New Zealand’s Auckland District Health Board (ADHB) has begun running a “trans healthcare” pilot programme that will, in all likelihood, be rolled out across the country. It is not based on a holistic health model, but on gender identity affirmation – a principle that is also now included in our state school teaching standards. The PPTA has fully embraced gender identity doctrine, too – New Zealand doctors and teachers are now being forced to swallow this ideology.
There is little discussion being had about the sexism behind this doctrine currently being institutionalised, which also effectively makes children subjects for medical experimentation. Sexual health physician Dr. Jeannie Oliphant is leading the ADHB initiative, and this is what she says about gender:
What makes people transgender? I don’t think we know any more than we know why I was born left-handed and my sister was born right-handed. What we do appreciate now though, is that your gender identity seems to be decided before you are born. So that your journey in life is fundamentally decided before birth. Gender identity seems to be something that is a biological thing – so perhaps it’s affected by genetics, or hormones, rather than something that happens after we are born, so we don’t think that parenting styles or society pressure is determining what your gender identity is.
This is romanticised psuedoscience. It is not an acceptable basis for a state healthcare programme.
We are getting really busy in New Zealand, though, setting these ideas in stone. Boys and men are like this; girls and women are like that. There may be no sound or scientific basis for our beliefs, but all we know is – if you don’t match, you may well require “healthcare” ultimately geared toward sterilizing you.
Discomfort with gender norms is prevalent among girls and women – that’s why there are still widespread anorexia and bulimia epidemics, and why self harm and self mutilation are common among women. In the face of this, schools-based “rights” group Rainbow Youth is handing out free breast binders to girls in school, promoting them on Facebook and Twitter. Apart from inhibiting normal development of the breasts and damaging breast tissue, breast binders can cause compressed and broken ribs, fluid build up in the lungs, breathing difficulties, and compression of the spine. Rainbow Youth’s shameless promotion of this kind of self-harm is horrifyingly reminiscent of the ‘Pro-Anorexia’ contagion.
Is it, at the very least, not evident that there are some problems here that need to be discussed openly and honestly, before we take this gender doctrine as gospel? Before we make it standard practice for treating people with dysphoria in healthcare and in schools?
The gender “affirmation” model that the ADHB is implementing, and that the new teaching standards embed in schools, goes against both holistic health and holistic education principles. A holistic model is one that says that to ensure the wellbeing of a child or an adult, the whole picture of their lives must be considered. Questions must be asked that explore alternative possibilities and that dig beneath the surface. A gender affirmation model goes against that – it says that a person’s apparent “gender identity” must be accepted outright, and affirmed at all costs. Even though for the ADHB, this means putting patients on a road to one of the most invasive, extreme solutions to dysphoria imagineable: sterilization.
There is no room left to question these movements. Radio New Zealand will not do it. It doesn’t happen on mainstream television, which is busy pumping documentaries that market gender doctrine. Leftist media will not do it. Every single university student union in New Zealand is indoctrinated now – and students are threatening peers and lecturers with disciplinary action upon suspicion that they have not drunk the gender identity Kool Aid. Academics will not speak. Journalists barely. Even the Wellington Zinefest would not allow a woman critical of gender identity politics to participate in their festival in 2016.
What is left for a woman who is concerned about self-harm being legitimised, about her legal rights as a woman no longer being recognised, about her bathrooms and changing rooms and refuge shelters being occupied by males?
In person, it is hard to have the breath to sustain discussions. In person, women are often shut down very quickly, because our very questions are said to constitute “violence”. ‘Hey,’ someone will say – ‘You can’t say that abortion rights aren’t for men! That’s violence.‘ End discussion.
What else is available? Social media? Blogs? And then what happens? We are dismissed as trolls, keyboard warriors. It doesn’t matter what we say: if we defend the women’s bathrooms that first wave feminists fought for, we are being petty. If we talk about eugenics, we are being obscene. If we don’t bring individuals into our analyses, we are ignoring individual experience. If we do, we are making personal attacks. That is only the beginning.
So, how? How do we talk about the problems with gender identity doctrine? How do we talk about the massive implications of institutionalising the idea that kids who do not conform to gender norms need to sign up for lifelong, sterilizing hormone treatment? How do we question the idea that a woman is not an adult human female, but an essence that can exist inside a male body? How can we talk about the implications of institutionalising that idea, in an age where women’s rights are already being steamrolled? How?
Personally – I am sick of being treated like a leper and a bitch for wanting to have this conversation.
I am tired of being told by liberals that my views are conservative, when it is a conservative government rolling out these nationwide changes like there is no tomorrow. All this proves is that liberals and conservatives have something very important in common: their commitment to misogyny and patriarchal ideals.
I am sick of being labelled offensive, privileged, racist, colonising, violent, “exclusionary”, hysterical, and extreme, when those are all things that this doctrine and its scapegoating of critics happens to be.
It is offensive to call a woman a bigot, just because she asserts that women are adult, human females and because she values her own rights and safety.
It is privileged to hold fast to the notion that gender is an identity that one can opt in and out of. Surely girls sold into prostitution or child marriage, or handed over to have their clitorises removed with broken glass would identify their way out of those situations, if that were possible.
It is colonising to implement doctrines that thoroughly medicalise gender non-conformity, nationwide, without any kind of democratic process taking place. Nowadays, a woman can be accused of “colonising” for insisting that biological sex is not just a Western social construct, but exists objectively, and is how babies are made. But a government is not called colonising when it rolls out a nationwide eugenics programme without any public consultation, and calls it “indigenous“.
It is violent to encourage teenage girls with dysphoria to bind their breasts in the name of self-actualisation. It is violent to perform high-risk operations that slice the breasts off or cut the testicles out of healthy bodies, by luring patients with false information.
It is exclusionary to blacklist women from events and organisations, exclusionary to deny women speaking opportunities and employment, and exclusionary to scare monger women out of raising questions publicly that pertain to their own rights and safety.
It is hysterical for a man to claim he might die if he is refused access to a women’s changing room.
Institutionalising these ideas is extreme.
It is time to stop projecting the characteristics of dangerous, patriarchal regimes onto individual women who ask questions about those regimes.
It is time we women stopped bowing to so-called authorities in healthcare and education when their ideas clearly do not stand to reason. It is time more of us started asking the questions our kids need us to ask, time room was made for us in the currently monopolised conversation on gender, and time we insist on that room, everywhere it is not made. It is not extreme to insist on being heard in the face of injustice and medical experimentation. It is extreme to expect women to respond to the rapid, nationwide rollback of our rights with a static silence.