March 10th 2018

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Family home in cities soaring further out of reach

EDITORIAL Australia: sleepwalking towards the precipice

CANBERRA OBSERVED Population debate needs development debate

NATIONAL AFFAIRS We need a development bank and a higher population

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Russians were spoilers: U.S. election rap sheet

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Bob Santamaria and free trade agreements

LAW AND FREEDOM Exemptions are far cry from protection of religious freedom

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS China v Professor Brady: intimidation or coincidence?

POLITICS AND SOCIETY Defending biological man and woman from transgenderism

SOUTH AUSTRALIA Swing to minor parties expected in SA poll

ASIA Burma: ignored and misunderstood

HISTORY The improbability of progress

MUSIC Playing the pitch: being in tune is a sometime thing

CINEMA Wonder: Our deeds are our monuments

BOOK REVIEW Exploring our own recent archives

BOOK REVIEW Rising in a society fractured at heart

BOOK REVIEW A dubious thesis but deserves a read

NEWS Pat Byrne elected new NCC president

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Liberals return for second term in Hobart

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Defending biological man and woman from transgenderism

by Asha Towers

News Weekly, March 10, 2018

I read somewhere, “The media is having a trans moment” and I thought, are we? Am I? Maybe they are. For something that is meant to be about discrimination for a tiny portion of the population, as serious as that is, why is everyone talking about transgender? At the coffee shop, hairdressers, shopping centres and, of course, at schools.

Why is the state interfering in our private lives? Why aren’t politicians defending our rights to religious freedom and free speech? The same-sex marriage postal survey was not about the rights of parents to raise healthy children, something the state should have an interest in; children weren’t the focus at all. And even while we were busy campaigning for “No”, gender identity laws were already in place.

If gender distinctions are erased in law, all marriage will become legally obsolete. Those pushing for the redefinition of “marriage” have known this all along – genderless marriage will make way for the onslaught of the transgender movement – or revolution.

The gender-neutral scheme dissolves the family. If the family is not legally accepted as originating through the union of male and female, there is no real basis for the state to recognise any family as autonomous. Without any such obligation, children become more easily classified as state property and our personal relationships are more easily controlled by the state. If that sounds totalitarian, it is because it is.


The federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Commonwealth) was amended in 2013. Definitions of “man” and “woman” were removed. Inserted was the definition of “gender identity”, which means the gender-related identity, 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.

“De-facto spouse” was replaced with “de-facto partner”.

“Marital status” was replaced with “sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex status, marital or relationship status”.

“The opposite sex” was replaced with “a different sex”.

Does this mean each of us can choose to identify at a point on a spectrum from 100 per cent male to 100 per cent female, allowing 24 million Australians to have their own unique gender identity or choose not to be on the spectrum at all (what they call non-binary gender identity)?

There is much debate around whether sex and gender are the same thing and whether gender resides in our psychology. Internal experiences and sensations are not material realities and cannot be legislated. If there is a variety of individual experiences of gender, which ones matter? As for gender expression, we see the words “behaviour” and “appearance”. Behaviour and appearance are not necessary elements of a person’s sex. Isn’t sex independent of gender? You cannot change your clothes in order to change your sex. You are born a sex that is clearly defined and immutable.

Ironically, by tying in behaviour and appearance as expressions of gender, transgender activists (“transactivists”) are enforcing gender stereotypes of “masculinity” and “femininity”. They’re saying that, if a boy plays with dolls, flicks his long hair, and claims he’s a girl, he really is a girl.

Next, say goodbye to women-only spaces, to privacy, to women’s sports, to safety, to classroom protections. Say goodbye to sisterhood. As some have said, men want in.

Changes to the Sex Discrimination Act allow a man to self-identify as a woman and claim all the protections and privileges granted previously only to biological women. Supported in international law, the main purpose of the Sex Discrimination Act is the protection of women against discrimination in employment, pregnancy, potential pregnancy, breast feeding and in the primary care of children. Whereas gender identity is not protected in international law. If a man can decide to be a woman simply by filling in a form, he will have instant access to women’s changing rooms, women’s refuges and women’s sporting competitions.

Erasing gender distinctions in relation to pregnancy and childbirth would effectively cut us off from our spouses and children in the eyes of the law. Maybe in the bargain we’ll retain the right “freely” to call ourselves male, female, or other.”

Shortly after the Sex Discrimination Act was amended, the federal Attorney-General’s Department issued the Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender (2013), requiring all federal government documents (including passports, Medicare forms and taxation forms) to carry the sex identifier Male, Female and X (Indeterminate, Unspecified, Intersex). Soon after, the ACT changed its birth registration law to recognise a person as Male or Female or Indeterminate or Unspecified or Intersex.

But, why should we care? Erasing gender distinctions, especially as they apply to women and children in pregnancy and primary care, serve to leave legally undefined what it means to be human. A new legal definition of the human person – as neither male nor female – applies to you whether you like it or not. Current social engineering says biological facts are mere “social constructs”.

The law assumes a person’s perceived “gender identity” does not always match their sex “assigned” or “designated” at birth. The law now accommodates an ambiguous choice of gender identities: male, female, both, neither, or something else entirely. It’s not an overstatement to say that changes to the Sex Discrimination Act and the Marriage Act, and interacting with state anti-discrimination laws, is a huge step, mostly under the radar, to codify a new definition of humanity.

Under the pretence of “rights” and “equality”, the transgender movement aids the state in consolidating and centralising power. When the state refuses to recognise that children result from the male-female union, the state gathers to itself more power to separate us from our children. An increase in state power coupled with a weakened family unit, churches and private associations, means we have less bargaining power over our private lives.


It’s hard to fight this when we are expressly told that to ask any questions would be indicative of “transphobia”.

Transactivists are adamant that there is a right way to talk about trans issues, and that any deviation from this is a vicious wrong: “Use the right names, use the right pronouns”. It sounds simple enough but, in practice, trans people come from many backgrounds and have many different narratives of self-understanding.

Transgender advocacy groups hold very high and specific requirements of how the public and the media should understand and talk to them, often providing media outlets with a long list of Do’s and Don’ts. That it seems so ridiculous is precisely how they are getting away with it – to a docile generation and indoctrinated youth.

Forcing changes in our language forces changes in our thoughts. And in the case of gender identity, this means accepting language that universally redefines – or perhaps more accurately, un-defines – us all.

If we agree to change our language to suit the transgender lobby, we ultimately agree to destroy in law the entire basis (sex distinctions) for the only union that can result in autonomously formed families. The implications for privacy and personal relationships are vast.

On the surface, the transgender movement resembles a passing fad. Many have been duped into believing that the purpose of it all is to grant equal rights to a minority demographic. But it’s really about changing the language, and thereby redefining us all.

Even within the transgender community, transactivists don’t tolerate those who play out of script. Take the case of Bruce Jenner, who said: “I will refer to the name Bruce when I think it appropriate, and the name Caitlyn when I think it appropriate. Bruce existed for 65 years, and Caitlyn is just going on her second birthday. That’s the reality.”

Transactivist C.N. Lester accused Jenner of “sensationalising transition for a voyeuristic public”, saying Jenner had “taken on the mantle of representing all trans people while holding the privileges of wealth and whiteness”. “Despite not knowing Caitlyn Jenner, I can feel let down by her actions,” Lester said.


But this isn’t really about people like Bruce. It’s mostly about everybody else. It’s all about changing you and your self-concept. New books by journalist Will Storr and historian Rachel Hewitt ask questions about what we mean by a “self” and whether it makes sense to think of ourselves as individual essences, rather than products of complex social relationships.

American political philosopher Robert P. George calls it body self-dualism. We see this all around us: the separation of mind and body where the mind dominates. Society rewards selfish, narcissistic behaviour and encourages us to define our individual realities at the expense of spouses, children, family and community. The culture was ready to accept same-sex marriage; and it is now ready to accept transgender identities.

The media

Mass media marketing explains how you can take an implausible idea and make it seem plausible by raising its availability in public discourse. Once you’ve shaped public opinion through all the usual channels – Hollywood, academia, the media, and so on – then the road to public policy has been nicely paved. In the last two years, two transgender persons were finalists for Australian of the year.

“George Orwell reasoned that if a government could control all media and interpersonal communication while simultaneously forcing citizens to speak in politically controlled jargon, it could blunt independent thinking,” wrote Margaret Singer and Janja Lalich in their 1995 book, Cults in Our Midst.


As Patrick Byrne has said, ground zero of queer theory concerns children. Queer theory says that children can be their own sexual agents, that they can make decisions like adults even though they don’t have the same decision-making capabilities. Even as society wants to protect children from sexual abuse, the supposedly anti-bullying program Safe Schools asks children to explore sex and sexual orientation from a very early age.

In a landmark decision on November 30, 2017, a Full Bench of the Family Court ruled that court approval was no longer needed for young people with gender dysphoria seeking to undergo hormone treatment to transition to the opposite sex.

It seems the Court has washed its hands of the issue. Apparently, a rise in numbers of children presenting to the Family Court has worn the Justices down. However, in reaching this decision, the Court heard little evidence relating to the adverse effects of taking puberty blockers and sex-change hormones, such as infertility.

Typically, a team comprising a paediatrician, endocrinologist, psychotherapist and counsellor treat a patient suffering from gender dysphoria. There have been cases of young children wanting to gender transition and, if they don’t get what they want, to threaten suicide. This is one reason some doctors argue not to delay at least the social and, in some cases, medical transitioning process. However, the long-term medical and psychological risks in transitioning are little explored.

Other doctors rightfully argue to do no harm to children, to wait, especially where children may appear to suffer from gender dysphoria but may in fact be suffering from something else entirely such as autism or trauma from sexual abuse or family dysfunction.

Gender dysphoria used to be called gender identity disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Drafters claim that the distress someone may feel from the condition arises as a result of a culture that stigmatises people who do not conform to gender norms. Sufferers of anorexia nervosa may wonder why transgenderism has been normalised and not anorexia?

Let’s apply some common sense. Children test boundaries and need to be told “no”, need to be taught how to overcome uncomfortable and difficult feelings of pain in order to commit to things. Very young children are like sponges, repeating and absorbing whatever is given to them. How they can decide to be one of a million or more forms of gender is revolutionary. As one doctor said: “If you can’t question this, if you can only affirm; then you don’t explore.”

The future

Although there have been many reported cases of people de-transitioning (that is, returning to the sex of their birth) the phenomenon has not yet been explored. Indeed, in an episode that shows how far the issue has be politicised, Bath Spa University in Britain recently declined funding for such research.

There is a push to normalise transgenderism. The media confirms this, interviewing experts supporting children who gender-transition by accepting contradictions without questioning them.

One expert stated: “I think now, we are beginning, in a privileged society, we are beginning to allow people to exercise more freedom, people simply have more elbow room to think about how they want to live their lives. Now, yes, people could, as people did in the past, just try to make the best of it and live their lives, but I don’t think that we feel that that’s necessarily appropriate now. If this is something that people can do for themselves, it doesn’t really harm other people.”

The transgender community itself is split in how they see themselves. They are as diverse as the number of possible gender identities. However, we must remember that there are real victims in this, such as the children and adults experiencing real psychological and physical distress from gender dysphoria and as a result of transitioning.

Radical feminists have teamed up with conservative pro-life women in Ruth Barrett’s excellent book Female Erasure. There are all sorts of strange and new alliances forming where people find common ground, agree to disagree, and, most importantly, ask questions and call things out for what they are.

A group of young doctors in Britain has created a website (search: “First, Do No Harm: Youth Gender Professionals”) where they can share the truth of treating patients with gender dysphoria, a space to share professional opinions without fear of losing their jobs.

What part can you play?

Support doctors who are fighting for science. Much of the theory and evidence surrounding transgenderism and gender dysphoria is contested, yet laws have been passed and the courts are silent.

Support parents to defend their rights against state interference.

Be not afraid to express your faith, which has as much to offer as science in fighting the transgender revolution. Humane Vitae predicted many of the battles we now face. I believe the evil one hates most of all the woman – the Blessed Virgin Mary – who in the end is victorious!

Don’t let them silence you.

Asha Towers is Research and Media Officer for the National Civic Council in NSW. Asha delivered the foregoing as a lecture at the NCC National Conference in Templestowe in February 2018.

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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