Tasmanian Times


Women’s groups intentionally over-simplify the impact of trans law reforms

Yesterday’s joint statement by Tasmanian women’s groups, Women’s Legal Service Tasmania, Engender Equality, Hobart Women’s Shelter and Women’s Health Tasmania, continues the litany of oversimplified assurances about the benign nature of the radical birth registration and anti-discrimination law reforms proposed by Labor and the Greens.

If they want to justify their claim that the amendments are ‘narrow in scope’, why not break them down for us, in plain language.

Surely the legal staff at the Tasmanian Women’s Legal Service could undertake this task, and answer any criticism of the amendments once and for all.

These organisations say Women Speak Tasmania doesn’t represent the large number of women associated with them, but how many women, exactly, do THEY represent?

We generously estimate their Boards and staff to number around 120 people in total. But what about their clients?

Has Hobart Women’s Shelter, for example, asked all its traumatised family violence clients how they would feel about sharing sleeping quarters with an intact male who identifies as a woman?

Women Speak Tasmania has had personal contact with many women in Tasmania, and we have formed close links with an expanding number of women’s groups, both interstate and overseas, in a short period of time.

Rather than presuming to speak for Women’s Legal Service Tasmania, Engender Equality, Hobart Women’s Shelter and Women’s Health Tasmania, Women Speak Tasmania openly acknowledges the fundamental ideological difference between us.

They say ‘transgender women are women’. Our position is that they are not. They are biological males, and in the centuries long history of female oppression, biology matters.

Women Speak Tasmania is aligned with women’s groups in the UK, like Fair Play for Women, who are opposing amendments to UK legislation that will allow transgender persons to change the sex marker on their birth certificate on the basis of self-declared ‘gender identity.

The same changes are proposed by Labor and the Greens in Tasmania, and the UK experience has produced several well-publicised instances of self-identifying transwomen committing offences against female persons in ‘service’ settings.

For example, intact biological male transwoman, Karen White, was recently convicted of sexually assaulting women in a female prison.

How can these Tasmanian Women’s groups openly denounce the shocking violence perpetrated by men against women, and at the same time naively assume no man will take advantage of laws allowing them to self-identify as female and prey on vulnerable women and girls? Are they totally oblivious to the inconsistency of their position?

How do they feel about laws that will allow intact adult males to legally take positions as leaders in female-only organisations like Girl Guides? Does anyone who respects the right of young girls to a safe, female-only space think abuse of those laws will never happen?

The proposal to issue birth certificates, by default, with no sex marker, is clearly unpopular with the Tasmanian community.

Women Speak Tasmania is equally concerned about the implications of allowing self-identification changes to sex markers on birth certificates.

Women and girls need to be assured of access to safe, secure female-only spaces, services and facilities. If male-bodied persons can become legally female, literally at the stroke of a pen, how can female-only organisations maintain their single-sex integrity? Are the exceptions allowed in current anti-discrimination law robust enough to allow them to reject a biological male who is ‘legally’ female?

Women Speak Tasmania has put forward an alternative legislative framework that protects the rights of female persons and transgender people – see our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/womenspeaktas/.

Finally, we reject the assertion by Women’s Legal Service Tasmania, Engender Equality, Hobart Women’s Shelter and Women’s Health Tasmania that putting forward a women’s rights argument leads to ‘greater danger, including physical assaults to transgender women, non-binary individuals, and women who do not conform to stereotypes of femininity’.

All available data suggests violence against these groups is overwhelmingly perpetrated by MEN, not by women standing up for their basic human rights.

Bronwyn Williams is a retired lawyer and social worker

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. Clive Stott

    November 14, 2018 at 2:34 am

    Bowel Screen recently sent me a form to complete. I was asked to answer M or F.

    Imagine how many years of cancer research will be messed up if people just tick what they want to classify themselves as.

    A birth certificate should always indicate the sex of the child when it was born. You can’t go messing around with that, can you?

    Incidentally, people talk about intact males. Intact females don’t seem to get a mention.

    Girls are allowed to join the Boy Scouts. Why should there be girls only Girl Guides?

    I’m just thinking back to medical inspection at Brighton Army Camp. Boys in army cadets (no girls allowed then) were required to run a circuit in the raw and front up to a female to be ‘inspected’. I can’t imagine she was looking for measles. Weasels maybe.

    As I say, let me know when it is all sorted out.

    Be careful what you are asking for, and please use equal criteria for both born sexes.

  2. Clive Stott

    November 10, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    Women disagreeing with women now. Oh my.

    Where does it end? Let me know when it’s all sorted out, or ruined completely.

    Lola, if people are allowed to change the age they act on their birth certificate, then we are going to see a few go into the minus. To be told to grow up won’t be allowed anymore. I win by default!

    • Russell

      November 11, 2018 at 7:48 am

      “Women disagreeing with women now.”

      I haven’t seen that here, Clive.

  3. Barbara Tanner

    November 9, 2018 at 11:48 am

    How many of these women’s groups have members of Transforming Tasmania been appointed as members of the Board too?
    And, exactly who is currently on the Boards of these women’s groups who are wanting to shut down debate on this issue?

    How any representative of a women’s groups, funded by Government, could dare to suggest that ANY policy that concerns girls and women will NOT impact on them, is insane.

  4. Joanna

    November 8, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    # bambinospeak Tasmania …

    Indeed, for many people who are not involved in politics (or gender politics, more precisely) this must be absurd. I wish that the Birth Certificates would be left alone, as they serve a purpose and another forms of recognition is offered to transgender individuals.’

    WST has provided an option … as they have drawn an alternative. Other solutions should be debated. None of these women are transphobic. This is ideological warfare. WST prioritises biological women’s concerns. Women’s Legal Service prioritises feelings and inclusivity.

    # Ron …
    Some wise woman said: (I wish I knew who …)
    “Feminism didn’t teach me to hate men, but it did teach me to stop prioritising them over women. And it turns out a lot of men think that is the same as hatred.”

    # Peter …

    Thank you.

  5. Ron

    November 8, 2018 at 10:51 am

    “Women speak Tasmania” represents just another insignificant fringe group which give the impression that all individuals with a penis are to be despised.

    They don’t represent the views of most women; certainly none I know, or would want to know. I find it the most pathetic hypocrisy that they rant on about having “women only” spaces.

    It was femo-nazis like themselves who set out destroy the right of men to have places where we could congregate without having to listen to the likes of this pack of banshees. The trio who keep squawking in this forum should take note from history. It’s simply a case of “Sauce for the goose”, and you “ladies”, should crawl back under your rocks.

    • Peter Black

      November 8, 2018 at 1:05 pm

      Well Ron, I myself, being a male with a penis, do not feel despised by the female group “Women speak Tasmania”.

      But then Ron, we men who do not feel despised feel confidence within ourselves that when we talk, we do so knowing we do not have puny insignificant little penises which have seemed to have caused over the centuries so much hate and repression to our beautiful sisters.

      Thankfully Ron, you do not represent the views of most men, and with your hateful squawking completed, most of us will be happy to know you have crawled back under your rock.

      Good day.

      • Tony Stone

        November 9, 2018 at 8:39 am

        “Thankfully Ron, you do not represent the views of most men, and with your hateful squawking completed, most of us will be happy to know you have crawled back under your rock.”

        Well Peter, I have worked in entertainment and hospitality for many decades. Having just completed a trip interstate to many venues, the talk I hear is the opposite to what you and the bizarrely fervent feminist movement claim. The talk from men, and many women, is that they are disgusted by the never-ending attempt by this movement (of a clearly mentally bereft minority of supposed women) to destroy society.

        In my experience, it’s the over educated, lacking in real life experience outside an urban office, who fit the bill of being at the forefront of the drive to destroy male and female relationships. Their ‘holier than thou’ elitism and ‘we are right’ even though the facts show they are wrong, is what is wrong with world societies.

        The insanity of deleting gender from birth certificates is typical of the mentality destroying society worldwide. These are the types of humans who support the perpetrators of crime with minimal sentencing, yet scream blue murder when their approach of supporting criminals in sentencing ends up killing someone.

        Now we are seeing a brawl between different feminist groups, which is another definite sign of what I and other realists see happening .. the collapse of human society into a gender and social war of attrition. Sadly there are very few realists on the planet, and what they say is ignored because it doesn’t fit with the ideological programming of the vast majority.

        People wonder why crime rates are rising, claiming it is women who are bearing the brunt of violence. But the facts are that it’s men who actually receive the majority of violence and death on world streets, and most is unprovoked.

        The growing domestic violence against women will not subside by removing gender from birth certificates, as pointed out here. It will open up the doors for every misfit there is to jump in wherever they can and commit crimes under the guise of gender equality.

        There is only one way to provide a society which is balance and safe, and which offers equality of opportunity to all. It’s to remove the causes. And it’s absolutely clear what those causes are .. chemically saturated junk and processed foods, over population .. and the most important thing, working to live, not living to work as is demanded by the rich and political elite.

        Until we have a balance in society, one which respects all and doesn’t allow minorities to constantly drive our society, things will only get worse until total social chaos will reign supreme. You can be assured that this outcome is now fixed in stone and cannot be changed until society is changed, and control is taken from the over educated, overpaid, useless elites running societies into the ground.

        Of course no one will listen to anything people like me say. They refuse to see the reality of their lives, and so they push more and more for their delusions to become the norm.

        We are seeing the growing results of that stupidity in this thread, and life in general.

    • Aaron

      November 8, 2018 at 1:55 pm

      “femo-nazis”, “banshees”, “squawking” … you’re the one “ranting on” like a hysterical fool.

    • Russell

      November 9, 2018 at 8:02 am

      ” .. which give the impression that all individuals with a penis are to be despised.”

      Since when, Ron? Please provide proof for your accusation instead of your pub-speak.

      “They don’t represent the views of most women; certainly none I know, or would want to know.”

      That says it all, Ron. You have a closed mind and no understanding outside your own men-only club mentality.

      “It was femo-nazis like themselves who set out destroy the right of men to have places where we could congregate”

      Provide some examples, Ron.

      “It’s simply a case of “Sauce for the goose”, and you “ladies” should crawl back under your rocks.”

      I doubt you are in a relationship Ron, or ever will be – except maybe with another like-minded bloke.

      That seems to be the pretty unanimous view amongst the men who have answered your hysterical, patriarchal rant.

      • Ron

        November 10, 2018 at 2:02 pm

        Sorry to disappoint you Russell et al. I’m happily married with adult sons and daughters, and I’ve not been in a “pub” for over 30 years… Ooops!

        Further more, I work with, and for, a group of highly educated, intelligent, strong minded females. Sorry to disappoint you. I’ve shown some of my colleagues the rantings of this trio in the past .. and they scoff in utter disgust. Oh, well.

        Examples Russell? Are you going senile, or just completely naive? Most “male only” places were hounded into extinction, or forced to opened their doors to the likes of these trolls who claim they are better than men, but prove time and again that they are not. Open your eyes, Russell. This lot, and the government agencies that support, them have killed thousands of men and denied the rest of us basic human rights.

        Yes, Russell, its definitely sauce for the goose. They squeal discrimination at every turn, until some other little fringe group intrudes on their turf, and then they confirm that they are nothing more than just another bunch of chauvinist pigs, sans balls.

        • Russell

          November 11, 2018 at 7:46 am

          “This lot, and the government agencies that support them, have killed thousands of men and denied the rest of us basic human rights.”

          What? Again, where is your proof? Where are these men-only bastions which have been hard done by or “hounded into extinction”? Where are these women who have said they are “better than men, but prove(d) time and again that they are not” and who are these men?

          Some proof please Ron, not self-made assumptions and generalisations.

          The facts are that since the invention of Christianity 2,000 years ago, the patriarchal movement has from day one hunted down women as witches and heretics and tortured and murdered countless thousands of them, and anyone who supported them. Approximately one third of France’s population was annihilated in the French Wars of Religion between 1562 and 1598. This was outdone by The Thirty Years War in Central Europe between 1618 and 1648 .. one of the most destructive conflicts in human history which resulted in eight million fatalities.

          The New Testament and the Papal reign wiped the equality of women from history, and that continues to this day.

          Most societies used to be matriarchal because they respected the very sex which brought every single human into being. They are the creators and nurturers of all human life.

          Men mostly destroy everything to get what they want, but not necessarily need. So much is the insane jealousy towards women that even the clergy chooses to dress in women’s clothes. Transvestites and transgenders are doing the same in order to infiltrate what remains of women’s rights.

          To think they also should have the right to stuff around with birth certificates demonstrates how pathetic and twisted these people’s minds are. Now there is a fool trying to change his date of birth through the Courts “because I don’t feel 69, I feel 49.”

          WHAT NEXT?

          Your blinkered rant, and your pretending to speak for a group of unknown women, adds to and underlines the continuation of the patriarchal falsity.

          Stick to the article and provable facts, Ron.

  6. Bambinospeak tasmania

    November 8, 2018 at 10:12 am

    I must admit to being puzzled as to just how a simple humble birth certificate has somehow been hijacked for an adult identity issue.

    Surely all a birth certificate does is make a record as to what event happened on what day and time – specifically that what baby arrived at what time to which mother, and also who else was there.

    Significantly the birth certificate records which bambino arrives in his or her birthday suit (biological sexual identity) without any markers of adult gender politics.

    If we value a document that has its purpose other than adult gender identity issues then surely there is no point in having one if we change it.

    Surely the needs of adult transgender persons can be considered in another way.

  7. Isla MacGregor

    November 8, 2018 at 9:29 am

    That backlash from organisations that purport to represent women in Tasmania is to be expected.

    Any organisations which want to shut down debate on the issues concerning transgender law reform by use of slurs such as transphobic and TERFS, etc are in fact acting contrary to the best interests of girls and women, and especially the right to freedom of expression.

    Too many women are afraid to speak out about this debate, and Bronwyn explains the implications for women who attend women-only services, or those girls and women who want safe spaces free from male-bodied people.

    The four women services who have cobbled together their latest attack on freedom of speech of critics on this necessary community debate are certainly not up to date with the growing and alarming international evidence base that’s gathering momentum on transgender research, medical and legal battles.

    • Lola Moth

      November 9, 2018 at 5:15 am

      Isla, I have recently been reading of a Dutch man, Emile Ratelband, who is trying to legally change his birth certificate because his biological age doesn’t match with the age he feels comfortable with. His birth certificate says he is 69 but he feels 49, so he has launched a legal challenge to reflect that change. You may find his argument interesting.

      • AM

        November 9, 2018 at 3:24 pm

        As the judge said:

        “There is also something like common sense, of course.”


        Call me old fashioned, but birth dates, like sex, should remain scientifically based observations on birth certificates.

        By all means, use all available permutations of sex – XX, XY, XXY and XYY if observed.

        • Lola Moth

          November 9, 2018 at 4:23 pm

          Thanks for adding the link.

          My friend has never gotten along with her mother and has always thought she must have been adopted, but her birth certificate says there were witnesses to her birth, and a DNA test confirmed her worst fears, so she must accept that the woman she hates is her birth mother.

          I wonder if she could fight to change her birth certificate to ‘mother unknown’ .. seeing as how she self-identifies as a foundling?

        • Leonard Colquhoun

          November 10, 2018 at 9:48 am

          But wouldn’t every other one except XY and XX be undiscoverable at birth?

      • Leonard Colquhoun

        November 10, 2018 at 9:45 am

        “[Isla] You may find his argument interesting.” I certainly did, but only in that mock-serious sense, in much the same tone as I find claims about Earth needing immediate human population reduction now “interesting”.

        There are two things which this whole thread does very well: (i) that all -isms stupidify their adherents, especially their ‘true believers’ and (ii) that one aspect of that stupidification is an increasing distance from physical and biological realities.

        Think, for example, Soviet economic theory (GUM’s empty shelves, and the 99% absence of ‘Made in Russia’ labels on our store shelves three decades after 1991) and Stalin’s Lysenkoism (which ignored the science of evolution by natural selection). Or the Nazi ignorance of the role diversity plays in a biological population (had it succeeded in turning its people into Aryan Ubermenschen, they would likely have become infertile slobberers with a few generations).

        BTW, the major promulgators of self-styled ‘creation science’ are in Islamist societies, cultures and countries. In terms of the effects of totalitarian -isms, it makes sense.

        PS: some wit wondered what the anonym of ‘diversity’ was, and came up with ‘university’!

      • Geoff Holloway

        November 10, 2018 at 3:58 pm

        YES, I like what Emile Ratelband is saying! (says he who is about to become that age that comes after the number 69 ….) so let’s eliminate ageism forever … well, for as long as possible !

To Top