Trans Rights and Political Footballs



Call me old fashioned possums, but I kinda think that when it comes to something as intimate as how you identify gender and sexuality wise, it’s really no one else’s business other than your own.

You live in your skin. You have to face yourself each morning. How you wish to identify to the world is an unalienable right alongside freedom and the pursuit of happiness.

If you are a man in a woman’s body, a woman in a man’s body, gay, straight, bi, asexual – it’s up to you to decide how you determine your identity and it’s everyone else’s obligation and responsibility to respect that decision.

End of story.

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Any attempt to inject morality into an issue of biology and personal identity is about as worthless as claiming rising sea levels from Global Warming won’t occur because God promised Noah he wouldn’t flood the earth again.

One rainbow – two completely different readings of it.

The sudden burst of ignorance from National (egged on by a clearly delighted Press Gallery) that allowing Trans People medical treatment is ‘nutty’ is the sort of dick head crap you put up with from distant relatives when they are drunk at Christmas.

Dickheadedness is an expectation from National, sadly it’s becoming the norm with Labour as well. Labour’s embarrassment that Young Labour would dare bring up equality for Trans people and want to progress that policy when the Labour leadership are desperate to ‘stay-on-message’ is as obvious as it is tedious.

The Press Gallery knows that progressive ideas by grass roots Labour can be spun into another ‘Labour-care-about-crazy-politically-correct-things-like-women-becoming-men-not-real-jobs-for-blue-collar-blokes-scoffing-mince-pies-down-at-the-sports-club’ style narratives, regardless of the bigotry that inspires.

The issue is simply about the right of the individual to have the autonomy to decide their own identity. It is a fundamental principle of a liberal democracy, not a political hate football to kick around for shits and giggles.




  1. For what its worth Martyn, I like the way you analyse important social issues, however in this case I’m not sure i do! The issue as you frame it in the beginning is clear and valid, that is, gender and sexuality are private to the individual concerned. You are also correct in affirming our responsibilities toward everyone. However these become public matters for discussion when public funds are needed for people considering reassignment surgery. Or am I wrong? I also think you are mistaken to suggest issues of ‘biology and personal identity’ aren’t moral issues – we make moral judgments about issues involving biology and personal identity all the time – why should this be exempt? Moreover your passion about this topic suggests that it is a moral issue; albeit you are questioning the moral position of those who disagree with you. Just to clarify too – i am not holding anyone in judgment by making my own moral judgment on the matter i am merely trying to reflect back to you that there are some inconsistencies in your argument which you may/may not care to observe. In other words, i think this is an important issue to consider for the sake of those involved in a non-judgmental and compassionate way as this would be a difficult journey for anyone to navigate. All our efforts should be put into accommodating their needs and desires. But the issues must be clearly defined first. Anything less will be a disservice to those involved.

    • My thinking is that to refuse to use tax dollars to perform a surgery that is a realignment to the gender the individual believes is their real state is mean spirited and unethical.

  2. Don’t they already have the right though? And isn’t it already subsidized (I may be wrong on that though). I thought this issue was about the government fully funding the operations not about trans rights. Unfortunately in this case National are playing politics with it.

  3. I’m not sure that individual rights really capture the issue here. Identity may be personal, but it’s also about how others see you. It’s always as much public as it is private, which is why the case for acceptance of transgendered identity needs an objective rationale in addition to an appeal to personal rights.

  4. I do think its kind of ironic that while transgendered people are medicalised and classified as having a mental health disorder any discussion about the state funding appropriate treatment for this ‘disorder’ is met with derision and frequently mocked as being an irrelevant issue. So all of the stigma of medicalisation with none of the benefits.

    Even if you feel the issue should be debated, thats fair enough but you would hope that the issue would be dealt with the respect and sensitivity it deserves, and not with the inane jokes the politicians have been cracking lately.

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