September 23rd 2017


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COVER STORY Labor's vision for a transgender world

EDITORIAL Liddell closure: acid test for Turnbull

EUTHANASIA We risk turning our doctors into death dealers

DOCUMENTARY Harvested Alive: killing Falung Gong in China

AGENDA FOR AUSTRALIA Distorted jobless stats defeat planning efforts

ENVIRONMENT Hurricane Harvey: don't let a good disaster go to waste

AFL GRAND FINAL Bob Santamaria predicted the sunset of Aussie Rules

HISTORY After 500 years, is sugar going sour?

IDEOLOGY OF TRANSGENDERISM Reshaping our identities and relationships

MUSIC The Sequence: it's elementary

CINEMA The Hitman's Bodyguard: 'Eighties' action with popcorn

BOOK REVIEW One of globalisation's dwindling band

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HUMOUR

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SAME-SEX MARRIAGE For bullying, look left, look left, and then look left again

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IDEOLOGY OF TRANSGENDERISM
Reshaping our identities and relationships


by Patrick J. Byrne

News Weekly, September 23, 2017

The following is an extract from Patrick J. Byrne’s forthcoming book (Wilkinson Publishing) on transgenderism and the consequences normalising it and writing it into law will have on marriage, education and culture.

It will be essential reading as we try to understand what is at stake if we redefine marriage as between “two persons”.

At the centre of the debate around the controversial Safe Schools program, various anti-discrimination laws and attempts to redefine marriage is the theory and ideology of transgenderism.

A man is a member of the male biological sex, as recognised at birth by his male reproductive anatomy and potential; and a woman is a member of the female biological sex, as recognised by her reproductive anatomy and potential.

This binary biological reality (“binary” relates to two opposites)[1] allows for intimate sexual relationships that create children and bonded biological relationships between child, mother and father.

Generally, most people regard fellow members of the human race as binary, that is, as male or female, regardless of whether persons are heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transsexual. Most lesbians and gays are binary. While they are same-sex attracted, they still regard biological sex a defining aspect of human identity. Most transsexuals are binary, in the sense that, while being biologically of one sex, they seek to be a member of the opposite sex.

In contrast, in transgender (or queer) theory, transgender is an umbrella term for persons who claim that their gender identity, gender expression or behaviour does not conform to that typically associated with their sex as recorded at birth. While transgender theory claims to include binary transsexuals, in reality, transgender theory takes transsexualism as evidence that a person can be other than their sex a birth, which is then conflated into the concept of “non binary” gender identity (“non binary” means not related to two).[2]

Transgender theory claims that a person’s gender identity can be on a spectrum of male-to-female, or it can be an identity that may be unrelated to sex (for example, androgyne, agender, gender fluid, pangender, and so on), or it can refer to a person who claims they are genderless. Gender identity is said not to be based on biological sex, but rather is a person’s self-defined social identity. It is based on “appearance or mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics of a person (whether by way of medical intervention or not), with or without regard to the person’s designated sex at birth,” as defined in the Federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984, as amended in 2013.[3]

In transgender theory, gender identity is defined, not by biology, but by social attributes; it is a social construct.

As described by the Australian Human Rights Commission in its report, Resilient Individuals: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity & Intersex Rights,[4] transgender (queer) theory states that a person is recognised by both their gender identity and their sexual orientation.

Sexual orientation is said to be a person’s emotional or sexual attraction to another person or persons.[5] Because gender identity is a social construct not related to biological sex, sexual orientation is not necessarily related to biological sex either. Rather sexual orientation can be attractions between persons based on their socially constructed gender identities. In which case, sexual orientation is also a social construct and is best described as “gender orientation” rather than “sexual orientation.” While the term “sexual orientation” is used in the Federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984, it may also describe “gender orientation”.[6]

The Australian Human Rights Commission is a leading advocate for the recognition of transgenderism in law. The commission advocates replacing the recognition of a person according to their biological sex with recognition of a person according to their self-identified gender identity and sexual/gender orientation. In 2009, the commission published Sex Files: the legal recognition of sex in documents and government records as part of its sex and gender diversity project.

The Sex Files said that sex is “socially constructed”, that “gender identity is not necessarily linked to a person’s sex”, and that a definition of:

“sex … based on social and cultural factors … collapses the distinction between sex and gender by arguing that sex is historically and politically specific. This perspective sees sex as a variable concept and gender diversity is built into the very nature of sex.

“Despite this lack of consensus over the exact meaning and definition, sex and/or gender is an important part of a person’s personal identity. Sex and/or gender identity defines a person’s sense of self and positions them in a social and political context. Every person has the right for their sex and/or gender identity to be recognised and respected.”[7]

From theory to ideology

Transgender theory states that because gender identity is a social construct, and because relationships between persons are based on their gender identities, relationships are also social constructs unrelated to biological sex. Transgender theory is a broad and loose theory that revolves around four concepts:

(i) Gender identity is fluid: Any person, adult or a child, can identify with a non-binary gender identity. Gender identity is not based on biological sex, but on social characteristics, as described in the Sex Discrimination Act 1984.

Transgender theory marks a conflict between those who view the human person as binary, essentially male or female, and those who regard the human person as non binary – essentially as persons not defined by male or female biology, but by a self-chosen gender identity, or as being genderless and having no gender identity.

(ii) Political opposition to “heteronormativity” and advocacy for transgenderism: Embedded in transgender theory is advocacy for political and cultural change in opposition to heteronormativity, the notion that neoliberal politics has legally and culturally conditioned both children and adults into binary sex roles for males and females. Heteronormativity says that in childhood, the time for a person before puberty, children are conditioned by laws and customs determined by society’s dominant class into male and female roles in preparation for family roles that come with procreation.

According to transgenderism, laws and conventions that condition children into binary sex include: recording only male and female on birth certificates; dressing boys and girls differently; separating male and female toilets and change rooms; separating strength-based sporting competitions (athletics, soccer, hockey, mixed martial arts) for males and females; separating medical wards for males and females; binary male and female school dress codes for males and females; restricting marriage only to people of the opposite sex.

Marriage between same-sex attracted couples is also regarded as heteronormative, because it bases the definition of marriage on sex rather than sexual/gender orientation and gender identity and discriminates against persons who identify as non binary.

Transgenderism rejects this “heteronormative” conditioning of children. Instead, transgenderism treats children as just small adults capable of making their own decisions about their gender identity and sexual orientation. It advocates the repeal of, or amendments to, heteronormative laws and proposes changes to cultural practices that identify and politically condition children into acting and performing according to male or female sex roles.

(iii) Child agency: Transgender theory says that children can be their own “agents”: that is, children are capable of making their own decisions about their gender identity and sexual/gender orientation.

Child agency is “a central queer [transgender] concern: and arguably the crucible, or ground zero, of all sexual politics”, says Diederik Janssen in “Queer theory and childhood”, Oxford Bibliographies.[8]

(iv) Transgender theory is necessarily political: Transgender theory is necessarily oriented towards organised political advocacy, because it stands opposed to society’s cultural norms and laws framed to impose heteronormativity. If heteronormativity is a politically imposed form of oppression on society, then it must be politically resisted. Change is achieved through political advocacy to change laws and institutions in order to give legal and cultural recognition to self-chosen transgender forms of identity, orientation and sexual expression.

When a theory becomes politicised, it morphs into an ideology, “a form of social or political philosophy in which practical elements are as prominent as theoretical ones. It is a system of ideas that aspires both to explain the world and to change it.” (“Ideology,” Encyclopedia Britannica.)[9]

Just as “heteronormative” laws and culture define what transgenderism calls “heteronormativity”, transgender laws and culture define what should be called “transnormativity”.

The transgenderism conundrum

If the transgenderism concept of heteronormativity is true – that the idea of male and female is not innate to humans but is conditioned into children by the political, legal and cultural system – then are we all innate, repressed transgenders? In which case, the logical solution is to replace recognition of male and female in law and culture with recognition by self-defined gender identity and gender orientation; that is, heteronormativity should be replaced by transnormativity.

The conundrum for transgenderism is that all transgender identity terminology is defined against binary biological sex.

Persons on a spectrum of male-to-female, as advocated by the Safe Schools Coalition, are defined against binary male and female. Non-binary transgender identities, like the 58 gender identities on Facebook and the 112 on Tumblr, are defined against binary male and female. Genderless is defined against binary male and female. Even “trans” is a prefix meaning to change from one state to another. In which case, we are either all trans or we are all male or female. This a profoundly unsatisfactory conclusion, particularly as transgender is being written into law.

Transgenderism, moreover, is based on the contested philosophical concept of body-self dualism. Human beings have a mind and a body. We may speak of them conceptually as separate, but the question philosophers ask is: do they operate separately, or are the mind and body integrated, dynamic aspects/attributes of the human person?

The body-self dualism view of the human person says that the mind operates separately from the body and can “prioritise”, or dominate, over the body. This view of the human person allows leading transgender theorist Judith Butler to describe how the mind can redefine the body it inhabits.

Butler says that gender is a “free-floating artifice” that is “radically independent from biology”,[10] allowing a person’s mind to identify its associated body as having a gender identity other than a biological sex. The mind can self-define, and periodically redefine, the body’s gender identity such that “man” and “masculine” can denote a female body identity, “woman” and “feminine” can denote a male body identity, or male and female can be replaced altogether by a non-binary body identity (for example, androgyne, agender, gender fluid, pangender, genderless) independent of the body’s biological sex.

Body-self dualism stands in stark contrast to the understanding of the human mind and body operating in “dynamic unity”, which says that the mind and body are seamlessly integrated, just as the “shape” of a candle and the wax “substance” of a candle seamlessly come together in unity to form a “candle”.[11]

The object of transgenderism is to:

  • Redefine the identity of the human person in law so that persons are recognised by their gender identity on cardinal identifier birth certificates and on secondary identifiers, including passports, Australian Tax Office and Medicare forms, and drivers’ licence registration forms.
  • Make gender identity and sexual/gender orientation relationships protected attributes in federal, state and territory anti-discrimination laws.
  • Consolidate legal recognition of gender identity and sexual/gender orientation in relationships by making a person eligible to marry by their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status.
  • Then protect these relationships in anti-discrimination laws.

Such identity and relationships changes create new “rights” for persons that compete with established rights for persons recognised by their binary biological sex.

Transgenderism proposes changing a person’s sex descriptor on their birth registration form, the cardinal identifiers of a human person, to recognise a person’s “gender identity” rather than their biological sex at birth.

This affects a person’s other identity documents, including passport, taxation forms, Medicare forms, death certificates, kindergarten, school and university registrations, and the sporting teams in which they choose to participate.

To be consistent with the idea of a person’s gender identity being fluid, a person’s sex is no longer said to be “recognised” as a biological fact at birth, but is said to be optionally “assigned”, and can be changed, just as a name is an option to be chosen and may be assigned by a child’s parents but can be changed by usage or deed poll.

New gender-neutral pronouns are created to avoid discrimination against transgenders. The Victorian Government’s Inclusive Language Guide says “partner” should be used instead of husband and wife; and zie and hir be used. For example, instead of saying “she/her is laughing” it is said that “zie is laughing.” Instead of “his/her eyes are gleaming,” it is said that “hir eyes are gleaming.”[12]

The insistence on equality in language for all possible gender identifications means diversity is replaced by uniformity and homogeneity. Men and women, boys and girls, all become same-same.

When a person changes their sex identifier to be something other than their sex recorded at birth, how is this change to be recognised on official documents that define important human relationships with other persons? For example, a person’s name and sex descriptor appear on the birth certificates of a person’s younger siblings and on the birth certificates of their own biological offspring.

If a person changes their sex descriptor to be something other than their sex recorded at birth, will this change be automatically recorded on the birth register(s) of their sibling(s) by the state or territory Register of Births Deaths and Marriages? Or will siblings have the right to approve or deny changes on their own birth registers?

If as a result of the postal survey transgender marriage is legalised, will each partner’s sex identifier be recognised on the couple’s Marriage Register and marriage contract? If so, will the sex identifier recognise each partner’s gender identity and sexual/gender orientation? Should one partner change their gender identity to be something other than their sex recorded at birth, and/or their sexual/gender orientation, will this be changed automatically on a couple’s Marriage Register, or will the other partner in the marriage have the right to approve or deny this change to their legal marriage contract?

Custodial rights to children and inheritance rights of children are determined by blood relationships – by virtue of a person having unique biological relationships (mother, father, siblings, and so on), regardless of their sex identifier – or by adoption. As these rights are determined by biology alone, a change of gender identity would not affect these rights. However, as described above, if a person changes their sex to a new transgender identity, this change does have the potential to create conflict on official documents that involve other persons.

Changing a person’s sex identifier will affect their right to access single-sex sports, single-sex schools, male/female change rooms, toilets, gyms, women’s clubs, women’s shelters, and placement in male/female prisons, and more.

Responsible authorities will be affected when they are called upon to grant access to a single-sex service or facility to a person who identifies as that sex but is biologically of the opposite sex. For example, when a boy identifying as a girl requests access to the girls’ toilets, showers and change rooms at a school, or when a man identifying as a woman (with or without medical intervention) requests relocation from a male prison to a female prison.

It may also mean that under affirmative action policies, a man who identifies as a woman could be promoted in the workplace over a biological woman, gain preselection for election to parliament over a biological woman and apply for female education scholarships.

Arguably, this creates a new form of legally protected male dominance of women.

Changing a person’s sex descriptor can create conscientious objection issues for medical professionals in cases where a person requests their consent for medical/psychological approval for transitioning and/or associated prescription pharmaceuticals and surgery. Recognition of their biological sex is also relevant for medical diagnosis (for example, pregnancy) and treatment for ovarian cancer, testicular cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and other medical conditions that are specific to biological sex.

Furthermore, as Liu and Mager (Pharmaceutical Practice, 2016) point out: “In 2001 the U.S. Institute of Medicine, now the National Academy of Medicine, published ‘Exploring the Biological Contributions to Human Health: Does Sex Matter?’ The Committee on Understanding the Biology of Sex and Gender Differences examined biology from the cellular to the organismal and behavioural levels, and concluded that differences do occur and can have important consequences. They concluded that sex (being male or female) should be recognised as an important variable in research and increased knowledge in this area should be cultivated. The growth of knowledge has become a branch of science known as sex-based biology.”

Liu and Mager conducted a review of “the history and progress of women’s inclusion in clinical trials for prescription drugs” and presented “considerations for researchers, clinicians, and academicians on this issue”. They concluded: “The importance of considering the differences between the male and female sex in clinical decision-making is crucial.”[13]

Also, the definition of gender identity in law includes a person suffering from gender dysphoria: distress resulting from the person’s mind believing that their body should be something other than their sex recognised at birth. This condition is classed as a psychological disorder in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (the DSM-5).

Recognising socially constructed, self-defined gender identity in federal, state and territory anti-discrimination laws makes gender dysphoria (a psychological disorder) a protected attribute in anti-discrimination laws. Arguably, these laws provide the basis for complaints against anyone who does not recognise, affirm or provide services to a person on the grounds of their gender dysphoria or gender identity, for example, failing to provide transitioning drugs and medical treatments to persons seeking to transition to the opposite sex.

Ironically, it appears that the intention of some legislators has been to “normalise” gender dysphoria, by providing legal protections for a child with gender dysphoria transitioning to the opposite sex, while the DSM-5 treats gender dysphoria as a psychological disorder for which treatments included affirmation counselling to overcome distress by helping the person identify with their sex recorded at birth.

Ironically, the word “normal” means that which functions according to its design. The definition of “normal” would suggest counselling to help a child affirm their biological sex, rather than counselling for transitioning.

If the intention of legislators has been to “normalise” gender dysphoria by making it a protected attribute in anti-discrimination laws, then should the state also give protected attribute status to other psychological disorders, thereby “normalising” conditions like anorexia nervosa, body identity disorder, and many other psychological disorders?

The Sex Discrimination Act 1984, as amended in 2013, recognises a person by their socially constructed gender identity and their sexual/gender orientation. How will a person be recognised on official documents? Will a person’s sex identifier include both the person’s gender identity and their sexual/gender orientation? Could a person’s gender identity be “pangender” and their sexual orientation be “heteroflexible”; or their gender identity be “polygender” and their sexual orientation be “asexual”?

Changes to a person’s sex identifier not only changes aspects of the person’s identity, but also their relationships. Both create new legal and social conflicts.

There have been many bills to the Federal Parliament proposing to change the Marriage Act 1961 to define marriage as being between “two people”, in place of “the union of a man and a woman”. If this change occurs, it would introduce transgender marriage: that is, marriage between persons regardless of their sex, sexual orientation and gender identity.

“Two people” means “two persons”, recognised by their socially constructed gender identity and their sexual/gender orientation. Arguably, recognition of transgenders in marriage could mean recognising partner 1 as gender identity “pangender” and sexual orientation “heteroflexible”, and partner 2 as gender identity “polygender” and sexual orientation “asexual”.

Defining marriage as being between “two people” also means that a man who identifies as a woman, “whether by way of medical intervention or not”, may marry a biological woman, or marry another man who identities as a woman, “whether by way of medical intervention or not”, and claim to be in a lesbian (same-sex) marriage.

Recognition of transgender persons and relationships in anti-discrimination laws will make it an offence to refuse recognition or service to transgender persons and relationships in all areas where transgenders are recognised in law, and will apply legal penalties for failing to provide recognition or service. Arguably penalties may include loss of professional recognition and employment for failing to provide recognition or service.

This is particularly relevant in kindergartens and schools. Transgender recognition of a person affects choice of school (where the school is a single-sex school); the sex descriptor on a child’s enrolment form; addressing a child with an appropriate gender pronoun; wearing of a sex-specific school uniform; participation in sex-specific school sports; use of school showers, change rooms and toilets; access to school camps; participation in school formals and functions; and requirements for school counselling and medical services to provide assistance referrals and assistance for a child transitioning.

The issue becomes especially focused in sex-education classes, where it can be claimed that failure to recognise a child’s gender identity, or failure to recognise a family’s transgender relationships in a transgender marriage, constitutes discrimination and could result in anti-discrimination action being brought against school authorities.

A person is free to socially identify as they wish in an open and free society, and their wishes are to be respected. People are entitled to argue as to whether typically the human mind is in “dynamic unity” with the body, or if the mind can take priority over the body so that a person can identify with other than their sex at birth. However, the transgenderism idea that politically imposed “heteronormativity” prevents people from finding their true gender-fluid self is a hotly contested assertion.

Transgenderism says that because biology doesn’t determine identity, “heteronormativity” can be replaced with “transnormativity”, the idea that new laws and customs can liberate, or remould, a person to identify with something other than their sex at birth. Transnormativity, in cases where identifying as other than a person’s sex at birth causes distress, means identifying with gender dysphoria, which is defined by the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 as a psychological disorder.

Sexual/gender orientation and gender identity are subjective, unclear and ambiguous terms. Where laws like the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 state that these terms are self-defined and fluid, an aggrieved person’s gender identity and/or sexual/gender orientation can only be determined at a point in time by individual assessment.

Calls for objective, consistent definitions – whether in psychology, sociology or law – cannot be achieved because the terms are fluid, subjective and lack clarity. Even the Australian Human Rights Commission admits that the terminology of sexual orientation and gender identity “is strongly contested” and that after extensive consultations on the issue, “there is no clear consensus on what is appropriate terminology in this area”.[14]

Writing terms that are subjective, ambiguous and unclear into law creates uncertainty in law.

In turn, this creates legal conflicts between the rights of transgenders, recognised by their subjective sexual/gender orientation and gender identity, and the rights of persons recognised by their biological sex. It leads to injustices such as professional sanctions for non-compliance with laws that cannot be reasonably complied with, in circumstances where transgender identity and relationships can only be reasonably ascertained by individual assessment at a point in time.

Transgenderism is an ideology that aims to reconfigure the law and culture to recognise the human person by subjective, self-defined attributes.

 

References

[1] “Binary”, Oxford Living Dictionaries. Accessed June 16, 2017.

[2] “Non binary”, Oxford Living Dictionaries. Accessed June 16, 2017.

[3] Sex Discrimination Act 1984, Section 4.

[4] Resilient Individuals: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity & Intersex Rights: National Consultation Report  2015, Australian Human Rights Commission, 2015, p5. Accessed June 6, 2017.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Sex Files: the legal recognition of sex in documents and government records, Australian Human Rights Commission,2009, p15. Accessed September 14, 2017.

[8] Diederik Janssen, “Queer theory and childhood”, Oxford Bibliographies, last modified May 13, 2015. Accessed September 14, 2016.

[9] “Ideology”, Encyclopedia Britannica. Accessed June 17, 2017.

[10] Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, (London: Routledge, 1990), p6.

[11] Professor Robert P. George, “Gnostic liberalism”, First Things, December 2016. Accessed December 13, 2016. For a more extensive discussion of the debate over body-self dualism and hylomorphism, see Patrick Lee and Robert P. George, Body Self-Dualism in Contemporary Ethics and Politics, Cambridge University Press, 2008.

[12] Inclusive Language Guide, Victorian Government, August 11, 2016, pp5–6.

[13] Katherine A. Liu and Natalie A. Dipietro Mager, “Women’s involvement in clinical trials: historical perspective and future implications”. Pharm Pract (Granada), 2016 Jan–Mar; 14(1): 708. Published online March 15, 2016. Accessed September 14, 2017.

[14] Sex Files, Op. cit., p15.

 




























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