Tasmanian Times

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Don’t agree with trans ideology? UTAS will find a way to silence you …

On 6 August last, Tasmanian Times published an article titled ‘Silencing and Censorship in the Trans Rights Debate’ – see https://tasmaniantimes.com/2018/08/silencing-and-censorship-in-the-trans-rights-debate1-d1/.  The article featured five case studies that exemplified the dominant narrative in this debate – supportive of the trans rights agenda and dismissive of a women’s rights perspective.

One case study described a complaint against the UTas Women’s Collective and their online bullying of members who failed to fall into line with their policy of ‘centring’ the interests of trans and queer ‘woman identifying’ persons.  Several of those members were summarily dismissed from the Collective for their supposed transgressions.

The case study linked to an article published online in the University of Tasmania student magazine Togatus on 6 October 2015 titled ‘The UTas Women’s Collective: a new meaning for “inclusive”’ – http://www.togatus.com.au/utas-womens-collective-a-new-meaning-for-inclusive/

On 26 August 2018, the author of this article was advised by email that the article had been temporarily removed from the Togatus online edition pending an investigation into potentially defamatory content.

After several weeks of so-called ‘investigation’ and the procuring of legal advice, the UTas Student Media Committee advised the author that the article had been permanently removed.

Despite repeated attempts to discover what, exactly, was defamatory about the article, via communication with the editor of Togatus, April Cuison, the chair of the Tasmanian University Board, Sophie Muller and the office of the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Rufus Black, the author was met with trite platitudes and apologies for delay, but given NO substantive information.

It seems a ‘third party’ drew the attention of the Student Media Committee to the article, three years after it was first published but, coincidentally, only a few weeks after it was linked in Tasmanian Times.

The author can only conclude the article was censored as payback for publication of the case study in Tasmanian Times, for the following reasons –

  1. No individuals were named in the Togatus
  2. Everything written about the UTas Women’s Collective in the article is true, and fair comment on their activities. It is arguably in the public interest for details of those activities to be made available to students and other readers of Togatus.
  3. Even if the content was defamatory, which it was not, the law requires an action in defamation to be brought within 12 months of publication of any offending material. Three years after publication, there would be no danger of a defamation suit arising.
  4. The Student Media Policy requires that any issues with articles or other content in Togatus should be notified to the editor ‘in a timely manner, no more than ten business days or two weeks, whichever is the lesser, following the release of an edition of Togatus, or the posting of an online article or comment’.

Waiting three years to register a complaint hardly complies with this particular policy.

  1. An article similar in content and tone to the piece concerned, authored by the then Togatus digital editor, Jess Flint, titled ‘The UTas Women’s Collective: a safe space?’ was published on 29 July 2015. According to the legal advice obtained by the Student Media Committee, this article is not defamatory, and remains online at http://www.togatus.com.au/the-utas-womens-collective-a-safe-space/

Universities present themselves as forums for robust debate, but when it comes to trans rights, it seems no dissent from the politically correct position will be tolerated.  Those who argue against the favoured pro-trans ideology are shamelessly and vindictively silenced, with specious claims of defamation concerns, patently uninformed ‘legal advice’ and more buck passing than you’re ever likely to see, anywhere.

No-one wants to own this censorship – not the mysterious ‘third party’ who ‘brought the article up’ after three years, not the editor of Togatus, not the TUU board, and not the Vice-Chancellor.  All responsibility has been placed with the Student Media Committee, which the author is assured is comprised of ‘industry professionals’ – but who are THEY?

And, the censorship persists, based on a unilateral decision, with no consultation or information or proper advice offered to the author.

How is this good enough for a university?

Below is the text of the offending article, as published in Togatus

THE UTAS WOMEN’S COLLECTIVE – A NEW MEANING FOR ‘INCLUSIVE’? 

In six decades of life as a woman, I’ve seen countless expressions of patriarchy.  From the family favouritism shown to my brothers to the creeping social oblivion of female middle age.

I’ve worked and studied in the male dominated professions of accounting and law, and held my own.

I have espoused feminist values since my teenage years, and spent the later part of my working life advocating for, counselling and supporting women, particularly women suffering family violence.

I have always been aware of the prejudices and social injustices facing women, and spoken up accordingly.  And until now, I have been fortunate enough to escape any direct attack on my womanhood or my feminist ideas.

This year, I enrolled in a masters program at UTas and joined the UTas Women’s Collective, with the innocent, but apparently naïve, aim of meeting and engaging with other female students of a feminist bent.  And, for the first time, I have been subjected to overt ageist and sexist discrimination and abuse and denunciation of my feminist ideals, at the hands of other ‘woman identifying persons’.

After a rather unpleasant exchange on the group’s Facebook page, it became evident the Collective is not as inclusive as it claims.  It began when I noticed some disagreement between members about the group’s priorities, and made the mistake of asking why the needs and interests of transgender and queer Collective members were to be given preference.

The response was courteous enough to begin with, but I was soon being exhorted to ‘educate myself’ about the unreality of biological sex, or risk removal from the group.  I was lectured about the abhorrence that is ‘white female privilege’ and introduced to the jargon of the trans/queer movement.

Whilst conversing with me on the group’s closed Facebook page, two group members were at the same time laughing at me and insulting me on one of their personal pages.  The sort of thing ‘cool’ 12 year old cyber bullies do to the odd girl out in their peer group.  Only this time it was a couple of privileged, white, young women taking pot shots at an older woman – accusing her of being a TERF (trans exclusionary radical feminist – I had to look it up) and joking about being ‘nice’ to her, even though she ‘just (didn’t) get it’ and her ideas were totally repugnant to them.

After being told by yet another member that biological sex wasn’t real, and I was living in the past, I gave up on the conversation.

Since then, I note that one of the members who engaged in the Facebook insults was elected unopposed as the UTas South Women’s Officer.

The Collective’s Facebook page posts the occasional useful feminist article, but the overall transgender/queer bias is patently obvious.  Only those who agree with a ‘feminism’ that prioritises trans/queer interests are welcome.

I fully appreciate the emotional and social consequences gender identity issues must have for transgender and queer individuals, but I’m not prepared to cede my experience of femaleness to the overtly political agenda of some in those groups.   I am a woman, not a cis-woman.

And, seriously, when a Collective member has a bitch about their ‘queerness’ not being taken seriously enough because they’re ‘low femme’ and they have ‘a long-term cis man partner’ we know we’re truly in the realm of privileged, white, first world problems.

Thousands of women are out there right now – being underpaid, and exploited, and trafficked into sexual slavery, and raped and beaten and killed.  Most of them have XX chromosomes and bigger things to worry about than their gender identity.  If feminism has to be a game of priorities, I prefer to prioritise their struggles.

No doubt this article, if published, will see me banned from the Collective for breaching their ‘secret society’ rules.  And that might raise some interesting discrimination issues.

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

10 Comments

  1. Russell

    October 25, 2018 at 7:35 am

    And now they’re pushing to have no sex recorded on Birth Certificates!

    It’s all gone too far!

    How STUPID!! You’re born with either a male or female sexual organ and it should be recorded that way.

    If you want to unnaturally or surgically change that later, when you’re ‘mature’ enough to do so, that’s your own problem.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Russell, your obscenities have been deleted.

    — Moderator

  2. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    October 24, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    The kind of ideological chauvinism that is coming out of the transgender ‘community’ (aka unrepresentative swill lobbyists and in-group ‘enlightenati’) is emblematic of a much larger trend to emerge out of the humanities educated graduate streams coming out of universities since the 1960s … alongside a similar trend coming out of economics departments over the same period.

    This was the time when deregulatory and privatisation agendas were being rolled out on behalf of social and market libertarian ideologies whose job it was to eliminate existential, social, state and economic rules-based governance and boundary ‘obstructions’. This procured the roll-out of an ever increasingly over-productive indulgence economy that was replacing a disciplined needs and wants consciousness with that of disinhibited egoism and fantasy.

    In the process the retrained graduate humanities and market apparatchiks ‘progressively’ colonised the regime of social and economic administration, and transformed affluent metropolitan societies in ways that penetrated into the very nature of consciousness itself. They became part of a modern style ‘Crown’ and ‘Church’ regime duopoly, deregulating and privatising social and economic administration across the board as they went, in a shift that was as damning as it was totalitarian in its effects.

    If you look at the conversations that Isla McGregor reports on her experiences inside a university social club, it has all the hallmarks of a group of clerics discussing a particularly disgusting heresy. A TERF is a declared heretic who wilfully refuses to accept, or is ‘ignorant’ of’, ‘The Teachings’.

    And the reason is that humanist libertarianism has turned into an authoritarian regime orthodoxy that operates in exactly the same way as the medieval and counter reformation church. The language use is an updated version of a theocracy, only this time backed up by the modern equivalent of biblical authority; ie, the use of ideology driven research based pseudo-science whose founding descendants were ‘scientific’ eugenics, social Darwinism and Marxist historical/dialectical materialism. Today we have gender and racial ‘studies’.

    But what is even more interesting is that the ideological apparatchiks in the UTas Women’s’ Collective are typical of what comes out of humanities schools these days, on any issue they touch … particularly their more sacred sites. They come replete with a whole lexicon of definitive narratives, stereotypes, slogans, power keywords, euphemisms, dysphemisms and an ideological conceit that is without even a shadow of doubt that might disturb their delicate ‘progressive’ sensitivities as moralogians or the self-righteousness that is now their birthright.

    In the 1960s the socialist left was completely marginalised by the new totalitarian consciousness of Indulgence Capitalism. Its replacements were libertarian regime stooges whose excellent work was rewarded with a monopoly of the system of social administration. This to some extent made up for their loss of a mass/class base. The other way that loss was made up was a misere declaration of social minorities as trumps, which was the modern church version of ‘looking after the poor and infirm’. And like the church before it, its good works kept ‘the clients’ in a permanently disabled and helpless state of paralysis and dysfunctional dependendence that would maintain the status quo indefinitely.

    The indulgence-based social and existential deregulatory and privatisation software that these apparatchiks administer has all the self governance autonomy (‘repressive’ and ‘authoritarian’) software removed. This ensures the continuing and self-perpetuating ‘client’ chaos that the libertarians humanists have become expert in excusing and rationalising within their sphere of influence, to maintain their control, legitimacy and monstrous moral assumptionism that Isla has so kindly captured for us.

    If it were possible to create a digital picture that could trace the existential state of a social movement, that of Libertarian humanism would be looking like the one Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray stuck a knife into to end his corrupt and miserable life.

    The UTas Women’s Collective that we see here seems so swallowed by its own minoritarian correct line-ism as to be effectively oblivious to the extent to which women and feminism (half the population) have been comprehensively done in by the deregulatory sexual revolution that that Collective itself now seems to represent … the very same sexual revolution that has leveraged the prostitution lobby into being able to caste itself as a female ’empowerment’ vehicle for suitably proletarian ‘sex workers’.

    Ughhhhhhh!!!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Christopher, and others, please set your word processing software to Australian English rather than American English.

    — Moderator

  3. Isla MacGregor

    October 24, 2018 at 10:58 am

    The Tasmaniantimes article ‘Silencing and Censorship in the Trans Rights Debate’ which ‘featured five case studies that exemplified the dominant narrative in this debate – supportive of the trans rights agenda and dismissive of a women’s rights…’ concerned actions by:

    Robyn Banks, former Anti Discrimination Commissioner currently Phd Candidate Faculty of Law, UTAS .. and Leica Wagner Equal Opportunity Tasmania Policy Advisor;

    Dr Meredith Nash – Deputy Director, Institute for the Study of Social Change Senior Lecturer, Sociology, UTAS;

    Adrienne Moreton former President Tasmanian Women Lawyers;

    UTAS Women’s Collective members: Heidi la Paglia, Saffire Grant, Laura Nilssen, On Ee Chin and Isaac Foster;

    Scarlet Alliance Tasmania.

    – see https://tasmaniantimes.com/2018/08/silencing-and-censorship-in-the-trans-rights-debate1-d1/

  4. Rob Halton

    October 24, 2018 at 6:56 am

    Russell, I haven’t seen any Asian tranny types around Hobart. They are obviously boys or girls, usually well dressed, keeping to themselves and don’t rock the boat with any outward behavior in public.

    Nothing would surprise me about what goes on at Uni today. I can bet discipline is an ongoing concern. One only has to look at the actions of the new VC to realise much of it is theater.

    No doubt a minority of students would be allowed to get away with their UNI case histories a mile long that are unresolvable anyway!

    The main thing is to protect students’ rights within a NORMAL context, and that should be manageable enough. That’s all that can be expected. Offer the non-conformists a bucket or the boot!

    • Russell

      October 25, 2018 at 6:38 am

      How would you know if you saw “any Asian tranny types around Hobart” just by their faces and clothes? They don’t stand out like most ‘white tranny types’ do.

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Russell, your obscenities have been deleted.

      — Moderator

  5. Isla MacGregor

    October 23, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    The actions of the UTAS Student Media Committee is is a matter very much in the public interest.

    The ‘third party’ or possible several persons who ‘drew the attention of the Student Media Committee to the article, three years after it was first published but, coincidentally, only a few weeks after it was linked in Tasmanian Times’ need to come out and put their name to their actions. I call on them to do this.

    I doubt these ‘third parties’ will attempt to take similar action against TT for re-publishing the offending Togatus article published three years ago and recently so disgracefully removed.

    The removal of Bronwywn’s article from Togatus speaks much about our Orwellian times of double speak and as Bronwyn’s states, a simple act of payback.

  6. Tony Stone

    October 23, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Just another example of the direction the over educated elitists are driving our society into a hateful mishmash of dumb stupidity. I wonder if it revolves around the huge amount of plastics people consume in their junk food/bottled water chemically saturated lifestyles which is sending everyone mad. The state of our education, political and every other system, is evidence of that.

  7. Isla MacGregor

    October 23, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    The double standards of the trans lobby are not lost on the Tasmanian community. On the one hand it wants recognition for its social identity, and on the other hand it has had the hypocrisy to attempt to erase and redefine what it is to be a woman. In other words, ‘give me what I want so I can take away from women what they have.’ In my book, that is misogyny.

    Simone de Beauvoir is well known for her analysis of woman as ‘other’. Now we have some in the trans community suggesting that ‘woman’ no longer exists except as ‘cis woman’. Yet again we have men making women into ‘other’ – subordinate to their social identity claims.

  8. Rob Halton

    October 23, 2018 at 6:35 am

    Oh no, not this “weirdo” subject again. Please have a break girls. I hope you don’t mind me calling you girls .. or should it be feminists? Feminists TERFs or whatever, heavens knows !

    Hopefully UTAS is producing some well educated students and not a bunch of gender confused society dropouts who will never get a decent spot among the rest of us, but instead crying out discrimination!

    I could bet that the Asian students do not engage in all of these silly, modern and unnecessary distractions!

    University should be about higher education and achievement .. and not about radicalism and stirring the pot!

    I guess that I will be next to be censored now. Try it!

    • Russell

      October 23, 2018 at 7:40 am

      Actually Robin, Asians are right up there with transgender operations, and it’s cheaper to have the operations up there.

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