Written By: - Date published: 10:56 pm, November 29th, 2018 - 327 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, Deep stuff, discrimination, equality, gender, health, human rights, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: , ,

On Wednesday, Herald columnist Rachel Stewart wrote a disingenuous and deliberately provocative piece about her distaste for trans people. It was dressed up, in part, as supposedly sensible outrage at the thought that trans women (or ‘men’ as Rachel prefers to call them) might use the changing rooms and toilets that they feel most comfortable in, thereby potentially scarring her six year old niece for life.

Yes, I swooned, too. The horror, the horror!

Louisa Wall, the Labour MP and sponsor of the legislation that bought marriage equality to NZ has written a spirited and sensible riposte.

The MP points out that Rachel Stewart’s propaganda mirrors Donald Trump’s moves in the States to narrowly define sex as determined at or by birth and based on the gender a person is born into. It’s a conservative and privileged point of view.

Wall makes the point that Stewart and anti-trans groups like Speak Up For Women are regressive:

“The result of Civil rights protections for transgender will be lost along with recognition of gender identity.

While that is ultimately what Speak Up For Women and Rachel Stewart want here in New Zealand, I despair that as we make steps toward greater trans visibility, campaigns like these undermine the work done and give messages to our trans whanau that will have detrimental consequences for our trans community, and particularly trans youth.

All as a result of a small but vocal group that considers themselves more important than a group that is the most oppressed, marginalised and dehumanised, suffers some of the highest levels of sexual and physical violence and (whose) youth are five times more likely to attempt suicide.”

That’s not an exaggeration. I can’t think of any identifiable group in NZ who are doing it tougher. And it must be extraordinarily painful to have someone who could and should be an ally put the boot in.

But that’s what Rachel Stewart has done.

One of the weird things about the overwhelmingly negative reaction to Stewart’s bigotry is her failure to accept even a jot of criticism. On the twitter, she’s turned into a passive aggressive snowflake, blocking anyone who has tried to reason with her.

I guess I’m next, if she reads the Standard. And that would be a shame, because I have a ton of respect for the work Stewart has done poking the lazy and self important in the farming industry over their polluting ways.

However, Rachel Stewart has got this badly wrong.

In an interview a few years back, she said this:

“I just lose it when it comes to people being cruel to animals, or just cruel actually”

Well, who’s being cruel now?

Oh, and from that same article, here’s an equally ironic quote about the time she worked for NZ Rail:

“When they tried to post her to Wellington because they didn’t know how to manage a woman driver in a regional depot, and because they’d have to build her a toilet, she rang up the Human Rights Commission, who advised her on the best way to tell them to get knotted. She won, and stayed in Whanganui, where they built her a toilet, even though she said she was happy to use the blokes’ one.”

Good thing her six year old nephew wasn’t around to see that ae?

The horror, the horror.



I had a brief twitter conversation with Rachel Stewart this morning. She denied that she intended blocking me. I offered her a right of reply to the post because she had complained that the post was full of misquotes and lies. It’s not, but I thought it was fair to let her put her point of view. She replied with some low level abuse.

I replied, chiding her for ‘liking’ a racist attack on me by Denny Paoa. She replied, further endorsing Denny’s tweet and used another racist slur “Uncle Tom”. Then Rachel, as is her way, blocked me.

My feeling is that she blocked me not because of the post but because she realised she’d made a serious mistake resorting to racist abuse.

If that isn’t the case, the offer of a right of reply remains. But I really do think Rachel Stewart needs to explain why she thinks racist abuse is acceptable in 2018.



327 comments on “TERFed Out: UPDATED ”

  1. Matthew Whitehead 1

    Thank you for writing about this, btw. I was going to do a piece before I saw Louisa’s, but have instead been holding down the fort on twitter against much of this nonsense.

    Some quick hits before any trolls come in:

    TERF isn’t a slur. It stands for “trans-exclusionary radical feminist.” It’s a deliberately sober term to disambiguate radfems who want to segregate out trans women from those with positive or neutral stances to trans women, and was popularized by online activist Viv Smythe, who talks about the topic here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/nov/29/im-credited-with-having-coined-the-acronym-terf-heres-how-it-happened

    The objection to TERF as a term largely seems to be that the actions of TERFs have generated a large amount of hate from the wider community, and because emotional reactions and death threats have sometimes been associated with that word, the word itself is now somehow a slur. Like, maybe stop harassing people and hounding them into suicide and people will be less likely to say (admittedly somewhat terrible things) like “TERFs should die.”

    If people prefer GSRF (“gender skeptical radical feminist,”) I’m fine with using that interchangably, however nobody will know what we mean if we don’t say TERF at least once.

    Reacting defensively to being called cis is directly equivalent to reacting defensively to being called straight. I have heard all sorts of rationalizations on this one, including one recent woman who tried to claim to have grammar problems with it despite it being a totally reasonable use of language. (guess they didn’t realize they were talking to someone who had studied multiple languages…) People came up with similar rationalizations to their objection to being called straight, but ultimately they boiled down to viewing themselves as normal and hating to concede that it was fair to change their view of what normal is to include queer people.

    Trans people are queer people. TERFs love to claim they’re the only ones who can authentically speak for intersex people or lesbians, and like to constantly police whether lesbians or intersex people who publicly disagree with their tactics should actually count as queer. There is some wider disagreement over trans rights within other parts of the queer community, sadly, as Trans people have been some of the fiercest activists for the community all the way back to stonewall, and deserve that credit. There is a reason every acronym we use has a T in it.

    Organized TERF groups have disturbing interactions with hate groups. The TERF playbook lines up exactly with anti-queer playbooks to seperate transgender people from the rest of the queer community in an us-vs-them fashion now that lesbian, gay, and bisexual people are gaining acceptance. In australia, a large group lobbying against same-sex marriage in their plebiscite (referendum) has now transformed into “Binary Australia” in order to oppose trans rights. Alt-right groups view TERFs as ripe recruiting grounds- there is a oft-cited quote of TERFs being “one step away from tradwives.” [traditional wives]

    TERFs are biological essentialists. TERFs insist that sex is binary and gender isn’t real. If other, more intersectional flavours of feminist question them on this, frequent tactics include a trollswarm, (tagging in dozens of bots/overseas TERFs to harass someone without local social consequence) criticising said feminist’s appearance and speculating as to whether they’re “actually a man” in grotesque detail, tagging in token lesbians or intersex people whenever those communities come up, and basically your worst top hits of internet trolling, and speculating on the provenance of other people’s genitalia.

    As someone who was introduced to this site as an author pretty early on talking about hate groups and how we need to be cautious of them, I would personally class TERFs as an anti-trans hate group primarily, although there are also very real victims in that movement too who have sadly turned to segregation and discrimination as a way to process their trauma with men, or a transition process that they in hindsight regret, or numerous other things- but what you have to remember is like someone having a violent episode in a hospital, sometimes we have to stop these people lashing out before we can help them.

    • greywarshark 1.1

      There is someone fighting norms all the time these days, and getting heard above other background noise that should be listened to. Soon it will be the right to incest that is insisted on, with accompanying arguments on its value. There will have been people who have followed this practice dating from centuries back, but it would be people on the fringe. Now these matters that go to the heart of our society seem to take centre stage. Is it the social media allowing OTT people and private perverts to go public and brutalise our sensitivities?

      Not only is business into ‘disruption’, the neo liberal model of humankind that is so demeaning of us, seem to have broken down our good and reasonable societal practices. What core values and respect for ourselves and others can we hold onto and rely on?

      • McFlock 1.1.1

        Basic rules that seem to work for me:

        1: If it’s between consenting adults with no power imbalance or coercion and doesn’t hurt anyone else, it’s probably fine.

        2: If it meets the criteria in 1, it’s probably not our business to get worked up about it.

        3: When legislating/rule-forming around 1 (out of sheer practicality and the likelihood of jerks to sway a jury using a bullshit defense) if 99% of the instances fail to meet that criteria, it might be a good idea to ban it even if a tiny minority of cases do meet those conditions.

        4: Try not to be a dick.

        • greywarshark

          And vice versa McFock

          • McFlock

            4 does seem to be the one I trip over the most. But I do try.

            That is pretty much the general gist of how I feel about most issues. If it’s between consenting adults, more power to them.

            The bathroom thing is more complicated, so I tend to go with “who is most at risk”? A small percentage of the population is trans – you can go your entire life without being in a bathroom at the same time as a trans person. But 100% of trans people need to use a bathroom. And if men are so dangerous, making transwomen use the mens’ is the greater harm.

            • francesca

              Transmen may also be unsafe in a mans restroom,and still be entitled to use a women’s restroom but I’m not sure how I feel sharing a small space with anyone pumped full of testosterone

              • Matthew Whitehead

                Where exactly did you get that idea?

                I’ve never heard of that in all of the extensive media coverage I’ve seen on discriminatory bathroom bills.

                • Chris

                  What haven’t you heard of? Transmen being unsafe in a men’s restroom? Transmen being entitled to use a women’s restroom? Or someone not feeling sure about sharing a small space with anyone pumped full of testosterone?

                • francesca

                  Ever seen the movie Boys don’t Cry?
                  A biographical movie where a girl masquerades/identifies as a boy ( in the process convincing a girl she dates that she has been impregnated by her)
                  When some of the boys find out she in fact doesn’t have a penis, she is violently raped.So yeah, surprised you haven’t heard of such a thing.
                  I dont mind having transgender people in changing sheds or toilets if they cut their dicks off first

                  • Matthew Whitehead

                    I haven’t, and I’d really suggest against using gender-swapping comedies/tragedies as a basis for what an authentic trans experience is like. That’s sort of like using porn as a basis for how bisexual people really behave.

                    • francesca

                      Based on a true story.
                      Did you miss the biographical bit.
                      Very sympathetic and empathetically done

                  • Lucy

                    wtf womens toilets are several single stalls – have no problem with anyone using them. I have been in several workplaces where the toilets were co-ed you just needed to make sure the locks worked and toilet etiquette was spelled out. I have taken guys into womens toilets when it would have been unsafe to go to the guys toilet – normally when there are drunk aggressive guys in there and the women have always been gracious and accepting – that has included taking 9 year olds without a father to take them into the boys toilet.

              • Bill

                Is it fair to suggest that at the end of the day we are all simply people whose broad behaviour is largely driven and shaped by different hormones (to various degrees at the individual level), and that those hormonal drives may or may not dovetail with (be reinforced by) dominant social mores, that may be accepted or rejected by individuals to varying degrees, and that the end result of all that interplay, at least at a societal level, is “clusterfuck”?

                • SPC

                  The confusion when the genetics, male and or female form, not being adequately reinforced by hormones and impacting on either identity or behaviour.

                  Do we regulate sexual behaviour – no we now allow free will between consenting adults and have adjusted public law for relationships.

                  So now it is do we regulate male and female presentation or appearance or identity when in public? And if so how, and if not how?

                • francesca

                  That is a very fair comment Bill.
                  I have to admit, in tight spaces within 4 walls I’m a wee bit nervous of strangers who occupy the male end of the spectrum.
                  I have good reasons to be so afeard.
                  Like the woman who was suddenly confronted by Rain Dove and maced them. I have to say Rain Dove handled themselves well(they being happy to be multiple sexes), but the woman said, but what do I next time if it really is a CIS man .You act instinctively.


                  I went for a walk in Cooks Beach in the Coromandel one evening .Got a bit spooky.
                  Streets and streets of empty houses with no lights on .I needed a pxss and headed for a small wooden building with a light on down by the dunes. I stayed in there a while checking my texts
                  While I was in there I thought wouldn’t it be awful if there was a man there when I come out.
                  When I came out there was a man there . I screamed and so did he the poor bastard. Didnt realise I was in there or so he said.He’d heard the cistern refilling and thought there must be a leaking tap.
                  So I talked about holidays and the like and tried to deflect him from his obvious intention to murder me.
                  He walked with me for a while .I honestly don’t think he meant me any harm
                  But men can really hurt women, and there’s an instinctive fear if you’re suddenly confronted while alone.
                  It wouldnt have made a difference if he was wearing a dress .

                  Seems like we’ve got in to a right muddle about who’s allowed to express what.
                  It is a clusterfuck

              • McFlock

                I mean, I get that I’m speaking from a position of privilege. But to me TERF attitudes smack of a marginalised group using the same motivations used to marginalise them to marginalise another marginalised group.

                And most multi-use locker rooms etc I’ve seen have had individual cubicles for showers and toilets, anyway. There’s no reason waterproof stalls can’t be erected in the ones that don’t have them already.

                • Matthew Whitehead

                  Yep. I literally just saw a tweet from one of the trans people I know pointing out that we should have more single-occupancy or family-occupancy changing rooms, because there are plenty of people who aren’t trans who are also deeply uncomfortable in communal facilities, whether changing rooms or toilets.

            • Mel

              Framing GC women’s views as ‘hate’ is pure propaganda.

              Your statement about ‘disturbing interactions with right-wing hate groups’ is an outright lie.

              The GC women in New Zealand are all left wingers. You will know some of them I am sure. Most belong to the Green party or the Labour party. They are wives, sisters, mothers and aunties.

            • Mel

              You say this even though you know that women are biologically smaller and weaker than males?

              • McFlock

                I say this knowing that trans women are less likely to beat the shit out of cis women than cis men are to beat the shit out of trans women.

      • Matthew Whitehead 1.1.2

        We still haven’t had people marrying their pets like conservative reactionaries insisted we’d get with same-sex marriage, so I’d be very surprised if a “right to incest” was on the cards because of liberal social values. (historically, it’s tended to be more conservative communities who’ve considered things like allowing cousins to marry, for instance, so I’d seriously reconsider that)

    • SHG 1.2

      If one is a TERF for wanting my daughter to not have a penis waved in front of her face in a female changing rooms, sign me up I guess

      • ankerawshark 1.2.1

        SHG 100 +

      • Matthew Whitehead 1.2.2

        If you think young trans and intersex people want to be on display like that, I don’t think you really understand how terrifying being a queer teenager of any flavour can be.

        I hated changing rooms with a passion when I was still questioning as a teenager, especially the fact that there was no option for me to change privately, and I didn’t have to worry about having different genitalia to the people I was changing with. I can’t imagine how much more shy that would have made me.

        If you’re not trying to say that trans people are fake, harassing them actively, or maliciously misgendering people, I’d be hesitant to identify you as anything close to a TERF/GSRF.

        • Bill

          I don’t think you really understand how terrifying being a queer teenager of any flavour can be.

          Do you really need to play the queer card like that Matthew? I know queers who are very comfortable with their ‘born this way’ bodies.

          • Chris

            Don’t think Matthew’s playing the queer card. Of course there are queers who are comfortable in their own body. But have those individuals you know always been? Even if they have is that the same for everyone? Matthew’s simply saying that from experience than can happen.

          • Matthew Whitehead

            So, a couple bits of cleanup:

            I’m sure there are queer people who were comfortable in changing rooms as teens, that’s fair, but I would suggest that they are probably a minority, or a small minority, even. I’d also remind everyone that just because an adult queer person is proud of their bodies and secure in changing rooms now does not mean they were always that way.

            As awesome as straight people like to think getting a peak is, it’s a lot more intimidating also knowing people are looking back, especially people you might like but maybe don’t even quite understand why or how, and that that’s also coupled with people you detest and don’t want to see you at your most vulnerable under any circumstances. And that’s without mentioning how terrible unattractive environments changing rooms are. I have honestly never been interested in the least in checking people out in changing rooms, and I do like to check people out from time to time, when it doesn’t seem intrusive to do so. And that’s just queer sexuality- trans people generally have much bigger issues around changing rooms as far as I understand, and while they want access to correctly-gendered rooms, all I’ve ever heard from young trans people about the idea of anyone seeing their genitals in such an environment is absolute panic.

            I’m not trying to shut down other people’s thoughts by playing an identity card. I’m just saying that this is an experience that’s a little difficult for people to get their heads around, precisely because you haven’t experienced being in a changing room in that sort of environment, and there’s a lot of projecting neuroses about cis-straight boys and girls mixing in problematic ways onto queer people who don’t necessarily think or behave in analogous ways.

            • mickysavage

              Thanks Matthew I have struggled with the debate but your comments have been clear and concise and I feel much more comfortable after reading them.

        • francesca

          I can actually relate to that
          My problem was the absence of any secondary sexual characteristics whatsoever well in to my teens
          I felt sick shame and dread in the girls changing sheds and was mercilessly teased.

          • Matthew Whitehead

            Yeah, that’s an awful experience, and I understand just exactly that sort of isolation and terror that people will see you and think there is something wrong with you, and that you will feel like your body betrayed you. Ultimately, if queer people misbehave in changing rooms, or toilets, we are compromising our own social acceptance much more than cis/straight people are doing the same thing, and I’ve never heard of any queer people who want to risk that.

            May I suggest that trans people feel this only more so, and that it’s even more distressing for them because a lot of them have the same sort of intense body anxietes that many women suffer, only the promise of growing conformable within their own skin seems much more distant and unattainable for them?

            • francesca

              Until we’re all a lot more evolved I think your idea of many more private cubicles is a good one

              I do accept Georgina Beyer as being a woman , she is so “womanly”. But does that make me a sexist?After all what’s a woman?

              • Matthew Whitehead

                Well, if based on your nick you’re a woman, what’s womanly is really for you to decide, but I take the lead of my trusted intersectional feminist friends on this one and say that trans women are women because they experience life as women, they share in sexism, and harassment, and dresses, and not having pockets on anything, and all sorts of gender-based experiences, and the things they might miss out on, like periods, or having a womb, are things that it’s also quite possible for some cis women to miss out on, too.

                I’ve definitely heard from a lot of trans women online that they feel pressure to perform to a hyperfeminine ideal to be accepted, even though they would prefer sometimes to be a bit more tomboyish, and I’ve also heard from some who feel more comfortable with that dynamic and picking a balance that suits them. But isn’t that also a struggle cis women often go through, where feeling comfortable in their own skin takes experience and confidence in being a woman in a way that works for them? And that sometimes there’s also a struggle with embracing being as girly as you’d like to be?

                I know I struggle internally with embracing the girly things I like to be and do, and I wish I could cry more, and a bunch of other things like that, even though I am adamant that toxic masculinity is a problem and I want it to go away now, please.

                And maybe it is a little sexist to want all women to be performatively women, but maybe you should also cut yourself some slack because we live in a racist, heteronormative, cis-sexist and plain-sexist world, (and that’s without getting into class struggle and economics at all!) and it’s a hard thing to do without getting hit with some of the shit that’s flung at us all from every direction. 🙂 The trick is being able to cut that slack to others, too, and maybe getting over our discomfort with trans people who might look a little bit different than we’re used to cis people looking, and just appreciating them as really brave, authentic individuals who have gone through something that can be really quite difficult in order to be themselves, the same way we do for cis people who find their confidence, or their niche, or their passion, and do well in it?

                • francesca

                  I think we’re all fucked up units and flawed in some way or other, and when we come across strangers we take our first cues from how they’re presenting.
                  I’ve met women transitioning to men who affect all the characteristics of socially sanctioned male behaviour. ie aggressive, surly swaggery.
                  Same with vice versa, bitchy, silly lipsticky stereotype stuff.
                  Maybe as time goes by we’ll all settle down .
                  As you say, be more empathetic to all people , cut slack all ways.
                  What do you think of Georgina Beyer telling trans people they need to be less militant , and that there is a third gender?

                  • Matthew Whitehead

                    Well, firstly, as with telling feminists what to do, as a trans person, it’s far more her place to define and speak for her own movement than mine.

                    I will say that this concept of a special place for trans and/or intersex people is one that’s had powerful cultural resonance for a lot of people, and there are similar concepts through history, like the Native American conception of “two-spirit” people, even though it doesn’t exactly map the same way as the more european words trans and intersex. I don’t think it’s wrong to want to look at that kind of thing as a model for acceptance and positive interaction, and I especially support Māori and Pacifika people (re)-discovering their own native ideas of queer affirmation and acceptance, especially after we colonizers have suppressed some pre-existing ones that were probably a lot more liberal than the social regime we first brought here.

                    That said, my understanding has always been that like sex and sexual attraction, gender is a continuum, with two very high-frequency curves around the areas of male and female, and with outliers both between and outside the peak of those two curves- in such a system, it’s arguably just as accurate to say there are as many genders as there are people alive right now in terms of the nuances of how they’re expressed as it is to say that most people are one of two genders, so saying there are three genders isn’t as out there as you might think, even though it might strike some people that way. I also support people who want to present as non-binary, although I’m much less educated on that one than on trans issues.

                    I tend to think that having some people who are militant and some people who are understanding are both important in a community that needs activism to stay or become safe. (it’s the latter for the trans community, btw, it’s not yet safe at all to be trans in our world, sadly) We need people out there doing the hard work of educating others on what it’s like to be queer until we’re all understood to be positive and normal, even if we’re not as common as everyone else, and that does require some miltant push-back against some people who are determined to be problems, and some understanding outreach to others.

                    That said, the exact balance, whatever it should be, has to ultimately be the trans community’s to control. It’s their movement, I’m just here to assist, and if what I’m saying is valuable to them, great. If it’s not, I’ll listen and try better in the future.

    • “TERF isn’t a slur” – proceeds to demonstrate precisely how it is used as a slur.

      And that last paragraph – well, if there was a prize for the most egregiously patronising BS ever written on The Standard I’d say that was in the running.

      What do we get from this lengthy diatribe against TERFS? They are either evil witches, Nazis or dupes of Nazis – or they’re poor, sad traumatised victims ‘processing their trauma with men’ .


      • Matthew Whitehead 1.3.1

        Would you say “trumpian” or “alt-right” are slurs because people have similar emotional reactions to those groups?

    • Matthew Whitehead 1.4

      You should delete this when you comment on reading it btw, but it looks like you posted this to internal discussion.

    • Jan Rivers 1.5

      “TERFs insist that sex is binary and gender isn’t real.” Well hello Matthew that is what science says. Its also what about 95% – 99% of the population believe. So we are in a world where not to be a TERF is to be in a minority. But you are directing your fire at a specific group of women who also know that the law is changing and are concerned about its impact. Do you think that might make you a misogynist?

      TERF is also a slur. It’s frequently used to incite violence against women especially older women and lesbians apparently on the basis that being ‘gender critical’ harms trans people. What generally harms trans people is male violence. As someone who hasn’t spotted that disconnect I suspect you may be a misogynist.

      Your oily concern for women who have been abused – who you none the less a hate group. Think about that a bit. Do you see why women would call you a misogynist?

      Also you should be honest about what has ACTUALLY been happening. not as you portray it at all. When trans women have committed male sex crimes including rape they are being reported by the news media as women although they are readily identifiable as male (and often have claimed they are trans as they are about to enter the prison system). Do you think that rapists have the right to hide their identity behind that of a woman? Do you see why if you appear to do that women would call you a misogynist?

      As you probably know but aren’t letting on Twitter has changed its terms of use to disallow any criticism of trans women as “hate speech”. Thus people sharing information about male raping transgender women have had their accounts deleted. (Your crap about speculating about their genitalia is just that – crap. They are male rapists, raping with their penises)

      Also women who have said that trans women are men and that women are adult human females have the their accounts suspended and deleted. Do you really want to live in a society where to say those things is to face opprobrium and censure. If you do you might understand why people would call you a misogynist.

      • SHG 1.5.1

        “women don’t have penises”

        • Lucy

          yes they do the clitoris is an external sexual organ with the same nerve endings as a penis

          • Jan Rivers

            For clarification I absolutely do do not think transwomen should face criticism in general and apologise for any confusion. Nor that they are more responsible for violence than any other group of born males – in fact possibly less.

            What I intended to convey is what happens on the ocassions there is violence by trans women. It is now being reported by the media (and in the UK even by the police. I’m not sure what is happening in NZ) as female crime by female criminals. Clarifying information is being & suppressed on Twitter and on wordpress.com.

            Self-id increases the chances of men using an assumed trans-identity to gain access to vulnerable women. Women will be unable to challenge ANY MAN in women’s spaces lest he has a trans identity. In my opinion this is potentially extremely harmful to the trans community as well as to born women.

            As to the science and gender argument. Just point me to the body of knowledge that says gender and biology are aligned or even that there is a basis for gender outside feelings. But don’t bother with the Sci Am article written by a couple of marketing and comms gurus or the twitter-idiot who is suprised that endocrine disruptors disrupt endocrine or the one by the arthropod biologist or anything that contains information about molluscs in shipping lanes or turtles in hot water, or barnacles or clown fish for that matter. I have tried hard to see where people are coming from with this Perhaps having a zoology degree is a handicap but I remain entirely unconvinced.

            • Carolyn_Nth

              Interesting comments, Jan.

              I come from a background where i have studied child development in depth over many years, and taught a lot of young children (with and without disabilities).

              I have found it hard to grasp this concept that gender identity is an innate thing that sometimes doesn’t align with “assigned” gender at birth.

              Over the years I had come to the conclusion that in many areas of development it is hard to separate innate and socially constructed behaviour traits. This applies to gender as well as other areas of development.

              I have done a lot of reading around language development and how it begins to interact with human cognition in the first couple of years of life. I do not understand how anyone can come to a view of their own “gender” without concepts of gender learned from society and articulated through language.

              I’m also am someone who had a fair amount of gender confusion growing up as I always seemed to “naturally” transgress conventional gender boundaries. I had some gender dysphoria, but ultimately decided the cause was more to do with our highly gendered society than with me.

              Anyway, long story short, I do not understand how anyone can have a perception of their gender outside of language and socially constructed institutions and concepts.

              I have been wondering if there was some research that explained it that I have not yet been acquainted with.

              Most of the problem of gender dysphoria seems to me to come from our socially contructed institutions and ways of imposing gender expectations on people from an early age. Something learned in the first few years of life would feel like it is innate to an individual.

              However, I have no problem with anyone transitioning or adopting a gender other than the one identified at birth. For many people it may be the only way to live within our highly gendered society.

              I also am hoping that people changing their gender will help to loosen some of our highly gendered society in the long term. Nevertheless, in the bigger picture, for many people the problem is more likely to be created by society, than by some mistake of birth.

      • Matthew Whitehead 1.5.2

        Okay, here we go everyone.

        No, it’s really, really not what science says. Science says both sex and gender are a lot more complicated than a simple binary state of all sexual characteristics being either male, or female. Not all scientists agree on precisely how to categorize the situation- but the consensus accross disciplines is absolutely that trans and intersex people exist and are genuine, which is already a non-binary state. Even those who state “there are two sexes with a number of exceptions” are conceding something that looks a lot like a continuum of various combinations of sexual characteristics, they just aren’t comfortable with that framing on their current understanding. Some of that is also about having other studies on the go that are dependent on certain conclusions on this issue- nobody’s perfectly objective, this is why science does need to be taken in aggregate, and why we’re always talking about “consensus.” For others it’s just about being a bit more skeptical with changing their minds, which I can respect.

        Twitter’s policy update does not do what you say it does- it’s here for those who want to view it, with the relevant change quoted below: https://help.twitter.com/en/rules-and-policies/hateful-conduct-policy

        Repeated and/or non-consensual slurs, epithets, racist and sexist tropes, or other content that degrades someone
        We prohibit targeting individuals with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanize, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category. This includes targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.

        Note that it’s specifically targetted misgendering (ie. calling a specific person you know identifies as a woman “he”) or deadnaming. (researching someone to find out a different, pre-transition name for them so as to attack their identity or invoke past trauma) If you really have to be critical of trans people on twitter, you can still do so without targetting them for harassment, and you’ll be perfectly within the new rules. Arguably you’ll be within the new rules even if you state that you’ll misgender people in real life and misgender hypothetical example transpeople, so it’s not exactly locking down the fort in terms of the policy.

        It also does a bunch of other very necessary things, like ban harassing people through media representations of lynchings or the holocaust, or racist depictions of people of colour as animals. It’s an overall much better policy than the previous one, even though it’s not perfect, and I don’t expect them to enforce it fairly or consistently. They have a pretty atrocious track record on taking harassment seriously, and consistently ignore requests to handle their nazi problem.

        You’re welcome to conjure me to be as much of an enemy as you want- I don’t hold out hope that a debate with you will be particularly productive in changing your mind given the usual trolling talking points have been walked out now, so the extent of my engagement is going to be to correct the most urgent errors you’re making so that nobody thinks there aren’t counter-arguments. You’re welcome to think me a misogynist because I disagree with you on this issue, there’s no particular way for me to “win” that argument and you know it- if I cite things I’ve done, I’m lying and insincere, if I attack back, I’m mean and combative, and if I’m defensive, I’m “not listening,” regardless of exactly how much research I’ve put into your talking points and how utterly unconvincing I find them, so this is me putting you on notice that this is the last reference you’ll get to any personal attacks against me. I honestly can think of worse things than being called names for doing a small bit of education around trans people, and I’d suggest you go waste your time elsewhere if you insist on these reactionary attacks on people who have obviously done nothing that directly harms you.

        I won’t even start on the idea that there is some big problem of trans women abusing cis women, that’s as utterly malicious and ridiculous as the conspiracy theory that trans people only exist to sell hormones to, and anyone can easily debunk either of those with some quick research on google.

        And finally- yes, people discriminating against others does promote opprobrium and censure. That’s how humans work when you attack people who don’t merit it for your own ends. I don’t want it to feel like harassment, or being shut out, but the reality is the more you insist on attacking queer people, the more we have to get strict about keeping you out of our spaces so that they can remain safe and free of harassment, and that means the more we have to resort to blocking people on social media and calling out those who just won’t let people live in peace. I don’t want to have to do it, I don’t want other people to have to do it, but this behavior of targeted harassment, constant misgendering, deadnaming, doxing people, and sicking botswarms and/or your foreign allies on them online is making it necessary. I’d rather we listened to each other and had a conversation grounded in mutual respect and reality, but I’m sorry, we’re just not there yet on either front.

        • Carolyn_Nth

          As far as I can see, there seems to be more of a spectrum in secondary sexual characteristics and the balance of different kinds of hormones, rather than for the basic differentiation between those with penises and sperm, and those with vaginas and ovaries.

          I have read some radical feminist stuff that basically puts the defining male-female differences down to abilities to reproduce – i.e. make babies. But, to me that is very reductive, and seems to make a clear separation between that definition of male and female, and socially constructed gender.

          But, I think these cannot be clearly separated, and that the secondary characteristics, hormones etc are an intervening and interacting element between reproductive capabilities and socially constructed gender expectations and roles.

          A lot of the problems here seem to me to come from the long time societal preoccupation of giving immense significance to separating the dicks from the cunts. And the above mentioned radical feminists seem to repeat that preoccupation.

          This societal expectation results in so many bureaucratic processes that rely on entering details about whether an individual can be identified as a dick or a cunt eg on everything from birth certificates to passports, job applications,etc, etc.

        • Carolyn_Nth

          I won’t even start on the idea that there is some big problem of trans women abusing cis women, that’s as utterly malicious and ridiculous as the conspiracy theory that trans people only exist to sell hormones to, and anyone can easily debunk either of those with some quick research on google.

          I agree with your second point, but not so much the first, after having read about some of the deplatforming and abuse of women critical of some transgender views and people in the UK.

          The case of Linda Bellos is sobering – long term campaigner for sexual equality, rights of lesbians, rights of black and working class women to be included in feminism; ex-leader of Lambeth Council on a labour ticket; ex-co-chair of some local LGBT networks; usually described as black, Jewish, lesbian feminist.

          She was deplatformed from an event where she was invited to speak in Cambridge because she stated in advance she would question some of trans politics. After a woman critical of trans politics was assaulted, Bellos said she would defend herself if attacked in such a way. Some trans-activists privately sued her for threatening violence. The case was dismissed by the court a couple of days ago – the judgment was the the attempted suit was vexatious and politically motivated.

          I have always respected Bellos and had a passing acquaintance with her when I lived in London. If she’s being dismissed and de-platformed as a nasty TERF, then there’s something seriously wrong going on.

          I have read around it a bit, and it looks to me like there’s a very aggressive trans activist group in the UK that is suppressing any questioning of their views – contacting any venue planning to host any speaker questioning their views in numbers, and quite aggressively til the planned speakers are de-platformed.

          This issue needs way more open public debate than seems to be being allowed. Many women, especially lesbians feel they are being targetted and silenced. Also, it does seem to be trans women that are at the forefront of this (not trans men) and the main targets are women (identified as women at birth).

    • Mel 1.6

      Framing GC women’s views as ‘hate’ is pure propaganda.

      Your statement about ‘disturbing interactions with right-wing hate groups’ is an outright lie.

      The GC women in New Zealand are all left wingers. You will know some of them I am sure. Most belong to the Green party or the Labour party. They are wives, sisters, mothers and aunties.

  2. Charlie Montague 2

    Just here to point out this is batshit and didn’t address and of Rachel’s arguments. Whitehead needs to google what essentialist mean. Are females allowed a female only space, service or provision in any circumstance or not?

    Just look at the dude insisting it’s a human right to have his balls waxed in Canada, the Vancouver Rape Relief case or what happened recently with Karen White to get a clue about real feminist concerns.

    Claire Heuchan has some excellent articles as does Kathleen Stock. You could try listening to some detransitioners too..

    • sam green 2.1

      Are you straight Charlie girl?

    • Matthew Whitehead 2.2

      Hi Charlie- just checking, are you the Charlie who detransitioned and there was some news events about your participation in pride? I’m going to assume you are for now, I hope you don’t mind if you’re not. You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to either, but I actually DID make a point to listening to the other side of that coverage, because people having bad transitions is indeed a thing that concerns me- I don’t however think that this means that transition is going to necessarily be bad for everyone, just that perhaps some people haven’t been well served by the people who should have been helping them figure out whether transition was right for them.

      I think also it’s very natural that if you have a traumatic experience to want to generalize it to everyone else, (we see that with a lot of lesbian seperatists reacting to trauma caused by men in their lives, for instance, which is completely understandable, and an absolutely unjust thing to happen that I want to prevent anyone else going through if possible, but probably not the best basis for an ideology?) but you should perhaps be open to the idea that not everyone’s experience with transition will match your own, although if you are the Charlie I think you are, I take you at your word that transition wasn’t right for you and you felt pressured into it, and I think we really need to come up with good solutions to make sure we don’t fail other people like you who might be questioning whether they’re trans or not, but aren’t well served by transitioning, because it almost certainly will be a traumatic experience for many of those people to try.

      That said, for many people who genuinely do experience gender dysphoria, the period of waiting to be diagnosed suitable to be allowed to transition can also feel deeply distressing, so there’s not an easy one-size-fits-all answer. This is why while I’m sympathetic to arguments that transitions need to be less of a gatekeeping process, I am indeed a little wary of them, too, so I think there’s something of a balancing act to be done here where we don’t endanger people by steering them towards transitions they’ll regret while also not endangering people who clearly do need to transition for their own health by putting unnecessary obstacles in their way. I don’t find the argument that this is some vast money-making scheme particularly convincing, as most doctors are very skeptical about elective surgery because of its inherent dangers, and require a genuine need for such surgeries to be identified before they’ll operate. (I do absolutely understand how overprescribing happens and that is a legitimate phenomenon, but as someone who works in financials in private health at the moment, it’s mostly older people who are bringing in the money, not trans people, and I’ve never heard of anyone who would countenance such a trend within the medical profession in general, and there are a lot of medical professionals in my extended family)

      I’ll look into Claire Heuchan and Kathleen Stock if it’s directly about detransition, because whatever side of this issue people come down on, I think we should all be genuinely concerned about people for who transition doesn’t work, and what your experiences are like. I can’t promise I’ll get through them if it’s full of sexual essentialism, as I’m reasonably convinced that’s a pretty rubbish ideology that doesn’t resemble the facts, but I will try, and I will keep an open mind, because being ready to be wrong is the best way to be right.

      I didn’t address any of Rachel’s arguments because I felt Louisa already did. I just posted some defensive clean-up, coincidentally before this piece went live, because I’m an author here, and I hadn’t realized the post started out as private. As I’m neither a women nor a trans person, my skin in this game is really only looking out for my fellow queer people, and feeling very distressed at what looks a lot like a hate group infiltrating a movement (feminism) that I broadly support, and trying to make inroads into my own community by turning lesbians chiefly, but other queer people as well, against trans women.

      So, given you’ve effectively invited me to comment on female-only spaces, I will briefly touch on that issue, even though I try to avoid telling women What To Do in their own spaces, for reasons that should be fucking obvious, because I shouldn’t even be in those spaces, let alone commenting on them without invitation.

      I’m going to draw an analogy first. If I as a bisexual man am a defacto leader of a queer-only space, is it right for me to exclude, say, ace people, or intersex people, or gender non-binary people who have done nothing to victimize some other person who wants to share that space? I would say the obvious answer is no, and the obvious reason why is that as a queer man, and a queer man who “passes” pretty damn well, I’m one of the most privileged people in the queer community, and me hypothetically denying other people safe spaces to belong and interact with other people like them is inherently abusive in my view.

      By extension then, I feel really uncomfortable with the argument that female spaces should be defined by biology rather than lived experience of gender, when trans women tend to cop both regular sexism and also cissexism on top of it, meaning they are some of the least privileged people in that community- (this is my view of it, that you have asked for- I fully expect yours to be different) and we should remember that cis women are in a position of power over trans women, whether you acknowledge their transition as valid or not, they are definitely a more marginalized group that has faced oppression for a long time, and should be treated with dignity and respect.

      Likewise, though, there should be room for the sorts of people who’ve had traumatic experience in both communities- but it has to be made in a way that doesn’t compromize the safety of the communities at large, and it’s hard to square the circle of Gender Skepticism showing up at pride, as the trans community has been part of the queer community since before the queer community first started coming out, and I don’t think it’s sustainable to have a group opposed to the safe existence of trans people at an event supposed to be affirming for everyone in our community- that said, I think we should be restricting activism of gender skeptical people, not the people themselves.

      (Coincidentally, I also support the compromize that cops shouldn’t march in uniforms at pride- it’s a reasonable middle ground, even if the usual reactionary suspects have seized on it in an unfortunate fashion)

      • SHG 2.2.1

        Hi Charlie- just checking, are you the Charlie who detransitioned and there was some news events about your participation in pride?

        On what fucking planet is it ok to ask that here?

        • George Henderson

          that said, I think we should be restricting activism of gender skeptical people, not the people themselves.

          Ditto trans.

  3. Ed 3

    I had never even heard of the caarconym TERF or the whole expression until I read Rachel Stewart’s article on Wednesday. I responded to Rachel’s article as follows. https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-28-11-2018/#comment-1555141

    The responses I got to my question showed this was a divisive issue amongst posters. It would appear there are two sides to this debate.

    Having done a bit of research, I still have no strong opinions on this either way. I hope this thread will enlighten the discussion.

    Yesterday evening I came upon this article by Meghan Murphy and the silencing of women. It claimed there was an ‘unholy alliance of trans activists and social-media censors’ and that this ‘was a threat to women’s freedom.’

    It went on.

    “It is worth noting that (with some prominent exceptions) the vast majority of people who are being accused of transphobia, and being booted off certain online and offline platforms as a result, are women. And often they are guilty of little more than voicing an alternative opinion on what does and doesn’t constitute being female. In effect, women are being prohibited from talking about womanhood.

    Trans activists insist that we accept the idea that a man is a woman, simply if he feels that way. So-called ‘self-identification’ is at the heart of the debate about the British government’s proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act. Unsurprisingly, many people have found this view difficult to go along with. It is entirely legitimate for women like Meghan Murphy to query the idea that a man can turn into a woman simply by saying the magic words. Indeed, this is still the mainstream opinion. And yet, by Twitter’s standards, everything you have just read is abusive and should not be allowed to be uttered.”


    The one thing that is not all nice is reports of savage bullying comments on Twitter.

    If there is disagreement, it should be expressed with civility.
    I worry that this thread will degenerate into a shouting match.

    • solkta 3.1

      To clarify, the article is by Ella Whelan and talks of Meghan Murphy being banned from Twitter.

      She was banned for simply disagreeing with the idea that trans women are women and should be treated and addressed as such in all circumstances.

      So what she is doing is refusing to accept that trans people are actually a thing. This is akin to refusing to accept that gay people are actually gay.

      • Antoine 3.1.1

        Well, like many (most?) people I also do not agree with “the idea that trans women are women”.

        But, again like most people, I do accept that gay people are gay.

        So I dont think your framing can be right.


        • solkta

          So how loooong did it take for gay people to be accepted as gay?

          • McFlock

            Still a work in progress for much of society.

          • Bewildered

            Trans women are not biological women, they are biological men who think they are women Been gay is simply been a gay man or gay women Re a sexual preference m, it does not change your gender Taking your arguement your age is not binary, ie you can choose ignoring scientific biological fact you are either that age or not, Saying all that if some one wants to act out as a women,) or a cat like George Galloway) and be addressed by a women’s name that’s fine and should be respected , but you can’t force some one to deny science and accept a man can be a women or pronouns that deceive as such

          • George Henderson

            Good luck to any kid trying to be accepted as gay now that every sign of gender-non-conformity is being swooped on as evidence for a new gender identity.
            Homophobia is one of the bigger problems within the transactivist movement has, misogyny is another.
            How long did it take women to get rights and protections in law?

        • Matthew Whitehead

          We live in a society that indulged “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince” going by a symbol, and whatever name Puff Daddy is up to, and of course we accept nonsense commercial rebrands like “Spark” without too much complaint. I’m not sure how taking someone’s word for what gender they identify as is really such a big deal, and why it really hurts someone else to do so.

          The very least you can offer is respectful acknowledgement of their identity, even if you disagree with it, surely? It’s just polite. I don’t particularly agree that we should address John Key as Sir, for instance, but I’m not going to “correct” someone else who does it.

          • Antoine

            > The very least you can offer is respectful acknowledgement of their identity, even if you disagree with it, surely

            Of course! I would always use the appropriate pronoun for a trans person and treat them politely and respectfully.

            But, and here is the key point of difference I think, I understand that while we should address them as being their assumed gender, that doesn’t mean they actually are. It is just a mutually agreed pose that hopefully makes them feel happier and more comfortable.


            PS None of the above should be taken as applying to intersex people, who I understand are a different kettle of fish

            • George Henderson

              Agree. What we have here is called a category error in philosophy. (A classic example of category error is an anti-semite using “some of my best friends are Jews”). The individual is one thing; I’d need a good reason to not respect their expressed wishes re pronoun etc in person (it’s trickier on the internet where any poseur can make conversation impossible by imposing infinite linguistic restrictions). Yet I reject the shibboleth “trans women are women” because it renders every single word in the sentence meaningless. Trans is redundant if it’s true, woman is a biological phenomenon and has no meaning if it does not exclude men, as for “are” to quote Bill Clinton “it depends what the meaning of “is” is” and i prefer the meaning of “is” to be actual not to be the middle two letters in “wish”, because otherwise nothing is real.
              And yes intersex people are different and even rarer; I’ve heard that intersex object to being used as a stalking horse by transactivists, but I can’t confirm this as there are so few of them around.

      • Mel 3.1.2

        That is a lie.

        She was banned for tweeting a male-bodied person’s name and picture.

        This was a man who was calling up beauticians asking for a Brazilian bikini wax. He took 16 working-class women to the HR court, based on the claim he discriminated against them cos he was a trans woman. He wanted $32,000.00 in compensation.

        He dropped the claim after it was found he had posted pedophiliac comments on Twitter.

        Here is a link to Meghan confirming this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDcL11_9f5k

      • George Henderson 3.1.3

        So what she is doing is refusing to accept that trans people are actually a thing. This is akin to refusing to accept that gay people are actually gay.

        Part of trans ideology that offends lesbians is the claim that gay people are not same-sex attracted. For example, Rainbow Youth teaching materials avoid mentioning same-sex attraction. It’s all “gender” whatever that means. Which is unbelievable – NZ just won the right to same-sex marriage for goodness sake.

    • shadrach 3.2

      Hi Ed

      I appreciate your thoughtful contribution. One of the most interesting (alarming?) aspects of this debate is the vitriol expressed against anyone who agrees broadly with the views Rachel has expressed. This is a deeply divisive issue, I get that, but the speed at which trans-activists degenerate into name calling and labelling is a sight to behold.

      • SPC 3.2.1

        Is that how “they” behave, or how you portray them as behaving? How many constitutes proof, how many refute it?

        Does no one of a different point of view to them behave the same way? Are you inferring only one side of the debate have civility as a virtue?

        Are you not insinuating that those who are trans or who take their side are not the most civilised of people.

        Take this back to activists against discrimination on race, religion, gender – how the established power denigrated those activists, with similar language.

        • shadrach

          When I refer to transactivists, I’m not referring to people advocating for trans people generally. I’m referring to people who are not interested in a conversation, only in drowning out opposing voices. People who deride Alison Moyet for refusing to accept the ‘cis’ tag. People who deride Rachel Stewart for daring to question why trans-activists are labelling some feminists ‘terfs’. People like Zoe Tur, who when questioned by Ben Shapiro about the biology of transgenderism threatened physical violence against him. These people don’t want a conversation. They want the exclusion of all ideas that threaten their own opinion.

        • George Henderson

          Take this back to activists against discrimination on race, religion, gender – how the established power denigrated those activists, with similar language

          I don’t remember MLK threatening anyone or trying to have his critics silenced.

          The thing is, woke and PC are now the established power, at least within the circles where this discussion matters – health, education, crime policy.

          Are you not insinuating that those who are trans or who take their side are not the most civilised of people.

          Men, compared to women, are not the most civilised people online or in street protests, and gender identity does not change this. The issue, as I have seen it, is one of misogyny – people born male feel entitled to abuse women opposing their demands. Trans and cis men are acting the same way towards women in this debate. Transmen are not; they are still overwhelmingly non-aggressive, as sex would predict.

          Biology matters.

      • Mel 3.2.2

        They also threaten. One NZ tweep has had to delete tweets after he received threatening emails at his work.

  4. Violet 4

    Why use the words “radical feminist”. When used in TERF it appears to mean Lesbian. Are all lesbians radical feminists? Are all radical feminists lesbians? If it does refer to lesbians only, and I still don’t know if that is so, why not use that word? Why obfuscate?

    • solkta 4.1

      When used in TERF it appears to mean Lesbian.

      It has never seemed that way to me and i can’t see any reason why it would.

    • Sacha 4.2

      The term emerged in a particular time and context (see link in #1), but yes, the position seems to be more fundamentalist than ‘radical’ as we would understand the word today. And it is definitely focused on trans women rather than trans men.

      • Matthew Whitehead 4.2.1

        To be fair, they have interesting ideas about trans men, too. They tend to view them as butch lesbians who have been victimized by some sort of pharmaceutical conspiracy to sell hormones, whether said trans men agree or not.

    • Matthew Whitehead 4.3

      There are a lot of lesbian terfs, sure, but they’re not all lesbians. Radical feminist is their framing, and it’s only recently that they’ve even acceded to “gender skeptical-” previously they were claiming to speak for all radfems.

      • George Henderson 4.3.1

        Take it from a man, of course.
        Where is Speak up for Women in this convo?
        Being talked past and talked over as usual, mainly by men, hence their name.

        • Carolyn_Nth

          The silencing of women, especially of lesbians and about same sex attraction is very worrying.

          I’ve just been reading about the banning from twitter of Canadian feminist, Meghan Murphy, about the censoring of reports about her in the media, and attempts to no-platform her.

          The banning from twitter was because, I think mainly for saying “men are not women”. She complains that hate speech against women is not treated the same way.

          Part of Meghan Murphy’s shtick is that she doesn’t think women should be obligated to play ‘nice.’ She also notes that people aren’t always nice to her, nor is that ever demanded of them. She said, “I have reported countless violent threats, the vast majority of which have gone unaddressed [by Twitter].” Murphy, who specializes in debates around gender, sex and women’s studies, has a master’s degree in this field.

    • sam green 4.4

      No Violet.

  5. Violet 5

    Use a word or a term as a slur often enough and it becomes a slur. Any attempt now to argue TERF is not a slur has zero credibility.

    • Matthew Whitehead 5.1

      Using a word emotionally but accurately does not a slur make. “Slavemaster” isn’t a slur, but arguably it should be. “Politician” isn’t a slur. “Donald Trump,” despite best efforts, is not a slur.

      I don’t want people to bully TERFs. But I can absolutely understand being incredibly frustrated and upset with their behaviour, and why the word “TERF” is usually prefixed with “fucking” by people within the queer community. Because they are really, really frustrating to deal with as a movement.

      • Antoine 5.1.1

        Personally, I sympathise with some TERF beliefs, but I find it very weird that a person would actually go to the point of joining a TERF movement, you really have to question their motivations at that stage


  6. solkta 6

    potentially scarring her six year old niece for life.

    This bit i found bizarre. I consider myself a very successful solo father, particularly through those early years. It never occurred to me that i should hide my dick 24/7. I didn’t realise that taking my then pre-school daughter into men’s changing rooms and toilets would scar her for life (i think by six she was going by herself). I wonder if Stewart has such concern for young boys seeing vaginas? No, this bit just sounds like man hating. To take this seriously would mean an end to fathers as primary caregivers.

    • Grant 6.1

      *”boys seeing vaginas”

      Boys are most unlikely to see vagina’s. The word you are apparently unaware of is vulva’s.

    • DJ Ward 6.2

      That is what what these people want, and there desires to ban fathering, males in childhood roles like teaching etc has been very effective. If they could ban men completely as part of the human race they would. The kill all men groupthink. I wonder what Clemintine Ford, Stuff and RNZ contributer thinks about this subject.

      • Matthew Whitehead 6.2.1

        I do think we should be careful of stimatizing men in caring roles, but we need to do that while also not enabling behaviour that genuinely is abusive. It’s a more narrow path to walk, but it’s one we need to take to have a healthy society.

        I have found intersectional feminists genuinely very supportive of fathering as an equal-but-not-priveleged position, where good fathers who are willing to take on all the work of parenting are genuinely upheld as positive role models in a very equal way to men. But YMMV.

  7. gsays 7

    I get the feeling, at the heart of this anti trans thinking is misandry.

    Trans the other way, female to male is hardly mentioned.
    While not as common, it appears to be more acceptable.

    • Antoine 7.1

      I think most people are cool with trans men. “Welcome to the brotherhood of men!” say I. “Take your seat in the sweat lodge.”


      • solkta 7.1.1

        That reply would seem to contradict your reply to me. So female to male trans are male yet male to female trans aren’t female. Have you thought this threw?

        • Antoine

          It’s just different


          • solkta

            How is it different? Have you thought this threw? Perhaps take longer than 45 minutes to consider.

            • Antoine

              I have thought it through but i worry i may offend someone if i explain my rationale

              • solkta

                And you don’t think that just saying “it different, male female transgender get stuffed” will not offend anybody?

              • Sacha

                Has never stopped you before. 🙂

              • Matthew Whitehead

                So you’re conceding your rationale is too offensive to say but still sticking by it despite refusing to divulge it? LOL.

                If you can’t state your process of reasoning publicly, it’s probably a bad process.

                • Antoine

                  Oh well then.

                  In my view, masculinity is no great thing. It can readily be assumed with the aid of a bit of attitude, a few hormone pills and a pair of jeans.

                  In my view, femininity is a complex, mysterious and magical thing (combining the biological, the psychological and the spiritual) and cannot be achieved by someone genetically male.

                  That is what I think and I am sorry if anyone is offended.


                  • SPC

                    It’s no worse than what men have said … when explaining to women their relative roles of each in society.

                  • McFlock

                    But do you have that impression only because you’ve lived as a male your whole life, so are familiar with how guys behave uncensored?

                    I’m sure there’s more than a few women who think of men as completely inexplicable (although maybe not magical).

            • Grant


      • Gabby 7.1.2

        Shitstirring doesn’t work when it’s that blatant twonny.

  8. Visubversa 8

    Can you think of any situation where it would be appropriate for a six-year-old girl to see a grown male stranger naked in the changing rooms at her local swimming centre?
    As a 68 year old woman – I don’t want to share a changing room at the gym with a male stranger either. The arguement over the access of trans persons to “bathroom” spaces is only a very small part of the reactions to change that self identification of gender identity is going to require. It is a bit of a distraction as it is something which is easily solved with the provision of gender neutral facilities and more private “cabins”.

    The wider question is how the simplistic “transwomen are women” mantra is translated into policy – and how any attempt to even ask the questions about how this will occur envokes an outpouring of vitriol.

    • ankerawshark 8.1

      100% agree Visubversa.

    • Grant 8.2

      At last a voice of reason

    • DJ Ward 8.3

      Yes I can VisubVersa.

      In a society without paranoia about sex. Like Japan and Scandinavia cultures.

      What is offensive about a mans body? But your body is OK to look at.

      Oh the horror the child saw him naked. Help, please help. The trauma will ruin the child’s life.

      Or the paranoia you impose on the child’s mind will ruin the child’s life. Far more likely.

      • ankerawshark 8.3.1

        DJ Ward, I was around in the days of centrepoint where that ideology was waved about……………. It is also known as trans generational blurring. Males have very obvious sex organs…………………….I don’t want my 6 year old niece exposed to a random strangers sex organs just because of this issue. I also don’t want to see them either.

        I think parents have a right to determine what there kids are exposed to, don’t you?

        • DJ Ward

          It was a response to the question.

          It’s interesting that we have those cultures I mention that are not centerpoint ones or even the Roman Culture where people had no hang ups about the naked human body.

          Russians and Germans also have nudist cultures that do no harm to children and have nothing to do with the centerpoint culture.

          Parents have no rights, that was taken from you in 2004. Allowing women with penises will be forced on your child’s observable enviroment wether you want it to happen or not.

          Very Victorian of you, but as you implied, each to there own.

          • ankerawshark

            Parent’s have a responsibility to care for their children in the way they see fit.

            You might think I sound Victorian, but that I think isn’t accurate. Nudists colonies are fine, but I don’t have to attend and neither does any child of mine. I would say if people want to take their children to nudist colonies, that is there right………………..I am not sure whether nudist colonies regulate attendance by children or not.

            I heard and saw the slippery slope that was Centrepoint. A lot of entitled psychopathic men who pushed the boundaries and emotionally and psychologically abused any women who challenged them.

      • Incognito 8.3.2

        In a society without paranoia about sex. Like Japan and Scandinavia cultures.

        Ok that explains the recent scandal of Tokyo medical school changing exam results in order to exclude women. Maybe you want to try again?

        • DJ Ward

          Wow. A bigot does something in Japan. There is bigotry everywhere.

          I don’t get how you connected the dots with that event to the topic.
          At least it wasn’t boys wanting to be teachers who went to all boys schools wanting to be teachers then. That would ge really bad.

          My turn?
          I recon I can go my 3 for your 1.

          Stuff having a Woman of Influence Award. But none for men.

          Plunket not asking fathers about DV they may be experiencing.

          The Men’s Conference kicked from a venue because the manager felt uncomfortable with the idea of men talking about men’s issues.

          I’m going to close my eyes and hope nobody notices, ant try and get some sleep.

          • Incognito

            To insinuate that Japan is somehow an enlightened society in terms of gender equality is misguided at best. Sexism is rampant in Japan and the particular practice at Tokyo medical school has been going on for many years. So, not just “[a] bigot does something in Japan”.

            Still your turn, I’m afraid, you never moved a piece …

    • Matthew Whitehead 8.4

      I was taken into women’s changing rooms as a young boy and it didn’t scar me. I think so long as everyone involved accepts it’s a non-sexual situation and doesn’t harass anyone else, there’s no real problem with people changing together.

      I’ve never heard of any trans people who particularly want to have their genitals visible to random strangers, even if they have to change, they would rather do so in private if at all possible. Personally, I’d love to have more small changing rooms that people can use with a modicum of privacy at pools.

  9. adam 9

    So let me get this straight, it’s anti trans if your pro women?

    And it’s now OK to slag off women, and use derogatory name calling?

    Funny I read the whole Rachael Stewart article different from you – I read the disgust at the abuse of women. Especially the fact that an MP could use a violent put down against other women. But hey it’s labour party, so they are the experts, right…

    Who gives a rats if people have concerns or worries – they are only women, right…

    • shadrach 9.1

      You’ve nailed it. Well done sir.

      • DJ Ward 9.1.1

        At least a man didn’t do it, a man man, or cis man. All the male opinion writers and politicians are hiding.

    • Rachel Stewart 9.2

      Beautifully put.

    • Matthew Whitehead 9.3

      Rachel Stewart is not pro-women. She is anti trans-women, who are also women.

      What you’ve done is the equivalent of describing Destiny Church as “pro straight people” rather than anti-gay.

      • adam 9.3.1

        Racist, sexist and smug – way to hit the trifecta there Matthew Whitehead, the mansplaining was a nice touch too.

        [Pull your head in, Adam. Matthew’s comment was none of those three things and his contributions to this debate have been calm, informative and knowledgeable. TRP]

        • adam

          Racist – chose to put forward a church dominated by Māori. When could have chosen and used any of the other evangelical churches out there.

          Sexist, chose to tell us what a women thinks. “Rachel Stewart is not pro-women”

          And smug, well the tone. that is a matter of opinion, but that what we all doing here – offering opinions.

          • te reo putake

            Destiny is NZ’s most prominent anti-gay church, so a reasonable example to use in the context of the point he was making.

            Matthew was referring to Rachel Stewart’s expressed opinions, so he did know what she thinks. We all do.

            Smug? Nope. Matthew has gone to considerable time and effort to explain one of the positions in this debate. That’s not smug, that’s caring.

            Shall we move on?

            • Matthew Whitehead

              Cheers TRP.

            • adam

              Destiny gets coverage from the press, as for saying it the most prominent anti-gay church – your living under a rock (or total ignorant of religious organisations) if you think that is the case.

              As for expressed opinion where exactly did Rachael Stewart offer an opinion she was against women? I’d be happy to read it.

              Smug, well not as much as some. But I did say that was an opinion, and NEWS FLASH – your opinion is different. So them the breaks.

              Yes you should move on, again your opinion is different from mine. And I’m happy with my opinion.

              • Mate. Destiny’s anti-gay preaching is central to their business plan, sorry, religious ethos. When it comes to the gay hate, Pope Brian’s yer man. As for the RS bit, I’d suggest you start from the post and read forward. And you can stick your ‘opinion’. Matthew has contributed positively to this post’s debate in a reasonable and reasoned way. Others, not so much. Fin.

                • adam

                  Again, you have no clue about the religious right, you just repeating the media with your usual vigor. I assure you other churches in Auckland and across this country are better funded, more organised and way more homophobic than Destiny church.

                  As for Matthew comments, across this post sure he been fine, if not a tad repetitive. But in response to what I said, he was Racist, sexist and smug.

                  And that is leaving aside the false equivalence.

                  [Ok, Adam. Enough. Your next comment is a retraction and apology for baseless abuse of an author or you can cool your jets till the New Year. TRP.]

    • Ed 9.4

      Well said.
      That was my feeling when I read the article.

    • Hanswurst 9.5

      Discrimination against transgender people is not an issue I have ever really confronted, since it hasn’t cropped up in any situations I’ve been involved in. However, when Matthew Whitehead and Louisa Wall lay out their points, it makes a lot of sense to me. What I don’t feel so comfortable with is TRP, whose writing has always struck me as reflecting a high degree of paternalistic authoritarianism, pronouncing on the validity of a woman expressing reservations about being exposed to male genitalia in socially sensitive spaces like toilets or changing rooms, and then making it significantly about himself by pre-emptively assuming martyr status (“I’ll guess I’m next…”) and updating it with reports of his own antics on Twitter.

      It is publicly available information that Rachel Stewart comes from a background, including involvement with Federated Farmers, that doesn’t make her automatically a natural sympathiser with attitudes that prevail here on The Standard, so the idea that her views on gender are somehow a blot in her progressive copybook after what she has written about farming and the environment is itself fairly disingenuous. At least one article on her also suggests that she often stands her ground fairly trenchantly, but is more than capable of changing her mind, so I don’t really understand the highly combative reaction by someone who claims to admire her work, especially in an article that doesn’t actually add anything substantive over and above what Louisa Wall has already written.

  10. Gosman 10

    And once again the left tears itself apart over an issue most people don’t really care about.

    • mauī 10.1

      I think I agree with you for once.

      I was also thinking about disabled toilets, and I reckon they effect the lives of able bodied folk more than the people they were designed for.

      • solkta 10.1.1

        You don’t think there should be toilets accessible to people with disabilities? Man you harsh.

        • mauī

          People with incontinence issues aren’t disabled in your book? Don’t have a requirement? The amount of distress caused by people needing to go and there is only one toilet available because the business only has the room or money available for a large single disabled toilet.

          • solkta

            Right, so people with every other disability come second to the incontinent? I guess incontinent people in wheel chairs and totally stuffed then.

            • mauī

              Disabled toilets are made for people in wheelchairs, so people with the majority of disabilities don’t require them. At a guess people with incontinence would far outnumber wheelchair bound people, and therefore have a greater need. Then there is the wider population who is impacted.

              Disabled toilets are great for those who need them. But in our economic system where cost is imperative they are impractical. Public/state buildings should have them however.

              • Chris

                I was near incontinent for a while. To be able to open a door and walk into a fairly large bathroom space to sort yourself out is pretty damn helpful.

                • Antoine

                  DIsabled toilets are also awesome for parents of young children. Sometimes you need a bit of elbow room to get stuff done.


          • McFlock

            So you think a delay or queue is more harmful than not being able to go at all?

            • Chris

              Sometimes, because sometimes a queue doesn’t cut it.

              • McFlock

                Forcing an “always” on a few in order to avoid a “sometimes” for others seems a bit off, to me.

                • Chris

                  “So you think a delay or queue is more harmful than not being able to go at all?”

                  Think a little about your question at and then ask yourself whether or not your further question is a stupid question. Perhaps even a little hypocritical.

                  • McFlock

                    It seems to be an accurate reflection of the idea that wheelchair users shouldn’t have toilet access because maybe two able-bodied people need the loo at the same time.

    • Matthew Whitehead 10.2

      You don’t have to care about social politics if you don’t want, but for some of us it has intense relevance to our lives. If social conservatives succeed in marginalizing trans people, they’re not going to stop there. They will try to move on to other queer people next, even though they’ve failed so far.

      It’s also a decent thing to do to stand up for trans people because they are people who deserve to live with dignity and all their human rights.

      • Chris 10.2.1

        “It’s also a decent thing to do to stand up for trans people because they are people who deserve to live with dignity and all their human rights.”

        It’s at the same time extremely dangerous but very easy to drift away from that fundamental premise.

    • Incognito 10.3

      That’s an egocentric comment, which suggests to me that you don’t care about people who care about an issue that appears trivial to you. The whole point of the OP and the many comments it has attracted so far is one of inclusion vs. exclusion and intersectionality. At least, that’s how I see it.

      That said, to an extent I do agree with you that the Left is not nearly as tolerant, inclusive and progressive (open-minded) as it thinks it is or likes to be IMHO. But this often gets a negative response because nobody likes to be held a mirror in front of them.

    • Ed 10.4

      100% Gosman.
      When the left should be prioritising and delivering a response to catastrophic climate change, it does this.

      • solkta 10.4.1

        Fuck off Ed. Your twerp Maui is always saying what a nice guy you are. What a joke.

        I’ve always thought that caring about people is a big part of what being Left is.

        • Ed

          It amazes me that you and your right wing friends are allowed to abuse people in the manner……
          Interesting on a day when Maggie Barry faces censure for bullying.

          • solkta

            And there you go again. You don’t like what i say so call me right wing, yet i am the one voicing left wing values. So do you agree with my statement?

            I’ve always thought that caring about people is a big part of what being Left is.

            If not then what does “left” mean to you? What have i said that could be considered as right wing?

            • Ed

              Please read my words carefully.
              I wrote “you and your right wing friends,’

              I get aggressive abuse from you, ( you claim to be left) and James ( a right wing troll) and others whose posts suggest right wing economic thinking.

              • solkta

                You get shit from lots of people on this site left and right. If you actually took notice of what MacFlock has been saying then you might be able to understand why. But rather than self reflection you decide no these people being nasty must be friends.

  11. JanM 11

    Oh, what a mess!!!!

  12. Chris T 12

    I think the use of radical is about as openly/blatantly trying to purposefully slag off and distance your self from fellow group members I have seen.

    They are feminists of the opinion that dudes can’t become women with a bit of hormones and sometimes surgery.

    Nothing particularly radical about that. Lot’s of people do

    Should just be TEF if everyone has to have a grouping

    Or FWJHADO (Feminists who just have a different opinion)

    Is there a special acronym for feminists who voted Trump? Or feminists who don’t like being being labelled with the word “feminist” and prefer that they support “gender equality” (there are a few. And yes this makes them a feminist, but they don’t like the word)

    • Matthew Whitehead 12.1

      Radical feminists were a pre-existing group before anti-trans ideology infiltrated them, with all sorts of opinions, including some of the ones still notable within TERFs, such as political lesbianism, lesbian seperatism, and biological/sexual essentialism. (“I am a woman because I have a womb, etc,” like gender essentialism but with the body rather than the brain) The TE bit modifies the RF bit, not the TER bit modifying the F bit. This is why I mention that the term TERF was popularized by radical feminists themselves as a disambiguator from people calling themselves radfems (that’s the abbreviation for the general term) who wanted to exclude trans women, and is often credited to Viv Smythe, despite her pointing out that she was not the first to use it.

      I agree there’s nothing radical about trying to exclude a subset of the queer community, but my reasons differ: I see it as the height of cisheteronormative patriarchy, and a fundamentally reactionary position rather than a radical one. But TERFs continue to insist they are radical feminists, and people now know them as TERFs. (part of the reason they are now willing to admit to “Gender Skeptical Radical Feminist” is likely because they want to white-wash the negative associations the term TERF has given that so many TERF organizations resemble hate groups more than anything else)

      • Chris T 12.1.1


        Didn’t realise there was so much history to it.

      • Violet 12.1.2

        Rachel Stewart has been called a TERF. Is she a radical feminist? Has she identified herself as radical feminist? How do you define a radical feminist?
        And there is TERF movement. How do you join the movement? Is it voluntary? Can you find yourself part of a movement with actually knowing it? It seems very vague and fluid and confusing.
        I have concerns about some potential consequences of making gender self identifying on your birth certificate. I don’t consider myself a radical feminist. I’m not aware of belonging to any movement.
        Kind and caring and brave and inclusive people who don’t physically hurt anyone else get my support regardless of anything else about them. Like everyone else there will be trans people who aren’t like that.
        I worry about giving anyone who hurts other people more opportunity to do that. Does that make me a TERF?

        • Matthew Whitehead

          So, Rachael, who claims to still be new to the term TERF despite discussing it online eighteen months ago, has indeed been called a TERF. This reflects that a lot of people are really, really skeptical about the accuracy of the “RF” part of that label, as I think we can agree that she wants to categorically exclude trans people.

          What you’re getting at here is: is there room for people to be a bit uncomfortable and not yet convinced about all the facts for trans people before they get called TERFs?

          My experience on that is yes. I’ve seen many people start out a bit ignorant, uncomfortable, and skeptical about many different parts of the queer community. I’ve seen people who support the community repeat problematic ideas that they didn’t know were problematic and be either gently or firmly corrected- I won’t claim everyone always knows the right one. There are some people who are too sensitive, and others who are too forgiving. Like anything else it’s difficult to balance.

          Most trans people I know find living their own lives difficult enough and don’t have a huge amount of time to fight TERFs, and in fact find having to engage with them exhausting. That’s why those of you not in their networks probably aren’t hearing from them directly on this, and instead you’re getting people like me, or Louisa, who are allies, talking. Because as much as trans people want acceptance, it’s not always their job to educate everyone, and they don’t have limitless energy, especially not when they’ve been experiencing targetted harassment campaigns online. I have to be quite careful to either block or soft-block people who I think are gonna hurt those trans people online (I generally maintain a two-strike rule on persistent malicious behaviour, and a three-strike rule on perpetuating myths and doggedly not listening to reason) if I want to engage with them. These are sad realities of how extreme this fight has got.

          I want there to be a lot more grey room. I want us to live in a world where in twenty more years we’ll have National having trans MPs giving speeches like Maurice Williamson did in the same-sex marriage debate, and we will have turned a lot of skeptics into our friends on this issue. But we will sometimes need to lump some dark grey people into that black group to have the energy to educate and reach out to everyone else who might be possibly, when they have determined they’re going to behave maliciously. And using her column like she has is definitely Stewart aligning herself with TERFs. It’s possible she’ll come around, but those of us who’d like to change society to be a bit more just have to pick our battles, and deconverting Stewart seems like a complete waste of energy, especially after how quick she is to block anyone who even slightly disagrees with her.

        • Jan Rivers

          Good questions. This might be helpful. You don’t need to be a radical feminist to worry that self-id is a step too far. Or to realise that transideology has silenced debate. Speak up for Women is the NZ campaign for women to have a say on self-id that has been denied to date by the parliamentary process that was used. The group is a loose coalition you can sign up to and there is a campaign to get a supplementary order paper included as part of the BDMRR Bill legislation. Almost 300 people have signed the letter although some people have had to do so with pseudonyms or anonymously.


          If you want more information the UK organisation A Woman’s Place has a great you-tube channel and resources and Transgender Trend is a parent led site and source of research based information on the explosion of young people seeking to transition. They were recently short-listed for a science award for science done under pressure. It’s an awe inspiring story.


          There is also a lesbian group Lesbian Rights Aotearoa who formed because the LGBTQI groups have increasingly supported trans issues which, in the way they are being framed these days cut across Lesbian issues. If you want to know more about this


    • Incognito 12.2

      Is there a special acronym for feminists who voted Trump?

      They’re called Trumpets.

      Sorry, I couldn’t resist displaying my bad sense of humour.

  13. Sabine 13

    Can we just have unisex toilets, with lock able stalls, an baby changing tables.
    For a started, could we just have more public toilets in general.

    The guy who wants to rape a women in the toilet block at Macca’s ain’t gonna dress up as a female first, that guy is gonna wait for you to get out of the toilet block and find a way to rape that women anyways.
    Btw. the large majority of rapes happen at home, at the hand of a relative, a family friend, an acquaintance, someone we know. Most of us that got raped, did not get raped in a public toilet block by a man disguised as a women, and certainly not by a transwomen, or transman.

    As for Rachel Stewrt, just because she is correct on one issue does it mean they will be correct on all issues, or that she cant be a bigot.

    • greywarshark 13.1

      Bigot is such a harsh word, and becoming too often utilised when people argue against change because they don’t want their accepted lives disrupted. Bigot seems to have become the handbag word that gets pulled out when someone can’t get agreement with their own opinion and desire. I don’t know if I have ever used it much. I will have to monitor myself so it is kept for the egregious cases.

      • solkta 13.1.1

        Bigot was a word often used when white people were against change to racial laws because they didn’t want their accepted lives disrupted. Bigot was a word often used when straight people were against change to homosexual laws because they didn’t want their accepted lives disrupted. Can’t see the difference between those and this.

      • Sabine 13.1.2

        wehn the shoe fits it fits.

        in this case it fits.

        a person who is intolerant towards those holding different opinions.
        “don’t let a few small-minded bigots destroy the good image of the city”
        synonyms: dogmatist, partisan, sectarian, prejudiced person; More

      • Matthew Whitehead 13.1.3

        If you think the existence of trans people is a disruption to your life, I’m really worried about both how over-invested you are in other people’s business, and how much you prioritize your personal convenience over other people’s dignity and survival.

        Not every person who’s made uncomfortable by trans people or who doesn’t understand them is a bigot. But people who maliciously misgender them and try to encourage others to, like Stewart, or deliberately engage in “bathroom panic” arguments when there’s no particular evidence there’s anything to worry about, (at least for us cis people- trans people can absolutely be harassed, hurt, or raped when forced into spaces for the wrong gender) are definitely headed down that road.

  14. JohnSelway 14

    Man, I cannot keep up with the myriad of gender and sexuality acronyms and stances.

    I’m a hetro male and my girlfriend a hetro female and that’s enough for me. Anything else is someone else business which I care not about.

    • solkta 14.1

      So you don’t care about other people?

      • JohnSelway 14.1.1

        No, I just don’t care what their sexual preference and have no reason to care or know.

        Ain’t my business and I can’t keep up anyway

        • solkta

          This is not about sexual preferences. This is about gender.

          The way society forces gender on people harms some people and leads to depression, self-harm and suicide. We are all responsible for the laws we live under. If you don’t care about this issue then you don’t care about the people it affects.

          • JohnSelway

            It’s not that I don’t care about people, I am just old and old fashioned and don’t keep up with gender politics.

          • Bewildred

            Society does not force gender on you scientific fact does, This does not mean you should be discriminated against but you have no right to force some one to deny science

            • solkta

              Gender is all the socially created stuff that we attribute to people based on their biological sex. If we just let people be as they feel then individuals would be more likely to feel OK in the bodies they have.

              Some societies have had more than two genders. Native American tribes are an example.

              Before Christianization mangled their culture, numerous Native American tribes accepted a third gender. The third gender (also known as “two spirits” or “llamana”) were biological males that were culturally identified as belonging to a gender that is separate from male and female.² The population of a fourth gender, biological females that didn’t identify with the gender they were born as, was much smaller. According to Trista Wilson, there were about 155 Native American tribes that culturally accepted the third and fourth gender.²


            • Incognito

              What science and scientific fact are you talking about?

              • Blue

                That biological gender is binary, What you think you are is not, there are many conditions where people think what they are and in reality are not, but live and let live

                • Matthew Whitehead

                  The one related to biology is sex, the one related to psychology is gender, you’re a little confused. And neither are binary- even TERFs (or GSRFs, if you prefer) admit that intersex people exist, thus, non-binary sex to at least some extent, (although they deny the reality that it’s a continuum) and they’ll deny gender exists at all.

                  Trans people tend to view gender as what matters, rather than sex. There is a lot of good science that backs up their lived experience of a gender discordant with their sexual characteristics being real in the sense that it matters, its effects are as described, and their condition is genuine, not faked. (this doesn’t rule out it being entirely mental, but that doesn’t make it less real. Depression is often entirely mental, but has very real physical effects, and you can’t just “snap out of it.”) Doctors have been diagnosing people as trans since back when it was still called “transsexualism,” and before that trans and intersex people have had valued roles in indigenous traditions in many cultures before a european conception of gender, sex, and sexuality was enforced. It’s not a new thing that’s been recently invented.

                  It’s also hard for something that has thousands of constituent parts that can express in different ways to be completely binary. If you view sex as chromosomal, it’s not binary. (I recall there being at least three other options than XX or XY, and I remember one of them is XXY, but there are others, too) If you define it as physical characteristics, then there are a lot of people that mix those characteristics in ways that aren’t as statistically common, and often those mixes don’t intuitively look entirely “male” or “female” to us. (and there are also a bunch of different mixes of characteristics that DO fall within an intuitive tolerance of “male” or “female,” but aren’t actually identical experiences. It is literally true that my experience of being male might be quantifiably and physically different to my brother’s) If you define it biochemically, you run into the same problem, and if you mix all three, you’ve just made those problems more complicated, not sorted things out.

                  There is no agreed test to determine maleness or femaleness that doesn’t rely on subjective human judgement or arbitrary hormone levels, and you want to say that enforcing a binary decision between the two is scientific? Please.

    • Matthew Whitehead 14.2

      You don’t have to, just be open, polite, and supportive, and listen when you meet people who need to tell you who they are, and nobody will mind if you don’t know the particulars or are obviously feeling overwhelmed. Plenty of gay, lesbian, and bisexual people don’t understand trans, intersex, non-binary or ace-spectrum people yet. Sexual and gender minorities are still a new idea to society, are still being defined to the public, and are still seeking acceptance.

      Think of it this way: you don’t have to understand someone else’s culture entirely to not be racist, even though it might help. Same deal here.

  15. JanM 15

    Maybe some of this is to do with women having so few places they can just BE without having to put on their ‘there’s a man about’ armour, that it’s challenging to have those places subject to entry by anyone who does not share commonality of experience. And I’m not really talking about the dramatic end of the male/female stuff – rape, even sexual harassment, but just the ability to relax into being ordinary.
    Most of us are so used to our ‘on guard’ selves we aren’t even aware of them.

    • greywarshark 15.1

      I think you are right; this is likely to be a main point behind women’s being affronted by this new idea.

    • Matthew Whitehead 15.2

      So, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having an initial reaction of being exhausted and losing patience with our (men’s) shit. But I think you do have to ask yourself a couple of things if that’s your reaction to the very idea of trans women existing.

      The first is: Is feminism supposed to only exist to liberate people like you? Because what you’re doing here is drawing a line, the way sections of feminists have before, to poor effect. You might say “oh, but it’s men on the other side of that line as far as I’m concerned.” I don’t agree, but okay, let’s set that aside a moment. There is also a movement that says that prostitutes aren’t feminists and can’t be welcome in safe spaces, either. Is that okay? And further than that, a lot of women of colour get reactions when they ask for things from white feminists that sound very similar- “but it’s already so hard, why do I have to know this/do that as well?” Is a safe space for women really still safe if it doesn’t welcome everyone and if women don’t all fight with each other, or does it slowly turn into a safe space for thin, white, professional women who are cis and straight?

      I said elsewhere in this thread that queer people have to hang together, or we’ll all hang seperately. The same is absolutely true of women and their allies. I want to be an ally for women, but it’s really disheartening seeing a movement like this led by women who want to make life harder for a vulnerable group of my fellow queer people. I think we’re all stronger together, and that queers and feminists should be natural allies, if we have the patience and empathy to listen to and help each other. This hate movement is using tactics that originated with religious anti-queer groups to undermine that solidarity, which I find especially telling and worrying.

      The second thing you have to ask yourself is: Are trans women really so much more different than other women that you can’t focus on the shared experience of sexism, and the real opportunities for bonding and being allies? There are cis women who are infertile, or have had their ovaries or wombs removed for medical reasons, and excluding them from spaces for women probably doesn’t seem particularly reasonable. There are women who are gay, whose lives are different from straight women, but there’s (fortunately) not yet a movement to exclude lesbians from women’s spaces, not that I don’t think certain conservative groups wouldn’t like to try that next. And there are women of all sorts of body types and appearances, so it’s not about policing that either, I just really worry that this boils down to fear of the other.

      If the idea of welcoming trans women raises your hackles because you don’t know or trust them, I think that’s an okay first reaction to have- but are you really saying you would prejudge them all because of poor experience with men, when they don’t even identify as men in the first place? And isn’t the natural way to fix that to actually get to know some trans people, and build mutual trust?

      Also- a small correction: Trans people aren’t new, even if they’re new to you. Wikipedia has a primer, and it starts in the BCs:


      People said the same thing about lesbian, bisexual and gay people, when the movement for our civil rights was only just reaching mass consciousness, but it was simply just that our history had been suppressed and forgotten because our existence was considered shameful and scandalous, so our very real figures in history, like Sappho, Oscar Wilde, Alan Turing, Sparta, Kinsey, etc… were either suppressed or demonized and mocked. (And that’s without getting into the suppression of indigenous cultural roles and embrace of queer people, (both sexual and gender minorities) compared to various pre-colonization pacific and american cultures)

  16. ankerawshark 16

    I have a lot of concerns about all of this.

    I am curious that Trans people are linked in with the gay community, because it is surely quite a different experience? I.e. wanting to have sex with your own gender, versus feeling like you are a different gender?????? Just my thinking.

    I remember in the 70’s there were lesbian separatists i.e. women who were gay and didn’t want to associate iin any way with men and thought of themselves as quite differently from feminists. I thought that was ok and they should be allowed to do it.

    I am curious about people who feel like a woman, but don’t want to undergo the therapy to change into a woman……………………..

    If someone still has there male sex organs and hormones and yet think of themselves as a women, it seems they want me to deny their biology and regard them that way to?
    Okkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk but then they want to come into my woman only spaces and you ask me to accept this? Surely I am allowed to query it?

    • Matthew Whitehead 16.1

      Gender and sexual minorites are both really small sections of the population, and traditionally cis/het people weren’t able to tell us apart back when they were deeply ignorant about who we were.

      The shared nature of our oppression, and the mutual recognition of similar struggles, brought our community together initially when we were all equally ostracized, and we’ve welcomed in people who were in our communities in some places but we didn’t all know or understand yet, or who have come out to us since as greater acceptance has made it possible, like non-binary people, intersex people, or people on the ace spectrum. (ie. people who experience significantly lower interest in sex and/or romance)

      When gay men (and this probably includes many bisexual men who “rounded themselves up to gay” out of solidarity when gay people were persecuted) were banned, trans women were part of the leadership of the US queer community that rioted in stonewall. Now gay men, lesbians, and even to a lesser degree bisexual people are enjoying some amount of acceptance, and like in a union, it’s the trans women and trans men’s turn to get our solidarity back until they get the acceptance they deserve. We need to hang together or we will hang seperately, even aside from the fact that standing up for each other is the right thing to do.

      As to your confusion… there are definitely some trans women who identify as women, but feel that having surgery on their genitals is unnecessary to the purely social transition they want, and that genitals are not what defines womanness, but may still want access to hormones. That is a totally valid choice, and trans people’s genitalia are a private matter to at least the same degree, (or possibly a greater degree) as cis people’s are. There are also many trans people for who surgery is something that they view as absolutely necessary. And then there’s the other complication that surgeries for trans women are much more advanced than for trans men.

      I’m the wrong person to speak in any detail on that, but the message I’ve always been given on this topic is that supporting people’s identity and respecting their privacy when they don’t want to talk about something are really the two core principles you need to know for both trans and intersex people.

      As someone who supports feminism, I think it’s entirely up to you and other women whether they come into your spaces. Seeing you’re legitimately asking for opinions, however… I would suggest that excluding trans women because their experience is different than yours and their bodies seem different to yours is not so different from excluding women of other races, or other body types, or lesbian women, because of your own anxieties about differences from those women. If trans women can behave acceptably in your spaces and act with the solidarity you would expect of any other women, what have you gained, and if they don’t, what have you really lost if you invite them in under fair and clear rules, and only disinvite them after they prove untrustworthy, but before they do any significant damage?

      I’d also caution that a common meme among hardcore TERFs is that they can tell transwomen at sight, and this leads to them insulting the appearance of a lot of cis women in their false confidence, and talking about “mannish” features a lot. You may have already had a trans woman in your space and just not known it, or it may be that you will know the first trans person you meet by sight, but either way, why not treat them in a welcoming and affirming manner first, and be suspicious of individuals as they earn that suspicion, rather than judging on category?

      • Ankerrawshark 16.1.1

        Thanks Mathew. Good to hear. I will read more fully soon. But I appreciate you writing this

      • Carolyn_Nth 16.1.2

        I don’t agree with a lot that is in Rachel Stewart’s column – she seems to be using examples that are repeating mis-information (eg Soros, hormones for transgender children, etc). I also have no problem with trans women using public toilets, etc.

        I have read a lot of the discussion here and have found many of your posts very helpful in providing some background to this topic, Matthew.

        However, I keep seeing such comments as yours about Stonewall being repeated here and elsewhere, and I think they show a lack of knowledge of lesbian history. In effect, it is erasing a fair bit of lesbian history. And this would seem to reinforce the fears of some lesbian feminists internationally that some aspects of transgender activism are likely to erase lesbian identity – something many lesbian feminists have struggled for over time – often without the support of the mainstream gay liberation movement.

        You said:

        trans women were part of the leadership of the US queer community that rioted in stonewall. Now gay men, lesbians, and even to a lesser degree bisexual people are enjoying some amount of acceptance, and like in a union, it’s the trans women and trans men’s turn to get our solidarity back until they get the acceptance they deserve.

        Part of the problem with this is that lesbians and gay men, while sharing some elements of oppression and campaigns against them, have had a very different history.

        The struggle to end male gay oppression began before Stonewall – eg with the Wolfendon report in the UK leading to the decriminalisation of male homosexuality earlier in the 1960s, which influenced similar moves in NZ in about 1967, to start campaigning for making male h,omosexuality legal.

        While there was a long struggle to change the laws for gay men, a big part of lesbian oppression has been in the way it has been dismissed as not real, or been made invisible. So current fears of the erasure or lesbian identity by the transgender movement sits in that context.

        For a few decades most of the gay movement was very male dominated. That is why a large number of lesbians aligned with the women’s liberation movement rather than gay liberation, with many drawn to lesbian separatism. I was part of that movement in the UK in the late 70s and 80s. The marginalisation of lesbians within that part of the gay movement resulted in many of us taking part in both gay pride and in the same week, separate lesbian pride marches.

        In the minds of many people in the general public, when they talked about the gay movement or gay people, they assumed it was all about gay men.

        Eventually, some time before the end of last century, the word lesbian was added to gay, so that, in relation to struggles against oppression the term “lesbian and gay” came to be used (the beginning of the LGB+ term). That was the result of a long struggle by lesbians, often against resistance from some men in the gay movement.

        So. basically, a lot of the gains for lesbians, came not so much from gay men, transsexuals, etc, but from feminists.

        Furthermore, there’s a couple of interesting points raised in this article by a black feminist, Pippa Fleming, explaining why there are fears of the erasure of black lesbian identity by being re-branded as queer, or gender fluid.

        The trend towards claiming that “all sexuality is fluid” and to brand everyone and everything queer and transgender, means black lesbians are rendered invisible.

        Stormé DeLarverie, born in 1920: drag king entertainer, MC and bouncer. What made her a trailblazer? During the Harlem Renaissance she was the only black butch lesbian to emcee and perform in The Jewel Box Revue, North America’s first racially integrated drag review. Most infamous moment: she was the dyke who threw the first punch at a police officer during the Stonewall riot in New York in 1969.

        So it could be just as true to say transgender people owe a lot to lesbians, as vice versa.

        More on Storme in the Huffington Post, which claims “as usual” “his-story” wrote the black lesbian Storme out of the Stonewall story.

        I am actually not engaging too much with the transgender debate as I have agreement and disagreements with both sides. It seems to have become highly polarised, especially online, with name calling etc. It doesn’t seem possible to have a fair discussion. And when I see some of the censoring of lesbian feminist views (as with the case of Linda Bellos in the UK), then I feel an open and fair debate is not possible.

        When the main focus is on trans women, and trans men have less visibility, along with some of the above points, it seems yet again, a patriachal framing dominates.

        To further complicate things, I also see some selective use of facts, use of trivial arguments, and the repeating of misinformation on both sides of the debate – and it does seem to have become polarised to 2 viewpoints, making it difficult to take any other position on the issue.

        Mostly I have found your comments to be fact-based and well reasoned, Matthew. But I do fear that some lesbian views on the issue have been taking an unfair hammering.

  17. Chris T 17

    Which ever way you go one group will be appeased and the other group will feel persecuted.

    It really comes down to which side you think is more worthy of appeasement and which side you care less about

    • SPC 17.1

      You do not have to choose.

      Generally one sides with the safety, or sense if it, of women – their having safe spaces.

      That is not always in conflict with those either “transgender” or who identify as female all the same.

      The particular “parade” issue is about police taking better care of the transgender/transvestite etc in custody, and their being safe on the parade.

  18. greywarshark 18

    I despair that as we make steps toward greater trans visibility, campaigns like these undermine the work done and give messages to our trans whanau that will have detrimental consequences for our trans community, and particularly trans youth.

    What is this problem? We hear lots about the trans community, there is no need for more visibility. Things are being done for them so much, that it may pay (literally) to identify as one so as to get some small share of the bounty that government can distribute when it is in a sufficiently strong spotlight.

    This is Labour off on another of their great crusades, like the one that closed down housing for special needs people and put them in the community with wrap-around care that can be dropped to imperceptible. Instead of cleaning up the way things are done, some in Labour isn’t happy unless they turn everything upside down.
    Meanwhile other important matters get ignored, or sidelined.

    Lady Godiva, stop your extreme protesting, go home and get dressed, you give us all a cold looking at and listening to you.

  19. greywarshark 19

    I though Rachel Stewart’s media piece well written explaining how she personally feels and consequences of changes. Here are some of her points:

    How about Laurel Hubbard competing straight-faced as a female in weightlifting? And all those other athletes around the world winning hands down against biological women? Is it fair to females, who’ve often trained their whole lives, only to come second to a biologically stronger athlete – no matter how they identify?

    Gender critical feminists like me also question the use of hormone blockers, or the taking of testosterone, by children as young as nine.

    Parents, wanting to be best friends with their kids, are taking their son’s fixation with dolls as evidence that he’s really wanting to be female. In the UK alone, the number of kids being referred to the NHS’ gender-service unit has risen by 2,500 per cent over the past nine years….

    Which brings me to the money trail. When movements gain full throttle as rapidly as the trans train has, it must be asked who stands to gain from it?

    Sure enough, American transgender lobby groups are being funded by the likes of billionaires Warren Buffett and George Soros. Why? Because investors want to help normalise the altering of basic human biology, and Big Pharma stands to make a fortune. It’s already started.

    And I think it is money behind it just as Rachel says. There is precious little morality around these days, and money and efficiency are the driving factors behind most decisions. Any past social agreement could be bypassed by Big Money which viewed them as a barrier to profitability.

    • Sacha 19.1

      Please use quote marks around someone else’s words.

      [Sorted. I think.] – B

    • SPC 19.2

      A left wing lesbian associates transgender support with capitalism – yeah na.

      She just wants left wing heterosexual men to support her position.

    • Jan Rivers 19.3

      This is a good summary and having also read the article its pretty clear that it is transactivism and transideology that is really in the frame in Rachel’s article – not trans individuals. FWIW I have tried to capture some of the issues as I see them – an attack on women’s rights. The main issue that rarely gets addressed is this issue has arisen because of self-id. https://www.publicgood.org.nz/2018/10/23/alert-womens-rights-are-being-endangered/

      This is a change to the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships bill which will allow anyone to get a birth certificate in their preferred “gender”. The government definition of transgender includes not only as well as people who have or are medically transitioning but cross-dressers, transvestites and people who take no action to change their sex – neither counselling, medical or legal recognition. This means it will not be possible to challenge anyone from those other groups in women’s spaces or services. The law depends on a Crown Law opinion that says this and so its all a bit of a mess.

      Similar legislation in the UK – when it was called what it was changes to the Gender Recognition Act what happened when there was a broader societal recognition of what was happening. There were more than 100k submissions in the UK and two government reviews have been kicked off. The govt there seem to be losing confidence it was a good idea. If similar numbers had responded in the UK this legislation would have attracted 6-8,000 responses. Here it was done by stealth – the changes were not in the initial draft bill or its commentary and hence it attracted fewer that 100 submissions.

      • SPC 19.3.1

        Lesbian vs lesbian.

        Lesbian as feminist (Herald columnist) has concerns about women safety (a legacy of womens refuge and safe spaces) and when lesbians of the pride movement are protective of another minority feeling unsafe in the way police treat them (those identifying as women in cells with men) as gays and lesbians did in the past.

        Both being protective mother hens, each in their own way.

    • Rachel Stewart 19.4

      You’re on it.

  20. greywarshark 20

    Part of what real women have had to put up with for ever is disdain for being the breeding sex. Religions have put menstruating women to one side as being unclean or something. Here is the latest about Hindu attitudes, and i think that Jewish women were treated similarly, don’t know about now:

    An Indian woman who made an unsuccessful attempt last month to enter one of Hinduism’s holiest temples has been arrested and charges against her include “exposing her thigh” in a photograph she posted on Facebook while on her way to the shrine.

    Rehana Fathima, 32-year-old telecom technician, activist and model, was stopped by protesters from entering the Sabarimala shrine which has historically been closed to all women of “menstruating age”.

    Hinduism regards menstruating women as unclean and bars them from participating in religious rituals. The shrine management says the ban on women is also because the temple deity Lord Ayyappa was a bachelor.

  21. Visubversa 21

    It would be interesting to see how the arguement would be framed if we were dealing with racial identity disphoria instead of gender identity disphoria – and there have been instances of this overseas. Imagine how Maori (for example) would feel if people with no Whakapapa began turning up and saying that they had always felt in their hearts that they were Maori. People who had got themselves altered physically to closer resemble Maori, taken drugs to change their skin colour etc. Consider how natal Maori would feel if they were told that they had to accept these people as Maori – as to do so otherwise would be discriminatory, and to show their respect for these people they should from now on, refer to themselves as “cis Maori”? I could go on – but you get the drift? I am not saying that transgendered people should be treated badly or that various acommodations should not be made for them, but as this is a complex issue it should not be reduced to slogans.

  22. Bill 22

    Just one question…

    ..if we accept that gender’s a social construct and not binary, and also not determined by biology, then how is it possible to be born into the “wrong” body?

    If we are people with different body parts, and those body parts don’t determine our gender, and if we reject social cliches around gender…then it makes no sense for me to say I’m a woman who was born in a mans body (or visa versa) and then seek some degree of surgical “correction”.

    What would make sense is for me to say I’m a woman – a woman with a penis.

    But it gets messy and fraught, because we do have those widely accepted social cliches or constructs informing us that people with penises are men. And there’s a whole bad history around people with penises damaging people with vulvae – meaning that even if we successfully bin that notion (man/penis – woman/vulva) and all the notions of expectation that flow from there, there are still very good reasons why people with vulvae would not want to be in a vulnerable space/position with penis people.

    And apologies if my language has inadvertently broken any egg shells that may have been lying around underfoot.

    The second question flowing from that is – Is gender reassignment surgery really any different to cosmetic surgery? Going back to the top of my comment, if gender as a social construct and/or as a biologically determined reality are rejected, then how is gender reassignment surgery any different to fashion driven desires for penis enlargement or breast reduction or face lifts?

    If I’m missing something, then I’d welcome any enlightenment on offer.

    • ankerawshark 22.1

      Hi Bill, I think that gender is defined by biology. Gender sex role stereotypes are the social construction which we live within……………….

      • Bill 22.1.1

        If gender is defined by biology, then it’s impossible to born with the “wrong” biology/body.

        Sex roles etc have nothing at all to do with gender.

        • Incognito

          It might be that (our) language is not suited to convey the complexity of the psychological and emotional state of someone who feels that were born in or with the “wrong body”. Language, of course, is a social construct par excellence and vice versa it is the fundamental tool of social constructionism.

    • Matthew Whitehead 22.2

      Hey Bill, so thanks for asking questions on this, I know you tend to go in for economic politics a lot more than social politics, so this may be slightly unfamiliar ground.

      I hear a lot that “born into the wrong body” is language trans people are moving away from, and is more of a cis characterization of a particular part of the trans community, and not a universal experience.

      Some trans women do decide not to undergo surgery, and identify precisely as you say- there are a range of opinions as far as I know. But some do feel a surgery is necessary, and there is a very real condition, currently called gender dysphoria, where the disconnect between what someone’s mental experience of their own gender and their expected physical experience should be is so different to their body that they genuinely need surgery for their own mental health. The fact that trans people feel the need for transition, either social, hormonal, or surgical, despite the very real consequences in terms of discrimination, both against them when being perceived as women for trans women, but also against them when being perceived as trans at all, should make it obvious how very serious the need to have their identity recognized and affirmed is, regardless of where it comes from. (and we simply don’t understand that very well, AFAIK, we have much more knowledge about same sex attraction when compared to trans people)

      If gender is a very real social construct, is it any less traumatic to be assigned one that very fundamentally doesn’t fit you than it would be to intrinsically have the wrong one? We’re social beings. Social constructs matter to us, and we have an obligation to find ways to make them not be oppressive, just like we do with the social construct of money. 🙂

      • Bill 22.2.1

        Well Matthew, if you don’t mind, I’ll skip straight on by that patronising opener you offered and point out that you’ve danced all around the question I asked and not really said a damned thing.

        Maybe you don’t quite get what I was saying?

        If someone feels uncomfortable in their skin (translate that into whatever other phrase you may think is more appropriate/accurate), then I’ve no objection to them finding comfort/ peace by whatever means works for them.

        But as I said, if we are talking from a space that rejects social constructs and biological determinism, then there’s no logical basis sitting beneath any need or urge for “transition”.

        Obviously, but I’m going to reiterate this just in case it gets missed, that’s not an argument against someone taking hormones or getting surgery or calling themselves whatever they want to call themselves and it’s not an argument seeking to diminish the impacts that socially constructed guff has on us.

        One last and additional thing – you claimed elsewhere that a trans woman will experience all the social and cultural discrimination that’s experienced by women. But since they’ve come from a space of privilege – a space where that discrimination wasn’t a part of their life – then no they won’t and don’t. The effects of discrimination are cumulative, and they (trans women) have the advantage of their chapters 1 through 5 to counter whatever sexism and misogyny society will be throwing at them from chapter 6 onwards. That’s no small thing – and may explain the perception or reality of trans women being somewhat dominant in political spaces.

        edit – if we want to have non-oppressive social constructs re gender, then maybe we simply need to be rid of the institutional gatekeepers of those constructs and get on with making up our own world for ourselves and stop giving that power over to remote and/or institutional others.

        • solkta

          But since they’ve come from a space of privilege – a space where that discrimination wasn’t a part of their life – then no they won’t and don’t.

          On the contrary, anybody who feels the need to transition male to female will have been behaving in ways quite different to the traditional concepts of masculine and will have been judged on this. Boys who act like girls get absolute shit at school.

          • Bill

            And the boy who “acts like a girl” is subjected to the same generalised institutional and cultural discrimination as girls and women in society? Or would they tend to be on the receiving end of institutional bias that’s reserved for boys and men?

            • solkta

              Obviously the discrimination they are subjected to is of a different flavour to that which girls are subjected to. They though certainly don’t come from a space of privilege.

        • Matthew Whitehead

          So, I don’t know exactly where the need to transition comes from, that’s a question that’s so far above my pay grade I can’t even begin on it. Our navigating to a more just social contract around gender might reduce the need for transition- there are definitely people who think the different expectations placed on women are part of the disparity in numbers and emphasis on transition between trans men and trans women, but there’s also people who disagree with that. I honestly would be wary of anyone thinking they’ve figured it out without a very big and rigorous scientific study being done on their assumptions.

          The fact is, though, while people are experiencing that dysphoria, whether or not it has what you’re terming a “logical basis,” they are suffering if they don’t have access to a transition. There is a definite and genuine basis for that need, as you acknowledge. Studying to help us understand where that comes from could help with managing transition better for people, but it could also hurt if that knowledge is abused- look what people did with reparative therapy already to both trans and gay people. (And I realize some people won’t know that reparative therapy was also used to traumatize trans people)

          Even if it’s all in people’s heads, the thing is, what’s in our heads is very, very real. I get anxious. That’s not something I can stop doing with the same ease or even always the same techniques as someone without an anxiety order can. I also get depression, and I can’t “snap out of it” with the same techniques you’d use to get out of a bit of a sad spell. There are cognitive and chemical realities to those conditions that you can’t shortcut, and that’s without the added complexity that for many trans people, even if you could give them a genuine “reparative therapy” to make them different, they wouldn’t necessarily choose to undergo it to become cis people, even if it worked with few complications- it’s like asking someone if you could erase traumatic formative memories- it might arguably be helpful from a utilitarian perspective, but it also arguably disrespects their identity in a pretty fundamental way.

          And I’m really skeptical of the idea that you could easily undo something in someone’s head, especially if they’re not inclined to let go of it. I’m a less anxious person now because I wanted to be able to function in social situations without the anxiety highjacking my reactions. I wanted to do the unthinking of thought-based habits to make my condition less extreme. That approach won’t work for people who genuinely want to be seen and affirmed as a gender society won’t yet recognize them as, and to the extent it’s worked for me, it’s not undone the things that caused me to be predisposed to anxiety, just the worst of the self-reinforcing thoughts I had. I would be very skeptical of the claim that this is something that can be easily caused or stopped.

          Now, onto privilege- I think you’re viewing what I’m saying as a bit more simplistic than I intended it. I said that trans women experience the same sexism as women, and that they also often experience additional cissexism when they transition, too. This doesn’t absolutely rule out them also experiencing something analogous to “male privilege” pre-transition, to the degree they’re not visibly queer enough to be denied it in a certain context, but it also doesn’t rule out being victimized by misogyny and transmisogyny either, and often those of us queers who “pass” are the ones that internalize a lot of problematic crap from bad exemplars in cis/straight society. Keeping that in mind, there is no being entirely free of (trans-)misogyny for trans women, ever. It’s just a matter of whether it’s hitting them directly or indirectly, and my experience of indirect and internalized homophobia and biphobia wasn’t very pleasant, either. There’s a very good piece on that on medium that goes into nuance in a way you’d probably agree with:


          Basically: to the extent that trans women get to experience what we call male privelege in a cis context, they have to pay for it, and I think you’re a decent guy who would agree that looking through the costs trans women pay later for that misogyny only hitting them indirectly really aren’t a fair or just bargain, and doesn’t make them a more privileged type of person when we consider their life as a whole.

          • Bill

            Are you even reading the content of my comments Matthew? Or just rushing at them with a barrow load of assumptions?

            I didn’t suggest that “in the head” was any less real than anything else (didn’t even mention anything about “in the head”).

            I was also pretty clear (I reiterated the point) that I wasn’t arguing against any given level of transition.

            From which it follows that I wasn’t signposting any jack-shit about reparative therapy or any other such like.

            But nice little pile of straw thingees you stacked up there.

            If you can’t approach the question I initially asked, that’s okay. We agree (I think) that biology doesn’t determine gender and also that gender as a social construct is “lacking”.

            In another world, if we were just all people possessing different “bits and bobs”, instead of people primarily identifying as women and men and a thousand points inbetween or whatever, then a lot of the confusion evident in exchanges in this thread would disappear because the thoughts and notions giving rise to the confusion would be unthinkable ( eg – the reference to “boys who act like girls” in one of Solka’s comments)

  23. SPC 23

    No discrimination based on racism, ethnic identity, race, creed, gender and sexuality.

    Easy …

    Or not

    Inter-marriage….across race and religion —mixed race (ancestry without belonging?) and upbringing of children in what tradition

    Change of Religion – see Islam (risk to life), see Judaism lose place amongst the ethnic people

    Sexuality and normalcy – desire to procreation of the kind
    Marriage and family – homosexuality and no procreative sex … changes what marriage is seen as – once where there is a father and a mother.

    Part of homosexuality is about how one sees oneself, as is gender identity. And part of this is the impact of hormones on both sexuality and gender. Something some on the homosexuality side seem to ignore when it is not themselves but impact on gender identity.

    It’s interesting at what point people get taken out of their comfort zone in terms of time and place.

    For some it is race, for some it is religion, for some it is politics, for some it is sexuality and for some it is gender.

    It’s always sad when those who had a need for their own rights are themselves slow to see the need for another to have theirs. It is perhaps only then they appreciate those who reluctant to let them have their own place.

    Remember when heterosexual men dressed up as women to be an actor (when women were banned). Today there are people who have to dress up to make it easier for other people to tolerate their presence – to hide who they are, or are transitioning to become, so others can tolerate being around them.

    It’s no easier for us, than for the racist or the chauvinist, coming face to face with someone we do not think fits alongside us, where we are as who we are. Little wonder we are on a planet far far away from any other with sentient life.

    Man in Black. Not necessarily bi-sexual and bi-gender, except in solidarity.

  24. Morrissey 24

    TERF spelled backwards is FRET.

    You’re welcome, guys. And girls.

    • Tuppence Shrewsbury 24.1

      And here we have Morriski the fool opening his mouth and providing exactly nothing to the conversation as usual.

      Thanks pal

  25. ankerawshark 25

    I don’t have a problem with a man who has undergone gender re-assignment surgery being a woman……………….I would expect them to come into female only spaces and hope they would feel welcome.

    I feel very uncomfortable with this other group who “feel” like they are a woman, but are not in the process of under-going the biological change, just saying they are a women and turning up in a woman only space………………I realize I may get attacked for saying this, but this is how I feel.

    By the way someone attempted to assault me in a public change room, and disguised there appearance to do so (not as a woman)…………..so I possibly feel more sensitive to some others about this issue.

    • Visubversa 25.1

      Apart from the sheer delight of imagining how a Merchant Bank deals with this person – how do you assess someone who decides on their gender on a daily basis? >

      • McFlock 25.1.1

        TBH, getting to that level of gender fluidity confuses the heck out of me. Similarly, advantage issues for athletes and anti-doping vs natural hormone levels, and how to deal with the entire thing without disrespecting any of the athletes, trans or cis. For a non-trans example there were the arguments about Caster Semenya, which involves scientific, ethical and legal (as well as the worst of the interwebs) discussions about gender diversity, biological advantages, and so on.

        But when it all breaks my brain, like when my bisexual relative was dating a gender-fluid person and all the labels one uses to talk about social life sort of failed, all I can do is shrug my shoulders and be thankful that I don’t have to deal with labelling because it’s not my business.

        • Incognito

          Perhaps we should be in awe of and celebrating the diversity in and of humankind rather than trying to find issue all the time. It often helps me to simply observe and feel from the heart than trying to understand with the brain. The latter goes through our personal filter, tuners and amplifiers and often comes with judgement of which we ourselves are not even aware – until somebody points it out to us – because much happens subconsciously. It is very much less tiring to not think but simply experience. I hope I don’t sound too fluffy – it could be the Epic Love & Affection IPA 😉

          • McFlock

            Nah you’re right. Sometimes it pays to stop analysing and collating and just go with the flow and accept what is.

            Education taught me curiosity. Security-related work taught me that some shit is better off not knowing – not gross stuff, just that in some areas if you don’t need to know, then you don’t really need to want to know, it”l sort itself out one way or the other and you won’t get yourself in shit trying to sort it out and breaking all the china in the shop.

    • Bewilderd 25.2

      There is no such thing as gender reassignment, you are not assigned a gender to start with Removing a sexual body part has no more impact to changing your biological gender than removing a leg

    • gsays 25.3

      Just a note on gender reassignment surgery, it isn’t cheap.

      I was going to say it is not publically funded, then checked and found this article.


      Quit interesting:
      “The number of publicly funded surgeries performed, sometimes called gender reassignment surgery, was previously capped at three male-to-female surgeries and one female-to-male surgery every two years.

      The Government has flipped the policy on its head. There will now be no cap on the number of surgeries performed, while the previous caps will become a minimum number of surgeries every two years. ”

      The article goes on to mention cost etc.

  26. James Thrace 26

    As a gay man, I have issues with both f2m and m2f.

    While I don’t profess to be the font and repository of all knowledge, my thinking is as follows.

    The so called TERFs don’t like M2F calling themselves women. Many reasou s abound for this. Women historically have been subjugated by males to a large extent. Women also have to deal with periods and the associated pain that goes with it. Women also have the biological features that allow them to create life and nurture such life. Having a male, who hasn’t experienced any of that, say that “Man, I feel like a woman” and take drugs to get breasts and less hair, is in no way shape or form, able to empathise with the struggle women have had in a male dominated society. Further, it is less clear that M2F even have the ability to adopt the nurturing capabilities that so many biological women have. Not to mention that many M2F don’t go the whole hog, much as Bruce Jenner has done. You can call yourself Caitlyn, but when you come out and say you’ll never get your penis removed, well, you are no closer to being a woman. You’re a hermaphrodite, created by drugs. Nature does create genuine hermaphrodites, but taking drugs to become one? And retaining your biological distinction because you might detransition? Yeah nah, you aren’t a woman.

    F2M on the other hand. While you can take out your breasts, uterus, fallopian tubes and turn your clitoris into a penis, doesn’t make you a male. Just because you can stand up to pee, doesn’t make you a male. If you want the benefits and advantages of being a male, then join the feminist fight for equality. Don’t give up and take what is the easy way out. There are males out there wanting to ensure that females get the same benefit and advantages that males do.

    It’s not a matter of simply declaring you feel like a wo/man and demanding that people accept you because you are. The whole debate is so toxic and volatile and anyone who dares question is immediately vilified. Opinions like mine will be lambasted. Contrasted with 1986 when homosexual law reform was up for debate, the focus was on education and information. Gay people were everywhere. They were at home, in your family, in the workplace. Not everyone had AIDS.

    Comparing and contrasting the current trans debate with the homosexual Rights movement is enlightening. Insults and attacks do nothing to educate. If my thinking is wrong, educate me. Don’t attack me. If you attack, I’m far less likely to listen to anyone else who might have something intelligent to say.

    • SPC 26.1

      The exact same position was held by many people about what the right way to be sexually active, given sex is for procreation. Either as bio-determinism of the species reproducing itself, or as a creation of creator religion.

      You also ignore hormones influencing, either or both, sexuality and gender identity.

      • Gabby 26.1.1

        You seem to have muddled up in your head activity with identity spccy.

        • SPC

          Classic, remember when lesbian women were sent to institutions to be cured of their mental illness?

          Those who do not learn the lessons of history … will persecute someon else in their own place.

          PS Are the heterosexual people who perform gay sex for money confused?

    • ankerawshark 26.2

      James Thrace, I very much agree with most of what you say re biology.

      And I think there is a real difference between feeling sexual attraction to your own gender (being gay) and wanting to change your gender.

  27. greywarshark 27

    It looks to me that keeping off twitter would be a good thing for a New Years Resolution if there isn’t a better plan already.

    • James Thrace 27.1

      At least Twitter gives you new tweets unlike Facebook which gives you posts that are days old and repeat them each time you log in

  28. Rachel Stewart 28

    The author has thoroughly vilified me here, and has actually gone so far as to paint me as a racist for ‘liking’ a tweet by someone else. Good luck proving I’m a racist. Trawl through the archives as far back as you like, mate, but you’ll find nothing even close to affirming your accusation. I’m not racist. I just don’t like you. It’s also why I blocked you. I consider you a weasel and told you so. Upfront, like. Remember how to do that?

    Freedom of speech is important. I was trying to make the NZ public aware of the dangers of the self-ID issues. I think I’ve done a good job in achieving that.

    I have had so many death/rape threats since that column, I can not count them. Fortunately, I am no stranger to threats and can withstand the pressure. However, your words are helping that behaviour along magnificently. Also, many thanks for proving the thesis of my column. That is, no one is allowed to speak up about this issue – an important one for women- without attempts to shut them down. Sorry, but I have a wonderful platform to keep doing it from.

    Basically, you’ll just have to suck it up. Dude. Are you a misogynist perchance?

    • Hi, Rachel. People who like, endorse and use words like housenigger and Uncle Tom are racists. You like, endorse and use those words. You are a racist.

      I haven’t shut you down. Quite the opposite. I’ve repeatedly suggested you to use this forum to respond and here you are, using this forum to respond.

      Any chance that you’re a goose, as well as racist?

      • DennyPaoa 28.1.1

        Dude. That was me who called you a “HouseNigga.” I meant it. Whats wrong with calling a ‘spade a spade?’ Rude maybe, but fuck calling people terfs is far worse in my book when you dont even know what it means ffs. Get a grip.

        • te reo putake

          It’s true that you said it, Denny. Not a good look, but at least you own it. Rachel the racist was the only person on twitter who hit the like button. I’m guessing because everyone else reading it thought ‘fuck me, that’s racist as fuck and I’m not touching it with a bargepole’ or similar. Rachel then went on to suggest the equally racist phrase Uncle Tom would also be cool. So, y’know, racist as.

          You make an interesting point about TERF’s also being pejorative. The meaning of words changes with time and I accept TERF is now used as a negative term or put down by some people. However, I don’t really have a problem with that as the views expressed by people who fall into the TERF category are often negative and deserve opprobrium.

    • Ed 28.2

      Rachel many of us here regard you as a brave independent journalist.
      Thank you for the wonderful work you do.
      TRP is not representative of the people here.

    • Ed 28.3

      TRP tends to shut people down in a most aggressive manner if they disagree with hie world view.
      I have been the recipient of abuse from him.
      There is a pattern here..

      • James 28.3.1

        Ooooh dissing on the author.

        • Ed

          We believe in free speech.

          • James

            Do you really Eddie?

            You Ever called for other posters to be banned ? Yep

            You ever call for others not to be replied to or ignored ? Yep

            You ever complain about news papers publishing articles you disagree with or think other items more important? Yep.

            You are more anti free speech than pretty much anyone on this site.

            • Ed

              I don’t support the hate speech you promulgate.

              • James

                You have a lot of hate in you Ed. Could be why you think you see it everywhere.

                • Ed

                  I don’t. I actually care for other people and other species a hell of a lot more than you. Hence articles on climate change, inequality, a plant based diet, Syria……..
                  The posts you put out exhibit a totally selfish and uncaring attitude to others.

                  I come on this site to share inspirational and thought provoking ideas I read elsewhere.
                  You come on this site to irritate, annoy and aggravate.

                  For the life of me, I don’t why your blatant trolling is permitted.

                  • James

                    “I come on this site to share inspirational and thought provoking ideas“

                    One mans treasure is another mans garbage I guess.

                    • McFlock

                      lol I did like believer in free speech who couldn’t understand why you were allowed to comment. That was a gem.

                    • Ed

                      I’m utterly sick your snide and puerile comments.
                      I am sure many others are also over your wretched divisive and bully boy contributions.
                      You have nothing constructive to say.

                      Like Rachel, I refuse to bow to the online bully boys like you.

                    • Violet []

                      100% correct Ed. I am totally sick of him. I do not understand why people hound you the whole time. At the very least you have much more to offer. I’ve ready many of the bullshit comments where they try to justify the constant, meaningless criticism. Keep up the good work and go well.

                    • Ed

                      I don’t believe in free speech for hate merchants like James.
                      This place is ruined by their miserable contributions.

                    • James []

                      Lol so you don’t support free speech for people you don’t agree with.

                      Just because you call others views hate speech dosnt make it so.

                      But like I said – you see hate everywhere – but I think that says more about you than anything.

                    • McFlock

                      James might be a tory and a bit of a dick, but his comments are a hell of a lot more interesting, self-reflective, nuanced, and constructive than yours.

                    • Ed

                      James. Nuanced.
                      Well I never…..
                      I’m glad you don’t find climate change interesting.
                      That’s why we’re in this mess.

                    • James []

                      Can’t argure the points being raised ……..so…….OMG climate change !!!!!!!

                    • McFlock

                      lol that’s the shit. No nuance or self-reflection. I don’t find your comments interesting so it must be the subject matter that I’m not interested in.

                      Maybe I know CC is bad, but the way you address the topic is what makes me quickly lose interest and move elsewhere. Your comments are tedious. Your outrage is tedious. Your categorical imperatives are tedious. Your vilification of anyone who expresses less than unquestioning agreement and equal levels of outrage is tedious.

        • ropata

          I would have thought this Python skit more appropriate for the thread

          • Puckish Rogue

            For what its worth and as someone that, on occasion, gets sent to the naughty chair to cool off every now and then 🙂 I have to say the moderation on this site is pretty good

      • Incognito 28.3.3

        Except that TRP has not been aggressive nor shutting down anybody here today. In fact, TRP has not even moderated one comment as far as I can tell. In other words, there’s no pattern right here and now. Given the topic it’s actually worth noting that nobody has been moderated!

    • miravox 28.4

      Hi Rachel, trawling through your article on trans-people, I wonder how you define the paragraphs where you write about George Soros and pharma colluding for more trans people for more $$?

      Which brings me to the money trail. When movements gain full throttle as rapidly as the trans train has, it must be asked who stands to gain from it?

      Sure enough, American transgender lobby groups are being funded by the likes of billionaires Warren Buffett and George Soros. Why? Because investors want to help normalise the altering of basic human biology, and Big Pharma stands to make a fortune. It’s already started.

      Is it possible to give your source articles for this? Because it seems to me this is putting 2+2 together and getting 5
      Yes, Soros foundations donate big money to progressive groups – including trans-activist groups. Does he give to cis groups as well?
      Yes, Soros funds are invested in big corporations, I guess some are Pharma – do you know which ones?

      If you don’t have this information, this adds up to something that really is bordering on a racist, anti-Jewish trope to my eyes.

      • George Henderson 28.4.1

        This is the error that stood out to me. Rachael isn’t interested in neo-Nazi conspiracy theories so didn’t even know about this link. She took the information from the Soros foundations own website (and why aren’t you defending Buffett? Funny how that works) and drew her own conclusions about motives. Pharma has an unblemished record of exploiting vulnerable populations in any case, and the Left used to be very aware of this – only on this issue are they silent.
        However, it doesn’t affect her substantive arguments, so address those please, or better yet listen to the women who have been stating them for longer and been harassed and ignored.

        • miravox

          I don’t agree or disagree with all Stewart’s pov. in the transgender debate. I think I tend to think that making decisions based on the worst of a particular groups in society is not helpful to anybody, but I don’t know what that means for me in this discussion. It’s a big subject. I have a transgendered family member who is one of the most rational and sensitive people I know, and she in no way deserves the vitriol that is raining down on all transgendered women. I also come from a family of women and certainly understand the need for women’s spaces. I also believe the dick-waving in changing rooms is a distraction. That’s a cultural problem in the English-speaking world. Go to some other European countries in their mixed spaces with personal cubicles and they be bemused.

          However, the big pharma/benefactor paragraph seems to be, without evidence, and unwarranted inclusion in the piece she wrote and detracts from the primary argument. I know Soros’ philanthropic groups donate to trans rights groups as part of it’s inclusion policy. It’s on their website. Was Buffett’s name just thrown in there? There’s no obvious trans-activism donations on the websites of his philanthropic recipients.

          I certainly don’t have any love for hedge fund or big pharma business practices and I’m not defending Soros or Buffett, but anyone who pays any attention to populist right-wing politics knows that Soros is the current bogeyman for all things wrong about the influence of corporate world and it’s coded antisemitism. As it stands, a source-less paragraph does not a investment corp/big pharma conspiracy make.

          Where’s the evidence?

          • Carolyn_Nth

            I’m not bothered about trans women in women’s toilets – they’re cubicles for goods sakes, and who would know most of the time? I don’t use public changing rooms, so have nothing to say about that.

            There is a lot of concern from women who have worked with women who are survivors of violence and sexual abuse/rape, etc, who has they need dick free public spaces.

            Apparently the research shows trans women commit the same amount of violence as non trans men, and more than trans men or non-trans women.

            A big concern is about the proposed law before NZ parliament that is aiming to enable one step gender change. So anyone can can their designation as male or female to the opposite, just by declaring it. And particularly with respect to trans women who have not transitioned – so still have genitals intact.

            There are often a couple of cases cited on trans women abusing their claims for access to women’s spaces. The guy who wanted to use businesses designed for women to get the female practitioners to wax his scrotum in Canada

            Karen had been identified as a paedophile and sexual assaulter of young women before being placed in a women’s prison in the UK. While there she sexually assaulted a couple of women.

            There is also the issue of the “cotton ceiling” that is causing concern among many female lesbians. Basically, some trans women are claiming that same sexual activities between those born women deny their rights as trans women with penises to have sex with lesbians. At first I thought that was just a hypothetical argument because no-one can force you to be attracted to a person who you don’t fancy.

            However, I have read of a few reports of young lesbians being coerced into having sex with trans women with penises. Some of this is looking a lot like rape culture.

            In a submission to the proposed changes to NZ gender laws, some lesbians claim they have been harassed by one or two trans women in lesbian venues. One claims she know longer goes to such venues because of this 1 trans woman. the abusers are probably a very small minority of trans people. However, laws and regulations are generally there to stop the minority of perps, be it murder or anything else.

            A collection of some of the abuse that has been thrown at LESBIANS who have been labelled as terfs.

            eg. “Terf lesbians who refuse to date trans women can die in a hole.”

            “If you’re a lesbian who thinks that part of your gay identification is eating pussy you are a transmisogynist.”

            I’ve also seen tweets saying things like “suck my girl dick” to a lesbian.

            There’s a level where it’s pretty nasty out there.

              • Carolyn_Nth

                Yeah. That’s another site i was referring to. Stuff like that makes me want to drop use of the term “cis” and stop retweeting things like “trans women are women”

                I can see why some feminists are tweeting “men are not women”

                There is a level of absurdity our there where the differences between male and female biology are being denied. eg the claim that saying women menstruate is trans phobic – we should be saying some people menstruate.

                I don’t care if biological males or females want to take hormones, transition though surgery, change the names and pronouns that are referred to them, dress how they like, etc. But denying biology and scientific realities just seems unhelpful.

                Also threats of violence and abuse:


            • miravox

              Hi Carolyn_Nth

              It’s a war out there for sure.

              I don’t agree with one-stop gender ID – as when transitioning, a person must be able to live with the change to being a woman, and that takes time and commitment.

              I do appreciate biological women have needs and experiences that trans-women simply won’t have and also that biological (and lesbian) women require their own space and not be subsumed under a single ‘women’ category by incredibly loud (radical) trans-women. I also see how biological women (not that biological sex is binary ) can be put in real danger by trans-women with male size, strength and with ideas of toxic masculinity. Are these trans-people imposters? They can’t truly want to be part of the female community.

              I do not recognise my family member or the trans-women in her circle, in these disturbing portrayals of violent, misogynist (!?) trans-women and I’m finding this whole war extremely difficult. Which is why I haven’t commented much on the main body of Stewart’s piece. But I’m taking your well presented comments in this post on-board.

    • mauÄ« 28.5

      Thank you Rachel for the outstanding articles you write highlighting real issues. Ed often links to your work here and I thank you both.

      If there ever was a New Zealand branch of RT setup you would be the one of the first they would call I’m sure. Lets face it they would shit over our current media offerings.

      • Ed 28.5.1

        Rachel is an amazing journalist.
        Shame on the bully boys and girls of twitter.
        And meanwhile, while this tyrannical abuse of Rachel continues, the planet burns.

        Is that Maui?

  29. Delia 29

    I am with her and calling people a derogatory name for being concerned with women’s issues is discrimination…the old union bosses did bugger all about oppression of women…the feminist did.

    • SPC 29.1

      The term “TERF” is short for “trans exclusionary radical feminist”. The term is used by trans advocates to describe feminists who oppose the inclusion of trans people in female spaces and organizations


      It is a descriptive term, the only part that is up for debate is the inclusion of the word radical.

      Those feminists who do not see it as radical to be opposed to trans people in women spaces would call it a slur.

      TEF’s TEFing out those not seen as properly female.

      • George Henderson 29.1.1

        “fucking TERFs” on the other hand, is definitely an abusive term. Context matters, and this, and worse, is the context that TERF is overwhelming used in, both online and off.

        • Carolyn_Nth

          Agreed. And, interesting to look again at Rachel Stewarts column that so incensed many. The title is:

          Rachel Stewart: TERF a derogatory term to shut down debate

          A lot of the criticism of Stewart have focused on the myths and inaccuracies in the examples she used – and rightly so.

          However, there are a couple of points in the main thrust of her article that do need some consideration. The way the use of the term TERF is being used abusively to shut down much of the debate.

          And while the Soros conspiracy theory is of target and racist, there is an underlying point worthy of discussion – that is to do with the early medicalisation of gender dysphoria – goes back to the 70s.

          It’s not so much of an organised conspiracy, as the way the medical establishment work. They treated the dysphoria as a medical problem, rather than considering the influence of the social construction of gender: of gendered institutions and practices.

          Also, a fundamental difference between the theories of trans activists and many feminists, is this:

          Trans activists argue for a gender identity that is innate, and separate from differences in reproductive capability. Many feminists separate sex (male and female differentiation at birth) from gender, which is seen as a social construction. That really is not being very well discussed while all the abuse is being thrown back and forth by both sides.

          • George Henderson

            Trans activists argue for a gender identity that is innate, and separate from differences in reproductive capability. Many feminists separate sex (male and female differentiation at birth) from gender, which is seen as a social construction

            These views should not be mutually exclusive, but TRAs, who are overwhelmingly male by birth even though the gender dysphoric are overwhelmingly female, think sex doesn’t exist or can be dismissed.

            And, feminists are not the only people to separate sex from gender. Any biological scientist not captured by an ideology would also do so. Gender in this context is just how we feel about our sex. Do we want to change it? Maybe, but 100% change is impossible, and many risks and behaviours distributed by sex, whether aggression, heart disease, or prostate cancer, are even harder to change.
            Sex matters, and gender ID should be discussed with this in mind.

    • Ed 29.2


  30. Philip Ferguson 30

    Very good opinion piece Rachel. I see you weren’t surprised by the kind of threats an abuse you received. Funny that the people here who are so concerned about the rights of biological males have said nothing about the disgusting misogynist abuse which has been heaped on women who question the new trans ideology, and which seems to particularly be hostile to lesbians.

    Not that long ago a man telling a women to shut up and suck his dick would have been rightly regarded as the most appalling sexism andd misogyny but now a biological male can not only get away with it but be applauded – as long as the biological male identifies as a trans woman. And most of the ‘woke’ blokes will just go along with it instead of saying or doing anything about it. Indeed, the way a whole layer of trans women speak and act reeks of male entitlement.

    In relation to changing rooms and showers, it’s not mainly about whether some men would ‘rort’ self-ID to sexually assault women, it’s about the right of women to be comfortable in such women-only spaces and not have to deal with a penis next to them. Why should they? The penis has enough space in this society, without some super-entitled claim on women’s spaces. Another area of concern is sport. The simple fact is that biological males who do particular sports have a massive physiological advantage over women in the same sports. Take FloJo’s 100 metres world record. No woman has beaten this in 30 years but there are hundreds of male athletes who can run the 100 metres faster simply because of biology. Similarly either of the Williams sisters coul thrash any bloke here at tennis, but any of the top 200 male tennis players in the world could beat them. Similar situation with weightlifting, boxing, martial arts etc etc etc. How is it in any way fair to have biological males in female sports categories?

    Useful reading In Defence of Women’s Sports: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2018/10/28/in-defence-of-womens-sports/

    • Ed 30.1

      You nailed it when you said

      “Funny that the people here who are so concerned about the rights of biological males have said nothing about the disgusting misogynist abuse which has been heaped on women who question the new trans ideology, and which seems to particularly be hostile to lesbians.”

      Thanks for some common sense on this issue.

    • SPC 30.2

      You do realise that Louisa and Rachel are both lesbians?

      One notes the role of the transvestite and transgender have always been part of the “queer” struggle and is loyal in return and the other (more an individualist than part of the queer community) is also a feminist and is loyal to other women.

      Each is coming from this from different points of view – one as per the parade dispute and the other as per safe spaces for women.

      The wider issue is legal identity, being of the male or female form or dressing as without transition and space/place context of status/access.

      • Incognito 30.2.1

        I appreciate the consistent high quality, content and nuance of your comments on this Post. Credit where credit is due, I say.

    • DS 30.3

      >>Funny that the people here who are so concerned about the rights of biological males have said nothing about the disgusting misogynist abuse which has been heaped on women who question the new trans ideology, and which seems to particularly be hostile to lesbians.>>

      Trans-women are women. Ergo, how is it misogynistic to defend their existence?

      • ropata 30.3.1

        A woman is a biological female, a “trans woman” is a fringe case that should not necessarily be included in the category of “woman” based on a spurious demand.

        The existing procedure to legally change gender is a medical examination and a Family Court declaration. What is so onerous about that? Why this ridiculous outcry that trans people are being persecuted?

        It’s a moral panic and most on the Left fell for it.


      • George Henderson 30.3.2

        You cannot say that trans-women are women without making both women and trans impossible to define. Both words become meaningless if the catechism is assumed to be true. It is an absurdity. They exist, of course (in what metaphysics does this need defending?), but they are not women in the sense that a woman is a woman, also of course.

        Certainly anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices. If you do not use the intelligence with which God endowed your mind to resist believing impossibilities, you will not be able to use the sense of injustice which God planted in your heart to resist a command to do evil.
        – Voltaire

        • Carolyn_Nth

          Interesting point, George.

          Actually, one of the criticisms from some feminists is that current trans activists are redefining their identity for them. So now, people identified as female at birth and comfortable with that classification, are now deemed cis-women.

          Another of the complaints from some feminists is that they are being bullied, and any questioning of trans activists definitions and arguments is silenced, and, in the UK no platformed. (where are the lefties now so incensed by the de-platforming of Don Brash? It has happened to several lesbians and other feminists in the UK).

          This silencing and dictating is targeting a group of women who have long campaigned against being silenced, dismissed and dictated to by the patriarchal establishment.

          I agree with some points on both sides of this debate, and disagree with others on both sides. I dislike the personal abuse and jeering coming from both sides on social media

          But, I am now beginning to wonder why the trans activists don’t realise that a lot of their current MO is more in keeping with the masculinist, patriarchal establishment than that of many feminists or a lot of women generally? And that will do nothing but anger many lesbians and feminists.

  31. ropata 32

    Identity politics bullshit is the death of the Left. The government would be wise to keep away from this toxic ideology – 90% of kiwis would look at this thread with incomprehension.

    TIL that
    – males are females
    – males have the right to self ID as female then wander into any womens space
    – if women complain about it they are hateful TERFs
    – if your teenager is having an identity crisis, obviously she needs puberty blockers and radical surgeries to remove her female parts

    Can you see why feminists are not keen??

    • I don’t see identity politics as an either/or. The left is capable of promoting both class issues, which affect most, and identity issues, which affect only some of us. Most of the opposition to the freeing up of self identification comes from conservatives, not the left.

      • ropata 32.1.1

        Regrettably it’s spiralled beyond a rational debate among Left wing twitterati – lots of insults and feelz and jumping to conclusions about others’ motives

      • George Henderson 32.1.2

        I’m not against freeing up ID, but there are better ways to do it – government hardship grants to remove financial obstacles to the current ID vetting process would be a good start.
        More health support for adults who sincerely want to transition and aren’t just poseurs or worse is clearly needed.
        Such steps can help solve the problem without chucking out women’s rights.

  32. ropata 33

    Evolutionary biology itself is under attack by the radical left, for making basic observations about sex differences in our species.

    “our objections take place almost entirely between one another in private whisper networks, despite the fact that a majority of biologists are extremely troubled by these attacks to our field by social justice activists. This is an untenable situation.”


    “The Wolf of Masculinity is Dressed Up in the Sheep’s Clothing of Gender Ideology; Progressiveness is Now an Exercise in Destructive Male Entitlement”


    “UK universities struggle to deal with ‘toxic’ trans rights row: Abuse on campus, fear of speaking up – feminist academics say some universities aren’t protecting them”


    etc. etc. People are being tossed off Twitter, Academic journals are being hounded, research is being suppressed, and now in New Zealand columnists are being threatened and abused, and people on twitter are being doxxed.

    The trans activist movement (not trans people themselves) is rotten. The people may be well intentioned but the rhetoric has tapped into something dark

  33. George Henderson 34

    As long as Speak up for Women don’t have a platform to lay out the facts, as long as their case needs to be made for them by Rachel Stewart (someone who didn’t even know about this issue until she was abused online for questioning it) and men, men, men, you can’t put their argument to rest by appeals to guilt-by-association, ideology, and the rest.
    An important statistic is the ratio of males to females convicted of violent offenses, about 10-to-1. It is not significantly different if comparing males identifying as women to females. A man is statistically more likely to hit you, regardless of what gender they are or say they are. This is statistical risk – it says nothing about any individual – but it’s a large risk.
    Another important statistic is the rate of females to males presenting with gender dysphoria today, In the UK it is overwhelmingly girls being referred to gender services.
    This isn’t consistent with the rise – of 2500% in 9 years – being due to increased acceptance of the incidence of transexuality that has always existed. There is something else going on, and we need objective research into its causes before we welcome it; this research is being made very difficult by activists who attack it as transphobic.

    But women who have studied this issue know about this. Let them speak, talk with them not over them, so that the ID laws can work for everyone.

    It is much easier to judge someone fairly when you see their face and hear their voice. Professor Michele Moore is an expert in Inclusive Education and Disability Studies, and not a cruel, hateful, or bigoted person in any way. She’s an expert, describing injustice and uncertainty. It’s only 17 minutes – please listen to her.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Flooding Housing Policy
    The Minister of Housing’s ambition is to reduce markedly the ratio of house prices to household incomes. If his strategy works it would transform the housing market, dramatically changing the prospects of housing as an investment.Leaving aside the Minister’s metaphor of ‘flooding the market’ I do not see how the ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    21 mins ago
  • A Voyage Among the Vandals: Accepted (Again!)
    As previously noted, my historical fantasy piece, set in the fifth-century Mediterranean, was accepted for a Pirate Horror anthology, only for the anthology to later fall through. But in a good bit of news, it turned out that the story could indeed be re-marketed as sword and sorcery. As of ...
    3 hours ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Friday, July 19
    An employee of tobacco company Philip Morris International demonstrates a heated tobacco device. Photo: Getty ImagesTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy on Friday, July 19 are:At a time when the Coalition Government is cutting spending on health, infrastructure, education, housing ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 hours ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Friday, July 19
    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 8:30 am on Friday, July 19 are:Scoop: NZ First Minister Casey Costello orders 50% cut to excise tax on heated tobacco products. The minister has ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    9 hours ago
  • Weekly Roundup 19-July-2024
    Kia ora, it’s time for another Friday roundup, in which we pull together some of the links and stories that caught our eye this week. Feel free to add more in the comments! Our header image this week shows a foggy day in Auckland town, captured by Patrick Reynolds. ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    9 hours ago
  • Weekly Climate Wrap: A market-led plan for failure
    TL;DR : Here’s the top six items climate news for Aotearoa this week, as selected by Bernard Hickey and The Kākā’s climate correspondent Cathrine Dyer. A discussion recorded yesterday is in the video above and the audio of that sent onto the podcast feed.The Government released its draft Emissions Reduction ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    10 hours ago
  • Tobacco First
    Save some money, get rich and old, bring it back to Tobacco Road.Bring that dynamite and a crane, blow it up, start all over again.Roll up. Roll up. Or tailor made, if you prefer...Whether you’re selling ciggies, digging for gold, catching dolphins in your nets, or encouraging folks to flutter ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    10 hours ago
  • Trump’s Adopted Son.
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    11 hours ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Friday, July 19
    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Friday, July 19, the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:The PSA announced the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) had ruled in the PSA’s favour in its case against the Ministry ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    12 hours ago
  • The Hoon around the week to July 19
    TL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers last night features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent talking about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s release of its first Emissions Reduction Plan;University of Otago Foreign Relations Professor and special guest Dr Karin von ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    12 hours ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #29 2024
    Open access notables Improving global temperature datasets to better account for non-uniform warming, Calvert, Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society: To better account for spatial non-uniform trends in warming, a new GITD [global instrumental temperature dataset] was created that used maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) to combine the land surface ...
    22 hours ago
  • We're back again! Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live
    Photo by Gabriel Crismariu on UnsplashWe’re back again after our mid-winter break. We’re still with the ‘new’ day of the week (Thursday rather than Friday) when we have our ‘hoon’ webinar with paying subscribers to The Kākā for an hour at 5 pm.Jump on this link on YouTube Livestream for ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 day ago
  • Gut Reactions.
    Trump Writes His Own Story: Would the “mainstream” media even try to reflect the horrified reaction of the MAGA crowd to the pop-pop-pop of the would-be assassin’s rifle, and Trump going down? Could it even grasp the sheer elation of the rally-goers seeing their champion rise up and punch the air, still alive, ...
    1 day ago
  • Dodging Bullets.
    Fight! Fight! Fight! Had the assassin’s bullet found its mark and killed Donald Trump, America’s descent into widespread and murderous violence – possibly spiralling-down into civil war – would have been immediate and quite possibly irreparable. The American Republic, upon whose survival liberty and democracy continue to depend, is certainly not ...
    1 day ago
  • 'Corruption First' Strikes Again
    There comes a point in all our lives when we must stop to say, “Enough is enough. We know what’s happening. We are not as stupid or as ignorant as you believe us to be. And making policies that kill or harm our people is not acceptable, Ministers.”Plausible deniability has ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 day ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Thursday, July 18
    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy today are:The inside stories of KiwiRail’s iRex debacle, Westport’s perma-delayed flood scheme and Christchurch’s post-quake sewer rebuild, which assumed no population growth, show just how deeply sceptical senior officials in Treasury, the Ministry of ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 day ago
  • What's that Jack Black?
    Ah-rah, deeSoo-guh-goo-gee-goo-geeGoo-guh fli-goo gee-gooGuh fli-goo, ga-goo-buh-deeOoh, guh-goo-beeOoh-guh-guh-bee-guh-guh-beeFli-goo gee-gooA-fliguh woo-wa mama Lucifer!I’m about ready to move on, how about you?Not from the shooting, that’s bad and we definitely shouldn’t have that. But the rehabilitation of Donald J Trump? The deification of Saint Donald? As the Great Unifier?Gimme a bucket.https://yellowscene.com/2024/04/07/trump-as-jesus/Just to re-iterate, ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 day ago
  • June 2024: Earth’s 13th-consecutive warmest month on record
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Jeff Masters and Bob Henson June 2024 was Earth’s warmest June since global record-keeping began in 1850 and was the planet’s 13th consecutive warmest month on record, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, or NCEI, reported July 12. As opposed to being focused in ...
    1 day ago
  • Connecting the dots and filling the gaps in our bike network
    This is a guest post by Shaun Baker on the importance of filling the gaps in our cycling networks. It originally appeared on his blog Multimodal Adventures, and is re-posted here with kind permission. In our towns and cities in Aotearoa New Zealand, there are areas in our cycling networks ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 day ago
  • Webworm Down Under Photos!
    Hi,I wanted to share a few thoughts and photos from the Webworm popup and Tickled screening we held in Auckland, New Zealand last weekend.In short — it was a blast. I mean, I had a blast and I hope any of you that came also had a blast.An old friend ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 day ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Thursday, July 18
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    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 day ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Thursday, July 18
    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Thursday, July 18, the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:Verbatim: Climate Change Minister Simon Watts held a news conference in Auckland to release the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan, including ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 day ago
  • The politics of managed retreat
    Climate change deniers are now challenging the Government over a key climate change adaptation policy. That begs the question of whether New Zealand First will then support Government moves to implement processes to deal with a managed retreat for properties in danger of flooding because of sea level rise and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    2 days ago
  • Some changes are coming
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    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    2 days ago
  • About fucking time
    The US Supreme Court has been rogue for years, with openly corrupt judges making the law up as they go to suit themselves, their billionaire buyers, and the Republican Party. But now, in the wake of them granting a licence for tyranny, President Biden is actually going to try and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: False accounting and wishful thinking
    National released their draft 2026-2030 Emissions Reduction Plan today. The plan is required under the Zero Carbon Act, and must set out policies and strategies to meet the relevant emissions budget. Having cancelled all Labour's actually effective climate change policies and crashed the carbon price, National was always going to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • The Enemies Of Sunshine And Space.
    Our Houses? The Urban Density debate is a horrible combination of intergenerational avarice and envy, fuelled by the grim certainty that none of the generations coming up after them will ever have it as good as the Boomers. To say that this situation rankles among those born after 1965 is to ...
    2 days ago
  • Still the 5 Eyes Achilles Heel?
    The National Cyber Security Centre (NZSC), a unit in the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) dedicated to cyber-security, has released a Review of its response to the 2021 email hacking of NZ members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC, … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 days ago
  • Britain's Devastating Electoral Slip.
    Slip-Sliding Away: Labour may now enjoy a dominant position in Britain’s political landscape, but only by virtue of not being swallowed by it.THE BRITISH LABOUR PARTY’S “landslide victory” is nothing of the sort. As most people understand the term, a landslide election victory is one in which the incumbent government, or ...
    2 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why right wingers think all governments (including their own) are incompetent
    Since open denial of climate change is no longer a viable political option, denial now comes in disguise. The release this week of the coalition government’s ‘draft emissions reductions plan” shows that the Luxon government is refusing to see the need to cut emissions at source. Instead, it proposes to ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    2 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Wednesday, July 17
    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy this morning are:Chris Penk is set to roll back building standards for insulation that had only just been put in place, and which had been estimated to save 40% from power costs, after builders ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • Open Letter to Pharmac
    All this talk of getting oldIt's getting me down, my loveLike a cat in a bag, waiting to drownThis time I'm coming downAnd I hope you're thinking of meAs you lay down on your sideNow the drugs don't workThey just make you worse but I know I'll see your face ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 days ago
  • A blanket of misinformation
    Two old sayings have been on my mind lately. The first is: “The pen is mightier than the sword”, describing the power of language and communication to help or to harm. The other, which captures the speed with which falsehoods can become ingrained and hard to undo, is: “A lie can ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    2 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Wednesday, July 17
    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 7:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 are:Scoop: Government considers rolling back home insulation standards RNZ’s Eloise GibsonNews: Government plans tree-planting frenzy as report shows NZ no longer ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Wednesday, July 17
    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 , the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day were:Simon Watts released the Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP), which included proposed changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • “Shhhh” – National's 3 Waters is loaded with higher costs and lays a path to ...
    This is a long, possibly technical, but very, very important read. I encourage you to take the time and spread your awareness.IntroductionIn 2022, then Labour Party Prime Minister Jacinda Adern expended significant political capital to protect New Zealand’s water assets from privatisation. She lost that battle, and Labour and the ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    3 days ago
  • Plugging a video channel: Dr Gilbz
    Dr. Ella Gilbert is a climate scientist and presenter with a PhD in Antarctic climate change, working at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). Her background is in atmospheric sciences and she's especially interested in the physical mechanisms of climate change, clouds, and almost anything polar. She is passionate about communicating climate ...
    3 days ago
  • Some “scrutiny” again
    Back in 2022, in its Open Government Partnership National Action Plan, the government promised to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation. Since then they've run a secret "consultation" on how to do that, with their preferred outcome being that agencies will consult the Ministry of Justice ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Crashing New Zealand's health system is not the way to prosperity, Prime Minister
    Another day, and yet another piece of bad news for New Zealand’s health system. Reports have come out that General Practitioners (GP) may have to close doors, or increase patient fees to survive. The so-called ‘capitation’ funding review, which supports GP practices to survive, is under way, and primary care ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    3 days ago
  • Closer Than You Think: Ageing Boomers, Laurie & Les, Talk Politics.
    Redefining Our Terms: “When an angry majority is demanding change, defending the status-quo is an extremist position.”“WHAT’S THIS?”, asked Laurie, eyeing suspiciously the two glasses of red wine deposited in front of him.“A nice drop of red. I thought you’d be keen to celebrate the French Far-Right’s victory with the ...
    3 days ago
  • Come on Darleen.
    Good morning all, time for a return to things domestic. After elections in the UK and France, Luxon gatecrashing Nato, and the attempted shooting of Trump, it’s probably about time we re-focus on local politics.Unless of course you’re Christopher Luxon and you’re so exhausted from all your schmoozing in Washington ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • How the Northwest was lost and may be won
    This is a guest post by Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which we encourage you to check out. It is shared by kind permission. The Northwest has always been Auckland’s public transport Cinderella, rarely invited to the public funding ball. How did ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    3 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Tuesday July 16
    Luxon has told a Financial Times’ correspondent he would openly call out China’s spying in future and does not fear economic retaliation from Aotearoa’s largest trading partner.File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy on Tuesday, ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Tuesday, July 16
    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 6:00 am on Tuesday, July 16 are:PM Christopher Luxon has given a very hawkish interview to the Financial Times-$$$ correspondent in Washington, Demetri Sevastopulu, saying ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Tuesday, July 16
    Photo by Ryunosuke Kikuno on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 6:00 am are:BNZ released its Performance of Services Index for June, finding that services sector is at its lowest level of activity ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • The second crisis; assumption was the mother
    Late on the night of July 16, 1984, while four National Cabinet Ministers were meeting in the Beehive office of Deputy Prime Minister Jim McLay, plotting the ultimate downfall of outgoing Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon, another crisis was building up in another part of the capital. The United States ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    4 days ago
  • Can we air condition our way out of extreme heat?
    This is a re-post from The Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler Air conditioning was initially a symbol of comfort and wealth, enjoyed by the wealthy in theaters and upscale homes. Over time, as technology advanced and costs decreased, air conditioning became more accessible to the general public. With global warming, though, ...
    4 days ago
  • Review: The Zimiamvian Trilogy, by E.R. Eddison (1935-1958)
    I have reviewed some fairly obscure stuff on this blog. Nineteenth century New Zealand speculative fiction. Forgotten Tolkien adaptations. George MacDonald and William Morris. Last month I took a look at The Worm Ouroboros (1922), by E.R. Eddison, which while not strictly obscure, is also not overly inviting to many ...
    4 days ago
  • Media Link: AVFA on the Trump assassination attempt.
    In this episode of “A View from Afar” Selwyn Manning and I discuss the attempt on Donald Trump’s life and its implications for the US elections. The political darkness grows. ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    4 days ago
  • Law & Order: National Party 1, Police 0, Public -1
    What happened?Media is reporting that police have lost in their pay dispute with the Coalition Government.Some of you might remember that the police rejected Labour’s previous offer in September, 2023, possibly looking forward to be taken care of by the self-touted ‘Party of Law and Order’ - National.If you look ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    4 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the Trump shooting and a potential hike in fees for visiting the doctor
    Having watched Donald Trump systematically exploit social grievances, urge people not to accept his election loss and incite his followers to violent insurrection… it is a bit hard to swallow the media descriptions over the past 24 hours of Trump being a “victim” of violence. More like a case of ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Monday July 15
    The exploitation of workers on the national fibre broadband rollout highlights once again the dark underbelly of our ‘churn and burn’ economy. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy today are:An extraordinary Steve Kilgallon investigation into ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Monday, July 15
    Photo by Jessica Loaiza on UnsplashTL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last three days to 9:00 am on Monday, July 15 are:Investigation: Immigration NZ refused to prosecute an alleged exploiter despite a mountain of evidence - ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • City Centre Rebuild: How Soon Is Now?
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    Greater AucklandBy Patrick Reynolds
    4 days ago
  • Peril, dismay, resolution
    This afternoon we rolled into Budapest to bring to a close our ride across Europe. We did 144 km yesterday, severe heat messages coming in from the weather app as we bounced along unformed Hungarian back roads and a road strip strewn with fallen trees from an overnight tornado. Somewhere ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • Bullet the Blue Sky
    In the locust windComes a rattle and humJacob wrestled the angelAnd the angel was overcomeYou plant a demon seedYou raise a flower of fireWe see them burnin' crossesSee the flames, higher and higherBullet the blue skyBullet the blue skyThe indelible images, the soundtrack of America. Guns, assassinations, where-were-you-when moments attached ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Monday, July 15
    TL;DR: The top six announcements, rulings, reports, surveys, statistics and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the three days to 6:00 am on Monday, July 23 are:University of Auckland researcher Ryan Greenaway-McGrevy published an analysis of the impact of Auckland's 2016 zoning reforms.BNZ's latest Performance ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s diary for the week to July 23 and beyond
    TL;DR: The six key events to watch in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy in the week to July 23 include:PM Christopher Luxon has returned from a trip to the United States and may hold a post-Cabinet news conference at 4:00 pm today.The BusinessNZ-BNZ PSI survey results for June will be released this ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Was The Assassination Attempt Fake?
    Hi,It’s in incredible photo, and we’re going to be talking about it for a long time:Trump, triumphantly raising his hand in the air after being shot. Photo credit: Evan VucciYou can watch what happened on YouTube in real time, as a 20-year-old from Pennsylvania lets off a series of gunshots ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    4 days ago
  • 40 years ago, inside the crisis that made modern NZ
    It had rained all day in Auckland, and the Metro Theatre in Mangere was steamed up inside as more and more people arrived to celebrate what had once seemed impossible. Sir Robert Muldoon had lost the 1984 election. “Piggy” Muldoon was no more. Such was the desire to get rid ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #28
    A listing of 34 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, July 7, 2024 thru Sat, July 13, 2024. Story of the week It's still early summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The season comes as our first year of 1.5°C warming ...
    5 days ago
  • Unsurprising, but Trump shooting creates opportunity for a surprising response
    I can’t say I’m shocked. As the US news networks offer rolling coverage dissecting the detail of today’s shooting at a Donald Trump rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, and we hear eye-witnesses trying to make sense of their trauma, the most common word being used is shock. And shocking it is. ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    5 days ago
  • Escalation in the States as Trump is shot and his allies capitalize on the moment
    Snapshot summary of the shooting in the States belowAnd a time to remember what Abraham Lincoln once said of the United States of America:We find ourselves in the peaceful possession of the fairest portion of the earth, as regards extent of territory, fertility of soil, and salubrity of climate. We ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • Bernie Sanders: Joe Biden for President
    I will do all that I can to see that President Biden is re-elected. Why? Despite my disagreements with him on particular issues, he has been the most effective president in the modern history of our country and is the strongest candidate to defeat Donald Trump — a demagogue and ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • Questions from God
    Have you invited God into your online life? Do you have answers for his questions? Did I just assume God’s pronouns?Before this goes any further, or gets too blasphemous, a word of explanation. When I say “God”, I don’t meant your god(s), if you have one/them. The God I speak ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • The politics of money and influence
    Did you know: Four days ago, the CEO of Warner Bros Discovery (WBD), David Zaslav, opined that he didn’t really care who won the US Presidential election, so long as they were M&A and business friendly. Please share my Substack so I can continue my work. Thank you and happy ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • Auckland & Transport Minister Simeon Brown's insanity
    Excuse me, but I just don’t feel like being polite today. What is going on with Simeon Brown? I mean, really? After spending valuable Ministerial time, focus, and government resources to overturn tailored speed limits in school and high fatality zones that *checks notes* reduces the risk of deaths and ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • Were scientists caught falsifying data in the hacked emails incident dubbed 'climategate'?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by John Mason in collaboration with members from the Gigafact team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Were scientists caught falsifying data in the ...
    6 days ago
  • What Happened to David D'Amato's Millions?
    Today’s podcast episode is for paying Webworm members — and is a conversation seven years in the making. Let me explain.Hi,As I hit “send” on this newsletter, I’m about to play my 2016 documentary Tickled to a theatre full of about 400 Webworm readers in Auckland, New Zealand.And with Tickled ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    6 days ago
  • Voting as a multi-order process of choice.
    Recent elections around the world got me to thinking about voting. At a broad level, voting involves processes and choices. Embedded in both are the logics that go into “sincere” versus “tactical” voting. “Sincere” voting is usually a matter of preferred … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Women in Space.
    Count downThree twoI wonderIf I'll ever see you againI'm 'bout to take offI'm leaving youBut maybeI'll see you around somewhere some placeI just need some spaceA brief reminder that if you’re a Gold Card holder you can subscribe to Nick’s Kōrero for 20% off. You’re also welcome to use this ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Bernard’s Saturday Soliloquy for the week to July 13
    Auckland waterfront, July. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My top six things to note around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the week to July 13 are:The National-ACT-NZ First Coalition Government watered down vehicle emissions standards this week, compounding the climate emissions damage from an increasingly ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Dems need to ask the right question about Biden as his age now defines the campaign
    Midway through the news conference that many American political commentators had built up as critical to Joe Biden’s re-election chances, the US president said European leaders are not asking him not to run for a second term, “they’re saying you gotta win”.The problem for Biden and his advisors is that ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    6 days ago
  • Govt flounders while ocean temps soar
    TL;DR : Here’s the top six items of climate news for Aotearoa-NZ this week, as selected by Bernard Hickey and The Kākā’s climate correspondent Cathrine Dyer, most of which they discussin the video above. According to experts, the rate of ocean surface warming around New Zealand is “outstripping the global ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Learning From Brexit
    Whether Britain leaving the European Union was right or wrong, good or bad is for the Brits to decide. But there are lessons about international trade to be learned from Brexit, especially as it is very unusual for an economy to break so completely from its major training partner.In Econ101 ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
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  • New infrastructure energises BOP forestry towns
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  • $22.7m of West Coast resilience projects underway
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  • Inflation data shows progress in economic recovery
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  • Regional Development Minister to host summits
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  • NZ, Korea strengthen relationship
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  • Investing for future growth in tourism and hospitality
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  • District Court judges appointed
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  • NZDF’s Red Sea deployment extended
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  • Celebrating 100 years of progress
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  • Foreign Minister to travel to Korea and Japan
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  • Huge opportunity for educators and students as charter school applications open
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  • Providers of military assistance to Russia targeted in new sanctions
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  • $25 million boost for conservation
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  • New Zealand increases support for Ukraine
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