Flat White

Why women are at risk from the campaign to abolish sex

9 August 2021

7:06 PM

9 August 2021

7:06 PM

The latest human rights push is the inalienable right to keep your birth sex private.  We all have to pretend that we cannot now, nor have we ever been able, to tell a man from a woman.  I can feel that you don’t believe me, because this really is getting too crazy.  

When an application was brought to The Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commission recently by a lesbian woman, she wrote that she sought “to provide a venue without unwanted presence, attention or aggression of male-bodied people”.  The Commissioner, Sarah Bolt refused to grant the exemption for a number of reasons, one surprisingly is that “sex is not a protected characteristic” in the Anti-Discrimination Act in Tasmania.  

Bolt considered that by seeking to host a single-sex event, women would likely be engaging in “offensive, humiliating, intimidating insulting and ridiculing conduct”, simply by attempting to determine the sex of the people wanting to gain entry.  She wrote that she could not see how anyone could determine a person’s biological sex “without intrusive questioning and completely undermining a person’s right to privacy”.   

A recent proposed consent law in the ACT has been questioned by “human rights” groups, because they are worried people will be forced to reveal their biological sex as part of gaining consent for a sexual encounter.  They have specifically identified the following sentence to be problematic; “a person does not consent to an act if they are mistaken about any element of the act”.  To be clear, they disagree with this because they don’t want the “element” of, for example, a penis, to be a legal dealbreaker in the giving of consent for sex.  Even if the person giving the consent is a lesbian or a heterosexual man. The element they want removed from consent to sex is sex.  

All of a sudden, sex recognition is being framed as an extremely complex and invasive process, possibly involving the inspection of genitals. And more than this the right to shield biological sex in documents, surgery, clothing, makeup and hormones, should be backed by the power of government against the bias of the population who continue to recognise sex over gender, even into the bedroom.  

This ideology is based in intersectional feminism and queer theory, they are part of the same group of ideologies based on social constructionism.  The reason sex-based risk disappears in these frameworks is because they frame the primary source of male violence and indeed sexual attraction, as based in gender (gender is the cultural expressions of sex).  According to gender ideologues, females are not naturally non-violent, they are socialised into non-violence.  “Trans women are women”, because they have adopted the culture of “women” and reality only exists in culture. Therefore, trans women are no danger to women, because when they adopt the magic female gender and male pattern violence disappears. Allowing males into female spaces is thus experimental applied sociology.   

The tools of this new form of social control lie almost entirely in the anti-discrimination legislation, that was originally designed to protect the vulnerable and empower people to engage in full citizenship.   Women used to be offered this protection and empowerment because of their historical susceptibility to discrimination, their risk of male violence and their bodily needs and vulnerabilities as the birthers of all humans.  

The justification behind this push to use anti-discrimination legislation against women, is the existence of a more vulnerable group than women. Individual rights in liberal democracies can only be curtailed when the exercising of that right is deemed a risk to other members of the community. Discrimination is a normal practice of societies; it is the principle of “harm” in discrimination that justifies the legislation we are dealing with.  In the Tasmanian instance, the Commissioner considered that gender denying lesbians were most likely to harmfully discriminate based on gender identity and those with Differences in Sex Development.   

People with DSD (around .0173% of the population) are all either male or female and can easily prove their sex with identification.  The overwhelming majority of people with DSD identify with their birth sex and the rest would fall under gender identity protections.  So that brings us to the issue of gender identity.  More specifically individuals who feel distressed at having their sex recognised over their gender identity.  We know that this chronic distress can lead to suicide in people with the very rare condition of gender dysphoria.  But people who are demanding their female gender identity be recognised over their male sex are no longer just the tiny section of the population who suffer from gender dysphoria. The category of “trans” has expanded into non-binary people and males who don’t transition but dress in women’s clothes and use female pronouns for a variety of reasons.  So, this is who is requesting to be shielded under the protections women once held.   

Women didn’t have their rights and protections handed to them.  Women won rights with years of argument, debate and sometimes violent protest.  It wasn’t primarily rights that women fought for, but the ability to secure bodily protections against violent physical and sexual assault toward themselves and children. Women are now to be prohibited from discriminating against “types of bodies”, in the Commissioners’ words. As if men and women are just like two types of mid-range sedans with slightly different accessories, you can swap the badges over and drive away.   

Women need and will always need the sovereignty over their own body, sex and spaces. This may mean women have spaces where trans-identified males are welcome, but our safety is not a social experiment to be handed over to gender studies graduates and power-drunk Commissioners who talk about bodies as if they are flesh vessels for gender souls.  

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, males account for the large majority of sexual assault offenders (97%) across all age groups.  There is no evidence that gender identity abates male-pattern violence.  In fact, data and news stories emerging from countries that have annihilated women’s ability to create and exist in single-sex spaces, is showing that males will adopt trans identity in order to enter spaces specifically to abuse vulnerable women.  This is a shock to no honest person on the planet.  

It seems bleeding obvious why single-sex provisions for women are required for safeguarding. Women throughout the world also require single-sex spaces for cultural purposes.  Women’s right to enjoy the fellowship and dignity that we have in each other’s company in public meetings has been destroyed by a new range of laws, implemented mostly by stealth.   

As if it is not offensive enough to be told that women are not allowed to meet together, the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commission goes on to instruct women, that should they receive unwanted sexual advances, sexual harassment is covered under the Act and “they are able to lodge a complaint.”  Sexual harassment according to the Act is defined as “sexualised behaviour that makes a person feel offended, humiliated, intimidated, insulted or ridiculed”.  Given that these are the exact words that Sarah Bolt used regarding the behaviour that women would likely be engaging in to determine a person’s biological sex, one wonders if the lesbians are more likely to be charged with sexual harassment in refusing to accept the advances of trans-identified males, merely in the process of recognising their sex over their gender identity.   

The American Medical Association last this week that sex should be removed as a legal designation on the public part of birth certificates.  Canadian trans activist, Morgane Oger tweeted in response “Nice to see this, with which I agree. Sex designation on birth certificates helps nobody but harms many.” .   

Oger is most famous for lobbying for the stripping of city council funding from Vancouver Rape Relief (VRRWS), Vancouvers oldest rape shelter, because it would only employ and provide services for natal females.  The VRRWS is now under regular attack for being transphobic. Oger argues for the defining of sex based on a model of “bimodal probabity [sic] distribution function”, and not human roles in sexual reproduction.  By using traditional science, or “TERF ideology” as Oger calls it, one could easily argue that female vulnerability, and therefore need for safeguarding, rests almost entirely in her reproductive role.

Many of us thought that conservative governments would move to protect women. But Tasmanian Liberal Senator Claire Chandler said that elected governments have limited power over ideologies that are being pushed from within bureaucracies riddled with gender theories.  She said that it is going to need a groundswell of opposition from regular people to put a halt to this type of authoritarian legislation. 

This country needs a grassroots movement of women and men insisting that sex is protected in law.  I guarantee if you take up this fight you will be called transphobic and a bigot, but these are only words, the alternative is far more frightening. The difference between women and men is real and important for both women and men, and with this latest “human rights” push to prohibit the recognition of sex women will lose the right, not just to recognise a man, but to recognise herself.    

Edie Wyatt has a BA Hons from the Institute of Cultural Policy Studies and writes on culture, politics and feminism. She tweets at @MsEdieWyatt and blogs at ediewyatt.com.

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