The feminist group Speak Up For Women has analysed public submissions to Parliament on the Bill that would allow transgender people to self-identify as female without having to obtain Family Court approval.
SUFW strenuously opposes the legislation, which would enable people who were born male to alter the sex recorded on their birth certificate by simply making a declaration – a radical move that SUFW argues would have serious implications for what were previously women-only spaces such as changing rooms, hostels and women's prisons.
The select committee that originally considered the Bill introduced the contentious self-identification provision after submissions had been heard, though it was far outside the original scope of the legislation.
That shameful abuse of process was belatedly remedied when the proposal was put forward in the form of a supplementary order paper and the public finally got an opportunity to comment. SUFW has sifted through the resulting submissions and the results are revealing.
More than 6500 submissions were analysed and 73 percent were against the change. Only 25 per cent were in favour.
SUFW has had to fight tooth and nail to have its voice heard on gender self-identification. Councils barred the group from using public venues for meetings, online activists bullied Wellington City Council and Go Media into removing a prominent downtown advertising billboard (the offending text, “Woman: adult human female”, was taken straight from the Oxford Dictionary) and the powerful media group NZME, publisher of the New Zealand Herald, refused to accept the group’s advertising.
Whether NZME was intimidated by the aggressive transgender lobby or refused to sell advertising space to SUFW because it supported the Bill isn’t clear, but either way it was a flagrant abuse of free speech that before the onset of the culture wars would have been unthinkable.
The question now is whether the media will do their job and report that public submitters overwhelmingly oppose gender self-identification. Or will SUFW’s summary of the submissions be ignored, just like Curia’s opinion poll showing conclusively that New Zealanders oppose their country being named Aotearoa?