GUEST BLOG: Rachel Stewart – the column the NZ Herald didn’t publish

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It seems far-fetched that the mere hiring of a Massey University venue by a feminist organisation could cause so much indignation and rage, but these are not typical times.

A bunch of females getting together within a public space to discuss the issues currently affecting them is far from new, and very far from radical. 

Yet, the idea that ‘Feminism 2020’ would dare to congregate at a venue on Massey’s Wellington campus saw a number of students stage a sit-in, which culminated in the handing over of a petition calling on the university to cancel the event. 

What is so threatening about women coming together and talking? According to the protestors and petitioners, the organisers of the event – Speak Up for Women – are essentially devil incarnates. 

Petition organiser Charlie Myer said the university shouldn’t be “facilitating this kind of discussion”. Feminism 2020 “could have [the event] anywhere” but it wasn’t appropriate for them to hold it at a university, which was supposed to support transgender students.”

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Last time I looked universities were required to respect and uphold the quaint, old-fashioned tenet of free speech too. And Massey has, thus far, held out against the pressure of every thrown guilt trip known to mankind. You know, we don’t feel “safe”. 

Myer also disputed the group was feminist and simply meeting to discuss women’s issues. “If your feminism isn’t intersectional, it isn’t feminism.”

Don’t you just love it when men tell women what feminism actually is? I find it adorable. Like a possum in my pear tree. So endearing.

Another endearing move was to then see the spokesperson for diversity and inclusion accreditation business Rainbow Tick Martin King say that if Massey did not cancel the event it was likely it would trigger a review of its accreditation. 

The spectre of losing their Rainbow Tick must be downright scary for them. I mean, since students are now their financial customers, Massey naturally wants to keep the client happy at all costs. 

But back to ‘Speak Up For Women’ and their apparently devilish ways. Why do some students so feverishly want them cancelled lest they be “harmed” by their words? Of course, you’d think simply not attending would put paid to that, but I’m being far too logical. 

No. These students believe that no one should be allowed to discuss, debate, or hear the reasons why many women are concerned about an amendment (currently on hold) to the Births, Deaths, and Marriages Registration Bill that would allow a person to change their legal gender by simply signing a declaration. 

The group formed because they were legitimately concerned the amendment would prevent women from excluding men from changing rooms, bathrooms, women’s prisons, women’s shelters and any other women and girls-only space. In a nutshell, they don’t agree that trans women are women just because they say they are.

The group supports the current law, which allows a person to change the sex on their birth certificate if they go through certain steps – specifically applying in writing to the Court and obtaining a medical sign-off from a doctor. 

They also make it clear they support the rights of transgender people to live without violence and discrimination.

However they don’t agree that trans women should be allowed to compete against natal females in sport. In their view, it’s not a level playing field. 

Now, what’s so heinous about that? Why does holding such views mean they should be de-platformed, cancelled, and marginalised? 

Eerily, many of the organisers and some of the speakers are lesbian so why would the ‘L’ part of the LGBTQ be considered such a threat to organisations such as Rainbow Tick? Is the imperative of ‘diversity’ no longer extended to lesbians? Or feminists – regardless of their sexual preferences? Good ol’ intersectionalism strikes again! It’s a conundrum. 

And therein lies the problem with intersectionalism. The manic race to win the title of ‘most oppressed and marginalised group’ sets up a spiralling vortex of ever-tightening circles of meaninglessness. 

Will there be protests if the event goes ahead? Will the protestors consist mainly of male activists telling those women to shut up? Because that’s the rub for me. Seeing men shouting women down via megaphone, rattling windows, banging doors and generally screaming at them, reminds me why I’m a feminist all over again. 

Tactics like these are being employed in Britain and the U.S. and where they go, we tend to go. If similar methods are on show at the ‘Feminism 2020’ event, it’ll be quite the statement.   

Ask yourself this. 

Why is it that some men are angry, abusive, and disruptive around such incredibly important issues to some women? What’s driving their need to shut women up? Why is free speech good for the gander, but not so welcome from the goose?

When did an open discussion by women about women’s rights become so threatening? 

Actually, more to the point, when didn’t it? 

 

Rachel Stewart is a Canon Media Award winner of Opinion Writer of the Year 2016 and former writer at the NZ Herald.   

 

     

 

24 COMMENTS

  1. This is why you don’t put weaklings incharge of security and health and safety. The weakling will see threats where they don’t exist.

    • Agreed. Imagine someone like Beto O’Rourke being faced on the world stage by Putin or Erdogan.

      Now imagine people like that rainbow tick dude having power over your business. We’re sailing full ahead for Batavia’s Graveyard.

      • We have to accept that everything are run by psychopaths and liars and the woke are no different. I’m sure they believe that their social justice is more important than others. Perhaps it is. The decision by the university today will not dissuade them of the opinion that they are led by psychopaths and liars.

  2. Rachel said:”The group supports the current law, which allows a person to change the sex on their birth certificate if they go through certain steps – specifically applying in writing to the Court and obtaining a medical sign-off from a doctor. ”

    Is anyone else expected to apply in Court and get a doctor’s certificare that they are legally gay or lesbian?

    What about Maori? I mean god forbid someone claims to be Maori when they really aren’t

    What about you Rachel, who did you apply to so you’d be accepted as you are

    Maybe we should wear little badges on out coats. Pink triangles, red stars, black squares, yellow stars-of-david. Easier to identify minorities before rounding them up for conversion therapy (gas chambers are so last century, darlings)

    By the way, your ideas about Universities is strange. They are not obligated to provide use of their facilities to every tom dick & harry that comes along. In fact no one is obligated to give you anything, full stop. You have your freedom to speak, i have my freedom to ignore your drivel Stop being so full of entitlement its not a good look

    • You fail to see that academia has become the tool of elite control and servers indoctrination of the youth. Auckland University is supposed to be New Zealand’s premiere learning centre, not a place to be fragile and perpetually outraged. You don’t even know what kind of testing regime the girls would have done up with, they never even got a chance to come up with anything.

      Going into this I had assumed that a tranny meant some one who has medically transitioned but as it turns out less than 1% of people who claim to be a transvestite has never medically transitioned yet they want the prize before the results are in. You will literally be allowing a biological male free entry into the woman’s toilet while denying female entry into male toilets. What’s a girl supposes end to say to a biological male? “Oh that must be a painful period love” or something like that.

      Not one year ago the university was trying to get more woman into STEM fields and this would not have improved female enrolment into STEM fields.

      • Sam, unless you are deliberately trolling, the actual terms are “trans man”, “trans woman” or transgender person. Not “tranny” or “transvestite”.

        Please be considerate.

        • you please be considerate Jane B . if the word for these people in SAms world is what it is , then thats what it is .

          what gives you the right to take his language from him .

          people speaking like SAm are not the problem .

          ignorance is the problem and yes intolerance .

          • This bring us neatly on to the problem which is are they using public transport or ethical green sailing ships to lower their carbon footprint :p

    • @Mjolnir you seem to disagree with what Rachel has to say but I can’t work out what you’re trying to convince us of – what is it that you actually stand for?

    • Mjolnir: Your comment here looks like a reductio ad absurdum.

      “Is anyone else expected to apply in Court and get a doctor’s certificare that they are legally gay or lesbian?”

      Gay and lesbian people aren’t like trans people, as I’m sure you know full well.

      “What about Maori? I mean god forbid someone claims to be Maori when they really aren’t”

      Again: they aren’t trans people. And skin colour is an extrinsic characteristic only. Though as it happens, I know of somebody who identifies as Maori; they’re Maori like I am, that is, not at all. I don’t doubt there are others who also do this for political reasons. They’re barking, in my view.

      “By the way, your ideas about Universities is strange.”

      Nope. Universities are supposed to be the critic and conscience of society: it’s the fundamental principle underpinning the university system. Take that away, you might as well just have polytechnics NZ-style.

      “You have your freedom to speak, i have my freedom to ignore your drivel”

      But that’s not an exercise of free speech on your part; you cannot know that it’s “drivel” unless you listen to what Rachel and her group have to say. Then you can construct a countervailing argument. What you’re suggesting here is the equivalent of children sticking their fingers in their ears and saying, la la la not listening, not listening! This bespeaks lack of maturity, in my view.

      • “Gay and lesbian people aren’t like trans people, as I’m sure you know full well.”

        Not like us, you mean?

        They’re DIFFERENT you mean?

        They are THE OTHER, is that what you mean?

        Let’s put a purple triangle on their clothing. Make it easy when it comes time to round them up.

        I am disgusted by the naked bigotry I am reading here.

        • Jane B: “Let’s put a purple triangle on their clothing. Make it easy when it comes time to round them up.”

          Congratulations on providing a neat example of the straw man fallacy.

          For heaven’s sake! Get over yourself. Stop reading into others’ comments meanings that aren’t there.

  3. The poster “girl” for why non-natal women shouldn’t be allowed to compete against natural women is weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, she of the male-physique broad shoulders. Do you recall the photo of a “real” woman weightlifter giving Laurel a sideways look at some competition? — said it all. Of all sports, why did he/she choose that one?!

    And yet, and yet. I know someone, now in their 60s, who felt from childhood that he should have been a girl, and even underwent aversion therapy to put him back on his natal male path. Married, and had children. But in recent years, finally undergoing the externally observable changes, and now presenting as a very presentable woman, and only a deepish voice a possible giveaway (the fact of being naturally slim rather helpful in looking female). He — and we now say she — obviously very happy in her new skin.

    A tough one. Give me the wisdom of Solomon.

    • Tom Gardner: “The poster “girl” for why non-natal women shouldn’t be allowed to compete against natural women is weightlifter Laurel Hubbard”

      Indeed. The other one is the South African athlete Caster Semenya. That individual has testicles, yet is still allowed to compete in women’s sport. This is wrong.

      Semenya and Hubbard share the fact that their physiques are formed by testosterone, secreted by the testicles. Nobody in this situation ought to be competing in women’s sport.

      I accept that Semenya is intersex: however, I don’t think that fact justifies this individual being allowed to compete as a woman. I do not know if this would apply to every intersex person: I simply don’t know enough about the subject.

      “I know someone, now in their 60s, who felt from childhood that he should have been a girl….”

      Yes. Many years ago when we were young marrieds, we knew of a couple of men roughly our age who began dressing as women. To be honest, I don’t know whether reassignment surgery was even available in those days, and if it was, whether either of them had it. We didn’t know them well enough to be privy to that sort of information. The late Carmen, famous in Wellington for many years, had also been born male.

      There have always been such individuals; when I was a student (also many years ago), I knew of a woman who dressed as a man. It’s possible that mental illness is a driver in some cases; we have an extended family member who has body dysmorphia syndrome. It’s plausible to argue that such a disorder drives some people to believe that they’re the opposite sex. I have no idea how many they’d be, though.

      However: in the current environment, the explosion in numbers of – in particular young – people questioning their gender cannot be just biological processes at work. It may be that mental health problems lie at the heart of it for many. A young relative is of the view that it’s a fad; they may have a point there.

        • Theodore: “Anyone else you feel should be excluded because, you know, they’re different?”

          Well well: yet another example of the straw man fallacy. Sundry folks are doing well on this site in that regard.

          Hear this: what we were talking about above was the fact that in our view, it’s wrong for biological men to be competing in women’s sport. If you would engage, please stick to the argument.

          If a person has testicles, they’re a biological male: their physical development has therefore been informed by testosterone. This gives them an unfair physical advantage over women with whom they compete.

          Have you not heard of sexual dimorphism? If not, you’d do well to make yourself better-informed.

          Sexual dimorphism is the way the world is, and no amount of semantic gymnastics or identity politics will change that.

  4. publishing a transphobic rant? Nice one Martin. I
    Looking forward to something from the White Supremacist movement next. Free speech being more important these days than actually countering anti-LGBT bigotry.

    Whose existence are you going to debate next I wonder.
    Carry on.

    • Samwise: “publishing a transphobic rant? Nice one Martin.”

      I always find it useful to read a post carefully before I comment on it; I recommend it to you.

      This post was written by Rachel Stewart, not by Martyn.

      I’ve read her post with great care: a “transphobic rant” it most certainly isn’t. She makes the case for feminists being able to have an event on the Massey campus, at which they discuss issues germane to feminists. I’m not seeing the problem here.

      “Looking forward to something from the White Supremacist movement next. Free speech being more important these days than actually countering anti-LGBT bigotry.”

      This looks like a straw man type of statement. It’s even more ludicrous when one considers – as Rachel Stewart herself points out – “…many of the organisers and some of the speakers are lesbian….” How on earth can that be construed as anti-LGBT bigotry? Your stance makes no sense.

      “Whose existence are you going to debate next I wonder.”

      I doubt that Stewart has any desire to debate anything with somebody who clearly hasn’t read the original post. I’m guessing that the same would apply to Martyn, had he written this.

        • Theodore: “Anyone else you feel should be excluded because, you know, they’re different?”

          Well well: yet another example of the straw man fallacy. Sundry folks are doing well on this site in that regard.

          Hear this: what we were talking about above was the fact that in our view, it’s wrong for biological men to be competing in women’s sport. If you would engage, please stick to the argument.

          If a person has testicles, they’re a biological male: their physical development has therefore been informed by testosterone. This gives them an unfair physical advantage over women with whom they compete.

          Have you not heard of sexual dimorphism? If not, you’d do well to make yourself better-informed.

          Sexual dimorphism is the way the world is, and no amount of semantic gymnastics or identity politics will change that.

        • Jane B: “Whose existence are we going to debate next? Answer the question put to you above, don’t deflect.”

          Do you actually read comments properly before you go off half-cocked?

          Read my comment again. Sigh…. I was responding to Samwise, who’d asked that question of Martyn, who Samwise mistakenly believes wrote the original post.

          Again: get over yourself. Transphobia, my foot! I doubt that you even know what it means.

Comments are closed.