Flat White

Male, female or feline: it’s all equal on Spring Street

23 September 2016

8:54 PM

23 September 2016

8:54 PM

GettyImages-533876514In Victoria, Daniel Andrews’ government continues to go from strength to strength. Off the back of the triumph that was the firefighter’s enterprise bargaining agreement, they are now moving to continue scaling the heights of the sexual revolution.

Or was that the asexual revolution? Or transsexual revolution? Or bisexual revolution? It’s difficult to tell. You see, not only does the Andrews government want to make life difficult for religious organisations (and only religious organisations) with its new equal opportunity laws. The Andrews government also wants to ensure that people don’t have to face any kind of real sexual objectivity whatsoever. Under a proposed new law, currently before the parliament, people will be able to apply to have their sex changed on their birth certificate. The declaration of medical professionals present at the birth doesn’t matter.

The opinion of parents is irrelevant. The plumbing doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is what someone feels.

As the Attorney-General explained the bill to the parliament, he said the following: a person can apply to change their sex by making their “own declaration and in accordance with a description of their sex that is appropriate and meaningful to them.” After the (potential) passage of this bill, the only thing that will govern the sex of a person in Victoria is his or her own personal opinion. They will make their “own declaration” about whether they are male or female, or transsexual, or whatever. They will do this by describing their gender in a way that is “meaningful to them.”


Not in a way that meaningful to the community. Only to them. Not in a way meaningful and coherent according to medical science. Only to them. Not according to the plumbing and hormones that God gave them. It only has to be meaningful to them, and, within reason, they can use any descriptor they like. It’s all about you and your feelings in Victoria. In “The Education State”, sex will be without any objective meaning. Instead, it will be based upon the feelings of autonomous individuals.

And it’s about time, too! Quite frankly, I am tired of having to drag around this horrible label of “male”. It prevents me from doing all sorts of interesting things. For example, I’m not able to marry other men. However, if I just change my birth certificate to read “female” I will be able to marry a bloke. Blow the plebiscite! Blow the parliamentary vote! Just change your birth sex. Much simpler and much cheaper.

My “male” label is also preventing me from knowing what exactly goes on in a female public toilet. But thanks to the Andrews government, there’ll be a legal way for me to find out. What about female sports? I have always thought I’d have a better chance at making it as a footballer at a national level if I was a woman. And now I might have that chance! And without the hassle of losing my manly bulk! Here I come, AFL Women! I just need to change my birth certificate.

Allow me to diverge briefly. My daughters are fond of crawling around on the floor, meowing, and pretending to be cats. My oldest likes to announce this to me, saying, “Daddy! I’m a little cat!” And so I reply earnestly, “Hello, little cat!” Then she proceeds to crawl around in her pretence to be feline. It’s rather cute. But I don’t actually believe her because, no matter how good her impression of a cat is, I know she is a tiny human being.

This bill is a capitulation to the same kind of sentiment as my daughter’s. No doubt about it: some people have a torrid time because of various dysphorias and conditions related to sex and gender. But these people are the exception, whereas those on the treasury benches in Spring Street want to make them the rule. The reality is that we all know what a man is, and we all know what a woman is. The plumbing counts because it tells us something objective about who should and shouldn’t be playing women’s AFL. The opinion of the medical professionals present at birth counts too. And so does the natural endowment each person is born with.

Everyone knows my daughter is not a cat, and they also know she is a girl. But here in Victoria, everyone else’s opinion looks like it might be put aside, along with objective reality. My daughter’s opinion will replace reality. What a triumph! Bring on the feline revolution.

Simon P. Kennedy is a writer, researcher, and PhD candidate in the history of political thought.

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