March 7th 2020

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Beyond the Great Divide

EDITORIAL Holden, China, covid19: Time for industry reset

CANBERRA OBSERVED Political promises on the Never Never never never work well for the nation

CLIMATE POLITICS Business joins in climate change chorus

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Divided Democrats will help re-elect Donald Trump

GENDER POLITICS Project Nettie: Science takes on ideology

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Myth-busting China's 'soft power'

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Covid19 outbreak hits China's growth, imperils Communist Party

POLITICS AND SOCIETY What should the champions of democracy care about?

HISTORY Putting Lenin on the train: History's biggest blunder

NCC CONFERENCE 2020 Strengthening family, freedom, and sovereignty in a hostile world

HUMOUR Hooray for our premiers

MUSIC Handel: A composer who knew the value of a quick turnaround

CINEMA Emma: Handsome, clever, rich

BOOK REVIEW Useful but limited analysis of the breakdown of distinctions today

BOOK REVIEW The successive possessors of the West's first printed book




NATIONAL AFFAIRS Cardinal Pell's appeal in the High Court this week

Books promotion page

Project Nettie: Science takes on ideology

by Terri M. Kelleher

News Weekly, March 7, 2020

“In contradiction of evolutionary history and millennia of human observations, highly esteemed scientific periodicals are running articles undermining the observable reality of biological sex.”

So it says on the website of Project Nettie, founded by British developmental biologist Dr Emma Hilton and New Zealand feminist Jenny Whyte.

Project Nettie is “an online and regularly updated record of scientists, medics and those in related disciplines who … assert the material reality of biological sex and reject attempts to reframe it as a malleable social construct.”

The Project Nettie statement on the website says: “Biological sex is fundamentally defined by male and female reproductive anatomy, (which) differ qualitatively, not quantitatively, and there are no intrinsically ordered states between male and female reproductive anatomies. Biological sex does not meet the defining criteria for a spectrum.”

It continues: “Attempts to recast biological sex as a social construct, which then becomes a matter of chosen individual identity, are wholly ideological, scientifically inaccurate and socially irresponsible.”

The Statement “disavows any political ideology”: “The aim is to simply reassert the definition of biological sex. We do not extend our claims regarding biological sex beyond the scientific fact of biological sex. We do not feed into any political ideology.”

However, there are consequences of laws that recognise fluid gender identity rather than biological sex to determine rights. Of particular concern is how those laws impact the inherent sex-based rights of women and girls.

Project Nettie co-founder Dr Emma Hilton spoke at a July 2019 rally in London to protect women from biological males who identify as women competing in women’s competitions. This is a hot area of conflict between legally created transgender rights and the sex-based right of women to their own sporting competitions.

Also at the rally was Former Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies, who, tweeted: “I have nothing against anyone who wishes 2be transgender. However, I believe there is a fundamental difference between the binary sex u r born with & the gender u may identify as … To protect women’s sport, those with a male sex advantage should not be able 2compete in women’s sport [sic].”

Former Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova, who has criticised Australian tennis champion Margaret Court for her views on marriage and LGBT sex/relationships education in schools, has been reported as tweeting: “You can’t just proclaim yourself female and be able to compete against women.”

The question is, “what is a ‘woman’?” There is a difference of opinion and the divide seems to be between, on the one hand, biological women who actually experience the denial of their sex-based rights in having to share toilets, change rooms and sporting competitions with biological males who identify as women; and, on the other hand, those people who are more focused on the ideology of transgender activism and insisting that gender is a matter of how a person feels.

For example, Melbourne University’s “women’s room” is described on its website as “an autonomous place where women can feel comfortable and safe to be themselves without having to share the space with men or undergo male scrutiny”. But it also says: “All women are welcomed and valued in this space, including trans women.”

The Australian Academy of Science’s 10-year Women in STEM plan for nurturing women and girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics says “woman” means: “Anyone who identifies as a woman, including … transgender … persons who identify as a woman (or girl).”

Is this more ideologically correct than realistically directed to providing for women’s support?

Is that fundamental question, “what is a ‘woman’?” to be determined by legal definition of “gender identity” based on fluid gender theory or by the scientific reality of biological sex?

Perhaps there are biological men who don’t mind a biological woman who identifies as a man accessing their private spaces or competing against them in sport. But, then, perhaps they don’t have as much to lose. They wouldn’t feel physically threatened by a woman using their toilets or change rooms or feel that they just can’t win against them in sporting competitions.

And what about lesbians, who are biological women, being criticised for expressing reluctance to date men who identify as women?

Denial of biological sex also puts at risk vulnerable children and young people, who are presenting in alarmingly increasing numbers for gender transitioning.

Legally created transgender rights do not just compete with but supplant the inherent sex-based rights of women and girls and encourage gender transitioning with the attendant risks especially for minors. An inquiry into the laws creating this situation and into the transitioning of minors is urgently needed.

All you need to know about
the wider impact of transgenderism on society.
TRANSGENDER: one shade of grey, 353pp, $39.99

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