Last Tuesday, April 20 2021, the National Civic Council’s Patrick J. Byrne and the AFA’s Terri M. Kelleher appeared before the Committee of Inquiry into the New South Wales Education Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill. The NCC and AFA had presented an extensive submission to the inquiry.
The Bill, tabled by Mark Latham, aims to ban the teaching of gender fluidity in schools and strengthen the rights of parents to determine the education of their children.
NCC national president Patrick Byrne told the inquiry that two worldviews were being contested:
- 1.The biological worldview that human beings are males and females
- 2. The gender fluid worldview that sex and gender are fluid
Giving legal protections to a person’s gender identity creates deep legal and cultural conflicts between contested rights, privileges, protections and access to services. For example, there are deep conflicts created when a boy who identifies as a girl claims the same sex-based rights as girls to access female safe spaces.
The AFA’s Terri Kelleher was asked whether prohibiting the teaching of gender fluid theory in schools would discriminate against transgenders? She responded by asking, would it not be discrimination against girls to allow boys who identify as girls to use the girls’ toilets, change rooms, showers and school camp accommodation, places where they may be in a state of undress or asleep, or to play in girls’ sporting competitions?
Terri Kelleher also raised child-safety issues arising from the NSW Legal Issues Bulletin 55, which requires schools to draft a safety risk plan for transgender students. In part, it requires that transgender students should not have to use the facilities of their natal sex.
‘Why would the NSW Education Department want to risk prosecution for failing to protect a female student from rape or sexual assault in a school toilet, shower or change room that she had to share with a natal male student who identifies as female?’
Terri Kelleher said that focusing only on safety for transgender students in providing gender neutral toilets, or allowing boys who identify as girls to use the girls’ toilets, sets up a situation that is unsafe for girls. The Bulletin requires teachers to manage these situations by monitoring the length of time a natal male spends in a girls’ change room or toilet.
Terri Kelleher asked, are teachers to be rostered outside toilets? Do they have to supervise whenever the toilets are used, which would be throughout the day? And what about a male teacher’s reputation if he finds it necessary to intervene in a female toilet, shower or change room? She referred the Committee to a 2014 report showing there were about a thousand child-on-child sexual assault cases in schools across Australia in 2013.
“How can (gender identity) be biologically based and at the same time a social construct?”
– NCC President Patrick Byrne to the Committee of Inquiry
Further, she asked, why would the NSW Education Department want to risk a discrimination complaint from female students for being treated “less favourably” on the grounds of their sex in having to share their toilets with a natal male student who identifies as female and demands to use the female toilets? Why would the NSW Education Department want to risk prosecution for failing to protect a female student from rape or sexual assault in a school toilet, shower or change room that she had to share with a natal male student who identifies as female?
The Greens Committee member, David Shoebridge, interjected several times, claiming evidence was not relevant to the Bill. The chairman, Mr Latham, however, overruled his objections.
Patrick Byrne was asked whether refusing to teach gender fluidity in schools was “depriving children and young people [of] the ability to seek and receive information in regard to gender fluidity”, as covered by article 13 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child?
‘Would school content contain information on highly medically intrusive sex-change surgery?’
In response, he asked, “what information” should children be given? He pointed out that gender fluidity is a highly contested theory, not a proven fact, with some saying gender identity is wholly a social construct and that it replaces your sex. Others say it is separate from your sex. Others say it is biologically based and others that it is both a social construct and biologically based.
“How can it be biologically based and at the same time a social construct?” Mr Byrne asked.
He went on to ask whether information provided to students would include telling children that 80 to 97 per cent of young people with gender dysphoria desist and identify only with their birth sex in adulthood? Further, would school content contain information on highly medically intrusive sex-change surgery?
Would content also include data from Sweden, the most tolerant nation towards transsexuals, that showed ten years after sex-change surgery transsexuals have a suicide rate 19 to 20 times the rest of the population?
Mr Byrne concluded by asking, when it is said that young people have a right to have schools provided them with information on gender fluidity, “what information are we talking about?”
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