Tuesday, May 21

Why are those in power covering for Shaneel Lal?

It’s been a while since my last piece, but I’ve had to take time out to overcome the writer’s block whilst trying to make sense of what is happening in New Zealand. 

And what is apparent is there is a big push towards teaching our children RSE (Relationship and sexuality education) that is being led by trans activist Shaneel Lal. 

Throughout this piece, you will see I refer to Shaneel as he/him. This isn’t done out of hate. This is done out of my own personal beliefs that you can’t transition into nothing and so I refer to and will continue to refer to Shaneel as a male.

How is it that a 23-year-old has been given such a big platform and so much influence over our education system by so many without coming under heavy scrutiny? 

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve stated numerous times that I support Shaneel getting conversion therapy banned, but I struggle with the idea that this same person has been an advisor for the education minister and helped form a curriculum that on page 30 of Ministry guidelines for schools written for children aged 5-12 states; 

“In science, ākonga can consider variations in puberty including the role of puberty blockers”.

News reports from September 2022 state “Pharmac data showed the total number of 9- to 17-year-olds on puberty blockers had increased from 137 in 2010 to 703 in 2020”.

Reports in recent months also show the Ministry of Health has removed the words safe and reversible from its website and is undertaking a review into just how safe and reversible puberty blockers are. 

This follows on from an earlier move by the UK where they have stopped doctors from prescribing puberty blockers to children who aren’t part of clinical trials. Gender-affirming care is also a hot topic in the USA where at least 20 states have restricted gender-affirming care for youth.

If there are this many concerns from medical communities around the world, then what business does a 23-year-old childless law student have wanting to ensure other people’s children are taught RSE? When we have high truancy and falling literacy and numeracy rates, teaching my child about a dangerous body-altering drug is NOT going to improve his life. Knowing how to read to improve his employment prospects will, however, improve his life.

In Shaneel’s own words in an article published by the Herald on August 6th regarding RSE – “In theory, it covers consent, puberty and how the body changes during it, human reproduction, diverse sexualities and genders, sex and romantic and intimate relationships, contraception and using the internet safely”. 

But, that’s Shaneel’s dressed-up way of saying schools will be talking to your child about porn and teaching them they are now either a person with a uterus or a person with a penis. Things that are written in the information sent to me by my own boy’s school regarding RSE.

Posie Parker’s visit to Albert Park in March was disrupted because of Shaneel’s encouragement and has become the place where New Zealand was exposed as being a place of violence against women. These actions were seemingly supported by media and politicians who tried to whitewash it as an event that was full of love and peace despite one trans activist pleading guilty to assault and another one set to appear in court in September. 

And yet despite all of this, the public has had to watch as Shaneel goes on to win a Young New Zealander of the Year award, released his autobiography, and be lauded at every opportunity by pseudo-celebrities, companies, and media.

More recently at least one Spark employee unnecessarily got involved in a post Shaneel made on ‘Threads’ which resulted in some people leaving Spark for new providers (I am one of those people). Spark issued a half-baked unconvincing statement.

And so, as a mother of a 13-year-old boy, soon to be man, I will raise the questions and concerns others don’t seem to be addressing vocally enough because nobody is going to care more about my child than me, and there are people who not only owe me but also other parents out there, some answers. 

Shaneel Lal is known on social media to be absolutely vile in his treatment of others and there are many instances of his behaviour. From telling a gay person to “fuck off fag” to claiming he is happy to be the fag that tore the fabric of society apart and destroyed the heterosexual dream. 

But my favorite has to be the tweet from 2021 calling the Herald a racist, homophobic, classist piece of shit. Less than a year before he started writing for them as their “star” columnist. 

 There needs to be answers from the likes of Ruby Tui, NZ Herald, Chris Hipkins, Marama Davidson, and their ilk about what kind of individual they are all supporting. 

Why is it that all of these people support someone who has been openly homophobic towards others, has helped create a curriculum that discusses drugs that are known for the castration of sex offenders, and is happy to be known as the ‘fag who tore society apart’? 

I’ve had people recently tell me it would be in my best interest to forget about Shaneel and not give him attention so he will go away. And while I do understand that train of thought, for me there are bigger things at play here. 

Shaneel isn’t the most important part to this equation. But he is a piece in it because of the influence he has and that is something I don’t think we should dismiss so quickly. 

For me, Shaneel represents a lot of what is wrong with this country today. His narratives cause division and hatred and while we are all arguing with each other, things are being sneaked into our children’s education while we are none the wiser. 

For months I’ve been telling my online whanau that a Spark can start a flame. That lots of people don’t know how to start a conversation and that others are waiting for someone else to voice out loud what many of us are thinking. 

And so, I want to end this piece by thanking Shaneel and Spark. Their online collaboration has caused the inspiration for my first T-shirt design set to be released next week. 

A Spark can start a flame and that’s exactly what these t-shirts have been created to do. Spark a flame that will have people having real conversations that are dying to be had. Because our children’s educations and lives are literally at stake if we, as their parents and grandparents, don’t stand up for them. And if we don’t, who else will?