Article Title:Family First goes on anti-trans witch hunt
Category:Features
Author or Credit:GayNZ.com staff
Published on:30th June 2015 - 02:45 pm
Published by:GayNZ.com
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Story ID:17015
Text:A leading New Zealand transgender advocate is dismissing a report purporting to offer expertise on gender identity, which anti-lgbti lobby group Family First has commissioned to “warn parents and schools”. The report's been written by American Glenn T. Stanton from anti-lgbti group Focus on the Family “Boys Girls Other – Making Sense of the Confusing New World of Gender Identity” was prepared for Family First by Glenn T. Stanton from American anti-lgbti group Focus on the Family. It’s an organisation Human Rights Campaign says continues “to promote many dangerous ideas, practices and programmes that cause real harm to LGBT people and their families” and “continues to endorse junk science rejected by every major medical and mental health organization to this day”. The report’s tone is set with an opening quote from a French feminist saying “every individual who is not man is woman. There is no third possibility.” It reads “welcome to the brave new world of gender redefinition, confusion and politics … it is run by a growing and influential group working hard to overcome the ‘evils’ of what its proponents call the ‘binary assumptions’ - the belief that everyone is either male or female and are necessarily what their physical genitalia indicate.” Among its many assertions are that “it is neither enlightened or loving parenting to pretend we can just let our children decide which gender they want to be. It is nothing less than ideological and can be harmful.” Is being transgender a silly gag? The type of commentary in the report. It refers to transgender people by incorrect pronouns, including describing an Auckland trans woman who entered a beauty pageant as a “young man” and a nine-year-old trans boy as a girl and “gender confused”. A young trans girl in the UK is dismissed as “clearly a deeply troubled child”. Among its many claims are that there are no more than two genders, and there is a clear and universal male and female nature, explained by examples such as “women tend to smile more than men do”. It says sexuality and gender are not different things, human sexuality is a dichotomy, not a continuum and that gender-neutral bathrooms are not an issue of human justice, they are rather “the practical advancement of a dubious theory”. The report claims most trans children who experience gender dysphoria grow out of it by the time they reach puberty, and it is not inborn, raising children in gender neutral settings is likely to create confusion and/or stunted healthy development and that surgical changes for adults are falling out of fashion in much of the mainstream medical community. There are also questions such as “if there is a rainbow of different genders, why do transgenders [sic] transition from male to female or vice versa? They never trans to one of the other multiple genders that supposedly exist.” It also uses figures from the Youth ’12 study by Auckland University researchers to insinuate suicide attempts by transgender youth are not necessarily related to their gender identity. The report finishes with a section on “how to protect your children” and also includes an essay from “a former transsexual” who warns that “parents who play around with a gender change for their child are engaged in a dangerous, high-stakes game”, and that “a child with gender identity issues needs psychiatric or psychological help, not a change of wardrobe or hairstyle”. Family First’s National Director Bob McCoskrie says it will be sent to every school and politician in New Zealand. He claims our children are being “indoctrinated with the message ‘gender refers to how you identify, someone can identify as male, female, in between, both, or neither.’” He says schools are being “bullied by government and advocacy groups” in to adopting policies around uniforms, toilets, changing rooms, and sports teams “rather than heeding the warnings and research of leading scholars and clinicians”. Its call comes as Family First is trying to keep its tax-free charitable status – it’s locked in a court battle with the Charities Commission, which says the group’s main purpose is political, not charitable. This brand of hate not welcome in NZ Ellis says none of the views in the 80 page report will find favour here and represent “a death throe from the disgraced religious right”. Transgender lawyer and advocate Kelly Ellis sees the report as the final nail in the coffin for Family First and Bob McCoskrie. “We've got enough religious nuts, without importing hate speech from the USA. I guess with marriage equality having swept the land, haters are starting to turn their attention on us,” Ellis says. "No one wants to know what Bob McCoskrie thinks about this," she continues, nor from the report’s author who she says wants to spread his special brand of hate in New Zealand. “This hater, who is unwelcome in most parts of America, has been adopted by Family First to spread his ugly messages. Listed in his credentials, Glenn Stanton claims that his appearances on Dr Phil somehow add to the credibility of his views. "Specifically, this nutbar would have us turn back the clock on marriage equality, stop trans health care and force trans people to use bathrooms that don't reflect their gender. "This kind of nonsense has found no traction in his native America and if he thinks it’s going to fly here, he's as deluded as McCoskrie. Perhaps they've been wearing the same tinfoil hats as McCoskrie's mate Colin Craig.” Ellis says none of the views in the 80 page report will find favour here and represent “a death throe from the disgraced religious right”. She says McCoskrie seems to have had an undue fascination with the trans community for some time. “Rather than standing outside in the cold protesting too much, it's time we welcomed him in. I just want to say 'Bob, we're a broad church. We can help you’." GayNZ.com staff - 30th June 2015    
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