Transgenderism is gathering momentum in New Zealand with a law change pending that would speed up changes to birth certificates, and new resources for teaching gender ideology in high schools.

But there has been little effort by the government or the media to promote public discussion of the momentous issues involved in people changing their gender identity, especially where children are concerned.

The birth certificate changes, which would allow self-identification in place of a system that involves the Family Court and evidence of medical treatment, were added to an update of the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Act by a new Labour-led Government in February last year. Nobody much knew about this until December, when it came out incidentally in a newspaper column.

Gender has been part of the school sexuality curriculum for several years, and a special Guide to LGBTIQA+ Students was added in 2017. Last August the Accident Compensation Commission, whose core business is financially supporting people injured in the course of work or daily life, released Mates & Dates, a Year 9 to 13 resource which claims to tackle sexual and dating violence with an emphasis on consent.

The “violence” bit explains why ACC has taken this initiative and is rolling it out to the tune of $18 million. In this context gender ideology is about keeping young people “safe”.

However, the government agency also seems to want to keep the details of the programme safe from public scrutiny, since a parent who wanted to know its content had to go through a protracted Official Information Request to get hold of lesson plans.

This parent, Jared Luke, goes into the detail of the programme in a series of articles on the conservative Whaleoil site

In a session exploring “the link between gender stereotypes and our behaviour” teachers are told: “It's important that you clearly promote gender as a continuum and emphasise that it's healthy for all of us to incorporate aspects of male and female roles into our behaviour…” This is likely to reduce sexual and dating violence, says the guide. The premise here is that males are stereotypically violent.

The guide's principal concepts, says Luke, are: “If you feel like a girl, you are one. Society can't define who you are. Gender roles are merely assigned at birth based on genitalia. You don't need a sex-change to be who you say you are.” The resource references Rainbow Youth for young people who want to come out, or indicate they need support.

The Genderbread Person is a rsource that teachers are likely to use

All very predictable, but is this what Kiwi parents want for their kids? Luke points out: “We must remember New Zealand’s parental notification laws have been relaxed, and any 14 year old can begin hormone treatments and get breast binders without parental consent.”

There is potential here to foster a lot of gender doubt and confusion. In Australia they already have “gender whisperers,” experts who train teachers to identify potential transgender children in the classroom, and this has coincided with a 200 percent surge in the number of kids wanting to change their gender in the past three years.

“Safety” is the flag of convenience under which such material is being introduced to schools, but a petition to the New Zealand parliament to remove gender goals and content from the curriculum introduces the petition with this statement:

“I believe that teachers are already required to create a safe environment for all students regardless of race, religion, language, disability, and sexuality. They do not have a separate requirement to teach the content of minority groups in the curriculum, therefore why should there be a new expectation to include the teaching of gender diversity. I believe that endorsing gender discordance as normal via public education and legal policies will confuse children and parents.”

The petition has gathered around 35,000 signatures over the past month. 

Meanwhile, the minister responsible for the birth certificates legislation has announced that more public input is needed on the self-identification clauses in the Births Deaths and Marriages … Bill. Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin said early last week that the Crown Law Office had advised the provisions were open to legal challenge and would benefit from “clarification”.

We seem to owe this acknowledgement of the public to a group of feminists, Speak Up For Women, who oppose self-identification and have been lobbying the minister. These so-called trans-exclusionary radical feminists or TERFs (they have disowned the designation) point out:

“Many people, when they hear the word “transgender,” will think it refers to the tiny number of people for whom the existing [legal identity change] procedure was designed: people who from an early age are so uncomfortable with their biological sex (or “dysphoric”) that they risk invasive surgery and permanent medicalisation to alleviate their feelings of distress.

“But this is no longer the case.

“The “transgender” umbrella now includes an ever‐widening number of people: “non‐binary”, genderqueer, gender‐fluid etc 2.  Many, and possibly most, biological males who identify as transgender do not wish to alter their bodies.3

“The purpose of the proposals is said to be to “allow people to have greater autonomy over their identity” and to “make it easier” for people to change their registered sex.4 We do not take issue with these good intentions. But it is not just about simplifying an administrative procedure for an existing, tiny category of people. Any male will be able to be legally recognised as female.”

Ms Martin last week acknowledged that trans females wanting to enrol at girls’ schools, or to be accommodated at women’s refuges or prisons, were possible issues that needed to be discussed with “stakeholders”. Read “TERFs” – although many other New Zealanders will have concerns that overlap with the feminists’, now that they know what’s going on.

“Safety” is a card that can be played by both – or all – sides in this debate. Everyone wants to be safe, and to keep their children safe from harm. Sexual indoctrination has become one of the greatest threats to the moral, if not personal safety of young New Zealanders.

Carolyn Moynihan is deputy editor of MercatorNet.

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is a New Zealand journalist with a special interest in family issues. She began her working life as a secondary school teacher but always fancied the life of the scribe. Too late, she...