaviour. They cannot counsel a person who wishes to desist from being transgender.

Penalties

There are penalties for breaking these laws.

A commission is established by the bills to investigate and compel evidence to be produced.

Whether actively participating or simply ‘negligent‘ about knowing whether the practice is occuring, the penalties are stiff. 10 years maximum imprisonment and/or $10 000 fine.

What does this bill mean for homosexuality?

The bills abandon the traditional definition of sexuality to include homosexual, bisexual and heterosexual in favour of gender. It is now the vague statement that:

“sexual orientation means a person’s emotional, affectional and sexual attraction to, or intimate or sexual relations with, persons of a different gender or the same gender or more than one gender“.

The Victorian bill amends the definitions of sexual orientation and gender identity in the Equal Opportunity Act 2010. Amends the act! Sexual orientation is now gender orientation.

State of play

Queensland – bill passed

Victoria – bill passed lower house and introduced upper house 10 December 2020

ACT – bill passed 

Update 7 January 2021: consultation period in Tasmania

Who is fighting back?

Holly Lawford-Smith is a feminist academic who is vocal on this issue. Support her!

So far the party opposing these bills is the National-Liberal Party. Louise Staley MP (VIC) and Senator Claire Chandler (TAS) have spoken passionately in parliament about women’s rights and the harm that gender ideology (not trans people!) will cause to women. They are fighting for us.

You might feel uncomfortable supporting the NLP. But please support these brave and capable women.

David Southwick MP (NLP) (VIC) proposed that the bill be paused until consultation was undertaken. This wasn’t carried.

Who isn’t fighting back? The Labor party has introduced and carried these bills.

What can you do?

WRITE TO YOUR STATE MP and tell them you oppose this bill that:

  • undermines the rights of parents to support their children who may be questioning their gender or sexual orientation
  • takes away the right of people to support if they want to question their gender identity and/sexual orientation
  • it erases homosexuals by redefining sexual orientation
  • reduces womanhood and manhood to stereotypes and ‘mannerisms’

WRITE TO THE LABOUR PARTY. The Labor party has introduced these bills. Let them know you aren’t happy.

WRITE TO A SENATOR – especially if you are in Victoria. Tell them what you told the MP.

SHOW SUPPORT FOR THOSE WHO ARE FIGHTING BACK. Write to these women, support them on YouTube, support them on Twitter and Facebook.

JOIN OR START A FEMINIST FACEBOOK GROUP

START A CONVERSATION

  • with your friend
  • with your hairdresser
  • the parents at the PnC
  • with anyone who will listen
  • with other women in your area

Tell them sex-based rights are going away and they will be left trying to respect rights based on feelings and mannerisms.