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

Bronwyn Williams

Birth Certificate changes … caution isn’t wilful ignorance

The opinion piece below was written in response to Anthony Haneveer’s article published  in the Advocate newspaper on 23 November.  The editor of the Advocate, Luke Sayer, has declined to publish it.  He says Women Speak Tasmania has no right of reply since we were not specifically mentioned in Mr Haneveer’s opinion piece. 

Mr Sayer further notes that a letter to the editor from Isla MacGregor who he ‘understands is active with our group’ was published in the Advocate on 28 November.

Right of reply or not, it seems the Advocate is reluctant to publish anything that offers more than 150 words in opposition to the pro-trans narrative.   

If you’re one of the many Tasmanians concerned about Labor and the Greens changes to our state’s birth registration and anti-discrimination laws you are, according to Anthony Haneveer (the Advocate 23 November 2018), a wilfully ignorant bigot.

If you don’t think 14 pages of complex amendments to a simple procedural bill are just ‘a little change to birth certificates’, join the ranks of said wilfully ignorant bigots.

Reading the text of his so-called opinion, it’s clear Mr Haneveer has made no attempt to interpret or investigate these amendments, made in the name of transgender law reform.

First, if most of us rarely use our birth certificates, and are likely unaware of its location, why are trans people any different?  Are they singled out and asked to produce this document on a regular basis?  The only example we’ve been given – repeatedly – of a trans person being disadvantaged by an incorrect ‘gender’ on their birth certificate is that of a young person unable to secure a job because they have no other age identifying information and prospective employers have questioned the discrepancy between their presenting ‘gender’ and the sex marker on their birth certificate.

But, how likely is this scenario in the age of anti-discrimination awareness?

Every employer, particularly large organisations like fast food outlets and supermarkets that typically employ young people under the age of 17, is acutely aware of their obligations under anti-discrimination law.  They write inclusivity into their company core values, and operational guides, and pay special attention to ‘gender identity’.

If a young trans person suffers discrimination at the hands of a potential employer, would a complaint to the Anti-discrimination Commissioner not be the best and most effective way to draw attention to the employer’s transgressions?

Is it necessary to take a sledgehammer to a birth registration process that has served 99 per cent of the population, including Mr Haneveer, with no problems for many, many years?

Second, I wonder if Mr Haneveer listened to the Lower House debate on Tuesday 20 November last.  It was far from respectful on the part of Labor and the Greens members.  They delivered several lengthy contributions, and read letters from transgender families, and read out, in full, the convoluted text of each of the amendments as they were moved.  The Government members were silent throughout.

When the Attorney-General rose to speak, however, interjections from the Opposition parties were loud and constant, to the point where she had to stop speaking and wait for quiet before she could resume.

Third, Mr Haneveer has totally ignored the opinions, evidence and legislative alternatives put forward by women’s groups, choosing instead to focus on the Catholic Church and its moral bankruptcy.  Talk about picking an easy target for accusations of ‘baseless scaremongering’ and ‘disgraceful slurs against transgender people’.

If Mr Haneveer had chosen to speak to us, we would have provided numerous examples of men identifying as women and gaining access to female only spaces, services and facilities. They have sexually assaulted women in female prisons and women’s shelters, harassed them in female only gyms, and sued them for declining to provide intimate services to male-bodied people.

Obviously it would put a crimp in Mr Haneveer’s pro-trans, anti-trans ‘bigot’ rhetoric to acknowledge these facts, but balance in journalism is generally considered a good thing {unless you’re Mercury journalist, Tim Martain, and the Mercury editorial team – then it’s a journalistic ‘myth’).

Given the overwhelmingly greater propensity of male persons to perpetrate violence, compared to females, it is naïve to assume some men will not take advantage of laws allowing them to easily self-identify as female, and use that legal identity to prey on vulnerable women and children.

Fourth, female people are entitled to safe, secure spaces where male-bodied persons are not present, for a variety of reasons, ranging from embarrassment to significant trauma.  Not every teenage girl wants to see a dangling penis and testicles parading around the change room of their local gym (this has happened, too – we have screenshots of images and comments posted on social media by a biological male transwoman talking about proudly displaying his ‘lady penis’ in the community area of a gym locker room).

Finally, Mr Haneveer begrudgingly acknowledges the amendments could benefit from an expert review.  Such a review is essential.  The drafting is flawed, the use of terminology is inconsistent, untested legal concepts have been introduced, and there are several obvious areas of conflict with existing legislation.

Has anyone asked the government agencies, and other organisations and individuals that will have to administer and interpret these changes what they think about the monstrous legislative debacle now facing them?

And, by the way, framed, decorative birth certificates are popular these days.  Some of my grandchildren have them, ordered and displayed by their parents.

Bronwyn Williams is a retired lawyer and social worker

Isla MacGregor lives in Tasmania and is concerned about the ethical conduct of and collusion between Government and corporations in Tasmania.

Women Speak Tasmania is a network of women and their supporters based in Tasmania. We operate as a secular group. We are not aligned with any political party or ideology. We share research and information on a broad range of women’s rights issues. These include – female only spaces, services, groups and facilities; the sexualisation of girls and women; pornography/prostitution and the harms of the global sex trade; surrogacy as a violation of women’s human rights; and ending male violence against girls and women. We understand that sex-based oppression affects all women, and underlies all abuses of female rights. We support the right of women to speak freely about the inequities and discrimination they experience. We aim to give a voice to girls and women in the pursuit of justice, peace and security. We support full autonomy and personal freedom for all women.

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


  1. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    December 3, 2018 at 9:38 pm

    The transgen lobby clearly believes that once the so-called marriage ‘equality’ plebiscite was over and the same sex activist lobby had got its legal way, and that their battle was effectively over and they could just slipstream in behind to collect their doings once the dust had settled down.

    It is clear that the ALP, The Greens and their fellow travelers see the transgen changes as a done deal waiting in the wings to be rubber stamped at the appropriate time. For them ‘the debate’ (what a laugh) is over. That is why Bronwyn and Isla, despite going to enormous effort to produce a cogently argued case, are getting absolutely no traction at all in the main media that these ideological clowns control.

    In so-called democracies, heresy isn’t banned. It is just denied oxygen. The regime players, which is what the transgen lobby is becoming, magically get advertorial footage, press interviews, human interest stories, commentary opportunities and ‘authoritative’ spokespeople appearing on talk-back, panel shows and whathaveyou. The other side is lucky if it gets a couple of background shots that are edited over by commentator voice-overs that ‘contextualise’ them in accordance with the official line. And in this case, Isla and Bronwyn aren’t even getting that.

    And I think it says something about how far feminism and the authentic interests of women have been marginalised in favour of off-message sexual opportunists (including I might add, the prostitution lobby) whose deregulatory agenda aligns with an economic system; a system that thrives on indulgence, fantasy, adolescent narcissism and inconsequential behaviour as long as the damage isn’t immediately obvious, and only appears sufficiently downstream so it can be ‘normalised’ and where necessary, and blame-shifted away from the regime by concentrating on immediate proximate effects rather than the long term causes.

    The successful same sex marriage campaign may take a generation to start showing up ‘problems’ as same-sex operators throughout the architecture of public discourse glam up their practices, turn metrosexuality into an uberkool fashion statement and increase their ‘market share’, especially amongst impressionable adolescent newbies. But that can be obfuscated into a future generation which will be faced with a fait accompli and just have to suck it up (as it were). But the transgen campaign really is treading heavily on female toes, right now, and the the off-message sex lobbies et al have become so smugly entrenched, they do not give a damn. They don’t have to any more …

    Women, who represent half of humanity, get the shove, and a tiny bunch of people who should be concentrating on their therapy get the cultural payoffs and the credits.

    Not listening to the larger interests of women is so very traditional. Treating them poorly and paying little or no respect or attention to them is how it has always been. The sexual revolution was a leering caricature and sham, and the transgen lobby and its fellow travelers are showing us the way.

    Isla and Bronwyn can shout until the cows come home, but their audience is as deaf as a post.

  2. Isla MacGregor

    December 1, 2018 at 12:30 pm

  3. Fern

    November 30, 2018 at 9:36 pm

    The outrageous hypocrisy of this self id legislation constantly hurts my brain.

    If we don’t have the simple truths of our sex biology as our baseline identity, all that is left is the distorted, double-speak gendering process offered by the trans community, where, if your daughter likes her hair short and likes to climb trees she’s a failed female and you should encourage her into masculinity. If your son is gentle and has long hair then he’s no longer a boy with long hair .. he has to go on some convoluted gendering journey.

    My feminist grandmother would be raging in her grave.

    Why don’t the male gatekeepers of the male dominated media industry want to report on the anti-feminism that is trans-activism? It’s because the patriarchy has finally found a way to shut us up …

    I think I’ll just get louder …

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