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

Women, men who identify as women, feminists and Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner

Do you know anyone who is either male or female? I mean, unambiguously male or female?

You know – of the male sex, or the female sex? I’m not talking about people with personality traits that are wholly ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’, because no-one is a walking sex stereotype. I’m talking about physical sex. There are humans that produce ova and can bear offspring (‘females’) and there are also other humans who produce gametes that can fertilise female ova (‘males’).

It’s called ‘sexual reproduction’ and it’s how all humans reproduce.

So, do you know any of these people – of the male reproductive sex or the female reproductive sex?

Robin Banks, Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner told me she doesn’t know anyone who is unambiguously male or female – in a meeting I had with her back in June this year.

Are you surprised? I was. After all, she is human – where did she come from if not from the body of a female person?

I have made a formal complaint of discrimination against Robin Banks and her staffer Leica Wagner, in light of conduct that occurred at that same meeting in June this year. Usually, such a complaint would be made through Equal Opportunity Tasmania (EOT) and the office of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, but given the circumstances, the complaint has been made directly to the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Vanessa Goodwin, as the minister responsible for the administration of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1999 (TAS).

So, what is this complaint all about? Did I really make a complaint because she denied knowing anyone who is male or female?

No, there’s more to it than that. Let me explain.

In February this year Robin Banks called for public comment on the EOT Options Paper ‘The legal recognition of sex and gender diversity in Tasmania’, regarding her recommendations for reform of the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act.

See: http://equalopportunity.tas.gov.au/news_and_events/latest_news

One of the recommendations in the Options Paper is to allow any person to ‘self-identify’ the sex marker on their birth certificate, regardless of whether or not they have undergone any cross-sex hormone treatment or sex-reassignment surgery, or even what is called ‘social transition’ – where a person changes their sex-pronouns and in some fashion presents themselves to the world as the opposite sex.

Upon reading Banks’ recommendations, all members of the Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF), a women’s activist group of which I am a part, could immediately foresee several negative impacts on the rights of women and girls to privacy, safety and sex-equality.

As women who would be affected by these proposals we wished to make a comment on the Options Paper, but there were a number of things about the Options Paper that obscured the practical impact of the proposal. First, it contained contradictions in its use of the terms ‘sex’, ‘gender’ and ‘gender identity’ when compared to the definitions provided in the glossary section, as well as unsubstantiated claims regarding the proposed law’s consistency with anti-discrimination legislation.

The paper also made no mention of the impact of the proposed changes on women and girls.

So, WoLF emailed the contact person at EOT responsible for consulting with the public on the Options Paper, policy officer Leica Wagner.

Ms Wagner failed to directly and clearly answer what we thought were straightforward and reasonable questions, such as –

1. Have you used the terms ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ synonymously in the Options Paper?

2. How are your recommendations consistent with the Anti-Discrimination Act, as claimed but not explained in the Options Paper?

3. How will EOT manage potential conflicts between the proposed changes to the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act and the ability of women and girls to utilise exemptions under the Anti-Discrimination Act to exclude males from certain activities, services and spaces?

In response to the third question – Wagner did not even attempt to answer, but suggested we outline our concerns in a formal submission, which we did.

Our full submission is publicly available ( see http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php?/pr-article/mps-warned-over-leg-proposals-attack-on-womens-rights/ ) for anyone who wishes to read about our concerns in detail. In short, WoLF’s major concern is that if males are able to become legally indistinguishable from females, women and girls will have no legal right to establish female-only spaces and services, such as domestic violence shelters, sports teams or schools.

Girls will have to share change rooms with boys (who ‘identify as girls’).

Women will be locked up in prisons with men (who ‘identify as women’).

Neither women or men will have the right to request the services of a same-sex professional to take care of their intimate needs such as toileting, showering and dressing, should they need it.

There are dozens of other examples that need to be considered, but it is sufficient to note that these important rights under current Australian human rights laws could become void.

So, back to the meeting in June. I met with Banks and Wagner because our questions had remained unanswered and I thought it more likely to get a direct and honest response if I asked in person. WoLF’s interest in pursuing a response from Banks to our questions about the proposals was to clarify, in the public interest, the practical impact of her recommendations for law reform. Unfortunately, and due to unforeseen circumstances, I was the sole representative of WoLF attending this meeting, but I was unconcerned. I expected a civil discussion, not the hostility I encountered.

Banks and Wagner, it seems, were prepared for combat. They seemed intent on refuting every point I raised. As well as claiming she knows no-one who is unambiguously male or female, Banks also insisted that ‘violence against women is not discrimination’ while she and Wagner both repeatedly refuted the existence of sex-discrimination protections in Tasmania.

Perhaps they don’t know that the Sex-Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) applies in every state and territory in the country? Or did I miss Tasmania’s emancipation from Australia?

I wonder how Banks would respond to what the Australian Human Rights Commission, the public body responsible for taking complaints under the Sex Discrimination Act, says about Banks’ statement that ‘violence against women is not discrimination’ – because clearly, they disagree.

See: https://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/sex-discrimination/projects/violence-against-women

Not only did Banks and Wagner display at best, an ignorance of, and at worst, a disdain for, the concept of systemic sex discrimination – they engaged in sex-discriminatory conduct themselves, in my view.

Banks and Wagner attempted to discredit the input of WoLF on the basis that I am (in Banks’ view) a ‘cis-woman’. What Banks presumably meant by this term is that I am a person of the female sex, who ‘identifies as’ being of the female sex. In other words, I do not ‘identify as’ transgender.

For Banks, my views are not relevant because I am female and I know I am female.

And while the female members of WoLF experienced derision, dismissal and ridicule for our contribution to comments on the Options Paper, Banks and Wagner expressed great interest in hearing from males who ‘identify as female’ and who possibly agreed with our perspective.

‘I’d love to hear from them’, said Wagner.

The bullying and attempts at intimidation were astounding, in my view.
Wagner referred to the views of WoLF as ‘bigoted and small-minded’. The Commissioner did not ask her staff member to desist with this name-calling but instead joined in, responding to my concerns for women’s safety with comments like, ‘What world do you live in?!’ and ‘Oh, this will be good’ as I attempted to raise issues with their proposals. Banks’ behaviour was consistent throughout the meeting. She refused to engage with the issues at hand, preferring instead to employ ridicule as a way of intimidating me.

I probably should not have been surprised about this – it is typical of proponents of the ‘gender identity’ narrative to seek to silence women rather than engage with their legitimate concerns.

See for example:

• ‘Censored by Transpolitics’ – https://bannedbytrans.wordpress.com/masterpost/

• ‘Women Speak Out – Press Conference’ – https://gendertrender.wordpress.com/2016/06/14/women-speak-out-press-conference-thursday-june-16/

It is also typical of such proponents to deny the existence of research indicating that males who ‘identify as women’ commit the same rates of violent crime as the wider male population ( see http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0016885 ) or, as Leica Wagner did at our meeting, claim there is not a single reported case of a male person who ‘identifies as female’ assaulting a woman in a sex-segregated space. Evidence to the contrary was sent to Banks at Wagner since our meeting as they claimed to be unaware of the hundreds of reported incidents, many of which can be found with a simple Google search.

See a list of reported cases compiled here – http://appropriately-inappropriate.tumblr.com/post/143065193655/the-tip-of-the-iceberg-please-add-to-this-list .

In our meeting I alerted Banks and Wagner to the phenomenon of the ‘Cotton Ceiling’.

The ‘Cotton’ of the Cotton Ceiling refers to the underwear of lesbian women. If you have a sensitive stomach, you may wish to skim over the following paragraph.

Some men who ‘identify as women’ and are sexually attracted to women consider themselves to be ‘lesbians’. They believe themselves to be ‘female’ in every sense of the word, and therefore it is unreasonable prejudice for lesbian women to reject them as potential sexual partners. They believe that in order to achieve full ‘trans equality’ they need to ‘break through’ the cotton ceiling. That’s right, they need to break through the underwear of lesbian women in order for their identities as ‘female’ and ‘lesbian’ to be fully affirmed and respected.

Thankfully, Banks and Wagner appeared horrified at this development in trans ideology. When I asked Banks for her response – she claimed to be hearing of it for the first time – she said she was ‘astounded’. And it truly is astounding – that homosexual women are being pressured into having sex with men wanting to ‘affirm their identities’ as women.

Just last week, I asked Corey Irlam, co-convener of the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby whether he thought it was ‘transphobic’ for a lesbian to categorically reject males as potential sexual partners.

His response – ‘Whether it’s phobic to reject trans women is for others to judge’.

For others to judge?

When a Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby says that it is ‘for others to judge’ whether being a same-sex attracted female can be ‘transphobic’, you really need to question whether women’s rights are put at risk by this ideology. Where are all the LGBTI ‘allies’? Apparently the ‘L’ doesn’t matter, or at the very least takes second place to the rights of the ‘T’.

Banks and Wagner denied that allowing males to become legally indistinguishable from females contributed to this culture of sexual harassment of same-sex attracted women. I am relieved Banks and Wagner seemed appalled by what is happening to lesbian women – but I think it’s intellectually dishonest to outright refute that the ideology informing their recommendations is aligned with the ideology creating this culture of harassment. It is after all, the logical conclusion of the mantra ‘transwomen are women’.

Banks demanded answers from me about my views on same-sex marriage, same-sex parents on birth certificates and the proposals to change the anti-discrimination act to allow for the defence of religious purposes. I told her I would not engage with those questions because it was not the purpose of our meeting and they were separate issues. ‘How are they separate?!, Banks and Wagner asked.

How are they the same?

This is another common trope of ‘gender identity’ proponents – to try to characterise all opposition to the idea that ‘gender identity’ is equivalent to ‘sex’ as coming from a position of political and social conservatism, or religious (read Christian) belief. Banks and Wagner, to me, readily put WoLF in the same camp as those who oppose legal protection for homosexuality or same-sex marriage.

Don’t they know it is possible for more than two views to exist on political issues. Maybe these so-called ‘progressives’ who are on the gender identity bandwagon will understand this –

‘Politics is not a binary’.

When debating men’s rights activists in the transgender movement, I don’t necessarily expect intellectual honesty or a thorough, honest analysis of the legal impact of law reform, or freedom from gas lighting and name-calling, or sincere engagement with the issue of women’s rights. I DO expect these things of an Anti-Discrimination Commissioner whose role it is to promote ‘acceptable attitudes, acts and practices relating to discrimination’ and make recommendations on matters relating to discrimination law.

Robin Banks reported to Vanessa Goodwin in June that she would likely have her final report complete by early to mid-July 2016.

There is no sign of it yet.

*Tessa Anne is a radical feminist activist, working the Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF) and the Nordic Model in Australia Coalition (NORMAC). In her spare time Tessa is completing a law degree at Macquarie University. Tessa loves dogs, libraries and every courageous woman and girl fighting against male domination.

EARLIER on Tasmanian Times …

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MATTHEW DENHOLM, The Australian …

Anti-Discrimination Commissioner bullied me: Feminist

Vanessa Goodwin: Anti-Discrimination Commissioner

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26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    December 7, 2018 at 7:45 am

    Amy’s comment that starts with ‘This is a disgustingly aggressive, stupid, and transphobic piece’ does not get any better as it retails a spurious litany of the ‘gender studies’ pseudo-scientific terminological gobbledegook that is the up-to-the-minute replacement suite for the late lamented ‘discipline’ of ‘racial science’ eugenics.

    It is a terrible reflection on what has happened to intellectual life and critical judgement that anyone would be allowed to get away with such blatant ideological bluffing that could only ever secure traction by bullying the intellectually weak and vulnerable.

    It is just as alarming as if people started to get up and seriously talk about the Jewish conspiracy and ‘scientifically’ trying to ‘prove’ they are a sub-human under-species by using all the terminological ‘technical’ stereotypes you would expect .. and then accusing objectors of being ‘aryanphobes’ who are really Jewish stooges and secret collaborators in their plan for world domination.

    Spare us the bullshit and the ideologically inbred poodlefakery, Amy.

    There is no such thing as as a ‘cis woman’ any more than there are devils sitting on your shoulder and putting words in your mouth. There are women and then they’re our women suffering from gender dysphoria who want to beatify their sexual delusions into the pantheon of ‘the included’.

    Personally, I have more time for people who think they are Napoleon. At least they are harmless.

  2. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    December 7, 2018 at 7:10 am

    Tessa, I have no idea what the symbology you are using means or what its function is. I would have thought plain English should be able to do the job, whatever it is.

    Anyway, in the absence of any explanation of this ingroupspeak, it is a very irritating distraction and makes what you have to say unnecessarily difficult to read or make sense of.

  3. Grace

    October 6, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    LOL! – the Cotton Ceiling and the anti discrimination commissioner and her best mate didn’t know about it!

    Soft targets for the transwellian speaks?

    No chance AG will release anything like it.

  4. pandora50

    October 6, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    Thank goodness for your attendance Tessa and points well brought forward.

    It’s sad that the commissioner and other individual acknowledged that they had not heard of outside evidence of what transactivists are pursuing and claiming, and yet continued on to allegedly dismiss and allegedly bully you.

  5. Monika Beatty

    October 6, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    514 st mary

  6. Colin

    October 6, 2016 at 10:11 am

    There are a couple of important considerations here. Firstly, we live in a democracy and it is vital that people’s views are listened to and considered in a respectful manner (even if we disagree with those views). Secondly, the issue of changes in the law for a person to self-identify their sex has clear implications for women’s safety. Common sense should prevail here!

  7. Barbara Mitchell

    October 6, 2016 at 2:27 am

    #8 Amy – ‘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?’

    Geez, I don’t know. What about paedophiles – men who are known to go to extraordinary lengths to groom children and young people for the purposes of sexual exploitation?

    What about abusive men who go to similarly extraordinary lengths to track down and ‘punish’ their partners?

    What about men who prefer to sexually exploit older girls and women? Who get off watching them in change rooms and public facilities?

    Hardly a day goes by that we don’t see or read about ‘cis’ men perpetrating these atrocities against women and girls. It is not a ‘small risk’.

    Why wouldn’t women and girls be nervous about a change to the law that will facilitate such activities? Would you really deny them the right to speak up?

    You’ve called Ms Anne, and women who share her worries, ‘disgustingly aggressive, stupid, and transphobic’, ‘incredibly petty and vindictive’, ‘irrationally afraid’, ‘selfish’ and purveyors of ‘ugly protectionist crap’. A nasty string of insults, just for expressing very real concerns.

    And, seriously, who or what the fuck are ‘cis women’? What does that even mean?

  8. Mr Reynard O'Brien

    October 5, 2016 at 10:13 am

    I didn’t know Tasmania had an anti-discrimination commissioner, until just now. Where is the commission located? What qualifications are required for the job? What portfolio is this, who is Minister responsible?

    (edited)

  9. Robin Charles Halton

    October 5, 2016 at 6:57 am

    I could never understand why Andrew Wilkie back in early 2014 ever nominated the ADC Robin Banks along with author Heather Rose (who I know nothing about) to join an exclusive Mens Club the Athenaeum Club for which Andrew is a member of.

    It dosnt make sense to nominate … the ADC who obviously would like to break down gender barriers at the “old Boys club” …

    I think that was inviting trouble and I hope that Andrew had his ears chewed afterwards from both the ADC and members for creating such an unconventional stunt.

    After all there is the Queen Mary Club opposite exclusively for ladies!

    Anyway the old boys objected and so they should, same as our hard workin fund raising CWA ladies like their own space too.

    Have you carefully considered seeking the support of other womens groups, contact with the CWA might be a good starting point.

    Ladies, although CWA are known to be very conservative but at the same time reasonable approach i am sure they would not put up with any nonsense that the ADC recommends to change the Births, Deaths and Marriage Registration Act to remove the requirement for people that must have a sex change operation before they can change their sex to enable their use of womens private spaces.

    It is my opinion Getting womens groups on side now is the best chance of success, what is yours!

    (edited)

  10. simone

    October 4, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    I don’t know how this article could have been clearer. It is not rocket science that women are discriminated against based on our biology under patriarchy. That male and female exist, and that does not therefore mean exclusion, but reality. The exclusion and discrimination happen when reality is ignored and placed in to the world of ideas. Brilliant analysis Tessa Anne.

  11. Tessa

    October 4, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    #8 Thanks for your contribution Amy

    I’m not surprised by your calls for ‘punishment’- it’s what every woman who speaks out about the harms of trans ideology faces. See the link in my article ‘Censored by Transpolitics’:

    I really want to address this comment – because it’s a strange conclusion that many come to when faced with a radical feminist analysis of sex and gender:

    Amy, you said “I hope most educated people these days have got a better grasp on ‘biology does not equal identity’. Sex does not equal gender. Male sex does not equal violence and abuse any more than female sex equals submissiveness and irrationality.”

    The radical feminist analysis of sex and gender does not assert that one’s ‘sex’ is the same as their ‘identity’ (in the sense I think you are using it, which is ‘how one feels about oneself’). The very concept of ‘identity’ under the doctrine of gender identity is that it is a subjective, inner (almost sacrosanct) [i]feeling[/i] that one has about oneself. That is quite different to the physical body that one has. Radical feminists have a political analysis that recognises that women and girls experience oppression and systemic discrimination on the basis of their [i]sex[/i] – that is, their sexed body. Not how they ‘feel’ about themselves in relation to sex and/or gender (aka ‘gender identity’). So, our assertion that [b]sex matters[/b] is not in any sense equivalent to ‘sex is identity’ or sex is destiny’ or ‘biology is destiny’.

    The doctrine of gender identity on the other hand, has run with a ‘born this way’ narrative – that posits that ones gender identity is not determined by your sex but is in someway none-the-less related to it and is an essential part of every person; ‘We all have a gender identity’ says an EOT document on the subject.

    Isn’t this a ‘biology is destiny argument itself’? That we all have an essential ‘gender identity’ that determines our ‘authentic self’ – and which much be legally recognised by society as our [i]sex[/i]?

    On whether the risks to women and girls are [i]really[/i] of concern – you might want to peruse some of the links in the article, or search for ‘Noel Crompton Hall’ as another commenter has mentioned and consider whether or concerns are ‘to scale’.

  12. Tessa

    October 4, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    Response to Verity cont’

    (out of order)

    4. I’ll say it again. Nothing in your engagement with the EOT officials appears to have prevented you from continuing to advocate for your position. You haven’t been silenced. What I notice, however, is that you mix the criticism of the ‘conduct’ with the argument and position you are trying to advance on the issue. In questioning the ‘conduct’ it therefore looks like you are trying to bolster your argument on the issue by engaging in personal attack.
     
    [b]On the ‘mixing of conduct with the argument’ – The conduct is, of course, entwined with Banks and Wagner’s ideological commitment to the dissonant ideas that on the one hand ‘there is no such thing as an unambiguously male or female person’ and on the other ‘people should be able to have their “authentic identity” reflected on a birth certificate as male or female’. In the meeting I had with Banks and Wagner they indicated no intention to include the concerns of WoLF in their final report to Minister Goodwin recommending changes to the BDMRA Act. Their behaviour and responses in that meeting indicated they had outright dismissed WoLF’s entire submission and therefore had reason to not include any of our submissions in the final report. WoLF has, of course, made our submission available to every MP in the state – including Dr Goodwin. But our ability to continue lobbying is not the point here. (Although, I think maybe it should be for EOT –  shouldn’t they be trying to make their consultation processes as accessible as possible to our diverse community?)
     
    Since WoLF obviously does not want any changes made to the BDMR Act in the interests of women’s and girl’s rights, the process by which the Commissioner and her staff undertook their public responsibilities in researching, ‘consulting’ and then advising the Minister on a matter related to discrimination is clearly relevant to our complaint. If I was to make a complaint saying ‘I was called “bigoted and small minded”, derided for making a contribution to the consultation, was gas-lighted about the impact of proposals made by the Commissioner, and they refused to answer my questions’ the complaint lacks context and sounds like any number of interactions one might have with a public official (unfortunately). The reason this complaint requires the context of the issue at hand is because women are being silenced, bullied, harassed, assaulted and in one case killed for refusing to bow down to the notion that any man who says he ‘feels female’ is in fact, female (see: https://bannedbytrans.wordpress.com/masterpost/ ).

    This is a women’s human rights issue.[/b]

  13. Sophie hardwick

    October 4, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Banks and Wagner, don’t sound very well informed on this issue (if the report is correct). Unfortunately by the time politicians and public servants have thought through all the ramifications of gender identity legislation, it will have already become law.

    Banks should read up on Noel Crompton/Maddison Hall who sexually assaulted a number of women in a NSW jail 10 years ago.

  14. Andrea

    October 4, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    Thanks for this Ms. Anne.

  15. Spider Redgold

    October 4, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    It is very disturbing to see sex and gender confused by the Australian Federal and State governments. Sex change cannot happen and gender is not biological and one is not born with gender. One is born with biology. Gender is trained into children. The Johns Hopkins hospital stopped doing sex reassignment treatment and transgender treatments because they found they did not work. They did not solve the psychological problems, and created more.

  16. Jodie

    October 4, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    How does someone get to be Anti-Discrimination Commissioner for an entire state and not understand that physical sex and gender ‘identity’ are not the same thing? Not only that, but Banks and Wagner’s complete disrespect (as reported by Tessa) for the author based on the fact that she is a woman who knows she is female is completely astounding (in my opinion). Well done in exposing these (alleged) attitudes. (It is my opinion that) Unfortunately I can’t help thinking that there are plenty of others in positions of power who suffer from the same ignorance of biology and the same prejudice against women.

    (edited)

  17. Tessa

    October 4, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    A response to Verity cont’ #2

    5. Isla, please. Your comment is straight out of the conspiracy theory spin book. And an example of exactly what you accuse others of doing – shooting the messenger. You don’t appear to want to engage with statements, argument and challenge, just re-state your position and personally attack people who challenge or question it. Is bullying OK when it’s not happening to WoLF members?
     
    [b]You have suggested Isla does not appear to want to ‘engage with statements, argument and challenge’ – would you like to do that? I mean, we can continue to discuss complaint making processes and activism, but I’d prefer to get to the crux of this debacle – the silencing and dismissal of women and women’s rights. Ready to engage when you are.[/b]
     
    6. #25. Andrea, Ms Anne didn’t complaint to the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner. She complained to the Attorney General and gave a media story to the Australian telling everyone that she had, and named an employee in the process. We don’t know that Ms Anne was bullied for 2 and a half hours. She says (or you say) she was. (Which begs the question why, if someone felt they were being bullied, would they stay for 2 and a half hours?)
     
    [b]On your comment to #25 Andrea – ‘she didn’t complaint to the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner. She complained to the Attorney General and gave a media story to the Australian’. I doubt a complaint to the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner herself would have gotten very far. I really wasn’t up for another session of belittling. On the question of why I stayed in that meeting for 2.5 hours – thanks for asking by the way – I stayed because –

    I had not planned on attending this meeting alone – but given a family emergency, the other woman who was to attend with me was at the last minute unable to make it and having struggled to arrange an appropriate time for the meeting when Banks and I could both attend (note: Ms Wagner’s attendance was not requested) and also having the time set for over a month – I felt it would be disrespectful to Banks’ time to cancel or ask for a re-schedule of the meeting. I did not expect the meeting to last for longer than one hour – in fact I thought they may have only scheduled in around half an hour for the meet. At the start of the meeting I outlined to Banks and Wagner the reason I was there – to have some questions answered and to discuss our submission so I could gauge whether or not they had understood our concerns and (ambitiously) maybe even taken some of them on board to incorporate into their final report. The immediate response was denial that the questions hadn’t been answered (even though there is email correspondence proving the contrary) and almost immediate derailment – with Banks arguing that there is no such thing as an unambiguously male or female person. In retrospect, it seems obvious that Banks and Wagner were not interested in honest engagement – but at the time I felt I had a responsibility to the rest of the women of WoLF to attempt to have our submission understood and so I persisted.[/b]
     
    7. What Ms Anne says happened to her, may or may not have happened to her. This, again, is my point. My concern is that so many people want to leap to the conclusion that what’s alleged is fact.
     
    Of course someone should be able to and can make a complaint without being attacked. But it they do it in the way Ms Anne has they shouldn’t be too surprised to find there are people prepared to look and comment critically. Actions have consequences. Ms Anne made a choice about her course of action. Bolt’s piece was an inevitable, entirely predictable consequence of the approach she chose to take. Do you approve of what he’s written?
     
    [b]You may comment critically, and I will respond. Actions do have consequences – and the consequence of Banks and Wagners’ conduct has been that I have decided to make a complaint and go public with it.

    I don’t expect much from Bolt – of course he will take every opportunity he gets to have a crack at his political opponents. I’m certainly not going to make decisions on the basis of what Andrew Bolt may or may not write![/b]

  18. Amy

    October 4, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    This is a disgustingly aggressive, stupid, and transphobic piece.

    Not to mention an incredibly petty and vindictive personal attack that I hope and expect to see the author and publisher suitably punished for.

    Nobody in the social justice debate, apart from the National Rifle League of USA!, is expressing this concern about Trans women peeing with, living with, seeking shelter with, being imprisoned with or otherwise interacting with or alongside cis women because nobody is as irrationally afraid or as selfish as this author.

    I hope most educated people these days have got a better grasp on ‘biology does not equal identity’. Sex does not equal gender. Male sex does not equal violence and abuse any more than female sex equals submissiveness and irrationality. Masculinity, the element trans women often eschew, on the other hand..

    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.

    If, hypothetically, there were an exception to this rule, leaving aside the shocking coincidence that a fearful transphobic person/grieving abused person would seize on and exaggerate the probability of this hypothetical exception, would making law to cater for this small risk justify the lager certainty of the negative outcomes if we don’t protect trans women in law?

    If you are advocating to make trans women pay for your fear you better make sure it is bloody well justified.
    I think women and girls can do without this ugly sort of ‘protectionist’ crap.

    Scale and context, people.

  19. Tessa

    October 4, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    A response to Verity – cont’

    2. If you were concerned the paper’s meaning would be obscured, it was entirely open to you to make your assertions and arguments in writing, directly to the legislators if you felt it necessary. Nothing appears to have prevented you from doing that.
     
    What concerns me, is not who knew what, and who is better at plain English, or whatever, and this is the point I’d make to Isla, it’s the damage that gets done to people – and to your own cause I think in this case – through the approach you’ve adopted.
    I have had some experience of the sort of thing you’ve done. I’ve been on the receiving end of it. I’ve been a whistle-blower. But I did it as an employee and had something to lose – my livelihood.
     
    It’s ironic that Isla talks about people being afraid to speak out. You have little to fear from speaking out.  As far as I can tell, no one has tried to prevent you from making your submissions in relation to the proposed reforms, and ‘speaking out’ about your supposed treatment by EOT officials hasn’t cost you much, if anything. It’s just gained you a whole lot of Australian readers as supporters in your campaign against EOT.
    (Though It does probably mean that public officials will be particularly wary of having any sort of direct discussion with you).
     
    But what you’ve done isn’t whistle-blowing – whistle blowing is done by people who have something to lose.
     
    [b]On whistleblowing and having something to lose. Do you really think women have nothing to lose by speaking out against both gender-identity politics and the conduct of public officials? I don’t even think that statement is worth engaging with – except to say that ‘what I had to lose’ was the major reason it took me from 29 June until September to speak out about this.[/b]
     
    3. You say: ‘You seem intent on making a connection between Wolf and myself, and the ACL.’
     
    Actually, no one would have known about any comparison between your position/organisation and the Christian lobby if you hadn’t mentioned it in the media. You shouldn’t then be surprised that people might wonder if there are any similarities.
    The striking similarity between your approach and that of the Christian lobby for me is the vehicle and manner you’ve chosen to express your dissent.
     
    [b]I had no qualms about mentioning the (intended) derisive comparison that Banks and Wagner made between WoLF and the ACL in my complaint, because it’s not a comparison that can be substantiated. Anyone who has read our submission and actually understands it can see the distinctions. If you can’t, I’ll be happy to make them clear to you, but I have already commented on this.[/b]
     
     

  20. Tessa

    October 4, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    A Response to Verity

    ‘Verity’ has posted several comments in responses to the article on this forum titled ‘Whistleblowers Tasmania backs call for Parliamentary Inquiry’.

    I will address those comments as follows, in bold –

    1. ‘(y)ou say: ‘This is not about ‘getting our way’ – but about exposing a process of public policy development that was discriminatory to females and it seems, undertaken by people who had some huge gaps in knowledge about the implications of such a policy – and refused to acknowledge them’.
     
    Again, these are your assertions. It is your opinion that the process was discriminatory, and your opinion that there were gaps in the knowledge of the people you were speaking to. I’ve read again your submission, on the EOT paper and you make some interesting points. I still disagree with much of it. It’s a strongly contested area.

    But that’s not why I’ve chosen to comment here. It’s because of the way you’ve subsequently dealt with it.
     
    [b]Yes, it is my opinion that the process was discriminatory, which is why I have taken up a complaint of discrimination.
     
    Regarding the gaps in knowledge. On meeting with Banks and Wagner the gaps in their knowledge were as plain as day. They reported being completely unaware of any dissent in the ‘LGBTI’ community about trans ideology and were also unaware of research indicating that males who identify as transgender commit the same rates of violent crime as males in the general population (Swedish and US).  They were unaware and ‘astounded’ (Banks’ word) to learn that lesbian women are being harassed by male to female transgender persons to have sex with them or go on dates with them in order to affirm and validate their ‘identity as females’.

    They repeatedly refuted the existence of sex-discrimination protections in Tasmania (did I miss Tasmania’s emancipation from Australia?).

    Banks claimed that ‘violence against women is not discrimination’. See my article above for comment on why I have considered that a ‘gap in knowledge’

    Wagner trotted out the much loved men’s rights activist line that ‘30% of all domestic violence is committed by women’, despite clear evidence to the contrary that violent crime is overwhelmingly committed by men – sexual assault crimes even more so (see: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4519.0).

    Banks and Wagner also derailed much of the meeting arguing that there is no such thing as an unambiguously male or female person – in contradiction with the definitions of ‘sex’ and ‘intersex’ provided in their own Options Paper.[/b]

  21. Marie Hume

    October 4, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    Thank you so much Tessa for your work in attempting to protect the rights of women and children. It is appalling that Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner does not recognise the concept of systemic sex discrimination and her statement that ‘violence against women is not discrimination’ is dangerous. This really highlights how the trans lobby activism is placing women and children at risk and the rights of women and girls to privacy, safety and sex-equality is being ignored. It is yet another example of how misogyny is ingrained in our systems and institutions and that we continue to live in a patriarchal world where women are exploited and oppressed.

  22. Mathew

    October 4, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    I once dated a young woman for a couple of years who had a history of sexual harassment and groping from her mother’s gross bald overweight boyfriend. She was also in need of regular medical attention because she was diabetic, accident prone and fainted occasionally. Almost every time she went to hospital male staff were allowed to have access to her without a friend or guardian being present. She found it humiliating when men undid her hospital gown to attach heart monitor and ECG leads to her fully exposed bare breasts, but she was not nearly assertive enough to object, at least at first. When she finally did work up the courage to object after encouragement from me, it often didn’t make any difference – they just did what they wanted, completely ignored her, pushed her hands out the way, or argued the point until she gave in. Four times men even looked at her vagina, and two of them even stuck fingers inside her vagina – one of those occasions was after she had been bashed and raped. She was separated from me and escorted to the hospital by police where 4 people bullied her into letting a man do the rape-victim forensic-kit on her even though she had told police that she wanted a female doctor and protested when she saw a man setting up to do it. She became suicidal after that, and was admitted to hospital for insulin overdose 4 times and was humiliated and sexually-traumatised every time by male hospital employees. One of those times was even strip-searched by a male nurse on the order of a male doctor supposedly because the nurse found a 10 year old scar on her wrist that looked like she might have been a cutter. In the strip-search she was even ordered to part her labia for him. She also claimed that about 5 of the male staff members had sex with her, mostly in the toilets, including 3 in one day. We need to protect young women and their boyfriends from such sexual abuse and humiliation in hospitals. Male hospital staff (including those who “identify” as women) should not be allowed to have access to young women, particularly men who work in roles like performing rape-victim forensic-kits, attaching heart-monitor leads, showering patients, or escorting patients to the toilets.

  23. Robin Charles Halton

    October 4, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Getting into deeper water here Tessa by using ADC’s photo, again!

    How about showing us your mug shot instead …

  24. ez

    October 4, 2016 at 11:28 am

    This is important and must be addressed. The right of women and girls to exclude male bodied persons is important.

  25. Isla MacGregor

    October 4, 2016 at 10:59 am

    Tessa, this is a brilliant analysis of what now appears to be systemic failures of policy developments processes and consultations conducted by the Tasmanian Anti Discrimination Commission.

    This is the first time that such an expose has been published with such intellectual clarity, honesty and courage.

    All members of the Tasmanian Parliament and the community with an interest in human rights must read this.

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