September 22nd 2018


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Water, water everywhere, but not for the farmers

EDITORIAL Power companies in clover after closures

CANBERRA OBSERVED Liberals in need of an internal peacemaker

ENERGY Solar, wind dependence will add $1300 to power bills, engineers, scientists warn

LIFE ISSUES Queensland life march busts media stereotypes

ENVIRONMENTAL POLITICS Unmask activists disguised as nature lovers

FOREIGN AFFAIRS China takes up challenge to imitate and overtake America

CHINA AND AUSTRALIA Paul Monk thunders at kowtowing former pollies

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Hawaii: Pearl of the Pacific

BOOK EXCERPT From Patrick J. Byrne's book, Transgender: One Shade of Grey

FREE SPEECH University of Western Australia blinks again

LIFE ISSUES Queensland law will open floodgates to sex-selective abortion

HUMOUR

MUSIC Pop and singing: A certain antagonism

CINEMA Christopher Robin: The best something comes from nothing

BOOK REVIEW A so-called industry with only a dark side

BOOK REVIEW Population see-saw changes direction

LETTERS

POETRY

EUTHANASIA No concoction can kill peacefully

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BOOK EXCERPT
From Patrick J. Byrne's book, Transgender: One Shade of Grey


by Patrick J. Byrne

News Weekly, September 22, 2018

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Patrick J. Byrne’s new book, Transgender: One Shade of Grey. In this excerpt, the author outlines the thesis and aims of the rest of the book.

Patrick J. Byrne is national president of the National Civic Council.

In 2016, this author commissioned polling to determine what Australians understood about the transgender world view. In December 2016, the Sexton Marketing Group polled 2,500 adult respondents (18+ years), randomly selected to be proportionately representative of the national population on age and sex profiles, state by state population size and capital city versus non-capital populations.

In part, the polling explored what Australians thought the term “transgender” meant. While transgender refers to a person choosing a gender identity other than their sex recorded at birth, 72 per cent thought it only involved a person identifying as opposite to their birth sex. When asked if transgender included “a person who does not identify themselves as being either male or female, but who identifies themselves as something else or having no fixed gender”, only 39 per cent agreed with this definition, 38 per cent disagreed and 22 per cent didn’t know.

This indicates that there is no agreement in the broad community about what transgender means. Arguably, this is because the transgender belief that a person can change their gender identity is an alien idea to most people, beyond their normal experience of binary human sexuality. Also, this may account for the significant proportion who were “undecided”.

The transgender world view of the human person may have stayed in the ivory towers of university sociology departments but for the fact that it has been given legal status in a variety of Australia’s federal, state and territory laws without debate.

It was written into the Marriage Act 1961 after the 2017 national survey on same-sex marriage, despite there being no public or parliamentary debate over expanding the definition of marriage to include transgender (or gender-fluid) marriage. It has been written into many anti-discrimination laws without major public debate and with little awareness of the consequences by most policy makers.

The purpose of this book

An open and free society allows each person the liberty to identify as they please. Some people choose to be known by their nickname or pseudonym instead of their name assigned at birth. Some people choose to identify themselves according to their self-defined gender identity, which may be other than their sex objectively recorded at birth.

In a tolerant democracy, a person has the liberty to make these choices. Such personal matters are not the concern of this book.

Rather, this book has three main concerns.

First, gender identity is a narrow, ambiguous, uncertain and contested descriptor of the human person. Arguably, it is better categorised as a personality trait, each such trait being unique to each human person on earth. Later in the book I shall examine and critique the transgenderism claim that a person’s gender identity is separate from, or replaces, their biological sex. The ambiguous nature of gender identity is highlighted by the fact that transgender terms are invariably defined against a person’s sex at birth in the first place. Further, there is no agreed definition of gender identity.

Second, this sets the stage for understanding the significance of writing gender identity, an ambiguous term, into law. It creates uncertainty in law. It provides grounds for legal prosecutions, professional sanctions and other punishments for non-compliance with laws that cannot be reasonably observed because the meaning of gender identity is uncertain.

Writing gender identity into anti-discrimination and marriage laws imposes on the whole of society the idea that humans have a fluid gender identity, at the expense of the rights of the vast majority of people who take biological sex as self-evident, fixed and immutable. For example, it forces state schools to allow boys who identify as girls to access girls’ facilities.

Consequently, imposing the transgender world view on society creates deep conflicts for individuals, workers and professional people, children, families and communities who take it as self-evident that humans are binary, biological male and female. These conflicts are across wide areas of culture.

Third, this book is concerned with the consequences for freedom of speech, thought, belief, conscience and religion, and for democracy based on tolerance, when the state adopts as law the transgenderism belief that human sexual identity is fluid.

Analogous to writing gender identity into law would be the state making Catholic belief a protected attribute in anti-discrimination law. This would mean that state schools would be required to teach the Catholic faith, atheist organisations could be forced to employ Catholics and employers could face discrimination charges for treating Catholics less favourably in the workplace. Effectively, the government would be making Catholicism a state religion that is intolerant of people who hold other beliefs. When a government adopts and imposes a state belief, it is automatically at the expense of all other beliefs.

A foundational principle of modern democracies has been tolerance of all beliefs. A tolerant democracy does not protect or favour any one belief, but remains neutral. It ensures all people are free to express their views, opinions and beliefs, no matter how contested, conflicted or contrary they may be to science and reason.

This book explains how transgenderism does not have any solid scientific or theoretical foundation. It a belief in the idea that a person can have a gender identity separate from, or in place of, their biological sex.

In contrast, this book recognises that human beings are male or female because it is a scientific, biological fact. That some people are intersex, or that some people identify as other than their birth sex, doesn’t invalidate the reality of humans being biologically, immutably, male or female.

By imposing a state belief on society, the state is violating the right of citizens to freedoms of thought, conscience, belief and religion, as set out in the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966). It endangers freedom of speech and association. These are the freedoms necessary for a tolerant, open and free democracy. A tolerant democracy is the custodian of these freedoms.

If these freedoms are severely constrained or lost, then a liberal, tolerant democracy devolves into an authoritarian state. Writing gender identity into anti-discrimination law, overriding the biological reality of human sexuality, risks our system of government shifting from a tolerant democracy to an authoritarian state.

New social movements are often controversial and contested. Transgenderism is not only a social movement: it holds to a political program for writing the transgender world view into law and, in various ways, imposing that world view over the biological world view.

In the end, this book is a political commentary on transgenderism, an ideological movement that aims to create a transnormative society.




























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