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


The case for transgender, intersex and gender diverse law

The Transforming Tasmania logo

It’s important to address some of the myths and misinformation about the transgender, intersex and gender diverse law reforms being proposed in Tasmania.

These proposals will not “criminalise” parents of intersex children.

They will provide parents with a long-overdue legal and policy framework that will help them deal with the difficult choices they face.

These reforms will not stop the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages from collecting data on the sex and gender of children.

They will allow gender references to be removed from birth certificates, in the same way they were removed from drivers licences years ago.

Those who want gender references on their birth certificate will still be able to have them.

These reforms are not “secret”. We have been lobbying for them for almost twenty years and the Government has had specific legislative proposals on its desk since earlier this year.

Indeed, before approaching any other party, we took our proposed amendments to the Liberal Government in the hope equality would be enacted with tri-partisan support.

These reforms are not “controversial”. Despite months of debate, there has been very little concern expressed within the community.

These reforms are not “radical”. They are a sensible solution to the problem that Tasmanian law treats transgender and gender-diverse people more harshly than any other state.

These reforms do not affect all Tasmanians, only those transgender and gender diverse people who face discrimination because years of government inaction mean our laws are backward and repressive.

There is no need for the inquiry being proposed by the Government, because there was an inquiry into exactly the same issue by the state Anti-Discrimination Commissioner as recently as 2016.

We accept there is a need for an inquiry into the intersex reforms, because they cross across many different areas of law.

But the other reforms are straightforward, and another inquiry will serve no purpose other than to further delay long overdue reform.

I urge Tasmanians who are concerned about the proposed reforms to talk to transgender and gender diverse people about how the law damages our lives, instead of accepting fear-mongering campaigns at face value.

Like all other Tasmanians, all we want is to be treated with equal dignity by the law – and with respect by our fellow citizens.

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  1. Isla MacGregor

    October 19, 2018 at 6:32 pm

    All these criminal matters have been through the UK Courts: http://transcrimeuk.com/ If this data base is being called ‘fearmongering’ by the the trans rights movement then the public will view their movement as no different to climate change deniers.

  2. Isla MacGregor

    October 19, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    All Tasmanians concerned about women’s rights and the trans rights agenda should read yesterday’s Editorial in The Guardian. What it tells Tasmanians is contrary to the trans rights movement’s mantra that this is the debate “we don’t need to have” … ‘The public needs to be better informed, and safeguarding considered’…

    The Guardian view on the Gender Recognition Act: where rights collide ..
    Editorial 18 October, 2018

    It should be possible to advance trans equality without harming the interests of women. But a toxic debate has made it harder

    ‘Since 2004 trans people in the UK have been able to legally change their gender with a gender recognition certificate. The Gender Recognition Act became the first law in the world allowing someone to change gender without surgery. Since then countries including Ireland and Denmark have passed laws that allow people to “self-declare” their gender, rather than seeking approval from a panel of experts. Last year the Scottish government held a consultation with a view to following suit. This Friday the UK government’s consultation on the same issue comes to an end. The debate has become toxic, with trans rights activists and some feminist campaigners taking opposing sides.

    The Guardian rejects the idea that one of these positions is the right one – and the other wrong. Important questions of personal identity are at stake, but also legal rights and protections. (The rights of trans men are far less controversial because they do not, while transitioning, gain access to spaces designed to protect a disadvantaged group.) While campaigners for trans rights are entitled to push for laws that they believe advance equality, feminists are entitled to question whether such changes could adversely affect other women. Neither group is a homogeneous bloc and there are more than two points of view.
    Transgender rights are not a threat to feminism
    Read more

    The law acknowledges circumstances where there is a conflict of interests between trans women and other women. It allows for single-sex services to exclude trans people where this is “a proportionate means of meeting a legitimate aim”, such as in rape support services. While some trans activists have argued for these exemptions to be abolished, some feminists believe they should be strengthened. The Guardian supports trans equality and believes reform of the law could form part of this. Campaigners criticise the current process – whereby trans people must supply evidence of a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria and of having lived in their “acquired gender” for two years – as humiliating and bureaucratic. Other countries have introduced self-declaration without obvious difficulties, though since the changes are recent it is right to be cautious. Ireland requires a statutory declaration witnessed by a lawyer; in Denmark there is a six-month pause before completion. Different countries apply the law in different ways. In Ireland, for example, transgender prisoners have been allocated according to natal sex. The UK has a far larger population than any European country with self-declaration; this nation has 20 times more people behind bars than Ireland. Any new law must not give violent or controlling male prisoners a new opportunity to dominate women by changing gender and transferring to a female prison.

    Trans organisations say such fears are exaggerated and born of prejudice and hatred. Transphobia must be opposed. But misogyny too must be challenged. Gender identity does not cancel out sex. Women’s oppression by men has a physical basis, and to deny the relevance of biology when considering sexual inequality is a mistake. The struggle for women’s empowerment is ongoing. Reproductive freedoms are under threat and the #MeToo campaign faces a backlash. Women’s concerns about sharing dormitories or changing rooms with “male-bodied” people must be taken seriously. These are not just questions of safety but of dignity and fairness.
    Guardian Today: the headlines, the analysis, the debate – sent direct to you
    Read more

    The consultation has stirred up questions that go beyond the proposed change in the law. The UK may be moving towards a situation where the default is single-gender spaces rather than single-sex spaces, with organisations such as the Girl Guides amending their practices. The implications of this shift should not be underestimated. The public needs to be better informed, and safeguarding considered. The sex-based protections in the Equality Act, like case-by-case decision-making in the Prison Service, only work if service providers have adequate guidance and training. Where changes have been introduced or are proposed, including in prisons, women should be consulted.

    This is a complex issue that society needs to consider thoughtfully. Further research into the rise in referrals of children to gender identity services would be helpful, for example. Social media have unhelpfully amplified the voices at both extremes of this argument. The current divisions are troubling. The end of the consultation ought to create a pause for reflection and space for a more constructive exchange.’

  3. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    October 19, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    Martine, there are men, women and then the gender mis-assigned and/or psychologically off message. I do not buy your gender ideology ‘movement’ or the gender studies that rationalises it, any more than I buy the eugenics ‘movement’ or racial ‘science’.

    I do not have any problem with people who want to live the life of the opposite sex and happy to make sure that they can live out their identity fantasies without being given a hard time about it. But the reality is, sex isn’t an identity commodity. It is a reproductive agency … and trying to colonise and distort it with your agenda is not something that you can make legitimate by PR bamboozling mass constituencies into consenting to a temporary legislative outcome in your favour.

    You may be able to bluff, crib and fudge your agenda into what is left of our now deeply marketised and propagandised culture, for the time being, but when the deregulatory and privatising corporate and social libertarian ascendancy comes unstuck, as it is already starting to do, you and your off message mates may very well find yourselves just a tiny bit ‘exposed’.

    Indulgence capitalism, and the ideological mates of yours who are running its economic and social agendas, do not have a very sustainable future on any front, whether ecological, economic, social or existential. And the ruinous deregulatory damage that they are doing to economic and social governance and infrastructure is making some serious enemies, of which I am one.

    And when the tide turns, it’ll be on. I shouldn’t have that long to wait … five to ten years, max.

  4. Rob Halton

    October 19, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    Tasmania is a quiet little place, lets not make too much noise to upset the neighborhood. Better to be seen occasionally having a latte in North Hobart .. but keep the noise down, please. hush hush!

  5. Rebecca

    October 19, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    “These reforms are not “controversial”. Despite months of debate, there has been very little concern expressed within the community.”

    There you have it. That lie again.

    Women wishing to maintain the legal ability to say “no” to males in certain circumstances is not ‘fear mongering’. Numerous examples have been provided via Isla McGregor and Bronwyn Williams from around the world where self-ID of gender has resulted in harms to women. These are real actions, not mere ‘fears’. Two women were raped in a Canadian prison because of self-ID. Women have been booted out of domestic violence shelters because they don’t want to sleep in a room with a man.

    Your proposals will allow any man, yes ANY man, the right to be legally recognised as female but you maintain that this is only about trans people. You are either being obtuse or you are lying, Delaney.

    • Russell

      October 20, 2018 at 12:49 pm

      When has there been any debate involving “the community”? Or do you mean just the “PC” community?

      I voted for same sex marriage, but since then I wish I hadn’t with all the stupid “PC” baggage which has come along afterwards.

  6. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    October 19, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    Well Martine, now that we know that your proposed legislative changes are not as radical as all that, then you will have no problem with the very moderate amendments proposed by Isla McGregor and Bronwyn Williams as laid down in these columns.

    Problem solved …

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