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

Economy

Trans Activists Trumped By Their Own Flawed Policies

*Pic: Image from HERE

On the 20th October, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that student politician and Liberal MP staffer Alex Fitton had identified himself as a woman in order to win an executive position in a student election worth $12,000.

A similar situation occurred within the University of Tasmania’s own student union and Women’s Collective in early 2015, when the UTAS Women’s Collective rallied against the appointment of James Ritchie, a male, in the position of Women’s Officer of the Northern Student Representative Council. Thankfully Ritchie was successfully removed, though he has since been replaced by a number of biologically male individuals who currently inhabit leadership positions within the Women’s Collective. Their identification as [i]non-cis[/i] has ensured their acceptance by the vocal minority that currently run the the collective, despite commitment to living as women ranging from minor to non-existent. What is considered important is that they [i]feel like women[/i] or perhaps more accurately, don’t [i]feel like[/i] men.

The Facebook comment section under the Sydney Morning Herald article ran rife with the kind of highly ironic, contradictory statements that have become the bread and butter of post-modern queer identity politics favoured by university Women’s Collectives and Student Unions.

One commenter furiously stated, ‘if this guy was truly gender fluid he would have everyone’s support, but he is mocking those who are truly non-cis gender.’

The stunt was clearly tongue in cheek. And yet to remove any uncertainty about the fraudulent nature of his actions, The Sydney Morning Herald article pointed out that Fitton was in fact [i]blokey[/i] and played football. The Sydney Morning Herald was, like the above commenter, alluding to the fact that Fitton’s stereotypical gender conformity invalidated his claim.

This is not surprising. When biological sex is removed as the essential marker of womanhood and manhood, all that remains to classify are behaviours socially coded as masculine or feminine. Manhood is sport and emotional repression. Womanhood is lipstick and frivolity.

But what if Fitton had taken his claim to womanhood seriously and was prepared to sign a statutory declaration to that effect? What if he behaved in ways that are not stereotypically masculine, wore feminine clothing on occasion, enjoyed knitting instead of football?

Had he failed to conform to Australian standards of masculinity, would his claim to womanhood have held more weight, should it have been taken seriously? The answer of the above commenter would likely be ‘yes’.

The fact that the binary divide between those who do and do not conform to gender as suggested by the term ‘cis’ is both paper thin and regressive is not taken into consideration by the dogmatic proponents of ‘gender identity’.

Extraordinarily few in our society rigidly adhere to or identify with femininity and masculinity. The claim that some individuals are non-binary in itself gives credence to the idea that a natural, intrinsic gender binary exists in the first instance. As would be clear to anyone who took the time to browse comment sections on Fitton’s story, the social constructivist, structural analysis so central to leftist activism and theory in the past has well and truly left the building.

And it’s not hard to see why – such analysis poses a very real threat to the post-modernist identity vacuum. In a politic where ‘I am what I say I am’ reigns supreme, those who question the impact of what occurs outside of the individual are regarded with suspicion or outright contempt.

Many commenters sardonically highlighted the ridiculousness of the authority of self-declaration by pointing out that Fitton’s identity should be not questioned. ‘Never question anybody else’s identity’, is repeated like a mantra by proponents of queer identity politics. And yet as this case illustrates, this mandate ceases to apply in circumstances where self-proclaimed identity does not align with sex stereotyped gender norms.

[b]Neo liberal progressives vehemently deny believing in or legitimising sex stereotypes. But the only factors in Fitton’s claim that would need to change for him to be greeted with leftist acceptance would be stereotyped gendered behaviour and appearance, and intense self-belief that such gendered mores negate his socialisation and placement in the male sex class [/b].

If Fitton claimed gender fluidity instead of womanhood, would it be reasonable for him to claim female status for a length of time, hold affirmative action positions reserved for females, and then return to male identification when he no longer [i]felt’ like a woman[/i]?

The idea that it is possible to [i]feel[/i] like a woman is frequently repeated, though it is impossible to defend without reference to either gendered, feminine stereotypes, or the belief in a natural, internal gender identity that lingers in each of us, much like a soul.

The irony of the identifarian outrage at Fitton’s behaviour was no doubt lost on many, but the seriousness of this cognitive dissonance should not be overlooked. [b]The belief that the male socialisation and privileges enjoyed by men like Fitton in an intensely patriarchal society can be washed away by the magic words ‘I am a woman’ is not confined to student unions and dark and bizarre corners of the internet. It is the premise behind the recent push in Victoria and Tasmania for any individual to be able to change the sex listed on their birth certificate regardless of physical or social transition, up to once every 12 months if they so desire. [/b]

Allowing free reign to unscrupulous men like Fitton is what the left are currently asking for. If identity is internal and only able to be determined by each individual, there is no way to keep out those who’s intentions are sour and [i]gendered[/i] souls less pure.

While Fitton’s intention was likely to challenge the legitimacy and existence of affirmative action measures in a manner typical of sexist Young Liberal student politicians, his stunt was revealing. Identity politics is eating itself, and as one commenter noted, ‘this is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read’. I have to agree. [b]Trans activists said these abuses of the concept of gender identity would never happen and yet as feminist’s predicted – it has.[/b]

*Paige Gleeson is a social worker and aspiring academic with strong radical feminist principles.

*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"]
14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Leonard Colquhoun

    December 12, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    Is this the main point in Comment 13’s response to #12, that all ideologies are, at base, moronic?

    What seems to have happened in this / these matter/s is what Freud called ‘the narcissism of small differences’. In Christian history, tens of thousands were murdered as heretics over a doctrinal triviality called the ‘filioque’ clause, for example; the 1400 years of Sunni v Shia mutually murderous enmity seems to about something similar – most of us outside these two sets of extremes could not give a toss. Monty Python’s ‘Life of Brian’ satirised the mentality beautifully ‘Life of Brian’ in the Judaean Peoples Liberation Front scenes.

  2. Tessa

    December 12, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Leonards suggestion of a ‘sex’ and a ‘gender’ marker on both certificates is one possibility for a ‘compromise’ – but eh problem is that transactivists will settle for nothing less than the legal erasure of female people. That is, what ‘they’ want , is for a ‘transwoman’ to be in every way legally identical to actual female people.

  3. Leonard Colquhoun

    December 12, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    How about this for a nomenclature ‘accommodation’ (or ‘compromise’, if you like) in how Birth Certificates are filled:

    < > ?

    (Not sure whether ‘genetic’ is what I want – maybe ‘genomic’?)

    ^An experienced, accomplished and professionally honoured legal executive warned me to (i) never, ever, leave an empty space on a legal document. She also impressed these other two practices on me: (ii) ‘stamp & lodge’ every bit of paper which passes across your desk*, and (iii) never, ever, return any documents to employers or to bureaucratic / administrative offices without having copied them. * a ‘practice made perfect’ which reduced pupil claims of ‘You must’ve lost it’ to an effective zero.

    Posted by Leonard Colquhoun on 12/12/16 at 10:15 AM
    – See more at: http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php?/weblog/article/feminists-celebrate-mps-defeat-of-victorian-birth-certificate-bill/#sthash.vOdZWhQv.dpuf

  4. Leonard Colquhoun

    October 29, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    This thread is now reminding me of the subject of this link –
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_many_angels_can_dance_on_the_head_of_a_pin? –

    especially in its first three paragraphs.

    Of particular interest is the last sentence in the ‘Origin’ paragraph, which begins with “In Spanish and Portuguese, the conundrum of useless scholarly debates is linked to a similar question of . . .”.

    Anyone else getting the impression that too many of our universities (specifically, the soft ‘Studies’ regimes) are now skipping (and indeed censoring) the middle stage in this progression: mediaeval RC scholasticism > The Enlightenment > post-modern ismism/s?

    To paraphrase, the price of intellectual freedom is eternal skepticism.

  5. Simone

    October 28, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    @9 couldn’t have said it better. @Shane, it is somewhat disturbing to think of any one enjoying the ‘show’ from the sidelines as real human rights breaches occur or are threatened. It also shows in stark relief the very real male privilege which is exposed by Ms Gleeson in this piece.

  6. Bronwyn Williams

    October 27, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    Comments on an earlier article – Women, men who identify as women, feminists and Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner (see http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php?/article/Women-men-who-identify-as-women-feminists-/) featured a question posed by ‘Amy’. She asked –

    ‘How many cis men do you know who care so little about their gender identity that they would “degrade” themselves by identifying as female just to infiltrate female spaces?

    In my experience they are far too precious and touchy about their masculinity to ever voluntarily lower themselves to the less privileged position unless they were genuinely identifying as such’.

    Does Mr Fitton’s ‘tongue-in-cheek’ prank answer your question, Amy. When it gave him access to a paid, prestigious position on a university student council, Mr Fitton was more than happy to identify as female, and give a proud middle finger salute to the council’s affirmative action policy.

    And Shane #4, you ask ‘what would Paige have said if it were a woman wishing to identify as a man?’.

    Shane, mate, a biological woman who clearly identified as a woman – in the same way that Mr Fitton is a biological male who is by all accounts not even remotely non cis-gendered – wouldn’t dare to pull the same stunt in the monument to grotesque patriarchy that is the Sydney University Student Representative Council. The fear of reprisal would be too great – I’m talking social media abuse, and the sort of sexist bullying that’s thriving in online forums. She probably be challenged to ‘chop off your tits, love’, or told that ‘a strap-on isn’t a real penis, don’t you know’. Or worse.

    And you give Mr Fitton far too much credit, imbuing him with the ability to think and act above and beyond the enhancement of his own white male privilege. He wasn’t acting to expose the ‘ vacuous reasoning and irony’ in the ‘self indulgent and facile….post modernist ardent feminist vs gender identity debate’. He probably doesn’t even know what that means – I can’t see him ever having signed up for a gender studies class. He played a totally self-interested, smart-arse trick to get himself elected and did an appropriately butch round of high fives when he pulled it off.

    He’s a wanker, not a thinker, and he got away with it because ‘gender identity’ politics is our modern day allegorical emperor – slowing divesting himself (or herself or themselves or whatever pronoun they prefer) of any commonsense whilst most of us stand by applauding the unfolding absurdity.

    Not only is gender identity politics ‘eating itself’, as Ms Gleeson quite correctly observes, it is spewing a bucket load of vile misogyny and the mess needs to be cleaned up NOW.

  7. Leonard Colquhoun

    October 27, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    Oooops! #6: “may be deprived of”.

  8. Isla MacGregor

    October 27, 2016 at 3:24 pm

  9. Leonard Colquhoun

    October 27, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    Is this the core question about much of the discussion of this matter – that personal rights as an autonomous individual are far more important and hugely more basic than whatever rights there may be as a member of a group?

    As Friedrich Nietzsche asserted (and as quoted atop TT’s Homepage), “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”. (I’d much rather the ‘right’ of owning oneself.)

    Liberating oneself from one group identity seems to make little sense if it entails surrendering oneself to another group.

    (No claim is being made that the rights of an individual can be used as an absolute justification for taking away the rights of others, as for example when an arsonist may be derived of personal liberty in bushfire season, or when unvaccinated children are quarantined from such groups as gather in schools or kindergartens.)

  10. Tessa

    October 27, 2016 at 11:02 am

    Shane,

    You say “good on him”.

    I’m curious, is this an endorsement of his actions in taking up an affirmative action position reserved for females (or ‘non-males’)?

    Could you ever imagine yourself, or other men you know taking similar actions – either because they wanted a position themselves or on principle wanted to expose the unfairness of such affirmative action?

    Would this be men asserting their ‘transgender rights’?

  11. Shane Humpherys

    October 26, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    And what would Paige have said if it were a woman wishing to identify as a man? Other than consider her/him a heathen- not a squeak I should imagine.

    And in a gender fluid world, as espoused by a growing constituent of leftist elites, how can this possibly be seen exclusively as a ‘female rights’ issue. Why would female rights trump transgender rights? Under anti-discrimination laws both groups would be considered to have equal protection. However, I know which of those groups face the greatest difficulties and prejudice in today’s society and its not biological females identifying as female, no matter how much they wish to self identify as a victim simply by virtue of gender. This is exactly the vacuous reasoning and irony that Fitton was exposing by his ‘tongue in cheek’ actions.

    I say good on him for exposing how self indulgent and facile the whole post modernist ardent feminist vs gender identity debate has become.

    It will be interesting to watch which group plays the greatest ‘victim’ card – should make for thrilling spectating from the sidelines!

  12. Isla MacGregor

    October 26, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    Thank you Paige for a concise analysis of the issues.
    Identity politics certainly is devouring itself but it will continue to require much more unpacking.

  13. Simone

    October 26, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    Excellent piece. Amidst the conflation of transgenderism and Gay rights, here is an article to bring female rights in to focus .

  14. Leonard Colquhoun

    October 26, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    O what a tangled web they weave,
    when e’er they ideologise to believe.

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