This weekend groups of women will meet in Wellington and Auckland to discuss a topic one would assume would be welcome in 2023: women’s rights. As has always been the case in the feminist movement, the groups will be disproportionately made up of mothers and lesbians; the kind of women who tend to be more outspoken because they either lack the motivation to shut up or a fiercely worried about the future for their children. Neither group is one that would be associated with violence and hate. In fact, crime statistics indicate that they are among the least likely to be violent.
So how is that this week there has been a complete frenzy in the media about this event? Why is the Prime Minister being asked to comment on it? Why was Immigration NZ petitioned to revoke the visa of Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull?
Short answer: distract and discredit.
The issues these women want to speak about are so widely held (and often self-evident) that opposers have time and again failed to mount sufficient arguments to refute them. The overwhelming majority of the population accept the scientific fact that there are two sexes and that sometimes distinguishing between biological sexes is important in terms of ensuring safety, fairness, and equality. Not always, but sometimes. It is a reasonable position and far from extremist.
But, the opposition to women’s rights advocates speaking up about this have sought to associate these beliefs and the women who espouse them with extremism in order to discredit them and make people fearful of speaking out similarly. This is what we saw play out in the extreme in Melbourne last weekend, but it is far from the first time it has happened.
The women who organised and attended Let Women Speak Melbourne had no idea that Nazis were intending to march into their event. Many of them have spoken out in horror at discovering their presence there, including Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull who told the NZ Herald that she found them abhorrent. Indeed, a group of Māori women in Australia and New Zealand were involved in the organising of events in both countries and are unlikely to be allies of such racists.
The women continued to speak while, some way off, the chaos of trans activists attempting to get through police lines and Nazis marching continued. Three people were arrested at the event and all three were trans activists opposing the Let Women Speak event. In fact, no woman associated with any of the worldwide events has been violent or arrested. The violence comes from those who show up to oppose them. When the New Zealand Green Party warns of violence breaking out at the events in New Zealand, what they are actually saying is that those who come to protest this peaceful group will commit violence. It sounds more like a threat than a warning in this context.
New Zealand and Australia are behind the rest of the western world when it comes to this highly contentious subject. Down under women are still being called Nazis and bigots while in Europe, the UK, and the USA, policies, that Kiwi and Aussie women are protesting, are rapidly being rolled back after the consequences women warned of came true.
Nicola Sturgeon just blew up her political career in Scotland by defending the placing of male offenders in female prisons based on their self-identification. It has now been reported that up to 30,000 members have quit her party in response to its gender reforms. Following hot on her heels, Premier of Ireland Leo Varadkar is now being asked the same questions and the heat is turning up. Just this week he conceded that Ireland may have to change laws around trans prisoners.
Just in the last 24 hours World Athletics have announced that they will be banning transwomen (males who identify as women) from competing in the female category at international events. The governing body’s president Lord Coe said the decision was “guided by the overarching principle which is to protect the female category”.
In Britain it was reported that opposition leader Keir Starmer has been briefed that he needs to back off his party’s support of self-identification as they are losing female members and the majority of the population doesn’t subscribe to that view. In January he had already backed off child transitioning saying “16 is too young to change legal gender”. Today The Telegraph has quoted Sir Keir Starmer as saying: “I think that if we reflect on what’s happened in Scotland, the lesson I take from that is that if you’re going to make reforms, you have to carry the public with you.”
This is what happens when the public is well informed by their media of what is going on rather than being presented with an homogenous and completely ideological narrative.
In Europe, country after country has either banned or severely curtailed the transitioning of children as scientific and medical evidence shows how harmful so-called puberty blockers, hormones, and surgery can be for young people. For example, Sweden, which was the first country to introduce legal gender reassignment is now restricting hormone treatments for minors. Finland and France have taken similar stances.
And of course, there is the USA where the wave of lawsuits is just beginning. American politics is bizarre on a good day and when it comes to the issues of sex and gender they’re almost certifiable, but regardless of the nuttiness, the tide has turned against those who protest at women’s events.
All over the world people are saying the same things that have turned New Zealand’s media feral against women. We are called Nazis and TERFs for espousing the same concerns and views as western leaders, scientists, experts, sporting bodies, and probably most of the female family members of those who will protest us.