November 21st 2015

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Gender variety has no basis in science

CANBERRA OBSERVED PM's political capital may be tax-reform casualty

EDITORIAL IPCC and the media: Last Tango in Paris

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Poland's election sends shock waves through EU

THE ELECTRONICS REVOLUTION Create infrastructure to bridge coming robo gap

LIFE ISSUES Keeping a straight face with Andrew Denton on euthanasia

LIFE ISSUES With Nitschke out of death industry, Exit must go next

EUROPEAN AFFAIRS Euro banks were lending like there's no tomorrow

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Polls show conservative resurgence at grassroots

RELIGION IN RUSSIA State control, Slavophiles prepare way for apostasy

CULTURE Mankind needs to work; and mankind needs work

PUBLIC POLICY Drug substitutes used as treatment are lethal

CINEMA The man who stands back up: Bridge of Spies

BOOK REVIEW We're getting better all the time


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Gender variety has no basis in science

by Terri M. Kelleher

News Weekly, November 21, 2015

Gender is fluid. That is what young people are being told in schools.

Only one of the above two

tables is scientific.

Safe Schools Coalition Australia (SSCA) resource booklet “OMG I’m Queer” (on page 7), states categorically: “Sex is your physical aspects (i.e., your wibbly wobbly bits) … . Gender on the other hand is how you feel in your mind.

“Some people have a ‘fluid’ gender – it changes over time. My friend has warned me not to be surprised if one day she rocks up with a shaved head and asks to be called Bruce. But you know what? That’s completely up to her.” [1]

Facebook users previously had to identify themselves as male or female, or could keep their gender private. Now 56 gender options are offered and users can select a “custom” gender option. [2]

The notion that gender is fluid and that a man can become a woman, or vice versa, by way of surgery and/or hormone treatment, is controversial.

Feminist author and psychologist Laura McNally has commented on the SSCA advocacy of gender fluidity. She wrote on the ABC’s Religion and Ethics website: “The idea that gender is a feeling is highly questionable. In fact, the idea of feminine or masculine thinking has long been disputed in the research.

“Many people are indeed diverse and non-conforming, and ending discrimination around difference is worthwhile. But there is no consensus in the research on whether putting children into gender categories is helpful or simply premature and possibly disruptive. Theories about gender are dubious at best.” [3]

And genetics tells us otherwise. Dr David page has discovered that X and Y chromosomes “function throughout the entire body, not just within the reproductive tract. … every cell knows it at the molecular level.

“We aren’t unisex, and our bodies know this – every cell knows it at the molecular level.”

Dr Page explains more in a short but very informative video which can be accessed at

Greer cops a blast

But saying she didn’t think that post-operative transgender men were women brought down the wrath of the gender police like a ton of bricks on expatriate Australian feminist academic and author Germaine Greer. Students at Cardiff University in Wales got up a petition calling for the university to cancel a lecture she was to give there, accusing the famous feminist of spouting hateful and marginalising views of transgender people.

Greer told the BBC: “I’m not saying that people should not be allowed to go through that procedure … What I’m saying is, it doesn’t make them a woman.

“It happens to be an opinion. It’s not a prohibition.” [4]

American Olympic athlete, Bruce Jenner, on the other hand, has been feted in the media over his transitioning to a woman and changing his name to Caitlyn, being honoured as one of Glamour magazine’s Women of the Year in New York recently. [5]

Jenner is reported to have commented on completing his transitioning: “In some ways, it’s a little sad. Bruce was a good guy, did a lot of good things, raised a tremendous family and wonderful kids. But I just couldn’t play that game any longer.

“I actually cried a little bit about it … It was very exciting, but such a head trip.” [6]

His words read as though Bruce was another person, a person who no longer exists.

What do psychiatrists say about this? Eminent American psychiatrist Paul McHugh has said: “‘Sex change’ is biologically impossible. People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminised men or masculinised women. Claiming that this is civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder.” [7]

Dr Joseph Berger, a specialist in psychiatry at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada says: “‘Transgendered’ are people who claim that they really are or wish to be people of the sex opposite to which they were born as, or to which their chromosomal configuration attests. … Scientifically, there is no such a thing. Therefore anyone who actually truly believes that notion, is by definition deluded, psychotic. The medical treatment of delusions or psychosis is not by surgery.”

And if they concede that scientifically they cannot change sex but are unhappy with their biological sex and wish to be of the other sex, again: “The proper treatment of emotional unhappiness is not surgery.” [8]

Not in the science

So the answer to the lead question? Does it lie in the science – what genetics tells us? Or in the feelings of the man who feels he is a woman trapped in a man’s body? Or does it just depend on from whose perspective you are looking at it? Well, if I am feeling cold when in fact the thermometer says it is 42 degrees in the shade and I continue to turn up the heater and pile on more layers of clothing, then I will in fact eventually die of heat exhaustion.

The feelings of people who are unhappy with their biological sex should not be ignored, but medical or surgical treatment to give them the appearance of the other sex does not seem to be the answer.



[1] OMG I’m Queer. Safe Schools Coalition AUS.

[2] Russell Goldman, “Here’s a list of 58 gender options for Facebook users”, ABC News, February 13, 2015.

[3] Laura McNally, “Gender neutrality or enforcement? Safe Schools isn’t as progressive as it seems”, ABC Religion and Ethics, March 24, 2015.

[4] Melissa Clarke, “Cardiff University rejects petition to ban Germaine Greer from lecture over views on transgender people”, ABC News, October 27, 2015.

[5] Kelli Serio, “Bruce Jenner: Media can’t say bad things about me ‘because then they’d be homophobic’”, Breitbart, November 10,2015.

[6] Rachel McRady, “Caitlyn Jenner: ‘I cried a little bit’ about legally changing my name from Bruce”, US Weekly, November 9, 2015.

[7] Paul McHugh, “Transgender surgery isn’t the solution”, The Wall Street Journal, June 12, 2014.

[8] Joseph Berger, “Testimony on Bill C279”, APRA Canada, January 14, 2013.

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