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The Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Bill

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, July 16th, 2021 - 133 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, gay rights - Tags:

The Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Bill is heading for its second reading in August.

Public submissions and Select Committee changes are now complete.

It responds to the recommendations from the Minister of Internal Affairs’ review of October 2016. It updates and amends provisions in the existing law, and responds to three discrete issues raised in the Law Commission’s review of the burial and cremation law.

The actual text of the bill is here.

Much of this bill has had no controversy attached to it. All the submissions are on file there.

There is however minor controversy about people being able to change the sex on their birth certificate. We have been able to do this since 1995, but the process, according to Minister of Internal Affairs Jan Tinetti, is confusing, intimidating, and time-consuming. Currently people who want to amend their birth certificate have to involve the family court and present medical evidence of physical sexual transition.

This particular legislative point fixes the inability of the Citizenship Act 1977 to allow Internal Affairs to issue replacement citizenship certificates with attributes differing from the original grant of citizenship. Minister Tinetti has stated in February this year that:

I recognise that this can have negative impacts on the transgender and intersex communities, and I acknowledge the importance of having documents which align with your identity.”

With that late change made to the Bill, the Green Party’s Dr Elizabeth Karekare came out in March in full support of it:

The current process for changing gender markers on birth certificates is full of unnecessary and discriminatory barriers. This legislation will make self-ID provisions for birth certificates consistent with our world-leading passport and driver license self-ID provisions.”

Here’s how to change your gender on your New Zealand passport or drivers licence, should you need to.

The debate on this bill has been going on in Parliament since November 2017, which is too long.

However the inclusion of this administrative fix into the bill makes it a better bill.

There will, I expect, still be debate about sex and gender identity that goes around for a while. But once the bill is done and dusted, that will die down pretty quickly into just another small fix that gets done all the time through Parliament.

Around this second reading, I expect, some conservative MPs seek to conflate free speech limitations with gender identification.

A poll of 1,000 New Zealand respondents in December 2020 found that only one in every ten New Zealanders believe it should be a crime to publicly claim that gender is revealed at birth and is not a matter of personal identity. The stuff people try and make controversy out of is frankly OMG.

With that little poll was published by Family First,  the fringe on the activist right are about as content as those on the activist left within the LGBT+ communities.

None of that noise matters to this bill and what it will actually do.

The actual societal cost to the trans community won’t stop there, since they are already poorly served by the state.  In the recent health survey Counting Ourselves, that community faced serious mental health inequities in comparison to the general population (granted they are not alone in this).

That poll also revealed that 83% of survey participants had the incorrect gender listed on their birth certificate.

So probably the broader public debate will peak for a bit in August and grumble on for a bit.

But from the point of Parliament doing its job to ensure that state identification instruments provide people with the choice to identify they way they want, Parliament is well on its way to enabling this government to achieve its intended job.

133 comments on “The Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Bill ”

  1. mickysavage 1

    It has just been pointed out to me that unusually there will be a second round of select committee hearings. Jan Tinetti has said:

    “The Bill will have its second reading in August, after which I will invite a select committee to consider public submissions on the self-identification provisions in the Bill so that everyone can have their say. I would like to hear more, for example, from our diverse communities, including Māori, Pacific peoples and ethnic communities, as well as young people.”

    But Ad has otherwise summarised this issue well. The proposed changes are to simplify existing laws that allow gender reassignment to occur. Part of the current test requires the court to do the following:

    (b) it is satisfied that the applicant is not a person of the nominated sex, but—

    (i) has assumed and intends to maintain, or has always had and intends to maintain, the gender identity of a person of the nominated sex; and

    (ii) wishes the nominated sex to appear on birth certificates issued in respect of the applicant; and

    (c) either—

    (i) it is satisfied, on the basis of expert medical evidence, that the applicant—

    (A) has assumed (or has always had) the gender identity of a person of the nominated sex; and

    (B) has undergone such medical treatment as is usually regarded by medical experts as desirable to enable persons of the genetic and physical conformation of the applicant at birth to acquire a physical conformation that accords with the gender identity of a person of the nominated sex; and

    (C) will, as a result of the medical treatment undertaken, maintain a gender identity of a person of the nominated sex; or

    (ii) it is satisfied that the applicant’s sexual assignment or reassignment as a person of the nominated sex has been recorded or recognised in accordance with the laws of a State for the time being recognised for the purposes of this section by the Minister by notice in the Gazette."

    One of the major problems is that through hormonal treatment a person may have formally adopted a gender identity but the section does not regard this as being sufficiently permanent. And gender reassignment operations under the public system are very hard to find.

    • Ad 1.1

      Cheers for the addition there.

      • mickysavage 1.1.1

        No problem. It is highly unusual and rather suggests that the Government is quite happy to have the debate.

        • Anker

          MS see my post above. The Govt isn't happy to have the debate. I am a member of the Labour Party and despite getting endless surveys on what policies matter to me, gender self id was never mentioned. Jan Tinetti the Minister of Women's Affairs has refused on numerous occassions to respond to SUFW when they request a meeting. She barely replies to their correspondance.
          When I reviewed Labours policy statements for the election, I could find no reference to gender self id.

          Given a vote compass bill just before the election showed that the majority of people didn't support this change, sneaking this bill through is undemocratic. A lot of people I know don't even know about the bill. I move in progressive circles and most of them are shocked to hear about it and have concerns.

          So no you are wrong. The Government aren't happy to have the debate.

          • Incognito

            Labour had already committed to the bill, so why would it have to debate it with its members, again, and campaign on it?

            In any case, present Government is open to the debate, which is different from what Labour chose to debate with its members or not during the election campaign.

            • Anker

              My understanding was the bill had been mothballed and as a fully paid up member of the party whose done quite a bit of work for them, I had never heard about it.

              But you say it was debated, so I accept that. When was that.

                • weka

                  That doesn't answer the question though. I've been told a number of times now that the bill was debated publicly already and so we should shut up, but I don't remember hearing about it the first time and certainly didn't see a wide debate about the impacts on women.

                  re that parliamentary timeline, which was the point where the self ID bit was added in? After the public consultation right?

                    • weka

                      I don't know what either of those two statements mean.

                      1. self ID was inserted at the second reading?

                      2. you thought I was saying you were telling me to shut up?

                    • Incognito []

                      2. you thought I was saying you were telling me to shut up?

                      Avoiding and clearing up any confusion 🙂

                    • weka

                      (one of the reasons I'm unclear on the timelines is because I've not seen one written out clearly with regard to what we are raising, but also, gender activists have presented their own view on it and it's muddied things, to their advantage).

                    • weka

                      When I said "I've been told a number of times now that the bill was debated publicly already and so we should shut up," I was talking about GAs, not you.

                    • Incognito []

                      All good 🙂

                      The debate (about the bill) is continuing and is going back to SC as MS stated.

                    • weka

                      I guess there is something there about me wanting other people to be careful not to say similar now too.

                      You said that current government is open to debate. I disagree, it has taken an ideological stance already and is aligned with the No Debate position despite having to follow parliamentary process. Is Labour facilitating open debate around the country? Tinetti has already said there's no issues for women. Are Labour putting this out to women to discuss?

                      Querying why Labour didn't take this to their members seems a completely reasonable thing to ask by a Labour member. I can tell you some of what the GP have done, basically shut down debate within the normal democratic in-party processes when members tried to raise the issues that affect women. It's horrible.

                    • weka

                      The debate (about the bill) is continuing and is going back to SC as MS stated.

                      Labour are remedying the process they fucked up the first time round 😉 by making sure that the public have the usual (not unusual) access to input.

                      Tinetti from MS's comment,

                      I would like to hear more, for example, from our diverse communities, including Māori, Pacific peoples and ethnic communities, as well as young people.”

                      Hmm, I wonder what group is missing from there? 🤔 Labour want to hear about trans rights, not women's rights.

            • weka

              No way would Labour take this to members or pre-election public. Because there are too many unanswered questions and they don't want women to be involved in the debate as it would open a can or worms. And yes, yes, for everyone, I'm not saying all women, I'm pointing out that almost no discussion has been had about the issues that GCFs are raising as important to discuss.

              (I’m also assuming an ideological stance in parts of Labour that support the No Debate position).

              • Incognito

                I suspect that Labour did not turn it into a core policy to actively campaign on for a number of reasons. Jacinda Ardern is on record stating her commitment to the bill before the 2020 election. It is not my problem if Labour Party members feel left out or uninformed.

                • Anker

                  Yes but one thing Jacinda has said on many occasions is that if you are going to be transformational, you have to take people with you. She hasn’t done this with this issue at all.

                  it unbelievable that the minster of women refuses to engage with women about a piece of legislation she is promoting that they oppose. Actually it’s disgraceful

                  • solkta

                    Had you considered that the Minister for Women is standing up for trans women? As you know the Ministry for Women consider trans women to be women, why wouldn't the Minister?

                    The Ministry for Women represents the interests of all women, including transgender women, and it recognises the right of all people to self-identify.

                    In doing so, the Ministry has considered New Zealand law and international conventions. In particular, we follow the legal definition set out in human rights legislation, which states that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, have the same human rights and freedoms. All sexual and gender minorities in New Zealand have these rights. This aligns with recommendations made by the United Nations Convention of the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).


                    • weka

                      is that an acknowledgement that there is a conflict of rights? Tinetti isn't standing up for women but is standing up for trans women. I wonder why.

                    • Anker

                      I agree Solka. "All people regardless of their sexual oreinetation or gender identity have the same rights etc

                      What rights do you feel trans people in NZ currently don't have? Geniune question.

                      I would be happy to see a trans ministry set up separate from the Ministry of Women.

                      The Ministry of Women changed in as much as seeing trans women as under their umbrella, with no consultation and their are no official records of how this happened. It began under Gentler's leadership.

                      I think the process should have been more open and it should have had more analysis done. Not done just because two Ministers acccepted the idea that trans women are real women.

                    • Muttonbird

                      All that can really be said is that Tinetti isn't standing up for SUFW.

                    • Anker []

                      “all that can really be said is Tinetti isn’t standing up for SUFW”

                      no, that’s not all that can be said. The Minister has refused to meet with SUFW on a number of occasions and up till very, very recently, ignored correspondence from women concerned about the bill, many of us who are not part of SUFW. In other words any one with concerns about the legislation.

                      given the issue is so contentious, Tometti could have shown some leadership and brokered a deal, or at least facilitated debate. Her position has contributed to the polarisation and IMO she has failed in her role as Minister of Women.

                      you have to remember that SUFW are not the only ones who oppose the legislation. The majority in last years vote compass poll did too. And there were a significant number of undecideds, which speaks to the need for more debate. Tinetti is the equivalent to Muldoon over the Springbox tour.

                      my prediction is that this issue will divide NZders as the tour did and the battles will become increasingly viscous

                    • jan rivers

                      Other information in this OIA makes clear this decision was made without public notification, consultation, policy work, documentation or risk assessment on a date that cannot be identified. A little odd eh?

                    • Jan Rivers

                      This decision was not communicated to stakeholders, consulted on, the subject of policy work, risk assessment or consultation. it also misses out on clarifying whether thousands of natal women now identitying as male have ceded their opportunities to be represented by the Ministry and its services.

            • Jan Rivers

              "Labour had already committed to the bill" ??? By failing to include it in the 2020 manifesto you mean but by allowing Tamati Coffey to reveal the news. A shameful obfuscation in my book.

    • Anker 1.2

      Yes but MS the gender self id bit was added to the changes in the legislation after public submisssions to changes to the other bits of the legislation had closed.

      Crown law then advised the Minister at the time that the process was undemocratic, which it was, and that the legislation would put an undue burden on the courts to rule over the conflict between the gender self id changes and the the Human Rights Act, which sets out a number of rights for women including the rights to their own private spaces for toilets and change rooms, "for public decency and safety".

      Minister Martin cited Crown Law's advise as reasons not to proceed with the legislation.

      So the chance for the public to make submissions on gender id, has only happened once.

      Since you appear to be in support of the changes (both you and Advantage) can you please answer the following question. Are you o.k. with males who have not medically transitioed identifying as women and accessing public change rooms, naked with their penis out, where girls and teens are changing?

      • mickysavage 1.2.1

        This has been one of the major examples used in the US to roll back LGBTQI rights. Vox has this comment about the controversy:

        “Then conservatives began scaring people about bathrooms. They argued that HERO would let trans people use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. Once that happens, they said, men will disguise themselves as trans women to sneak into women’s bathrooms and sexually assault women. (This has never happened as a result of states’ nondiscrimination laws. More on that later.)

        The tactic worked: In November, voters rejected HERO, which once looked like a winner in the polls. Conservatives managed to turn public opinion to oppose an LGBTQ nondiscrimination law by scaring people about bathrooms.

        Religious and social conservatives celebrated the win. Finally, after losing fights over Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and same-sex marriage for years, this was a talking point that seemed to actually push back against the expansion of LGBTQ rights.

        So when Charlotte, North Carolina, passed a nondiscrimination law that sought to ban discrimination against LGBTQ people in public accommodations, North Carolina Republicans immediately turned to bathrooms to repeal the measure.

        Then-Gov. Pat McCrory warned, “This shift in policy could also create major public safety issues by putting citizens in possible danger from deviant actions by individuals taking improper advantage of a bad policy. Also, this action of allowing a person with male anatomy, for example, to use a female restroom or locker room will most likely cause immediate State legislative intervention which I would support as governor.”

        Republicans in the state legislature got on board. On March 23, 2016, the legislature introduced, it passed, and McCrory signed into law a measure that bans all local nondiscrimination ordinances that include sexual orientation and gender identity, and effectively prohibits trans people from using the bathroom and locker rooms for their gender identity in schools and public buildings.1

        The legislature, in other words, managed to use fears about trans people in bathrooms as a cudgel to successfully repeal laws that protected LGBTQ people from discrimination.

        Since then, North Carolina’s law has become a national controversy, with businesses, celebrities, and politicians chiming in on both sides. Many spoke out against the law, but some places considered their own anti-LGBTQ and anti-transgender measures. As the New York Times noted, at times it seems like the nation is in the middle of a “bathroom hysteria.”

        There’s just one problem: The basis for concerns about trans people in bathrooms is a myth.”


        • Anker

          WEll I don't have time to read your comment on bathrooms right now Mickey, but I will.

          You may not have heard about the Wi Spa incident in California where a naked male who identified as a women was in a spa with women and gilrs.

          We have reports of men in womens changing rooms already.

          Btw my right to privacy in change room and to have it as women's only is specified in the Human Rights Act. How dare you think that is o.k. to tell women that they should just give away their rights without discussion and respecting our boundaries.

          • mickysavage

            I can think of a few laws that could be applied if something like that was to happen.

            The Crown Law advice you refer to says this:

            "Accordingly, in our view, it is likely that a court asked in 2019 to determine sex by reference to the general law of New Zealand for the purposes of a person's access to reserved entitlements, facilities, services, roles or opportunities, or their rights and obligations under the law, would apply a multi-factor assessment. The factors identified in Corbett (including psychological factors — how the individual perceives themselves) would likely still be relevant. However the court would also likely take into account social factors — how society perceives the individual. These factors may no doubt be informed by the sex recorded on the person's birth certificate and other identity documents (as evidence that the person perceives themselves to be of particular sex or gender, and that at least some of the institutions of government recognise them in that sex or gender)."

            In other words self identification may not bring about the sorts of incidents that some fear about.

            The proposal is to simplify an existing legal mechanism. It would be good if the debate focussed on what is actually being proposed.

            • weka

              Micky, would you mind translating that into lay person language? Isn't that saying that sex recorded on birth certificate would be a significant factor in accessing single sex spaces and services?

              • mickysavage

                Yes but not a conclusive one. The biggest policy issue the Crown had was what to do with male prisoners who self identify as being female and where they should be placed.

                • weka

                  So if the Wi Spa situation happened in NZ, would the spa be legally right to say that they had no choice but to admit a TW who had no medical or surgical transition to the women's area?

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    Weka, the Wi Spa 'situation' has been examined from various perspectives. Imho it's important to establish the facts of the situation before amplifying it by posing local hypotheticals, but too late now.

                    Violence Over a Transphobic Hoax Shows the Danger of Underestimating Anti-Trans Hate
                    Police suspect the viral L.A. Wi Spa video is fake—but it still got two people stabbed.
                    Anti-trans activism is often thought of as a sideshow or a distraction, but these events show the real dangers of an increasingly extremist anti-trans backlash. In this case, an uncorroborated suggestion that a trans woman was using a women’s space ignited a protest that resulted in violence and led to a woman being hospitalized. That there was likely no trans woman there to begin with only underscores how thin a pretext is needed to prompt these sorts of outbursts from the far right. Trans people and our allies should not ignore the growing anti-trans sentiment in this country.

                    Another PoV was posted on The Standard's 6 July Daily Review.

                    The basic points are that there are often (at least) two sides to every 'situation', and that truly disinterested/neutral evaluations of any contentious event are rather rare. Certainly my evaluation (from a considerable distance) of the "Wi spa situation" is not disinterested.

                    Fwiw, I have been consciously avoiding thinking about ‘matters trans‘ for the longest time, but some comments on The Standard are pushing me towards a particular PoV – kinda inevitable.

                    • weka

                      Ok, fair enough, I will stop using the Wi Spa thing as an example here. I'd still like answers to the questions.

                      Here is the question in the NZ context: would it be ok for a trans woman with no medical or surgical transition to walk around fully naked in the women's changing rooms at the local pool in front of women and girls?

                      I'm trying to get clarity on what is likely to happen in NZ going forward. If liberal men believe this is fully ok, women need to know. And consequently, how should women respond if the situation arises.

                      The most obvious thing about this for me is how would any woman know if the naked male bodied person was a trans woman or not.

                      As others have noted, the lack of explanation of these things is prominent. They're not hard questions, why are so few people willing to address them.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    Here is the question in the NZ context: would it be ok for a trans woman with no medical or surgical transition to walk around fully naked in the women's changing rooms at the local pool in front of women and girls?

                    They may not be hard questions, but useful answers can be hard to come by – imho it's not appropriate for me to attempt an answer.

                    However, redirecting:

                    Here is the question in the NZ context: would it be ok for a trans man with no medical or surgical transition to walk around fully naked in the men's changing rooms at the local pool in front of men and boys?

                    I would consider that inappropriate behaviour. I try to cover up as much as possible – you know, like wrapping a towel around before changing into togs at the beach – out of (maybe prudish) modesty. And that's my 'problem', in more ways than one.

                    Ideally everyone should feel (at the very least physically) safe at all times, but thresholds for feeling safe vary hugely depending on the situation and the individual. I think I understand how the hypothetical circumstances described in your question could make some women and girls feel unsafe, which is far from ideal (and some might consider it harmful in itself), but I don't have the information needed to quantify the actual or relative risk of harm.

                    In a few decades this issue will either be a much bigger or a much smaller deal – personally I prefer smaller.

                    Article 29 (apologies for the built-in sexism)

                    1. Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
                    2. In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
                    • Anker

                      I agree Droswy, I think it would be worrying for a trans man to be walking around naked around boys and men. I would imagine that decent men, of whom I believe there are many, are likely to feel uncomfortable by this.

                      But. back to the question that no one seems prepared to answer or address…….is it o.k. for a male bodied persson who identifies as a women to be naked in a change room with women and girls with his penis out?

                    • weka

                      I'm glad to hear some input on how self-ID potentially affects men. I would like to point out that for women it's not hypothetical. Women in prison have already been raped by males using self-ID to access them. Filming of women undressing is already on the rise in areas that have gender neutrality.

                      "but I don't have the information needed to quantify the actual or relative risk of harm."

                      Right. And the reason you don't is not because that information isn't out there, it's because gender activists, sometimes very high powered and well funded ones, pushed No Debate. We've not been able to talk about this without a lot of risk.

                      (and you can add to that the fact that before this became an issue on TS this year, we've had years of feminists not being able to write here because of the lack of support from men. I certainly would have been writing about this had I been able to write on TS as a feminist).

                      Left wing men who value democracy, social justice, fairness should be fucked off about this too, on that alone. No Debate has done so much damage, including to the whole range of gender non-conforming people.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      But. back to the question that no one seems prepared to answer or address…….is it o.k. for a male bodied persson who identifies as a women to be naked in a change room with women and girls with his penis out?

                      At 3:33 pm I stated that "imho it's not appropriate for me to attempt an answer.", but since both you and weka have now asked this question, I would hazard a guess that the answer (no/yes/it depends) would depend on who you asked.

                      I wouldn't be ok with it (but then I wouldn't be in a women's changing room – kinda ironic calling it "a change room" in this context). Maybe if they wore a tight-fitting 'trans ankle bracelet' – nothing too in your face – then it would be less inappropriate, but overall appearance generally trumps intent.

                      It’s also simply astounding to me just how effective the “No Debate” gender activist have been in stiffling discussion – thank goodness The Standard hasn’t been af

                    • McFlock

                      But. back to the question that no one seems prepared to answer or address…….is it o.k. for a male bodied person who identifies as a women to be naked in a change room with women and girls with his penis out?

                      I do seem to recall suggesting that if the issue is with behaviour, nothing is stopping the behaviour from being addressed.

                    • Anker []

                      So the onus is women to monitor the behaviour of males who identify as women. It’s not just about what we see, it’s about what they see, including teen girls and children.

                      so no, no thanks. Let’s keep it as it is with no biological males in the change room.

                      let some clever person come up with an alternative

                    • McFlock

                      No, the onus is on facility operators to provide safe environments for employees and members of the public. That hasn't changed. Nor will it.

                    • weka


                      I do seem to recall suggesting that if the issue is with behaviour, nothing is stopping the behaviour from being addressed.

                      Cool. The behaviour in this case is male bodied people entering women's space. How do you suggest this is addressed?

                    • McFlock

                      Cool. The behaviour in this case is male bodied people entering women's space. How do you suggest this is addressed?

                      The problem as described was:

                      Here is the question in the NZ context: would it be ok for a trans woman with no medical or surgical transition to walk around fully naked in the women's changing rooms at the local pool in front of women and girls?

                      The behaviour is "walk around fully naked in the women's changing rooms at the local pool in front of women and girls".

                      also cf: the wi spa person complaining that she saw a penis.

                      Might a rule around discretion would solve many problems while still not discriminating against someone because of who they are rather than what they do?

                    • weka

                      what kind of rule around discretion? If you have a penis in women's space you must cover it up? The problem here isn't solely the penis, it's having a male body in the women's space in the first place. It's not actually about discriminating against who the person is, it's saying the class of person (male) is to be excluded for the wellbeing of women.

                      (note here I am talking about male bodied people not TW, because afaik, with self-ID cultural changes, there will be no way for any woman to know if the naked man in front of her is a TW or not)

                      We have women's spaces currently, for a range of reasons. Modesty, social norms, religious requirements, protection from predatory males (voyeurism, filming, sexual harassment), and women/girls who are survivors of sexual assault not having their PTSD triggered or even just having to deal with anything at all.

                      Not something talked about much but I would add there are a range of positives that comes from women having space to themselves, there's an atmosphere and kinds of interactions and sense of self that happen in groups of women that just doesn't happen when there's a male in the room. Women's business.

                      (I think those positives are true for men, and I would guess trans people too).

                    • McFlock

                      But if you don't know a person has a penis, and there is no other behaviour that is an issue, how does someone else having a penis you don't know about affect you?

                    • weka

                      most people can recognise a male most of the time when they see them fully clothed. But if we're talking about a spa or the changing room at a pool, it's not hard to see how a male is going to be recognised even with a penis covered. If you are talking about trans women who pass when clothed, that's a different conversation.

                      The point here is that gender activism now says that a woman is anyone who says they are a woman. There are plenty of trans women with no intention of transitioning, and there are plenty of predatory men who know how to lie, or even just ones who want to hang out in women's space for whatever reason.

                      Can you see how problematic this is, and in fact how potentially dangerous?

                    • weka

                      Alex Drummond for instance. What are the behavioural rules that could be applied?


                      I find Drummond really interesting, and fully support the whole thing they are doing with their identity and breaking gender norms. I just don’t think they should be classified as a biological woman.

                    • McFlock

                      But if we're talking about a spa or the changing room at a pool, it's not hard to see how a male is going to be recognised even with a penis covered.

                      I don't know how closely you examine the genitals of people in changing rooms, but tucking is a thing. Some folks are damned good at it. You could well have shared a changing room with a woman who had a penis and never known it.

                      As for predatory men, even going to the effort of getting their driver's license changed doesn't actually give them carte blanche to go where they want. Because there's no law change in the works about discriminating against creeps.

                      The only thing that changes is the excuse that is chosen to kick them out.
                      And it’s not like the lack of paperwork has stopped them before.

                    • weka

                      not sure what you are saying there McFlock given what I just said about the ability of most humans to recognise males without having to see their genitals.

                      When you said woman with a penis, did you mean a trans woman? Because if they're naked or half clothed, their genitals aren't the only way to observe their maleness.

                      Are you assuming that the only TW in women's spaces will be those that pass as women? Why are you thinking that?

                    • weka

                      Re predatory men, at the moment if a male looking person comes into women's changing rooms, the cultural norm is to challenge that. eg I could go to the office of the pool and tell them there is a man in the women's changing rooms and I'd have a reasonably expectation they would take action.

                      Self-ID isn't just the BRMRR, it's a broader social change. No-one is going to be asking for birth certs, self ID will mean that any man can say they are a woman and it will be culturally unacceptable to challenge that. How can women tell if the male person is a man or a trans woman? Or the pool staff.

                      This has already become an issue in the UK eg the department store that decided to let men try on women's clothing in the women's part of the store. Predatory here doesn't mean sexual assault necessarily, it's more likely to be filming women undressing without their consent. Or voyeurism without filming.

                    • McFlock

                      The thing that gets me about your gender profiling in the changing rooms is not just that you're not detecting the ones who didn't ping your man-dar, but also the number of false positives you assume were "men" but who actually weren't, even by your definition.

                      And again, the only impact you seem to come up with is behaviours – behaviours not limited to people you regard as men.

                      self ID will mean that any man can say they are a woman and it will be culturally unacceptable to challenge that.

                      Even in that eventuality, there is nothing stopping anyone who has a bad feeling about the self-id-ing person's claim from finding some other reason to refuse entry, or to alert the staff to unacceptable behaviour.

          • Forget now

            The apparently fabricated video of a supposed incident at Wi Spa that lead to two stabbings in the ensuing protests and counter protests. That's the best you have Anker?

            Still, despite the horrific tragedy of this reckless hatred, it is slightly amusing to see the Pratchettian phrase; "friendly stab", used IRL.

            Link not copying on android mobile today. Urquhart's July 9th article in Slate was my source.

            • weka

              Not sure how that is relevant to the post. The point being made is will self-ID, via BDMRR and also social change, mean that male bodied people, (of whatever gender ID) will be able to access spaces and services previously reserved for women and girls?

              There's a fair amount of evidence already for self ID and gender neutrality causing problems in various countries, from women's changing rooms to women's prisons. Some of that is trans women, but much of that is men. Irrespective of what happened at Wi Spa, it's not an isolated incidence.

              My own view is that this is mostly resolvable and would have been sorted by now if not for the No Debate and anti-GCF activism. Most women want trans people to be ok too, we just want to make sure that our rights and needs aren't lost in the process.

              • Forget now

                It was a reply to Anker at (rather than OP); who was the one who raised the Wi spa issue. Sheer incredulity jolted me out of my resolve to emulate Sacha and stop wasting my time with a debate where not many seem to be talking; with, rather than; at, one another. Not much seems resolvable until that changes.

                But, no; I don't imagine that the "Gender Critical" fabricating evidence is an incident isolated to Wi Spa. Unsure why you feel it necessary to proclaim that though.

                Do you at least condemn the stabbings, Weka? Or are those simply collateral damage in the war?

                • weka

                  I know what Anker said, I don't know who did the stabbings or why (yeah, that's completely why we ask people to provide links) and am not getting into that in this thread. Drowsy provided a clearer explanation above of the problem of referring to Wi Spa, which I hadn't known about.

                  I put my questions more clearly in the NZ context with no reference to Wi Spa in response to them https://thestandard.org.nz/the-births-deaths-marriages-and-relationships-registration-bill/#comment-1803062

                  I'll also restate my comment to you:

                  In the context of this post, there is a point: will self-ID, via BDMRR and also social change, mean that male bodied people, (of whatever gender ID) will be able to access spaces and services previously reserved for women and girls?

                  There's a fair amount of evidence already for self ID and gender neutrality causing problems in various countries, from women's changing rooms to women's prisons. Some of that is trans women, but much of that is men.

                  My own view is that this is mostly resolvable and would have been sorted by now if not for the No Debate and anti-GCF activism. Most women want trans people to be ok too, we just want to make sure that our rights and needs aren't lost in the process.

                  • Forget now

                    Here's that link Weka:


                    Though you have to accept that commenting via mobile is a bit tricky at the moment (not wanting to suggest any urgency to my recent difficulties commenting with lprent sick and site update being in progress), I was hoping that there might be a bit of slack about citation format for the duration.

                    So your question is:

                    will self-ID, via BDMRR and also social change, mean that male bodied people, (of whatever gender ID) will be able to access spaces and services previously reserved for women and girls?

                    Which I take to mean; will trans people assigned male at birth be able to access public spaces designated for woman? My answer is; they already do.

                    My question remains; do you condemn the violence in the Wi Spa (or any) trans exclusionary activist protest?

                    Prior to the protest, a Los Angeles trans woman was falsely accused by anti-trans feminists of being the alleged transgender person in the video. She received multiple death threats and harassment, including a picture of a masked man brandishing an assault weapon threatening to shoot her…

                    A right-wing protestor drew a gun on a person recording the event and told him it was “something to shoot you with.” A videographer wearing a vest marked “PRESS” was struck from behind by a right wing protester with a metal pipe. Another anti-trans protester stabbed two people: a pro-trans counter protester who was reportedly hospitalized by the wound, and a fellow anti-trans protesters while she was attempting to help him off the ground. The LAPD quickly declared the protest and counter-protest unlawful assemblies and dispersed them…

                    Flyers are circulating online advertising a second protest against Wi Spa on July 17th. LAPD sources says they are aware, and will be taking steps to avoid a repeat of July 3rd. However, as of publication, no warrants, indictment, or arrests have been made as a result of the violence.


                    Today is now the 17th, though it's a fair while yet until the LA laggards catch up to us on the date. At least there's no one dead. This time. So far.

                    • weka

                      Though you have to accept that commenting via mobile is a bit tricky at the moment (not wanting to suggest any urgency to my recent difficulties commenting with lprent sick and site update being in progress), I was hoping that there might be a bit of slack about citation format for the duration.

                      I've asked about this in OM, would love details on what you are experiencing. https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-17-07-2021/#comment-1803279

                    • weka

                      So your question is:

                      will self-ID, via BDMRR and also social change, mean that male bodied people, (of whatever gender ID) will be able to access spaces and services previously reserved for women and girls?

                      Which I take to mean; will trans people assigned male at birth be able to access public spaces designated for woman? My answer is; they already do.

                      Nope. I mean any male bodied person. Men, trans women, NB people with male biological sex.

                      Please explain the legislation that allows any or all of those people to use women's facilities eg single sex changing rooms at a pool, a sexual abuse survivor group for women, women's toilets in a pub.

                    • weka

                      I consider the Wi Spa protests to be off topic here. If you take the question to OM I'll look at what you are talking about.

            • Anker


              So it is alleged that the Wi Spa video is a hoax, I am not going to get into a debate about that. It may have been, it may not. But if you read this article you will see that another spa is quoted Century Spa and is reporting they had this problem with a trans gender person

              But anyway, hoax or no hoax………the question is what do the men on this site think about women wanting to preservce women's facilities such as change rooms, toilets, spas for biological women only as set out in the human rights act?

              • greywarshark

                Will we have more or less of this? Are various women to be used as a learning module in what women's bodies look like under their clothes? Can we please for the sake of a better balanced society have better sex education that actually shows people's bodies, men and women and get this sort of leering ended? I think that there is a lot of prurience in NZ – weird that this is the case in the 'advanced ' 21st century.

                2021 https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/depraved-man-filmed-women-using-hidden-camera-in-bathroom/VYR6A6H3SLUFAWA4PRZULGLSYQ/

                Is this man depraved? Really? He is juvenile in his mind, for sure. Dealing with him should include looking the women in the face and saying that he is sorry and admitting he needs to learn about how to cope with his sexuality.

                2018 https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/104165708/health-professional-sentenced-for-filming-colleagues-in-toilet

                A 44-year-old man, who has interim name suppression, installed a small camera in a bathroom used by staff, capturing video footage of at least 10 colleagues using the toilet.

                Doesn't sound professional to me. Definitely out of balance in attitude. He needed counselling, along with his partner.

                But men will drop in on women's toilets with a widening of permissive legislation. But then if men are so keen to be women that they are dressed like ordinary women, even if they haven't had an op, then women won't know though may suspect. If it became a frequent happening, it would become unpleasant. And at present a caregiver can trust that a child is safe using the women's toilet if its nearby. Change that, and they will need to be accompanied, the expectation of safety is challenged.

                But it is so much faster for a man with a penis to have a pee, the men's would be better than waiting in the frequent queues for the women's, unless that gives a bloke a 'buzz'. And trans-men, are they wanting to use men's toilets, or is the direction mostly the other way. There seem to be a fair sprinkling of decent men in the community and on this site, what is wrong with being a bloke anyway? Why not think about staying as a bloke till the next war looms and then change?

        • Jan Rivers

          You have failed to answer the question though.

          Are you o.k. with males accessing public changing rooms, naked with their penis out, where girls and teens are changing?

          • RedLogix

            This cuts both ways. As weka noted elsewhere, an increasing number of young females are transitioning to males (whatever that means) and as a mature man I would not be keen to share the same 'public changing room' space with them either.

            My motives would be different to yours Jan, my concerns would be more a matter of legal and social vulnerability than physical or emotional – but they'd be just as important to me.

  2. Mika 2

    I will try to come back later to comment on the rest of your piece later Advantage, as there are many assertions you make that are not correct.

    But for now, we need to acknowledge that birth certificate documents SEX at birth not gender identity. Trying to conflate biological sex, an immutable material fact, with the subjective and socially constructed stereotypes of gender identity, is what has us got into this whole toxic mess in the first place.

    • mickysavage 2.1

      Can you comment on why a relatively modest change to the existing law is creating a toxic mess?

      • Mika 2.1.1

        Hi Micky

        The BDMRR bill is not the cause of the toxic mess, rather the bill itself is a consequence of the ideological campaign in recent years to replace the category of sex – legally, medically, socially, culturally and statistically-with the regressive stereotypes of gender identity.

        The bill buys into the current fashion that claims, without any material evidence, that each of us is born with an innate gendered soul, ie an inborn preference for masculinity or femininity, and that this gendered soul is independent of our material bodies and of the social influences of our patriarchal culture. Gender identity theory suggests that women like me, who know we are female, have some innate preference for subjugation and oppression.

        Gender identity theory is the most toxic and regressive ideology I have ever come across, and yet here we have a Labour government- a government I campaigned hard for- pushing this ideology into law.

        As my comrade Jenny Whyte says on Twitter

        • mickysavage

          The law was enacted in 2010. This is a proposal to simplify and change it. Expanding the debate to include gender identity theory whatever that may be is not warranted.

          • weka

            A huge amount has changed since 2010 Micky, including how people choose to identify, who chooses to identify, and the numbers of people choosing to identify.

            'gender identity' is the term used in the current BDMRR legislation.

            Declarations of Family Court as to sex to be shown on birth certificates issued for adults


            Subject to subsection (3), the Family Court may, on the application of an eligible adult (the applicant), declare that it is appropriate that birth certificates issued in respect of the applicant should contain the information that the applicant is a person of a sex specified in the application (in subsection (3) referred to as the nominated sex).


            The court shall issue the declaration if, and only if,—


            it is satisfied either that the applicant’s birth is registrable under this Act but is not yet registered, or that there is included in the record of the applicant’s birth—


            information that the applicant is a person of the sex opposite to the nominated sex; or


            information that the applicant is a person of indeterminate sex; or


            no information at all as to the applicant’s sex; and


            it is satisfied that the applicant is not a person of the nominated sex, but—


            has assumed and intends to maintain, or has always had and intends to maintain, the gender identity of a person of the nominated sex; and


            wishes the nominated sex to appear on birth certificates issued in respect of the applicant; and




            it is satisfied, on the basis of expert medical evidence, that the applicant—


            has assumed (or has always had) the gender identity of a person of the nominated sex; and


            has undergone such medical treatment as is usually regarded by medical experts as desirable to enable persons of the genetic and physical conformation of the applicant at birth to acquire a physical conformation that accords with the gender identity of a person of the nominated sex; and


            will, as a result of the medical treatment undertaken, maintain a gender identity of a person of the nominated sex; or


            it is satisfied that the applicant’s sexual assignment or reassignment as a person of the nominated sex has been recorded or recognised in accordance with the laws of a State for the time being recognised for the purposes of this section by the Minister by notice in the Gazette.


            Please correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding is that those bits in bold will be replaced with self-ID. This means that male bodied people can say they are a woman and the state will change their birth certificate on the basis of that. It's not a minor change. It sits alongside the social shifts happening towards gender neutrality and removing sex as a protected characteristic. This has implications for women.

            My own view is that trans people shouldn't be required to undergo medical or surgical treatment in order to access the same provisions by the state that everyone else gets (and overmedicalisation is a big issue in the gender/sex debate). I also believe that women have the right to single sex spaces and services. There's an obvious conflict of rights there, one that we need to resolve.

            Pushing through this legislation without allowing women to talk about it openly and freely and with good access to information is a recipe for social disaster in NZ.

            • Sabine

              It is not only women who are seemingly not allowed to have an opinion on all of that.

              edit: These people ‘may’ or ‘may not’ be gay, and ‘may’ or ‘may not have ‘ a secret agenda. So read with salt ready to throw over yer shoulder.

          • Anker

            Mickey if you don't understand what gender identity theory is, then you will not know the full context of this seemingly small law change. Gender identity theory is at the heart of the debate.

            I am surprized that males such as yourself and Advantage might not looked a bit deeper when you saw these debates happening on the Standard with the like of Weka, Sabine, Rosemary and Anne and others asserting women's sexed based rights.

            I am surprized that no men have paused to wonder why a feminist group with mostly left wing members, were shut down by four libraries for holding meetings to discuss some legislation. Why they went to the high court and won their case to be allowed to hold public meeting and the Judge said it was clear they were not a hate group. Didn't something make some of you men pause and think hold on a minute, maybe we should listen to our female comrades on the Standard and try and understand this from their point of view.

            As far as I can tell the people such as McFlock, Sascha, Solka, Incognito and yourself and Ad are all men. How come you didn't pause and take in what us women were saying?

            • Incognito

              Again, speculation and assumption 🙁

              FWIW, you have no idea what I do or not do to help ‘your debate’. So, maybe this should give you some pause for thought before you jump to incorrect conclusions, yes?

              • Anker

                Fair comment Incognito I will pause before jumping to conclusions.

                I based my assumption from yesterdays post and what you said about Sacha. He came on first posting a joke that was a little provocative then later said why do we have this endless debate on the Standard everyday. (or words to that effect).

                I have found that most of Sachas arguments involve correcting my use of language and as I said to him I would rather leave it to the moderators to pull me up if I am out of line. So I disagreed with your take on Sacha coming on in good faith.

                • Incognito

                  Moderators encourage robust debate and won’t interfere easily and lightly. You may have noticed that there has been hardly any moderation lately.

                  Proper use of language, words, meanings, and even clear articulation and construction of arguments all help to improve debate. Similarly, proper reading (comprehension) AKA listening is a skill that can be learned.

                  In my personal view, the debating culture here on The Standard is mediocre, but still heaps better than on other blogs and generally (but not always) better than nothing.

                  None of this is personal, as far as I am concerned.

                  • Anker

                    thanks Incognito.

                    And thanks for moderating. Its probably a bit of a thankless task.

                    Thanks to all on the site for moderating.

                    • greywarshark

                      And thanks Anker for persisting in being a balanced, thoughtful commenter in everything you do. A good example to me.

            • weka

              so much in that, thanks for laying it out clearly.

            • Tabletennis

              Anker, thank you for your contribution
              -I'm utterly disappointed that as a women we need yet again defend our place in society against the new misogyny put in an inclusive jacket.

              This by Suzanne Moore on the UK Green Party.

              'What really concerns me here, though and there is no need to rehearse the whole gender ideology debate is a profound lack of joining the dots and a true international perspective.'

              'Ecological change can only come about through empowering women and understanding that they are key.
              There can be no ecological revolution without a feminist one. The exploitation of female bodies is intrinsically tied to late capitalism which ravages the earth. If the Greens do not make that connection what are they for? What are they doing? '

              giving non-binary, gender fluid and any person male bodied person the right to say I’m a women will set back any progress that have been made for sex-based rights.

              • greywarshark

                'Ecological change can only come about through empowering women and understanding that they are key.
                There can be no ecological revolution without a feminist one. The exploitation of female bodies is intrinsically tied to late capitalism which ravages the earth. If the Greens do not make that connection what are they for? What are they doing? '

                To me this sums up our problems these days. The climate change and general culture change is the essential thing to be focussed on, plus reversing the desire to downgrade the idea of assisted social mobility thus increasing poverty and poor health, hopelessness, violence and other crimes. But middle class women brought up with increasing dollops of the Me generation, (the base ground having been laid by concerned feminists thinking that they were helping everybody forward), have thrust themselves to the fore in the political mess we are in and insist on sorting out matters to suit themselves as the paramount consideration.

                The above quote says to me that they are half-hearted about climate, placing themselves as the main issue of importance. And the rest of us have to put up with this, because women are always right. I haven't found women to be so, and not even mostly good and kind either, which is another trope.

                Love and concern for the planet and all in her, is the most important thing, and where that can't be the simple answer, then understanding and standards of care and control, are the appropriate ones. There is a lot to do in practical ways, so those people who want to upset all of our basic practices and start again need to pause, breathe deeply and put aside their wants. If things don't change from the Me-first, know-all argumentative approach that uses up precious time needed for conserving our taonga and our culture which we should work on to improve, not throw out, I won't be voting Green or Labour. I am so disappointed with matters at present, I thought we would have a better grasp on priorities in this century.

            • mickysavage

              I have kept out of the debate until now because it appears to have evolved and moved in ways that I am not sure are appropriate.

              I have witnessed two feminists that I respect battle it out over this issue in a face to face discussion. One was protective of the rights of women, the other expressed the view that it was wrong to punch down on members of our society who are in unfortunate positions.

              I am one of the few lawyers in the country that have been involved in a case under the existing law and I am aware of the limitations and the frustration that the law caused.

              There can and should be a debate about the nuances of self identification and what it means in different circumstances. But for me I thought the current law relating to the ability to change the sex that you are recorded at birth is not working and should be freed up.

              The other discussions are for working out the nuances of self identification and what it means in different circumstances.

              Me adding my perspective to the debate is not being disrespectful to feminists. I take it that you accept there is no single feminist view of who is right and who is wrong?

      • Rosemary McDonald 2.1.2

        …a relatively modest change…

        Then why not simply cut to the chase and remove "sex" as an identifier on a person's foundation identity document?

        This would save an awful lot of faffing around moving forward.

        • weka

          If sex is removed from birth certificates, how does the state know that I am a woman? How would it assess how many women there are who need rights upheld?

          Or was that your point?

          • Rosemary McDonald

            If this Bill is passed as is writ…"sex" on a Birth Certificate will mean nothing. It is supposed to describe biological sex. Which does not change.

            What on earth will be the point of filling in the form with "male", "female" or "intersex" if it can be changed at a later date, simply on a person's say so?

            And perhaps changed again at a laterer date…? Because I don't see anything in this Bill to prevent this.

            And once a person has made that legal change to the "sex" marker on their birth certificate, I think a judge might find it next to impossible to refuse to allow that now-female but male-bodied person to serve their time in a female prison.

            Again, I don't see anything in the Bill that would allow for a male bodied rapist who has legally changed their sex to female being forced to serve their time in a male prison.

            Because their birth certificate shows that they are "female". And if a judge did try to rule on the side of sense and send that male-bodied rapist to a male prison, the judge could very well face a challenge under the HRA.

            Because this Bill effectively allows a person to change sex. Which is, of course, completely impossible in the real world.

            So I say… remove the requirement to state the sex of the child on the Birth Certificate. This Bill renders that particular bit of data redundant.

            Sorry weka…but the state gives not a shit about actual, real women.

            Woman: any adult human who chooses to be.

            Women, as we are, will cease to exist.

            Clearly, very little thought has gone into the potential long term effects of what mickysavage opines is a relatively modest change to the law.

            It is a profound change, as it negates the reality of biology.

            Our very real and valid concerns as women are being dismissed in an surprisingly savage way.

            Speak Up For Women have been misrepresented repeatedly in these pages. When challenged to provide evidence of the 'hate' they are accused of, these stalwart defenders of transwomen's rights resort to snark and insult.

            As if women have any right whatsoever to have an opinion about who gets to call themselves 'woman', and indeed what "woman" actually means.

            Many women commenting here have shown an amazingly generous and gracious willingness to discuss this very important matter so as to arrive at a solution that is acceptable to all.

            Huge respect, sisters, but I fear your pearls are finding nothing but stony ground.

            • weka

              ok, so you're not suggesting that removing sex from the BC is a good thing, just that it's the only meaningful thing left after self-ID? (did I get that right?).

              Totally agree about the inability of GAs to explain the problem. Here's my understanding from the past few days: having a birth certificate is central to being a citizen in NZ. Putting barriers in the way of trans people having a birth certificate that matches their transitioned state (the consensual fiction) is unfair and discriminatory because it prevents them having the same access to public life as non-trans people. SUFW trying to block the bill keeps the status quo i.e. trans people being prevented from taking part fully in public life.

              I agree with all of that.

              It's not the whole story (obviously 😉 ).

              What if we didn't have a sexist left and choice feminism? What if when the issues started to arise feminists had been able to say, yeah, we get it, some of us have some concerns about how this will also affect women, so let's sit down and figure out how to make good societal change. What if instead of No Debate, we'd had five years of working through all the issues in consensus, power-sharing processes?

              What if the people who want gender and the people who want gender abolished had had the opportunity to listen to each other and hear what the other sides concerns are, and then had the support to work through the conflicts?

              eg what if the people wanting to remove the medical/transition requirements had gotten together with the people concerned about pressures on young lesbians to transition and the people who have good experience with patient's rights from both accessing health care and preventing harm from health care.

              eg what if we had a range of GCF groups in NZ, free to speak, who said yeah, nah can't support self ID, but here's the other ways we think that the needs of trans people can be meet so they can take full part in society, what do you think?

              We are so far from any of that, and it's zero coincidence imo that this issue is arising at the same time as free/hate speech. That the left still thinks No Debate is anything other than really fucking dangerous at this point in history blows my mind.

              • Rosemary McDonald

                ….it's the only meaningful thing left after self-ID? Yes. I'm a cut-to-the-chase kind of person.

                Putting barriers in the way of trans people having a birth certificate that matches their transitioned state (the consensual fiction) is unfair and discriminatory because it prevents them having the same access to public life as non-trans people. That's why we need to get rid of the "sex" identifier on birth certificates.

                I am totally opposed to embedding the biological fallacy of being able to change one's sex. One alternative could be to retain the "sex" classification(which is accurate in about 98% of births) and allow an adult (16/18 years) to legally register their chosen "gender identity" as an addition to their birth certificate, if that legal recognition is so necessary to their wellbeing. (I personally struggle with accepting these labels…my sex is female…and I refuse to be pigeonholed into some artificial gender identity.)

                We should all be living our lives without having to conform to those old, archaic, socially constructed sex-roles that weighed down and hobbled our fore-parents.

                We should be able to accept our biological and physical realities while reveling in the freedoms that modern life allows us as adults. That's what growing up is all about.

                This demand from the trans community that we set aside the biological fact of sex should have been gently but firmly rejected right from the start. The rest of us are being coerced/bullied/manipulated into accepting the falsehood that sex, like gender, is a social construct that can be changed at will.

                And what really concerns me, as a woman, is how little empathy transwomen and their allies have for the women who have very valid fears about male-bodied persons being allowed into women's safe spaces. Like toilets, changing rooms, women's refuges.

                I am not saying that transwomen are necessarily a threat…it just undermines their claim of being 'real women' when they have seemingly no concept of the threats that women have to face from predominantly men. And that having to share our 'safe' spaces with the male -bodied can be just too much for some of us to tolerate. Their complete rejection of these well-founded fears, and their shrill cries of "hate" and "violence" when we have tried to explain to them how so many of us feel has done considerable damage to their bid for acceptance as women.

                And the way some transwomen athletes have responded to the concerns of women athletes is shameful. How does one respond when a professor of philosophy dismisses claims of unfairness as coming from losers…?

                So hard to accept them as women then they treat us women with such contempt and disrespect.

                To be honest, I don't think there is a way through this. Stopping all debate, deplatforming, censoring and crying "Hate Speech" at the slightest of perceived slights has effectively made this issue un- debateable now. Perhaps, one day in the future, folks will come to their senses and realize that buying into a bid to delete the reality of biological sex might not have been such a smart idea. There were other ways of sorting this without going to this extreme.

                I have learned to now snicker derisively when that whiff of barely concealed misogyny wafts around TS when the Men of the Left are getting all het up at what they perceive is our bigotry. If they are rebels short of a cause…why on earth this one?

                • weka

                  That's indeed a question that I guess will be explored at a later date :-/

                  Much of what you say I would call gender activism rather than trans people. Because I don't like to think of any group as a hive mind and I'm unclear how many trans people are on board with the post-material reality ideology rather than just needing a better deal from society.

                  The birth cert thing may be about affirmation, but what I'm hearing is it's also about protection from discrimination. It's not hard to see that if someone's name is Fiona and their birth certificate says they are male that this sets them up for a range of problems.

                  I'm probably more hopeful than you about the potential for resolution but I do feel a fair amount of concern about the state of the world and how this particular issue will play out. Hard to imagine a worse time for the left to be so badly split, but we can hope this is the worst of it rather than what is to come.

                  Btw, this in case you haven't seen it is one of the best things I have seen written. Clear, personally honest, laying out the issues. "Person with testicles comes off the fence." as the Times writer put it.

                  A recognisably totalitarian declension seemed to be being imposed: if you said biological sex was real then you argued with the ability of someone who felt they should be the other sex to simply assert that uncontested. That meant you were denying their “existence” as the new sex. Which was tantamount to denying their existence as a human being. Which was close to saying you wanted them and everyone like them dead. Which is the kind of thing the Nazis did. So you’re a Nazi. And we can’t let Nazis publish Nazi thoughts in books. Or speak at universities, or sully our public spaces with their terrible prejudice.

                  Joyce is icily furious. What is happening, she observes, is not an attempt at destroying both biological sexes, but just women and their rights. It is women who benefit from “safe spaces” where they can undress away from stronger human beings with penises from whom, they have learnt the hard way, there can be a threat.

                  It is young women and girls who are increasingly turning up at clinics wanting to be reassigned as boys and men. And, she argues, all too easily being given life-changing treatment. “In 1989, when the Tavistock clinic [in London] opened, there were two referrals, both young boys. By 2020, there were 2,378 referrals, almost three quarters of them girls, and most of these teenagers.”


                  • Rosemary McDonald

                    Thanks for the link to the article…and in return...Uncritical Allegiance:the harms of queer ideology.

                    The background to this is Queer Theory’s push to queer the boundaries. This entails an ambitious project to re-engineer language and meaning, to which everyone must fall into line including transgender and LGB people who do not accept Queer Theory.

                    Along with the denial of biological sex has come the view that it is bigoted to define one’s sexual orientation in terms of the sexed body. Instead, we should be attracted to people in terms of their internal gender identity. But homosexuality and heterosexuality involves a stable pattern of attraction to a particular biological sex – the ‘sex’ in the middle of those words is a clue.

                    It's a long read with lots and lots of links, so I'm going to transfer to my tablet and take it and a hot water bottle to my bed. The author is strongly advocating for a respectful resolution and stresses the point that…

                    This is about social bubbles, to which we are all prone.

                    This is about an ideology, and the harms that accumulate when unintended consequences are ignored, and when mention of these is enough to cause uproar and silencing.

                    It’s about what happens when a social bubble is hermetically sealed, so that the only thinking seen or heard is thinking that’s compatible with ideas already circulating. We’ve seen it with the dismissal of information about the climate crisis. We’ve seen it with QAnon…beliefs that race through networks, untouched by reality.

                    The stronger the bubble membrane, the more it repels information that does not comfortably align with the shared narrative.

                    Anyhoo…thought it was interesting.

      • Sanctuary 2.1.3

        Because the debate is largely being led by a tiny group of post-modernist fanatics who see sex as just another social construct used to oppress trans people and ignore completely the vast, vast majority of the population who are still quite fond of a world grounded in some sort of shared objective experience – like "woman" being a noun describing a female person. In this, these extremists have been egged on by a liberal class desperate to prove their liberal credentials by being on board with the latest identity politics cause celebre.

        Some of the behaviour of these extremists is very anti-democratic and chilling, and is marked by rigid ideological exclusion and is quite disgusting in it's hysteria and extremism, and fully qualifies as cancel culture in action. It is the one of the metas behind the recent disquiet over the hate speech legislation.

        • RedLogix

          Very well said. You do have a talent for the concise that I often envy. yes

          • Tabletennis

            Moving forward you think?

            Non-binary is no joke

            Becoming “sex-less” allows people to opt out of sex-based rules

            Why does it matter to you if others are “sex-less”?
            First, becoming “sex-less” allows people to opt out of sex-based rules and to sidestep standard UK legal definitions. But this doesn’t affect only them. Sex-based rights and responsibilities depend on their being universal and applying to us all. This matters most to women and girls. It’s harmful to gay rights too: the definition in law of sexual orientation relies on the sex binary.

            We are already seeing “non-binary” people claiming sex-based categories don’t apply to them; that their sex-less or “gender-fluid” identity means they should choose where they fit and when. Trans pressure groups are already promoting the idea that non-binary identities should have access to women-only spaces. It’s just one more way for males to access women’s spaces, opportunities and prizes. Only this time they claim to be “sex-less” instead of “female”.


        • Anne

          Hear hear.

      • weka 2.1.4

        "Can you comment on why a relatively modest change to the existing law is creating a toxic mess?"

        Because self-ID generally has implications for women's rights and discussion about that has been actively suppressed from a number of quarters.

        Tinetti herself says there is no impact on women, so why is it still so hard to talk about this? Why are NZ women, across the board, not allowed to have a free and open discussion about how they see this?

        If it's such a 'minor controversy', why are women still being told to shut the fuck up, why are so many women afraid to speak publicly?

        • weka

          Also, in the UK which is several years ahead of us in the debate, Gender Activists (GAs) have been trying to remove the single sex exemptions from law. This would mean an end to women's space. It's not hard to see why women would be upset about this, and doubly so when being subjected to high levels of abuse and harassment when trying to talk about it.

  3. Anker 3
    • If possible I will link the SUFW video from their talk in Wellington if I can.
    • given you have posted this Advantage I hope you will have the courtesy to listen to what women who oppose this bill think?
  4. RedLogix 4

    Reading the debate on this topic has by and large made me thankful that I chose to self-censor on 'gender' issues some years back. It's become an absurdist drama writ large with multiple layers of irony. I've argued hard against the entire identity politics edifice right from the outset for one simple reason – that any political model that divides people into fixed categories and then insist that the only proper analysis can only view their relationship in terms of power and oppression quite frankly takes us in completely the wrong direction,

    By contrast I've consistently claimed that while human diversity is essential, and that it's ultimate expression lies within the rights and liberties of the individual, that this principle must also be balanced by an equally powerful concept of our common humanity. That essentially human development is best viewed as an ever-expanding horizon of social inclusion, cohesion and moral unity.

    A glance at our wobbly, uneven progression over the past 10,000 years from hunter-gatherer through to more than 7b humans sitting on the cusp of a truly global civilisation is the undeniable testament to this principle. And that both principles, both the essential diversity that is the uniqueness and value of each individual, and our connectedness as one common humanity, play out in an ever evolving interplay of both rights and responsibilities – privileges and duties.

    Looping back to this legislation. The OP would present it as a minor tidy up of outdated legislation – yet it isn't happening in a vacuum. Whatever the merits of making it administratively easier for people to change their sexual identity, we cannot ignore simultaneous reality of a highly visible activist movement that more broadly seeks to nullify the distinction between male and female altogether. Allowing individuals to change sex at will unquestionably tilts us strongly in that direction. Yet it's an idea as problematic as allowing people to change race at will (we even have a word for it when someone simulates this for a comedic or dramatic purpose).

    And of all the immutable characteristics that feed into building the unique identity of each one of us – our sex is surely one of the most basic and enduring. Specifically women have good reason to want to claim and defend what that means to them. (It would of course be nice if some would also recognise that men might feel much the same as well, but that's a whole other argument.) In that light there is strong argument to suggest that maintaining a reasonably high legal and administrative barrier to changing sex is a good thing, and while this clearly imposes a burden on a very small minority of people, there is a much wider and important reality that male and female are different (even as we share much in common) and this is a distinction we should not undermine lightly.

    • Dennis Frank 4.1

      I've argued hard against the entire identity politics edifice right from the outset

      Arguing against human nature, eh? wink Seems perverse – yet I share your principled premise. Politics is better driven by common ground than microdivision via categories.

      The psychology of label-wearing is differential/reductionist whereas the psychology of the commons is integral/holist. Since integration and differentiation don't negate each other in college maths, why do political activists choose one and reject the other? Seems rather simple-minded.

      Best way to transcend a binary is by using a third alternative. That means transformation of public urinals into a threesome of options. Along with an LGBTQXYZ-style label at the entrance of the third cubicle, activists will probably seek to add user-created options (confused, indeterminate, dunno wtf). Focus on a solution to the problem could short-circuit the endless bitching, eh?

      • Incognito 4.1.1

        Unfortunate choice of words there, Dennis.

        The way I see this is not as merely a string of technical issues that require mostly technocratic solutions, but a power struggle. You can be the judge how much of that struggle is real or perceived [i.e. this entirely rhetorical].

        To grasp the concept pf integration and differentiation you won’t need to go to mathematics; psychology would be ideal but probably also an overreach for most – keep it as simple as possible. Try biology: the body is a fully integrated and highly functioning system of highly differentiated cells, tissues, and organs. When some cells de-differentiate and transform they can become disintegrated, and give rise to so-called benign cancer/tumour. When these cellular structures start to interfere with the overall structural integrity and functioning of the system, it is called malignancy or malignant cancer. The latter form can induce much disfigurement, discomfort, pain, and suffering and even lead to death, i.e. total system collapse.

      • Nic the NZer 4.1.2

        I may need to revise my college maths, as I understood integration and differentiation to be mutual inverses.

        • RedLogix

          True, but no mathematician uses only one method to the exclusion of the other. Both are essential.

  5. weka 5

    Micky, where's the FP image from? Was that a NZ event?

  6. Tabletennis 6

    Advantage: regarding changing your gender on NZ passport or driving license:

    gender = women /man; sex = female/ male

    It seem authorities in NZ are still confused what is what:
    Drivers license do not record ones sex or gender, well mine doesn't…
    A NZ-passport records ones sex: F/M

    "That poll also revealed that 83% of survey participants had the incorrect gender listed on their birth certificate."
    You might as well say 100%, because GENDER is not recorded – ones SEX is recorded: Male or Female, sometime intersex as 'X' on your birth certificate.

  7. greywarshark 7

    With that late change made to the Bill, the Green Party’s Dr Elizabeth Karekare came out in March in full support of it:

    The current process for changing gender markers on birth certificates is full of unnecessary and discriminatory barriers. This legislation will make self-ID provisions for birth certificates consistent with our world-leading passport and driver license self-ID provisions.”

    This shows that the changes are unnecessary. There is a pathway to carry out this important change, it is just that there is a demand for everything to be easier and faster. I say go slowly and fairly. We have done this and brought about change, and nothing else need be done.

    There are egregious limitations for those in pain wanting to die. But its not in fashion to care about people suffering from poor conditions as they experience the life changes that can happen to anyone, and for which medical help has been devised. Strange world. We can't even have the quality assistance with childbirth that would be expected in this modern world, and promoting parents as deserving much help in their essential role for a good, stable society isn't forthcoming.

  8. McFlock 8

    NZ Association of Scientists throw their oar in:


    • Tabletennis 8.1

      McFlock – yes, a good example of pseudoscience:

      Sex is Not a spectrum

      'Dr. Hilton and I had scant space to explore in detail the actual science of biological sex and the pseudoscience that is sex spectrum ideology.
      There are two main arguments typically offered in defense of the claim that sex is a non-binary attribute that exists on a “spectrum.” The first is based around the existence of intersex conditions—people with intermediate or indeterminate sex characteristics. This argument claims sex cannot be binary if some individuals have sexual anatomy that appears to fall somewhere between male and female.

      The second argument typically offered in defense of the sex-spectrum model is based around secondary sex organs and characteristics. Secondary sex organs encompass all elements of our reproductive anatomy—apart from the gonads, which are the primary sex organs. Secondary sex characteristics, on the other hand, are sex-related anatomies that differentiate during puberty, such as enlarged breasts and wider hips in females; and facial hair, deeper voices, more musculature, and broader shoulders in males. Because the distribution of these secondary sex characteristics can overlap between males and females, it is argued we should therefore view biological sex as a continuum.'


      • Tabletennis 8.1.1

        Or for a shorter versions:

        The list of bad arguments forwarded by activists designed to undermine the reality of there being two and only two sexes is very long and constantly growing.

        McLean, took issue with that claim and forwarded a very common—and very wrong—portrayal of biological sex: that different sex chromosome compositions beyond the standard XX and XY each represent their own unique sex. In fact, Dr. McLean appears to suggest in his tweet that there may be as many as 10 biological sexes!

        • X – Female
          XX – Female
        • XXY – Male
          XY – Male
        • XYY – Male
          XXXY – Male


        “So no, these different chromosomal compositions are not new sexes, but rather represent natural variation within males and females. To illustrate by way of analogy, a person with Klinefelter syndrome (47, XXY) isn’t a new sex in the same way that a person with Down’s syndrome (who have 3 instead of 2 copies of chromosome 21) isn’t a new species.”

        • McFlock

          Yes, they were indeed excellent examples of pseudoscience.

          Unlike the post from the NZ Association of [actual] Scientists.

  9. Forget now 9

    Ijerph 17 02862 g002 550

    Figure 2. The inequities in K10 psychological distress scores between Counting Ourselves participants and the Aotearoa/New Zealand general population across age groups.


    Serious mental health inequalities indeed!

    The average distress in the general population going from 5 in adolescence to 3 in later life (K10 y-axis scale). For trans Aotearoans, we may get down to as merely twice as distressed as a teenager by retirement age. If we live that long (suicide as a means of decreasing apparent average distress in the survivors was not discussed in the paper).

    At least the graph is good to show the younger trans people in my vicinity when they are feeling particularly brittle – see things do get better (or you stop caring as much) with age! Though that's pretty cold comfort.

    Psychological distress was measured in our study and the New Zealand Health Survey using the Kessler Psychological Distress scale (K10)…

    Using data from the Counting Ourselves survey, this study explored the extent of mental health inequities that transgender people in Aotearoa/New Zealand face. There was a ninefold increase in the manifestation of high or very high psychological distress symptoms when comparing transgender participants (72%) to the general population (8%)…

    Our transgender participants were also more likely to report having received a mental health diagnosis by a health professional than the general population, with approximately fourfold differences for depression and more than fivefold differences for anxiety disorders… The mental health inequities between transgender and cisgender participants found in this study are consistent with and add to the body of evidence confirming the deleterious impacts of gender minority stress

    • Forget now 9.1

      Rereading that comment (at 9.0), I feel that the single bracket did not adequately explain that; the y-axis represents the population percentage of those who reach a certain threshold on a test scale previously used in the NZHS. Not variations in the intensity of distress up to or beyond that threshold. It's a bit of a proxy measurement for population distress because ethical clearance for human experiments (even a survey).

      I was more focused on the image anyway.

  10. Rosemary McDonald 10

    Will sex self-ID improve the mental health of the transgender community?

    (supposed to be a reply to Forget now)

    • Forget now 10.1

      Yes, the neverending hoops to jump through are one of the most frustrating things about being trans in NZ. The worst is the long delays in seeing psychologists who have neither experience nor training in trans issues, but are somehow supposed to be able to assess your worthiness to access the public health system's trans-affirmative resources own waiting list.

      It's not something I am particularly interested in myself, but apparently bottom surgery was a 17 year waiting list, which is a long time to shut up and wait patiently. I think it was supposed to be halved (or maybe budget doubled, which is not exactly the same thing) last budget {can't link on mobile at present} – but even 9 years seems an unreasonable wait.

    • Tabletennis 10.2

      Rosemary Mc:

      [May, 2021] The pillars of transgender medicine are shaking
      Recent studies have exposed the flimsiness of much of the evidence

      'However, this week [May, 2021] the world-renowned Karolinska Hospital in Sweden put the brakes on — “a watershed moment”, according to the Society for Evidence-Based Gender Medicine. It is the first time that a major hospital has officially deviated from the guidelines issued by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.'

      'The Karolinska declared in a press release that Swedish government investigations had”

      showed a lack of evidence for both the long-term consequences of the treatments, and the reasons for the large influx of patients in recent years. These treatments are potentially fraught with extensive and irreversible adverse consequences such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, infertility, increased cancer risk, and thrombosis.

      In its understated prose, the press release declares that it is “challenging” for doctors to assess the pros and cons of treatment and “even more challenging” for the patients and their parents to give truly informed consent.

      Therefore, the Karolinska will no longer prescribe puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for minors under age 16. Hormonal treatment for adolescents between 16 and 18 will be allowed, but only as research to be approved by an ethics review board. Basically, the Swedish authorities have decided that conventional gender medication is a potentially dangerous experimental procedure.'

      The UK’s NICE review of the evidence

      'In March the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published two systematic evidence reviews of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones as part of a review of gender dysphoria healthcare. It found that many frequently cited studies are very low quality.'

  11. Tabletennis 11

    A question for Advantage:

    Re the registration of a birth: fact the birth certificate belongs to the child.

    Scenario (being fought out in the UK): a couple, both trans: M2W (=biological male, but ID as women) and a W2M (=biological female, but ID as a man).

    The W2M has given birth. They want to record on their child's birth certificate the W2M as the father, and M2W as the mother.
    The M2W has also a GRC (gender recognition certificate), meaning this person's legal status on sex is female.

    Who 's right is paramount; for the child to know for certain, who its biological father and mother are on its birth certificate or of its parents, one of which has a supporting official legal document?

  12. My god, a sensible post about trans issues on The Standard. I'll keep my good mood intact by ignoring the comments …

  13. Jan Rivers 13

    This is a most bizarre post and has little connection with the truth. This anonymous person ADvantage does not appear to be acting in good faith.

    We do not know how the Bill will be introduced or the process that is planned or what changes are proposed. That information is not in the public arena. What we do know is that the variety of genders is now so extensive and so unstable that managing them through legislation has become impossible. They will be managed through regulation instead. Unicorn gender please!!

    DIA are warning that the process has been rushed even as Jan Tinetti has said it must be got right. The post select committee bill from 2018 will not even work as planned and there are unintended consequences. This information is from an OIA from DIA.

    Meanwhile the process for getting a changed birth certificate using the Family Court process has been made as easy as is humanly possible while still having a gate-keeping role. The government adopted all but 6 of the working group tasked with simplificiation's recommendation. As ADvantage must knows there is an active and extensive campaign against the bill that is much better organised that it was when it reached the second reading first time round in 2018. It is bouyed by a court finding that opposing self-id does not equate to being a hate group. Meanwile all of the existing problems – the lack of definition of sex, the danger of conflation, the unintended consequences are all still there in the Bill that is linked to.

    Meanwhile an senior official at DIA asked for an engagement plan with Speak Up for Women in April 2019. But nothing ever happened. Most government bills have months of consultation with interested parties including the release and feedback from exposure drafts of proposed bills. This has not happened.

    DIA has being doing some remarkable documentation half arse covering / half risk mitigation / threequarters verbal acrobatics to get things through. As late as the end of February the department could not even manage to create a cabinet paper. So things have been cludged together since and a cabinet paper has now gone through now and there is also a plan for the rollout of the Bill and the relevant messaging from government. This law whether it is successful or not and I have my doubts it will go through will be a millstone around this goverment's neck such are the downsides.

    Few are aware that as well as the UK Spain, Japan and Germany have withdrawn similar legislation and the counntries that the advice cites as having good self-id legislation Malta, Canada, Ireland have never had it debated democratically. That is the route that NZ is following. It’s a very poor reflection on Labour’s democratic process. Doubtles they want to get it out of hte way so that it is forgotten well ahead of the next election. I think that is unlikely to disappear somehow.

    • weka 13.1

      Ad isn't anonymous, he's pseudonymous. We don't allow anonymous authoring here except in some Guest Post situations. Using pseudonyms on TS is completely acceptable, and encouraged where necessary for commenters and authors. New Zealand is still a place where writing about politics can impact negatively on people's lives including their jobs. It shouldn't need explaining why that's important in a left wing space. We prefer it that people aren't hassled about using pseudonyms.

      • Jan Rivers 13.1.1

        Thanks for letting me know. As someone speaking in a personal capacity about this legislation and this issue I know only too well how exposed it can feel to be identifiable.

        But pseusdonymous authors surely have a responsibility to act in good faith. Misrepresenting easily checkable information undermines the quality of the site as well as the post.

        When someone writes apparently authoratitively as if they have inside information and then continue to be as misleading at this post does all readers are short changed.

        • weka

          All good. I was aware of the irony of explaining real life ID vulnerability to you. Thank you for all your work.

    • weka 13.2

      Thanks for the detail. I find it hard to track the timeline of what has happened and all the various twists and turns. Can't imagine how the public will get their head around it.

      Do you have more info on the issue of managing multiple genders via regulation?

  14. Forget now 14

    This piece from 2019 about the previous discussion around the BDMRR bill is long, but worth the read. Some of it is like a mirror to the present. Also real world examples of the; time, and money, costs of the present system. One other thing I've not yet seen mentioned is how much a waste of limited Family Court time this all is – to get them so needlessly involved in routine paperwork.

    "Knowing that the law sees them the same way they see themselves was important to us in that they would be able, without fear, to attend school and later be in employment as their lawful gender."

    The parents, who navigated the current process to change their teenager's birth certificate, estimated they spent 40 hours writing, and lodging documents to do so. The process also required four trips to the Family Court, two to a Justice of the Peace, and one to a GP. All up, they say it took 18 months to make the change. They tackled the court system as laypeople, saving what they estimated to be $5000 in lawyer fees, and say over the years they've spent at least $12,000 on medical treatment, including psychologist sessions, with their young person…

    Jack Byrne says that if people aren't able to be recognised before the law, it makes them vulnerable to not being protected by that law. Someone without a birth certificate confirming their gender identity is at risk of being outed as transgender, in situations where they may not want to be – opening a bank account, enrolling a child in school, applying for a student loan or where a pre-employment police check is required. "It's about things like being able to go to school, or being able to get a job," Byrne says. "Even though it may feel like it's just about registering details on a certificate."…

    Byrne also knows people who've experienced violence first hand; "I have trans and non-binary friends who have been physically or sexually attacked on the street, in public bathrooms, and in their own homes, because of their gender identity or expression. Many people from our communities have fears for their safety."…

    In 2008, five and a half years after Byrne transitioned, his father died. Byrne was still in the process of changing his birth certificate through the Family Court, and the sex marker still said 'female'. His brother, who was filling out details on his father's death certificate, asked him what what his legal name and sex was. Byrne lied to him. "There was no way I wanted to have female written beside my name… It was a couple of days after dad died. Those circumstances are very raw. I'm just really grateful he didn't push me to show him the incorrect document."…


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