Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: R.O.A.R.

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  • Kumara Republic, in reply to tussock,

    I find the parallels with the 20's and 30's to be existentially threatening in the age of rapid climate change and nuclear weapons.

    As the new-old adage goes, history doesn't repeat but it does rhyme.

    1930s Great Depression = 21C Great Recession
    1930s Fascism & Communism = 21C Alt-Right & "alt-Left"
    World War 2 = World Troubles/The Great Troubles?

    ICYMI, a World Troubles/Great Troubles is just like what happened in Northern Ireland in the last third of the 20C, but on a global scale - more violent than what's happening now, but still not violent enough for formal declarations of war. Instead of an Allies vs Axis conflict, it'll likely be between globalised non-state actors, with government forces struggling to maintain the peace.

    I wager a World Troubles/Great Troubles would be far more likely than WW3, because the atom bomb made traditional conventional war obsolete, and last I checked, the Nuclear Club is still sticking to a "no first use" policy.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,


    Imagine spending years building a career as an award winning evidence based environmental reporter only to comprehensively torch what was left of that already tattered reputation in one incredibly poorly researched article. A year ago I rated her as both a hero and a style icon, now I’m left scratching my head as to what she has against George Soros.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to mark taslov,

    Having said that, the most risible accusation and damaging myth disseminated is arguably:

    Gender critical feminists like me also question the use of hormone blockers, or the taking of testosterone, by children as young as five

    This is not a claim about some global crypto-antisemitic conspiracy theory, these are very serious allegations being made about the New Zealand Health system, the medical professionals that administer it and the guardians giving consent. As the cis population have been falling over themselves to discredit the sensationalist Soros/Buffett conspiracy, this has been a key focus of the transgender community – who have been largely talked over throughout this fallout:

    Let’s talk hormones next. If the young person wants to go on cross hormones, so estrogen if you were AMAB (people thought their baby was a boy) or testosterone if you were AFAB (people thought their baby was a girl), then it’s more steps and more appointments. This is because unlike blockers cross hormone treatment causes some permanent changes. In New Zealand, on rare occasions cross hormones have been prescribed at 14. For most trans youth it is 16 or older. Before prescribing there are psychological assessments and upfront discussions with the endocrinologists. Not all trans youth (or adults ) are able or even want to take hormones. It’s a very personal choice.

    While there may or may not be extremely remote odds (don’t quote me) of a pre-teen with Precocious Puberty (affecting 1 out of 5,000 children) or other exacerbating conditions being subject to this type of intervention – the circumstances would be so rare as to render the incrimination wildly irresponsible and entirely misrepresentative of contemporary standards of care and gender affirming guidelines (pdf) in Aotearoa.

    Which leads to the rather unusual circumstance where a member of the Government has been allocated a Herald column to defend superfluities such as linguistics and historical precedent, leaving the role of defending Ministry of Health protocols (pdf – page 32) to impacted and concerned citizens offsite – as Kylie Parry has done (above).

    If the young person is under 16, and usually until the age of 18 (though not legally required),gaining consent from both the young person and parents/caregivers as family support is strongly recommended during the transition process. However,in exceptional circumstances if the young person is under 16 and deemed Gillick competent they alone may be allowed to consent. We would recommend this is discussed with other health professionals experienced with working with youth prior to starting treatment

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to mark taslov,

    Despite her protestations, Rachel Stewart is trans exclusionary and has signed the Speak Up For Women letter sent to all MPs opposing the proposed changes to the Births Deaths Marriages and Relationships Registration Act on the basis that in some way her rights as a cis woman are diminished.

    Without those changes to the Birth Deaths Marriages and Relationships Act, some trans women, by default, get locked in mens prisons for recidivist drug addiction problems. Thats brutal.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4411 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to steven crawford,

    Thats brutal.

    Meanwhile in Ireland:

    Among those the Guardian spoke to, there was no evidence of the legislation leading to individuals – in particular teenagers – being pressured to undertake medical transition, or men falsely declaring themselves female in order to invade women-only spaces, as some feminist activists have feared.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to mark taslov,

    the most risible

    To address potential accusations that this line of reasoning is an attempt to minimise criticisms of the crypto-antisemitic insinuations made in the current deadly climate – this was certainly not intended as anything more than a personal response to the marginalisation of trans concerns in the local discourse by cis people. My apologies at having presented the impression of hierarchization.

    From a personal standpoint the crypto-antisemitism fails to pass any acid test deeming it worthy of debate simply on the grounds that global documentation of gender minorities predates Soros, Buffett et al by some considerable length as does the medicalisation of transgender people (though there are some troubling overlaps in the original article’s argument) and that medicalisation remains – despite claims we have now adopted ‘an informed consent model’ – incongruent with strict gate-keeping which still occurs under the jurisdiction of some DHBs and practitioners.

    This expansive history of gender diversity is most evident locally when accounting for longstanding recognition of fa’afafine, fakaleiti and the revival of takatāpui etc rendering this spurious conspiracy as to the creation/promotion/recognition of gender minorities for the benefit of big pharma as both largely Eurocentric and farcical for any educated ally, gender minority or concerned individual with access to Google, as opposed to the allegations against the NZ health system, medical profession, guardians – which while easily refutable by those in the know – play largely – without much in the way of data – on fear of the unknown among the general population.

    Though both preposterous and dangerous in their way – I assume part of the reason for the silence by the trans ally cis population wrt the child abuse allegations is in part due to lack of access to information required to refute that.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,



    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    Continuing this intermittent and tiresome fact-check of the Herald article, in the context of "Under the proposed new law”, the journalist stated:

    How about Laurel Hubbard competing straight-faced as a female in weightlifting? And all those other athletes around the world winning hands down against biological women? Is it fair to females, who’ve often trained their whole lives, only to come second to a biologically stronger athlete – no matter how they identify?

    Which has absolutely nothing to do with ’the proposed new law’. Independent bodies responsible for administering competitive sport will continue to exercise oversight of regulations governing the participation of all competitors, trans, intersex or otherwise.

    Self-declaration will not change this provision.

    further reading:

    Laurel Hubbard: five myths about transgender athletes debunked

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to mark taslov,

    Additional background from the British Journal of Sports Medicine – for anyone interested in nurturing an informed discussion on this topic.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to mark taslov,

    only to come second to a biologically stronger athlete

    Not to mention that that is the entire point of athletics competitions.

    The trouble is, as we're seeing, that the question "what is a woman" is not one that has a simple answer with a clear line between "woman" and "non-woman". Blaming organising bodies at any level for not managing to come up with a simple, unambiguous test for that is silly.

    Mark, I'm not suggesting you're doing those things, just trying to point out that the underlying premises don't stack up.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1229 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Moz,

    Totally, I was impressed with the evenhandedness in that Sports Medicine article both in covering the background and in highlighting that there’s considerably more complexity to this than the journalist (above) and DPF would care to acknowledge in perpetuating the myth that oversight of these issues is the purview of our Government with its proposed amendments to the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration Act.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    This week in mythbusting the article:

    TERF stands for ‘trans-exclusionary radical feminist’ and is used as a way of denigrating any woman who questions the current craze of people – overwhelmingly men – who say they were born into the wrong body."

    This depiction plays on the stigmatisation of femininity and dienigration of trans women as class traitors moving against a societal current which rewards adherence to masculinity.

    While it hinges on data showing that in popular history trans woman have been more visible, like many of the motifs these groups employ, it functionality is contingent on the ongoing erasurre of trans men, non-binary people etc.

    Contrary to the journalist misrepresentation of ‘the current craze’ (see transtrender slur) the current demographic shift is moving in entirely the opposite direction.

    Appointments to the Wellington Endocrine Service for Capital & Coast DHB from Jan 1990 to the end of 2016 show that in recent years the largest increase in referrals is for trans men (table 1). Up from 9 in 2012 to 41 in 2016 compared to trans women; up from 22 to 51 over the same period – corresponding with global trends where applicable.

    The reasons for this are many but not altogether difficult to comprehend.

    • Today, there is more easily-accessible information regarding transgender individuals. Hence, people (in general) are more informed and educated. That translates into an overall increase in acceptance.

    • The fact that people are more and more accepting, means that more people are able to express themselves authentically, with a reduced risk of discrimination. (Although discrimination is still very prevalent.)

    • In the past, more transgender people would remain “closeted” (i.e., would not transition) for fear of persecution. However, there is less and less of a need to do that now. Thus, there is an increased visibility of transgender individuals. So while it may appear that the numbers are increasing, the reality is that you’re actually getting a more realistic idea of the numbers (which actually aren’t that high).

    To that last point I can personally attest having occupied the grey area for some time (largely due to living abroad with no access to gender affirmation processes) – to better contextualise this here’s a photo my wife took of me on our first date in March 2011. While I have been ‘out’ for years for the vast majority of my online engagement/ work etc, based on a 2010 thread I remained uncertain about some attitudes and had long since learned it’s better to be safe than sorry – there are no uniforms. Obviously as I latterly discovered the folk on this site are pretty damn supportive.

    As for this increase in referrals for trans men – well unlike trans women (where in Aotearoa we’ve been so fortunate), for trans men there haven’t been so many visible role models, Chaz Bono being something of a ‘pioneer’ in that regard, coming out in 2009, reaching a wider audience with the 2011 film Becoming Chaz.

    So I feel it’s somewhat disingenuous of the journalist to dismiss what is more of an awakening of sorts wrt the misinformation and erasure we’ve been fed and readily and unquestioningly consumed than so much of a ’current craze’.

    Depends on your motivations I guess.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,


    In this final installment of debunking the article we’ll be looking at succedent paragraphs:

    Under the proposed new law, a man can call himself a woman without ever medically transitioning (most never do) and insert himself in female-only spaces such as changing rooms, women’s refuges, and prisons. Women would have absolutely no legal recourse to challenge such a move.

    I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to be locked up alone in a cell all night with a hairy, muscly, sex-starved inmate of either gender – but particularly one with his full kit and caboodle intact.

    Again we begin with the misgendering and the claim that most trans women never transition – which may or may not be true when accounting for closeted individuals – who aren’t bothering anyone – but certainly doesn’t bear much scrutiny (see previous post) as the graph above shows(fig 3) – trans women having been historically considerably more likely to medically transition than trans men.

    We run into immediate problems in this paragraph wrt self-ID and the prospect of trans women ’inserting’ ourselves into these spaces. Firstly most trans woman I know are petrified of entering women’s spaces, specifically because of the attitudes of people like the journalist. No one wants a falcon set on them. This issue is exacerbated by the prolonged waiting time for surgeries (despite expedient albeit currently superficial messaging to the contrary).

    An example of the inutility of self-ID in altering the current landscape in commercial spaces was illustrated in May:

    The 38-year-old has legally changed her gender to female on her birth certificate and all legal documents, according to NZME.

    Despite this, she was asked to provide evidence that she’d had sex reassignment surgery

    As for publicly managed spaces I would assume the same conditions as have applied for the last however many years would remain in place – namely that GRS is not a criteria for legal recognition of womanhood.

    As for trans women inserting ourselves into refuges and prisons – I feel a better verb could have been exploited. Firstly wrt refuges,as Hadassah Green notified me in December 2016:

    "in general our policy is that refuge is open to anyone who self-identifies as a woman, no identification necessary."

    i.e. self ID has no bearing on access.

    And wrt prisons, my feeling is that fundamental to the issue being objected to is double-celling – which is absolutely aggravated by the sharp recent increase in women’s prison numbers. Personally I don’t have answers on the finer points of prison policy, but my feeling is if we’re to have that discussion then it would show good faith if we didn’t kick things off by misgendering and lampooning trans women with cutsie nicknames for our genitals.

    The proposed self-ID change isn’t simply a case of ticking a box on an application form – like the passport gender change it requires signing a statutory declaration in front of a JP, MP, lawyer, registered legal executive (fellow of NZILE) or Government Officer authorised to take statutory declarationns – which would leave a paper trail and credible witness – drastically undermining its usefulness as an avenue to commit crime.

    I may be being overly optimistic but I imagine that surely there must be a more tolerant way to have any of these discussions without dehumanising us, disseminating crypto-antisemitic conspiracy theories, defaming the New Zealand health system, misrepresenting basic medicalisation data,scaremongering about Women’s Refuge and distorting the complexities of international sports administration.

    All things considered, ‘TERFs’ never really scared me, their mental gymnastics always struck me as being so mendacious as to be almost comical – the centrists, otoh, who provide the fertile ground for the transphobia TERFs peddle to take root,the moderates whose transphobia existed long before and will persist long after; ex-leaders and movers and shakers, who offered their support amid the entirely anticipated fracas following the publication of that highly provocative piece – those people who see our lives as little more than debate fodder, those who publicly make a point of proclaiming their need to “see both sides” in response to these types of attacks – who feel our responses are too negative – they indicate how easily public sentiment could turn on a pin – and they absolutely terrify me.

    You can hear the knives being sharpened in rhythm to whatever allegation is flying around on whichever week despite this whole circus being orchestrated well over trans peoples’ heads.

    So anyway that’s me done. 10 years is a long time on any site – no less so when you’re absolutely petrified for most of it about people discovering your gender. Now it’s just a more general state of constant anxiety. I’ve learned an incredible amount from many of the regulars for which I’ll be eternally grateful, as am I incredibly grateful for not being banned, I likely would have banned me many times over. Also I’m deeply regretful for the annoyance and hurt I’ve caused so many of you over the years, especially you Emma, thank you for allowing me to take such liberties on your thread, among many other things, and of course you Russell – superb surgeon – would recommend.

    noho mai rā

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

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