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The latest battle in the culture wars

Written By: - Date published: 8:49 am, August 15th, 2021 - 79 comments
Categories: gay rights, Judith Collins, national, Parliament - Tags:

The last couple of weeks of Aotearoa’s culture wars has been interesting.

On Wednesday the Government brought back into Parliament the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Bill for its second reading.  There may have been background negotiations because the debate went remarkably smoothly.  National did not play any games.  Maybe they learned from the furore over their opposition to the banning of Gay Conversion Therapy bill that these issues need to be handled in a more respectful manner although the report back from the select committee indicated they would approach the issue in a responsible way.

Last week when the Gay Conversion Therapy ban bill was introduced National said that it supported the intent and wanted to make the bill better but then opposed its introduction.  With the latest bill they chose to  support it at least back to select committee.  Nicola Grigg, who kicked the debate off for National said this:

I rise as the National Party’s spokesperson for women to take a call on the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Bill, which National is pleased to support tonight. Can I start by acknowledging the trans community of New Zealand who we welcome, we embrace, and I commit now that so long as I am a member of this House I will work to advance their rights and protections—and I say that to every single woman in New Zealand, irrespective of the sex marker on their birth certificate.

I read that and the first thing I thought about is did they run this past Judith Collins?  Because her press secretary Ani O’Brien has, and I write this knowing that she has recently threatened some sort of legal action against someone on twitter for saying things about her and now has a gofundme page to pay for the legal action, has not been very supportive of the concepts behind the BDMR Bill which allows for self identification of gender.  Or am I misunderstanding her?  If I am wrong I am happy to be corrected.

Without a hint of irony Grigg also said this:

It is imperative the public, the experts, the clinicians, and trans New Zealanders can all have the opportunity to have a say and feed into this legislation. Organisations, groups, and individuals who have concerns about the impact of sex self-ID have not had the opportunity to contribute and be a part of the democratic process. It is now time for their voice to be heard. It has been a messy process, but I look forward to the select committee consideration of the proposed changes and to seeing if we in this House can produce a high-quality piece of legislation for all women. And I commend this bill to the House.

This contrasts starkly to the their opposite response to the Gay Conversion Banning Bill which National opposed, even though it was saying that it supported the principle.  This led to this extraordinary exhange in Parliament:

CHLÖE SWARBRICK (Green—Auckland Central): I seek leave of the House, Madam Speaker, to table a document. I seek leave of the House to table the document, the Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill, because it appears that the Opposition has not read it.

ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Hon Jenny Salesa): I seek leave of the House that that document be tabled.

Simeon Brown: Point of order. That’s not a point of order—that’s not a point of order.

ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Hon Jenny Salesa): Are you seeking a point of order, Simeon Brown? SIMEON BROWN (National—Pakuranga): Well, point of order, Madam Speaker. That’s a publicly available document.

The Bill may have been publicly available but this begs the question why National’s caucus had not read it.

Ad wrote this, in my opinion,  very good analysis of the BDMRR bill.  I agree entirely with his comments.  Other lefties do not.  That is the way that progressive politics roll sometimes.

My personal view is that the BDMRR Bill is not too radical.  It alters what is currently a rather difficult process to have your gender on your birth certificate changed into something easier.  The rationale is compelling.  Someone who has transitioned from what was conventionally regarded as their birth sexual identity could be discriminated against if they were obliged to present official documentation relating to their birth to a prospective employer.  This bill allows this possibility to be avoided.

Which makes it so strange that National let it through without the hint of a culture war.  Trying to stop the banning of the barbaric practice of gay conversion therapy is pretty rank.  Allowing self identification to become part of our country’s law is arguably a more liberal position to take and good on National for allowing the select committee process to allow

I wonder what happened?

79 comments on “The latest battle in the culture wars ”

  1. Ad 1

    Mickey when is the third reading for this bill, now that the extra submission time has been added?

  2. Visubversa 2

    It is not your gender that is recorded on your Birth Certificate – it is your SEX. The two things are different

    • Forget now 2.1

      Sex assigned at birth – that phenotype is not always the same as genotypic sex of an individual (eg circa 1% of any given population being intersex, if allowed to survive), let alone eventual gender.

      But why though? Especially given that the whole dataset is going to be online in a supposed secure form. I'm not entirely convinced myself that the government's RealMe ID system is completely unhackable. I've been reading through the; National Council of Women of New Zealand's submission to the BDMRR, from back in 2018, and they have some interesting points about how marriage equality has made sex identification on official documents something of a historical holdover.

      Most members considered that the information about whether a child had been identified as male or female at birth should be private to the people concerned. A number of members commented that since gender was irrelevant in the registration of marriages and civil partnerships, there is no reason for this information to be available…

      What is the primary purpose of recording sex and/or gender on legal documents and what are the reasons for medical assessments of sex?


      • lprent 2.1.1

        What is the primary purpose of recording sex and/or gender on legal documents and what are the reasons for medical assessments of sex?

        That for me is the key question. I have difficulties seeing why this particular bit of data should be any different to other data about people that the state routinely captures.

        We don't store in a form accessible to the public about individual people that the general public can access…

        • the census data at various ages – it is only accessible in aggregate.
        • the results of various IQ tests done for the education system – that is probably also available in aggregate somewhere in the bureaucracy academia.
        • medical information.
        • the information that police collect on people that isn't presented in open court.
        • any genetic information held by the state like downs

        I can see why we want a public record related to citizenship by birth. But genetic sex is a really really coarse identifier of a genetic profile. If you're going to want to hold that in a public document, then why not go the whole hog and sequence a children's whole genome and store that?

        At least that would be useful fro a while. At least until someone figures out how to use retroviruses to change a genetic profile.

        I find it difficult to see any reason why gender is important enough these days to store on a document about citizenship rights, or for that matter on marriage or civil unions. You might as well store the whole genome and publish that. At least that will be a unique difference.

        For anyone that says the sex at birth is important – then why aren't the other gross genetic differences as well. Real hair colour expressed in the genome (and we should definitely stop people changing hair colour !). XXY, XYY and a reasonably large number of other combinations that show up? Environmental defects in fetal formation that are often fixed early – like holes on hearts.

        The list is endless. Personally I guess that sex and gender are just simple enough for true conservatives to recognise.

        Or we could just ignore the largely useless information and simply not put that in the public domain. Which by the sound of it – is exactly what this bill intends.

        • Chris T

          "For anyone that says the sex at birth is important – then why aren't the other gross genetic differences as well."

          Ignoring the obvious point gender and biological sex aren't the same thing, Genetic differences are. It is how they pick up kids likely to need medical care through ailments from birth.

          It saved my own nephew.

        • Molly

          Biological sex is important in medical research, and clinical trials. It is only in recent years that the medical establishment has acknowledges harm to women due to the fact that medical therapies and dosages of often a result of male dominated trials. Therapeutic protocols for men in some cases have been toxic for women.

          Given contraindications between long-term hormone use, and other drugs, I would think this further distinction would be of value to the trans community.

          Biological sex is a recognised class, and is also used in research into domestic violence, education, employment etc. Allowing self-id without regard for the impact, muddies the data.

          On a purely practical aspect, such as body recovery and search and rescue, biological sex markers are used to aid identification. This application occured to me while watching the rescue efforts of the Miami condominium.

          You don't need a full genome recorded as you suggest. There are already significant research, medical and other advantages to recording biological sex.

          • Gabby

            Not to mention assessing future fertility and population trends.

            • Forget now

              If we were not already accustomed to birth certificates recording sex assigned at birth, would we want to add it on the basis of facilitating demographical research?

              Sure; it's a useful dataset, however flawed; but there is the census for that. One harm done by recording sex on birth certificates is more over on the Deaths side of the BDMRR. It is a quiet grief in the trans community that those (poor mostly) people unable to change their official details will often be buried (or otherwise removed from the living world) according to their birth certificate details. Lots of funerals at lots of ages, so that is more of a pressing issue than for those with a reasonable expectation of living till retirement.

  3. Tabletennis 3

    MS: "It alters what is currently a rather difficult process to have your gender on your birth certificate changed into something easier. "

    Why is it do difficult to get it right between gender or sex ?
    It is your SEX that is recorded on your birth certificate!

    Further more- it is transsexuals who feel it makes a mockery of who they are (they have a long list of objections to self-ID): the fact they go through the process to become the other gender (as one can not change sex) – where as others can change – as many times as they like, by the stroke of the pen, but only put up some lippy and high heels.

    Also forget about the BC for a moment, think further down the line if a person can change their name and paperwork as many times as they like. and un-traceable for the person who e.g. needs to do police vetting.
    As a society we now have to accept that a percentage of ID paper work will not be trustworthy.
    Therefor expect that for safeguarding, true ID, other procedures will come into play -finger prints?

    At least of all, as women we are still not been assured if gender will take president over sex. This change of the BC, together with the human rights bill (to add gender identity, gender characteristics (what ever that means) makes it for women an very scary time.
    Tasmania has already declared a social meeting of only lesbians illegal.

    But however it's an excellent time for capitalism: according to Stats NZ- the gender pay-gap is closing for figures up to 2019.
    However since the data is collected from employers on the basis of gender -and not sex there is no way of telling if indeed women's pay to similar professions to men – has indeed caught up.

    • Ad 3.1

      If you were expecting Births Deaths and Marriages Bill to level the gender pay gap, you need your head examined.

      • Anker 3.1.1

        Ad, This is the second time a male commentator has implied something negative about a female commenters mental health "need your head examined" on theStandard in the context of this debate.

        I was the first person to receive such a slur. Please don't do this.

        A continued pattern of implying someone has mental health issues or is crazy, begins to look like a pattern of gaslighting. Please stop it before it becomes a pattern. Thanks

        • Ad

          Firstly presuming my gender or indeed sex is your issue not mine.

          Secondly grow a sense of perspective.

          • Anker

            Whatever your sex or gender is, I would ask you again not to engage in arguements by using slurs about peoples sanity………..My perspective is that doing so isn't addressing the arguement, its trying to discredit your opponant. I am happy with my perspective on that

            • Shanreagh

              Good points Anker. Good manners should prevent a poster from speculating on female posters mental health. It is so passe and so ancient a ploy to do this to women posters.

              Please Mods do not allow this kind of comment through.

      • Tabletennis 3.1.2

        Ad: its a pattern here that I try to address: the reality, or something close to it that we are being sold.

        No, BDMB will not level the gender pay gap in itself, but by conflating sex and gender in the work place, to collect information on the pay scale of NZ workers, its good tool to hide accurate information. And for A government to claim: employers have voluntary adjusted to pay equallity.

        What needs to be examined, is why people feel they have to try to close down questions, when illusion meats reality.

      • Shanreagh 3.1.3

        So in other words you have not this this concept of pay equity vis a vis the BDMRR Bill through. This being so why do you denigrate one of us who has?

  4. Anker 4
    • Firstly Ani O’Brien is taking legal action, not threatened it. Once you are aware of the abuse and threats she has lived under for her political views, maybe you will pause to reflect on what is really going on in the gender critical versus trans ideology debate.
    • Or maybe it will be like theJK Rowling experience, where speaking up for the material reality of sex lead to Rowling receiving and continuing to receive death threats, rape threats and bomb threats and most of the UK turned a blind eye. Goodness me Mickey you have already written today on the Hurricanes guy (an unsavoury character IMO). Wait it’ll you hear about the harassment Ani has experienced. Maybe you’ll write an article about her tormentors?
    • just to be clear it is our democratic right to object to the gender self I’d. Women do not because we are anti trans (a convenient way to right us off rather than debate). We are concerned to protect women’s spaces eg prison and women’s categories eg sport for biological females.
    • there is a biological reality that women are smaller, weaker, smaller hearts, lungs, bones, less testosterone. Less haemoglobin that men. The fastest 10,000 men can outrun the fastest woman. Will post link again, although I have posted it many times. We see the gender self I’d bill as excelerating a process that already is disadvantaging women……

    re the conversion therapy bill, will post some links re concerns from clinicians overseas about equivalent legislation.

    But a reminder that Collins initially said she would support the conversion therapy bill. They changed their mind after Faifois interview that muddied the waters about parents and rugby coaches.

  5. Chris T 5

    As Subversa pointed out.

    Gender isn't recorded on birth cert's.

    Biological sex is.

    There is also the puberty blocking meds issue to look at.

    • Anker 5.1


      Yes Chris T. On the one hand on an interview Kris F Heather DPA isn't categorically ruling out that if a 12years parents says no to puberty blockers, that wouldn't come under the Conversion Therapy Act. (Nor the rugby coaches). The protection of the Attornery General was brought out, but why should a 12 years old's parents have to have a visit from the police and go through the legal threat until the Attorney General does rule it out. Jacinda Ardern hasn't said parents will not be covered under this bill.

      And so we have a highly esteem Insitute in Swedeen banning puberty blockers and cross hormones till kids are 18 years old, due to the evidence. And our Governement being cagey about what a bill that is supposedly to do with therapy. 13

      Before people rush in and say its not happening here, I have already quoted the Listener Article with a a kid of and one of 14 both being on puberty blockers. They latter also had a full masectomy at 16 and a hysterectomy at 18 years old. At 23 she now regrets it.

    • Visubversa 5.2

      There is already process for changing birth certificates if required for those who have fully "transitioned". As no human being actually changes sex – this actually creates a biological fiction – and then cements it as a legal fiction. This should not be done by way of a simple Statutory Declaration – like declaring that you live at a certain address to get your child into school, or saying that it was not you driving that car in the bus lane. The present system has a good standard of checks and balances and should be left alone.

  6. Anker 6


    And once again, Ross Tucker a sports scienctist on the advantages biological males have over females in sports. There is another article I will find and post on how that advantage begins in the womb…….

    Many women see that gender self id will acelerate the process of trans women particpating in women's sports. Note it is not just unfairness, but injury that is the concern.

    The Minister of Sports commissioned some sort of report into inclusion in sports. The focus seemed to be on how to get more transgender in sports. No one would object to that, but the solution, to allow them to play in women's sports is not acceptable

    This includes the brilliant clip from the Olympics where the three medals winners from L Hubbards category were asked by an enthusiastic BBC reporter about the historic occassion of the first transgender, yah dah yah dah competing. What did you all think?

    There is a very, very long pause. One of the women removes her mask and takes a sip of water……."No thank you"

    Simple. Thats what these female weight lifters who were told not to speak up about Hubbard, really think………"No thank you"

    Will try and find the clip and post. And also some information of transwomen in women's prisions in NZ


  7. Tabletennis 7

    Ad: because you have such a superior mind:
    could you advise:
    If my partner of many years decided to change his sex on BC and of course his NAME. Please tell me what does this mean for the status of the marriage-certificate?
    e.g. Am I still married?

    Also when our house is on both my name and his OLD name, I will not be able to sell the house, ever?
    Since in order to sell ones house, both names have to be on the sales-contract, when house ownership is also on both names. And as house ownership records his OLD NAME….

    I also think, since you can change your name as often as you like, and incredible easy – isn't a way to be a just be a pain to your ex?

  8. McFlock 8

    Well, sticking to the post, seems to me that either:

    • the National caucus have an extremely nuanced view of accepting trans people being able to alter details on administrative documents while not wanting to even debate legislation about stopping people being victimised in an attempt to change their sexuality; or
    • the caucus have discovered in no uncertain terms that pandering to a base of bronze/iron age social conservatives has alienated them from supporters they took for granted, including their youth wing as well as various "market segments".
    • Chris T 8.1

      Think it might be more puberty blockers and kids tbh

      • McFlock 8.1.1

        Except that's shit that should be covered in select committee if they genuinely wanted to improve the bill.

        Even if it weren't just clickbait stupidity.

    • Anker 8.2
      • Sticking to the post and having read the rest of Nicola Griegg speech I think it is safe to say her contribution to this debate far outshines any other women in the house.
      • she says she has listened to every women who has contacted her regarding this legislation. This woman is showing real leadership. I wish I could copy the rest of what she has said. She is putting Tinetti to shame
  9. Stuart Munro 9

    The puberty blocker issue, and legal risk to parents is what struck me – the Poms have kicked that issue over to the courts, which seems wise to me. A parent that unreservedly endorsed irreversible sex changes in children as young as ten would attract a degree of scepticism. Neither sex or gender, nor a child's understanding of them being especially robust at that age.

    • Anker 9.1

      The UK court ruled that exactly in the Keira (sorry forgotten her sirname ) case. That a 16 year old couldn't knowlingly give consent to undertake the treatment.

      Research shows that a lot of kids with gender dyphoria end up recognising that the issue is that they are gay, not Trans.

      • Visubversa 9.1.1

        Yes, Keira Bell. And a number of Scandinavian countries and parts of Australia have either stopped using off brand drugs developed for end stage prostate cancer to stop children going through puberty, or considerably restricted their use. The retiring head of the Tavistock Clinic – which was the subject of the Keira Bell case, is on the record as saying that transing kids is actually gay conversion. Transing away the Gay is even worse than "Pray away the Gay" – you can walk away from toxic religion – you can't walk away from mutilating and sterilising surgery and the side effects of cross sex hormones.

  10. David 10

    Mickey, you asked "I wonder what happened?" I would have though the answer was rather obvious. In one bill you can call yourself what you want, in the other a parent can go to jail for 5 years for being a parent to their 10 year old.

  11. Forget now 11

    This is a link from the last turn around this carousal (long, but worth the read). And this is with supportive parents! The obstacles in front of a teenage runaway living on the streets (for fear of their life if they dare show their authentic selves to their supposed caregivers), are simply insurmountable.

    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.


    • Anker 11.1

      This is a reasonably balanced article, but it dates from February 2019. There is no such balance like this now in the media.

      The most recent prison statistics show this from OIA's . I am sorry I can't provide the link.

      There are currently apporximately 33 trans-identified males in NZ prisons (trans women). Eighteen are in for violent crimes, including sexual assault. Seven are in women's prisons already. According to Corrections NZ in 2017 alone, four assualts were reported against women by trans identified persons in women's prisons.

      • Forget now 11.1.1

        This is from a 2020 OIA request, but the numbers don't exactly match your recollection; Anker. Three AMAB trans women prisoners in women's prisons is a bit different to 33, but maybe that was a typo? Are you sure that it was the trans women who were instigating the alleged assaults and not other (cis/ Not-Trans) women prisoners? Google didn't through up any obvious results for that – maybe still in court process? Though four years is a long time even for the clogged NZ justice system.

        35 transgender individuals were identified in custody as at 30 July 2020. Corrections’ records indicate that of the 35, 30 are individuals that were assigned male at birth and residing in a male prison. The remaining five individuals were housed in women’s prisons and Corrections’ records indicate two were assigned female at birth and three were assigned male at birth.


        BTW if you want to be preaching about avoiding derogatory statements (like upthread in relation to others questioning your mental competence), maybe ease back on the misgendering slurs like TIMs (or TIFs for that matter). Otherwise it just leaves you Gender Critical types looking, to me, like; you are happy to dish it out, but not take it yourself.

        • Anker

          Ok. firstly very sorry if I have mis gendered people. Not my intention to do so.

          I am not sure where I have gone wrong, but to be honest I do find this stuff confusing. TIM v Tif?

          Anyway I didn't intend to dish it out as such………I certainly feel like on this subject I have been on the receiving end of criticism whereas on other topics on the Standard, not so………anyway, am able to deal with it.

          But I do draw the line at people implying women are "needing their heads read" etc. and I will challenge on that one. I was challenging Ad on behalf of another woman btw

          • Incognito


            But I do draw the line at people implying women [my emphasis] are "needing their heads read" etc. and I will challenge on that one. I was challenging Ad on behalf of another woman btw

            I think you and others are reading way too much into this, and IMO, Ad was not implying women as such, but everyone who met the conditional statement. That said, it was crude but not offensive, at least, not to women, anyway, IMO.

            • Anker
              • Thanks incognito.

              I thought Ads comments were directed at Table tennis who commented on the women’s post, so must be a woman.

              A while back a male on the Standard said to me I was coming across as unhinged and obsessive.

              I pulled that commenter and Ad up, because I think both of these comments are

              implying that commenters are not right in the head or crazy. If this were to become a pattern on this site, in the context of the gender debate, I would wonder if this wasn’t gas lighting? People may not agree with this, but it may well fit the description.

              in both cases I firmly but I think politely asked these commentators to not do this. I think this is a good way to deal with things when you are not happy with how someone has talked to you, ie ask them not to do it ago

              • Incognito

                Fair comment.

                The point I want to get across is that if I call commenter X stupid and commenter X happens to be male it doesn’t mean that I’m saying that commenter is stupid because they are male. All this presumed sexism is getting on my nerves, as are all the other presumed and perceived –isms.

                However, sometimes commenters do have a latent prejudice that they unwittingly (!) express in their comments (similar to Freudian slip). My belief is that Ad did not consider at all the assumed sex of whomever he was replying to and although I could be wrong we should all give each other the benefit of doubt (AKA innocent until proven guilty).

          • Forget now

            Trans Identified Male is a Three Letter Acronym which has a history of which you may, possibly, be unaware. The misgendering component should be self evident, the baggage maybe less so. But just as I would usually avoid terms such as TERF (which was originally a fairly neutral description, until it wasn't), or other more contemporary (and intentionally derogatory) slang; using TIM or TIF really just derails any substantive discussion.

            There are currently apporximately 33 trans-identified males in NZ prisons (trans women).

            Language does indeed evolve quickly these days.

            • Anker
              • Thanks forget now. I appreciate your generosity on this. Language does evolve quickly and my orbit doesn’t intersect with people who are fluent in this language (I am old and my young relatives aren’t in these circles either).

              Also when I was unable to post a link, I realised I could be challenged. Will investigate my sources

              will try and do better……happy to be pulled up.

  12. Anker 12


    As Promised, Women weight lifters say "no thank you" to transgender in their sports.

    This is worth watching and listening too.

    This clip doesn't show the bit before where the UK competiter is talking about training with the American competer and how good that was.

  13. RP Mcmurphy 13

    according to Margaret Meads definition culture is the analysis and comparison of learned patterns of behaviour that humans use to master the natural world. what the masses call culture is really social and has no bearing on how humanity as a whole continues to adapt to the conditions and successfully reproduce itself.

  14. Ripley 14

    Fully reassigned Kiwi transperson here, writing from the UK – where I fled to over 30 years ago from the suburbs of Welly – to move forward with medical transition.

    I have a personal interest in supporting this bill and will make a submission, as the current arrangements have made reconciling all paperwork extremely difficult and costly. The current status quo is highly discriminatory towards disadvantaged communities.

    It's extremely amusing to watch posters in this thread distort, misrepresent and launder information from events and personalities within the UK, with no reference or understanding of the pillars of law that support transpeople in the UK, namely being a protected characteristic within the Gender Recognition Act and the Equality Act 2010.

    The only reason I can think why National are not opposing this, is that they've read the polling, held a finger up in the wind and realised that opposition is a tiny minority view, and certainly not large enough to coalesce a wedge large enough to move a voting bloc.

    Finally, while it must feel energising to feel that you're battling against an institutional enemy, determined to erase the rights of women, you're merely laundering overt political strategies generated by the political right in the USA, who explicitly stated that they would 'cloak their demands in the language of feminism'. Nice work, aligning yourselves out of purity with the religious right and the types of 4chan in order to pursue a futile moral panic, supported by reactionary media.

    I'm not going to waste time debating my existence and rights with those who wish to exterminate those like me, hounding and driving us from participation in public life. This bill will pass.

    [please provide back up that Gender Critical Feminism, or even gender critical positions in NZ or the UK are right wing or aligned with the religious right or 4chan culture. Back up means links and a copy and paste for each link demonstrating your claim. The onus is on you to do the work here. We don’t want a retreaded mish-mash of gossipy sexist assertions here, and backing up statements of fact is a requirement when asked for by mods. Read the Policy and About if you are unclear. – weka]

    • weka 14.1

      mod note for you.

      • Ripley 14.1.1

        It's late here and disregarding the obvious astroturfed media campaign running across rightwing media in the UK steered by a unit within Downing Street, which you may not be aware of, I recognise that this might be challenging your assumptions, so I'll keep this to just one point here:

        • Alignment and cooperation from WolF with the conservative Heritage Foundation in the US with specific regard to legislation towards transpeople, opposed by the Southern Poverty Law Centre.


        Who's side are you on?

        [“the obvious astroturfed media campaign running across rightwing media in the UK steered by a unit within Downing Street” citation please. – weka]

        • weka

          Yes, WoLF have allied with the right in the US. There's a whole very interesting conversation about why they and some other women have done that. But they're an outlier in terms of GCF in the UK or NZ. So let's assume you are running gender activist political talking points that don't reflect reality (unless you provide evidence for your assertions).

          I don't have a lot of time today, so will just keep modding around the need to back up assertions of fact.

          Another mod note for you above.

        • Incognito

          Who's side are you on?

          Is that an attempt at irony?

          • weka


            I think the point is that if I'm a gender critical feminist then I'm inherently siding with the fundamentalist right. The side that wants to smash the binary, tends to see things as a binary.

            It's a bullshit position designed to undermine feminist politics. Anyone paying half attention to the GCFs in the UK, which is where the majority of the war is being fought, can see that GCFs are by and large left wing and many have intentionally said no to working with the right.

            • Incognito

              Sadly, false dichotomies sabotage (public) debates on just about any topic and therefore undermine almost all politics. The associated mindset and framing are cause and consequence. It is getting beyond tedious …

        • Mika


          I don't know where you are getting your information from, but in the UK gender critical feminism is primarily a left wing movement. The roots are within trade unionism, and socialist organisations.

          On the other hand gender identity theory panders largely to neoliberalism and has been taken up by "progressives" (who would never have been considered left-wing in earlier eras of social struggle) who have given up on economic transformation and got lost in individualism.

          This website discusses socialist feminism in the UK from a Marxist perspective, and there are many, many others.


    • Shanreagh 14.2

      Ripley please don't make the mistake of thinking that those of us who are concerned at the way the legislation has been drafted must also be against the concept of trans rights. Nothing could be further from the truth.

      However to give a group rights or amend the rights they have should NOT mean the rights of others must suffer for this. This is what many women are concerned about.

      I sense in your posts and in your inability to pinpoint the concerns you have about the posts of other women in this thread that this may be what you are struggling with.

  15. Molly 15

    The discussions are around the impacts of well-intentioned, but possibly badly worded legislation that may have unintended negative consequences.

    At no point, in this discussion on TS have I seen reference to "debating my existence and rights with those who wish to exterminate those like me…". Most comments reiterate support for the trans community, while trying to point out possible problems that need to be resolved with current legislation proposals.

    Your whole comment, while providing information about your personal viewpoint, has not even attempted to address any of these concerns, and ends with the predictable No Debate stance.

    We need to do better.

    (Sorry, meant to be a reply to Ripley @14. Can’t seem to reply to that comment on this phone.)

    • Ripley 15.1

      I don't intend to address 'concerns' that are theoretical, distorted, unevidenced and inaccurate, playing on fears and bolstered by rightwing media. These include equating transpeople with sexual offenders.

      Jus as we don't 'debate' the existence and rights of minority communities, there is no onus on transpeople to justify their existence to anyone by their arbitrary standards.

      As I've stated, if you wish to launder reactionary views, there is no 'debate' under the guise of 'both sides'. I'm not on this earth to justify transpeople's longstanding legal and medical rights and existence to you or anyone else.

      If you have specific suggestions on the wording of the bill, then let's hear them. Make a parliamentary submission like I intend to do. If, on the other hand, you specifically intend to adopt or recast elements of the language of the UK WHRC submission to the Women and Equalities Committee on Reform of the Gender Recognition Act, then have the political courage to come out and state it in those specific terms. For those not familiar, these demands included repealing the GRA and a revision of the Equalities Act 2010, which would place transpeople in legal limbo, and specifically in the case of the UK, would make employment, renting and obtaining passports extremely difficult.

      Let your flag fly. Let us see your allies clearly and the specifics of what you're proposing… but I don't really care, because regardless, this bill will pass and thousands like me will have remaining barriers to full public participation removed.

      • Molly 15.1.1

        OK… Despite reading non-existent threats in comments, you also cannot read the comments themselves and wish me to duplicate them all here for you?

        No listening seems to be a necessary prerequisite to the No Debate stance.

        There is no good faith being offered here by you.

        • Sabine

          I don't think that is what this person is here for.

          No thank you.

        • Ripley

          No, you don't need to duplicate anything and I'm not asking you to.

          However, I am encouraging people who oppose this bill to be utterly clear and specific in their wording and demands, not for instance, chattering salaciously and inaccurately about supposed ideologies, puberty-blockers, weight-lifters, amplifying stranger-danger fears or anything relating to people's medical transition.

          All of these are a retreaded mish-mash of gossipy transphobic assertions that haven't formed a coherent case that has stood up in court in any instance within the UK to date so far, except for Bell's specific case, which is currently under appeal as it's conflicting with patient care.

          If anything is 'highlighting the basics', this bill which reflects current thinking and legislation in many other countries, is specifically intended to resolve obstacles for the trans community in resolving their legal status. That others wish to centre their political demands on the back of it, assisted by distortions and reactionary forces particularly, makes this a particularly circular discourse.

          • Psycho Milt

            …I am encouraging people who oppose this bill to be utterly clear and specific in their wording and demands…

            Sure. This Bill doesn't just allow trans people to change the sex recorded on their birth certificate via a statutory declaration, it allows anyone to change it with a statutory declaration. The likely outcomes of that are obvious, predictable, already borne out via overseas experience and are anything but 'salacious and inaccurate chatter.'

            • weka

              Further, self-ID is a cultural shift as well as legislative one, and will affect much more of society than trans people's ability to get birth cert changed more easily. And likewise already borne out via overseas experience.

            • Molly

              Thanks again.

      • Sabine 15.1.2

        And millions like us have to affirm you, cause your Wants will always over ride womens needs and rights.

        NO thank you.

        • Ripley

          Don't overestimate your support. Honestly, this approach is so unpersuasive and dreary, repeating some hashtag that's floating about on Twitter, as well as discourteous. It's not your forum or even your thread, so please don't tell people whether they're welcome or not.

          Incidentally, I've worked on a number of women's projects for Rape Crisis, steered funded educational projects for young girls and women across various boroughs in London, as well managing resources for women and girls in a handful of African countries, specifically focussing on literacy and learning… so any unfounded assertion that I'm working against women's rights, is fairly inaccurate as well as slanderous.

          Best wishes for your campaign, though. I see it's not going well in general public opinion or Parliament, so good luck.

        • Shanreagh

          Short and sweet and to the point.

          Thanks Sabine.

  16. Psycho Milt 16

    …the BDMR Bill which allows for self identification of gender.

    Please don't obfuscate this. The Bill allows for self-identification of sex.

    My personal view is that the BDMRR Bill is not too radical. It alters what is currently a rather difficult process to have your gender on your birth certificate changed into something easier.

    It is radical, in that it effectively allows anybody on request to have their sex on official documents changed. That has obvious and serious implications for women's right to single-sex spaces as guaranteed by the HRA 1993, and it's hard to see how anyone can not see that.

    • Molly 16.1

      Thanks, Psycho Milt.

      Sometimes in dealing with the nuances, we forget to point out the obvious.

      Thanks for remembering to highlight the basics.

    • Shanreagh 16.2

      Agree with PM & Molly and all the others who have spoken against the BDMRR bill as it currently stands. .

      Also irritating is the conflation of sex and gender. Surely this could have been spoken of or are we firmly in the grips of Humpty Dumpty speak?

      “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that's all.” (Wiki)

      I am also a bit intrigued that despite there having been threads on Womens; Day and other places on TS these are not referred to. Possibly because they were on a female only thread. Sort of like saying in we won't refer to the Book of Kells in looking at Art History or Irish ecclesiastic history because it was written in a monastery.

      I also note that others who do not share the sanguine view of the author or the thread referred to are referred to as 'other lefties' with no attempt made to unpick why the BDMRR bill is of such concern to many bio females. Weka has not been called on to be quoted by the author and yet her voice is respected by many in TS and she could have given a better view of the fact that this falling over by the Nays is not the singing and dancing in the streets that it seems.

      Also nothing is said about the next round of consultation and also the very mild demands from SUFW for a respectful view of what it means for the 'woman in the street'


      While it is sort of interesting that the Nats have also fallen by the wayside beguiled by a once over lightly view of the Bill, this kind of laudatory thread is skimming the surface when there is so much at stake for the protection of hard-won womens' rights. It is to be hoped that some concessions were able to be negotiated by the Nats as part of thier agreement to it going forward.

      Womens rights are far too important to be part of what the author calls 'culture wars'!

      Just because it may have been introduced by a Labour Govt does not mean it is good in intent or meaning or are 'lefties supposed to have thrown out our discernment in favout of the Emperor or are we still able to be the little boy in the Emperor has no clothes?

      • Psycho Milt 16.2.1

        Just because it may have been introduced by a Labour Govt does not mean it is good in intent or meaning…

        Amen to that!

    • Nic the NZer 16.3

      I don't think its true birth certificates record sex. In that case the only possibility for alteration is that it was wrongly recorded but as is well established people can have their marker changed in their birth certificate (with some effort). Since its impossible to change sex this must be a persons gender being changed (gender being how they identify their sex to others).

      The sticking point seems to be that trivial self-id sets the bar very low which impacts (primarily on womens) on sex-based rights.

      Also, sex and gender are such strongly overlapping concepts they are not really distinct in common use anyway.

      • Psycho Milt 16.3.1

        The terms 'male' and 'female' refer to the sexes, so it's definitely the sex that's being changed on a birth certificate or other official document. It's called a "legal fiction," ie the govt knows that the person requesting the change is not the sex they're requesting, but is willing to indulge the request because it feels there's good reason to allow it.

        The fact that activists have succeeded in convincing people the words gender and sex are pretty much interchangeable is one of the main reasons we're in this mess. The conflation should be resisted.

  17. Ref to Previous discussion

    Women’s Space

  18. Forget now 18

    This may be a little offtopic, but it's so sweet! In the midst of political strife, it is sometimes nice to reflect on how the passage of time (and much effort) has previously changed the unthinkable to the everyday:

    I remember being about 18 and going to a cousin’s wedding and thinking, “my family will never all come together and celebrate me being in love and starting a life with another man this way.” The thought (along with the free booze) made me cry and I remember my mother asking me what was wrong and telling her. We both got sad. But she didn’t disagree. It was literally unthinkable…

    And like I said, it was such an utter impossibility for most of my life. It was amazing to watch how, after the fights over the Civil Unions Bill, momentum grew for Marriage Equality, and how powerful that moment was when Louisa Wall got her Marriage Equality Bill passed through Parliament. It was one more step in the long march of legal and social change.

    Social change happens. Activism can bring about change over time, but it’s never instant. And progress is not guaranteed.

    Successful activism is about building alliances and finding common ground with people or groups heading in the same direction. It’s very rare any activist group is able to effect real change by themselves. So, figuring out who your friends are, who the people and groups are that you share maybe 50 -75% of the same aims with is important. You don’t need to agree on everything. You don’t need to agree on dogma or demand a standard of political purity to bring about change…
    And my family, including my mother, just can’t wait for the wedding.


    • Tabletennis 18.1

      "I offer the BBC’s latest definition of ­homosexuality: “Homosexual means ­people of either her sex who are attracted to people of their own ‘gender’.”
      No, they are people who are attracted to people of their own sex. Thus the successful push for “same-sex” marriage. "

      "Or as the biologist Colin Wright says:
      “I’m frequently asked why I focus so much on the nature of ­biological sex. It’s because this may be reality’s last stand. If this undeniable fact can be ­denied en masse, then we become ­hostages to chaos. We simply cannot ­afford to lose our collective tether to reality.”

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