July 1st 2017

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY 'Safe Schools' and every school's duty of care

CANBERRA OBSERVED Catholic education: not gone but Gonski'd

EDITORIAL Oh dear, Prime Minister, Brexit is harder now

ELECTRICITY Blueprint author did not ask about the weather

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Call for referendum after Taiwan court backs same-sex marriage

EUTHANASIA Death-dealing bills break out like hydras' heads

GENDER POLITICS New breed of young women takes on the United Nations

CULTURE AND HISTORY The past is a foreign country

LITERATURE The Road to Wigan Pier and the roads beyond

AUSTRALIAN HISTORY The 'Brisbane line' and other scandals

MUSIC Carla Bley: sophisticated lady

CINEMA Churchill: The regrets of a Lear

BOOK REVIEW Charting 15 years of changing emphases


GENDER POLITICS The Pied Pipers of gender dysphoria

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New breed of young women takes on the United Nations

by Jane Munro

News Weekly, July 1, 2017

For the second year running, before the meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 61. See the report in News Weekly, May 6, 2017), a Youth Forum was held. This year about 750 young people (mostly young women) gathered on March 11–12 at the United Nations in New York to produce the Youth Declaration.

The Youth Declaration is subtitled “Gender-just implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals: Young women’s right to economic empowerment and participation in leadership and decision-making”. The declaration is presented to the CSW Conference, prior to its completion, with the aim of influencing the Agreed Conclusions.

The United Nations considers children of the age of 10 old enough and mature enough to attend these sessions. Wearing “We are not labels; we are powerful girls” T-shirts, they examined the same theme discussed later at the Commission on the Status of Women, “Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work”.

The Youth Declaration contains statements that would attract universal agreement, some of which are:

9. Urgently address the crisis of vast youth unemployment and underemployment, from which young women and marginalised groups are disproportionately and unjustly affected and left behind.

13. Partner with relevant private-sector actors to scale up investments to improve young women’s employability through training, education, and workforce development to aid the transition to decent work.

20. Implement and enact policies and legislative protection that mandate zero tolerance for all types of violence against women and girls, including but not limited to gender-based violence, sexual-based violence, early, child and forced marriage, female genital mutilation, and gender-based violence in conflict environments.

However, it also strongly advocates for concepts that are far from universally acceptable. It is not possible to believe that God made us in his image and likeness and that all human life is precious and deserving of respect, while accepting these concepts. For example:

16. Recognise that gender is not binary, rather encapsulates equality between people of all genders and the reality of SOGIGESC persons’ experience and human rightfulness to gender identification of choice.

(SOGIGESC stands for “Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sex Characteristics”.)

According to the American College of Pediatricians, there is no scientific evidence that “gender is not binary” or that people may be born in the wrong body. The fundamental transgender claim is that a human being can change his or her sex. Dr Paul McHugh, who was the chief psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, says that is “starkly, nakedly false”. He pioneered sex-change surgery but discontinued it after realising it did not improve the mental health of his patients.

Recent objective research suggests that:

1) Transgender persons are not born that way. Every cell in the human body marks individuals as either male or female, with males bearing an XY and females an XX chromosome. Sex is identified anatomically when an infant is in the womb and then confirmed at birth.

2) Secondary issues do exist. According to Dr McHugh, it is a form of dysphoria – gender dysphoria.

The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (fifth edition) lists gender dysphoria as part of the family of disorders that include anorexia (sufferers believe they are overweight), body integrity identity disorder (sufferers believe they are disabled) and body dysmorphic disorder (sufferers believe they are very ugly).

Dr Kenneth Zucker, director of the Child Youth and Family Gender Identity Clinic at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto says: “Gender dysphoria is often associated with pre-existing psychological problems such as anxiety, depression, autism spectrum disorders, and a history of sexual abuse or physical or mental trauma.

“Other ‘predisposing and perpetuating factors’ include troubled peer dynamics, parental psychopathology, and parental reinforcement of cross-gender behaviour during the sensitive period of gender-identity formation.”

3) the transgender population is at risk for regret and suicide. Walt Heyer, who transitioned to a woman and returned to male status, has a lot of interesting information about this. Visit his blog at www.sexchangeregret.com

Other concepts advocated by the Youth forum include:

31. Ensure access to comprehensive youth-friendly health services and information, especially for sexual and reproductive health rights.

32. Ensure that all girls and young women have autonomy over their own destiny and body.

“Sexual and reproductive health rights” are UN code words for abortion (although the new U.S. appointee to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, thankfully refused to accept that definition). Having autonomy over one’s own body is also a ploy for the introduction of abortion, where the unborn child is considered part of the woman’s body.

However, a new breed of young women is rising and attending UN conferences. They are associated with Christian groups like Fiat Girls, Family Watch International, United Families International and C-FAM. They question the status quo. They have enough initiative to challenge, to probe and to analyse what is presented.

We have seen them at work. They know their faith, they are articulate, smart and very presentable. God is in charge and “moving the chess pieces” to give them a voice. May their quiet dignity roar through the United Nations.

Jane Munro is National International Secretary of the Catholic Women’s League of Australia.

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