This press release was sent to major New Zealand media outlets on February 17, and not published. This is a video of our action here.
This evening, feminist activists Charlie Montague and Renée Gerlich dropped a banner at the front of the Auckland Pride Parade. The banner read:
STOP GIVING KIDS SEX HORMONES – PROTECT LESBIAN YOUTH
“Organisations like RainbowYouth and InsideOut, as well as the Pride Parade, must stop endorsing medical experimentation, child abuse, sexist stereotyping, and the destruction of female-only and lesbian spaces,” says Gerlich, who reached out to RainbowYouth and InsideOut with an open letter in 2016.
Montague adds that, “Lesbians around the world are trying to draw attention to the harm of gender identity on lesbians, and we are being silenced.”
Between 2009-16, the number of women and girls in Wellington being referred to endocrinologists for medical gender transition increased twelvefold: from three to forty-one referrals. Sex hormone prescriptions are forecast to continue rising, and are not leading to decreasing suicide statistics or increased wellbeing. Studies also show that globally, disproportionate numbers of young women being medicated are lesbian.
Throughout the West, children as young as three are being encouraged to undergo gender transition. The prescription of puberty blockers to children as young as ten, followed by sex hormones in adolescence is sterilising children. Children as young as six are being given genital tuckers and prosthetic dildos, and RainbowYouth in New Zealand has been distributing free breast binders in schools. These apply pressure to women’s chests in order to damage tissue and inhibit breast growth, also causing lung damage.
“The New Zealand Herald reported the impacts of a course of testosterone treatment on a Northland lesbian teen in 2017,” says Gerlich. “She now recognises that she is female. Testosterone, prescribed to put her on the path of gender transition, has left her potentially infertile with a permanently lowered voice, increased body hair and worsened depression that has lead to suicide attempts. The promotion of this kind of medicalised abuse is what we are protesting at Pride.”
“By distributing breast binders in schools, RainbowYouth promotes dysphoria and the mutilation of women’s bodies. It’s doublespeak for them to do this in the name of ‘Pride’.”
The physician who leads the gender transition programme at Auckland’s District Health Board, Jeannie Oliphant, says that she herself does not know what gender is. “What makes people transgender?” she says. “I don’t think we know any more than we know why I was born left-handed and my sister was born right-handed.” Young people in New Zealand cannot be making informed decisions around gender transition when the appointed experts are in the dark themselves, and this means medical experimentation and breach of medical ethics.
Montague says that “Gender is a system of “pink and blue” sex-based stereotyping. Without these gender stereotypes there are no “trans” children. We want to break down stereotypes so that youth can be whoever they want to be – without being medicalised for it.”