Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Women and girls the big losers in Options Paper …

*Pic: Image from HERE

Equal Opportunity Tasmania ( HERE ) has recently released an Options Paper proposing changes to the Births Deaths and Marriages Act.

The proposed changes would allow people to change the biological sex recorded on their birth certificates based entirely on self-identification and without having undergone a physical sex change.

Within the Options Paper, Equal Opportunity Tasmania states that the proposed changes would reduce discrimination against transgender people.

Transgender individuals are currently already protected from discrimination based on gender identity under the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act 1998, as well as under several Commonwealth laws. The proposed changes would therefore do little to legislate against discrimination, however they have foreseeable negative impacts on sex-based protections for women and girls, including the provision of women-only services.

Some protections put in place to protect women and girls from discrimination on the basis of sex within the Anti-Discrimination Act would be severely limited if the proposed changes are legislated.

There are important differences between sex and gender identity, and these two concepts need to remain differentiated in law for the protection of women and girls. Gender is a social construct, describing characteristics that our society delineates as masculine or feminine. Sex refers to the biological differences between males and females.

Usage of the terms ‘sex’ and ‘gender identity’ in the Options Paper is frequently imprecise, inconsistent and incoherent.

Unfortunately, within our society, women are still discriminated against as a result of their sex, not because they feel a connection to or identify with femininity. Girls do not experience subjugation because they decide to personally identify as female.

There are important implications for women in changing the Births Deaths and Marriages act to allow a person’s legal sex to be officially recorded as per personal gender identification, regardless of biological sex.

This would compromise women’s ability to legally establish and access female only space, including women’s shelters, women’s health and support services, female changing rooms, and female sports teams.

It is disappointing and disturbing that the Options Paper has ignored these impacts on women and girls and includes misinformation regarding both the known and unknown side effects and risks of puberty blockers.

Every person should have the right to live free from discrimination. However, the changes proposed by Equality Opportunity Tasmania do very little to protect people with diverse gender identities, while significantly reducing the rights of women.

The Options Paper makes no reference to the implications the proposed changes would have upon current provisions protecting the rights of women and girls. Equal Opportunity Tasmania has called for public comment on the Options Paper, with submissions due by the 1st April 2016.

WOLF* Southern Tasmania has submitted a detailed response opposing the changes.

Tessa Anne is a law student with a passion for social justice and ensuring the human rights of women and girls.

*WOLF stands for women’s liberation front, an international radical feminist organisation

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Christine Gulline

    April 9, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    Anything that interferes with one’s initial birth registration must be highly suspect. These are population records relating to our antecedents as well as birth. Live your life as you like , but let records carefully taken, stand.

  2. Pat Gartlan

    April 6, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    Until recent years you would be asked ‘what sex are you?’ Then the word changed from sex to gender, meaning the same thing. Now I am being asked to accept the notion that these are two different things and that biology does not indicate gender, which is something called a social construct. This leads to the notion that regardless of your biology, you decide whether you are a man or a woman, and even that is not to be regarded as locked in. I cannot believe this is for real, but rather confused social science fiction. It really does need reexaming.

  3. Robin Charles Halton

    April 5, 2016 at 4:08 am

    Public gets their backs up when they hear about feminists, the types of which are anti male, just imagine the influence if Germaine Greer was ever allowed in the country again after being banned from ever returning to our fatal shores again!

    No place in these campaigns for man haters and supporters of queers, odd balls and misfits.

  4. simone watson

    April 4, 2016 at 10:31 pm

    What will happen to recording data for crime statistics, health etc when biological sex is removed and replaced with ‘preferred gender’? We are already seeing headlines along the lines of ‘Woman rapes Wife’ when the offender is in fact a biological male. Will such crimes be recorded and interpreted as a rise in violence BY women when it is actually men doing it? If a biological male has an illness will it be recorded under female health stats etc..?

  5. JDN

    April 4, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    “The proposed changes would allow people to change the biological sex recorded on their birth certificates”

    How silly. Since when did gender reassignment involve modification of ones chromosomes?

    Now if birth certificates also recorded gender instead of sex, I suppose there would be some logic behind this.

  6. Leonard Colquhoun

    April 3, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    Didn’t George Orwell (arguably the most realistic and sensible thinker^ of the 20th century) say of one idea put to him that it was so stupid that only an intellectual or an academic could have taken it seriously?

    Or, of course, a ideologue (whether religionist or secular). Prime 20th century macro-example: the economy of the USSR.

    ^ My alternative choice is Albert Einstein, if only for his for observation about stupidity (or some such quality) being doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.

  7. Isla MacGregor

    April 3, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    Thank you Paige and Tessa for an elucidating critique of the EOT Options Paper.

    This is not the first time [b]the Office of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner has produced a paper that is imprecise, inconsistent and incoherent[/b] and redefined terminology to suit a bias detrimental to the female sex.

    It should not be lost on TT readers that this EOT Options Paper is consistent with the ideology previously peddled in the ADC’s paper in support of decriminalisation of the sex trade in Tasmania.

    When will the EOT take girls and women’s security of person and real equal opportunity seriously?

  8. andrea

    April 3, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    It is considered ‘transphobic’ to care about women and girls (unless they are biological males). Caring about sex-equality and ending violence based on our sex is crucial. What an important article. End sex-oppression first and we might just find that gender disappears. I’m hoping for a world like that.

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