Sex Discrimination Without Sex

The controversial LGBTQI+ activist Peter Tatchell recently tweeted something heretical for his side of far-left politics: ‘People cannot change biological sex’.

Gender-critical feminists took gleeful enjoyment in some of the silliest replies to his tweet from trans rights activists, including University of Sheffield sociologist Sally Hines’ claim that hormones change a person’s biological sex, and minor celebrity transwoman India Willoughby’s agreement with Hines that if Tatchell were to take estrogen, ‘within 12-24 months he would absolutely have changed sex.’

Gender-critical feminists in Australia shouldn’t be too gleeful about this biological illiteracy, however, because it looks like the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) agrees with Hines and Willoughby. The Sex Discrimination Commissioner was granted leave to appear as amicus curiae (‘friend to the court’) in the ongoing case of Tickle v Giggle, and the AHRC is currently reviewing submissions on an application by the Lesbian Action Group for an exemption to the Sex Discrimination Act. Both cases involve a clash between sex and gender identity—a clash which there is not a hope of resolving in a sensible way without a clear understanding of sex and a firm insistence upon the distinction between sex and gender identity.

[I]t’s a tricky question, because while plenty of sex-based exemptions have been granted at the federal level, it is never made explicit whether the exemption covers all males regardless of gender identity, or only all males without ‘woman’ gender identities (or to put this differently, all males except those who are trans-identified).

Hines, Willoughby, and the Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner all believe that sex (“sex”) can be changed.

Not having surgically or medically transitioned, and not having changed the sex marker on one’s birth certificate, but merely presenting oneself as female and being socially recognised as “female” (whatever that means—securing the cooperation of one’s community by tacit threat of being hauled before the anti-discrimination commission?) may be taken to change your sex. Sex, according to the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, is almost nothing at all.

Trans people should be protected from discrimination targeting their being trans, but they should not be protected as the opposite biological sex simply in virtue of identifying as the opposite sex. Biological sex matters, and so do the words ‘male’ and ‘female’ that refer to it. We must keep these things clear, both in the law and in social life, so that we don’t inadvertently advance trans equality at the expense of women’s equality.

Source: Sex Discrimination Without Sex

3 thoughts on “Sex Discrimination Without Sex”

  1. It would be useful for those taking part in FB etc discussions about transgender to know that the person Sally Hines is a transwoman, ie. he is a male!

  2. It’s a funny thing but when I did sociology we didn’t learn much biology.

    But somehow I always knew that, unless you are a barramundi, you can’t change your sex.

    1. Yes, but is also very important to know the sex of the person who takes part in this issue, because there are many male-born individuals who have already made sure that they are recognised as ‘females’ (viz. Sally Hines) with the result that many female writers and critics take this person as being on their side, ie. is a woman.
      She is not, but a male-born academic theorist, who has managed to erase his history

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